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Punk of the Month: Alicja Trout

September 13, 2011

Girl Germs might be an all-female show, but we have plenty of supportive gentleman friends – and even some honorary ladies – who number among our compatriots (see: DJ Phizzy, King Cole and Marinos of On the Corner; Evan and co. over at Fancy Pants Gangsters; and Chris and Qualler of Blogulator Radio, among others).

You might remember our friend Nate from his days on Radio K’s Out of Step; he guest DJ’d on Girl Germs back when we were all the same station. Nate is our go-to expert on all things punk and he’s kindly agreed to write a monthly feature for you all called Punk of the Month! Watch the blog every month for a profile of a female artist who has broken ground on the punk scene. 

Thus far, we’ve mined the distant past for our Punk of the Month profiles. “But what about the present?” you might ask. Surely there are some inspiring, groundbreaking punk ladies making it happen right here and now. Well, you’d be completely correct. That’s why we’re casting this month’s spotlight on one of today’s most happening females: Memphis’s own garage-punk goddess, Alicja Trout!

A multi-instrumentalist artist and label boss (who also happens to be someone’s mother), Trout keeps busy. Her most productive band, the menacing synth-punk Lost Sounds, is likely her most renowned.  Also featuring Trout’s one-time beau, the late Jay Reatard, Lost Sounds managed to release a handful of singles and LPs on various labels before its demise in 2005.

Trout quickly regrouped and formed the three-piece River City Tanlines. Eschewing the dark paranoia of her previous outfit, the Tanlines focused instead on driving, slashing punk rock ‘n’ roll. Trout’s melodic snarl carried the band through an LP and a series of 7”s like 2004’s essential debut, Black Knight.

In between her higher-profile bands, Trout somehow scraped up enough free time for such sundry projects as the hardcore terror of Destruction Unit, the indie-pop Mouserocket, The Clears’ clattering synth-punk, the appropriately named Nervous Patterns and the briefly-burning CC Riders. But that’s not all. Black Sunday, having released a slew of singles and a full-length LP, showcases the versatile lady performing almost all of the instruments herself.  Her latest offering is a single by her other one-woman band, the markedly more pop-oriented Alicja-Pop, released by Certified PR Records.

The restless Trout has also conceived her own DIY punk label, Contaminated Records.  In addition to releasing recordings by her own bands, Contaminated has also served to foster the careers of such subterranean garage-punk greats as the Creteens, the Feelers, the Test Patterns, and the Ponys.

And let’s not forget to mention her skills as a sound engineer, having recorded the two treble-punk nuggets found on the Oscars’ Jump for Joy release on the Goner label. Trout’s inspired momentum has also pushed her into both painting and designing gig posters.  And for the true collector, she even creates custom-built iconic dolls based on her clients’ own specifications.

Trout with River City Tanlines

Truly one of the busiest players in today’s garage punk game, Alicja Trout’s wide-ranging talents and ambitious drive has proven that she has yet to find comfort in complacency. Here’s hoping she keeps it up.

–Nate Rastetter

Nate is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a former co-host of Out of Step on KUOM Radio K. He has volunteered at Extreme Noise Records in Minneapolis since June 2000 and presently serves on its Board of Directors.  He seriously, fanatically loves record shopping.  Music is his mistress and vinyl is his vice.  He is also a moderately talented bass player.

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