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What Tacoma needs

Whiskey Dick is a band that Tacoma is missing

Whiskey Dick mixes gritty country with sloppy punk. Photo credit: YouTube

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Hey, look: I've long since admitted that I will first pay attention to a band with an attention-grabbing name. There's no getting around it. I have relegated myself to a world where I'm inundated with bands and sounds that are fated to sound exactly the same. Because of this, I've begun to lose my mind, getting bombarded with bands that -- through no fault of their own, honestly -- sound precisely similar to dozens of other bands. I don't think I've done anything heinous, but I know I'm being punished, for something, through an egregious amount of repetition. Not knowing my crime, I feel certain I deserve this. Maybe the hubris in knowing what music is better than others has cursed me to hearing the same sh@# again and again.

Tacoma is famous for its ups and downs, through its fallow moments and its times of invigorating creativity. The past few years have more drastically felt unfruitful than others -- a feeling that might otherwise be met with the feeling that things are bound to turn around. Unfortunately, this feeling is lingering, leading to attention being paid to bands that might otherwise be taken for granted. While the vibrant indie scene of Tacoma may be languoring, there are still groups that have done their part in taking up the mantle. Without bands like these, Tacoma may fall into a perpetual silence.

When it comes to keeping Tacoma alive and noisy, the Valley remains our best bet. Keeping most every day filled with bands, the Valley is doing yeoman's work in filling our dear city with sound and vision. Sunday, Oct. 15, brings a band called Whiskey Dick. Again, this is a band that would've caught my attention, no matter what, via their dumb name. It doesn't take much to get my attention, and Whiskey Dick have done the bare minimum to make sure my eye is drawn to them. The second part is hearing what they sound like, which is almost unnecessary, when all is said and done.

How does Whiskey Dick sound? Well, they smash together the sounds of punk and folk in a way that seems perversely ambitious. Blues harmonica aids in shading in the music, keeping everything headlong and melodically satisfying. More than anything else, the players in Whiskey Dick seem dedicated to making their songs stand alone as rocksteady compositions, aiding from the punk intonations and frenzied folk, but ultimately working as their own songs. When Whiskey Dick strives for something else, as on the electric guitar-aided "Goodbye to Romance," there's a deference being paid to classic rock. For all of the effort the band pays in doing some interesting solo stuff, there's no sense that they have any ill will toward the bands that have so clearly inspired them.

When there falls a low amount of local bands coming up with new sh@# to populate the weeks, it becomes imperative to embrace the bands that rise up to take their place. Sometimes cover bands are our best bet, while young bands might not have the right stuff to get our attention. Still yet, there are groups like Whiskey Dick, which finds the best combination of covers and new materiel. While we wait for artists to rise through the ranks and define a new era of Tacoma music, we shouldn't disregard workhorses like Whiskey Dick. This is a band that fills in the gaps that we so desperately need occupied, in order to keep our gritty city up and running.

Whiskey Dick, w/ Bazooka Benny, TBA, 8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15, cover TBA, The Valley, 1206 Puyallup Ave., 253.248.4265, thevalleytacoma.com

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