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Reinventing the Grrrl

Connecting the Dots Between Noise, Rawk, and Queer with Olympia's Twin

By Rahne Alexander | Posted 10/10/2007

Twin with Upsilon Acrux, Trockeneis, Harrius, and the Lexie Mountain Boys

Load of Fun Studios Oct. 14

Call it "conquer rock," "homocore," or "stoner-math-post-metal." The genre name matters far less than the epic music inside the spooky wrapper. The music of Twin gloriously defies comfortable genrefication. Fueled by the trademark stand-up drumming of Rachel Carns and the heavy, intricate guitar work of Ghost, aka Kwo, Twin lands sonically--and alphabetically--somewhere between early Siouxsie and Uriah Heep.

Carns herself is a veritable juggernaut. She made her name by making some of the most influential underground music of the `90s with bands such as Kicking Giant, Slant 6, and the Need. Her list of collaborators is a veritable Northwest who's who, including Miranda July, Nomy Lamm, and Tara Jane O'Neil, who played bass for a short time with Twin's previous incarnation, the King Cobra. Under her System Lux graphic design brand, Carns has also become a sought after graphic artist, creating images for Erase Errata's Jenny Hoyston, Portland grrrl rockers Swan Island, and Olympia's Scream Club, as well as her own musical ventures.

At 38, Carns' musical impact has certainly yet to be measured, but her legacy already stands among the most influential of the Riot Grrrl Generation: on one hand, reconnecting queer musicians with both with the avant-garde and unapologetic rock `n' roll; and on the other hand catalyzing nascent musicians to a sea of possibility, something to which Baltimore's booming music scene can relate.

Twin hasn't played here since 2004, when it performed under the King Cobra banner. Since the name change last year, Twin has gone deeper into exploring its hefty mix of punk and progressive rock, and will complete a much anticipated full-length release after it wraps up its fall tour. "We have it probably three quarters of the way written," Carns says. "We're trying to figure out how we want to release it--if we want to do it ourselves, if we want to find a label. We're just trying to figure out our options right now. I think doing a tour will help us sort that out."

In the meantime, Twin has been releasing a stream of split singles with acts such as Vancouver-based Shearing Pinx and Seattle's Mikaela's Fiend. Its most recent release is a split 7-inch with the Minneapolis thrash-club band Gay Beast, whose frontman, Dan Luedtke, is touring with it. "He's great," Carns says. "[Gay Beast] contacted us when they were doing their U.S. tour last year. Especially at that time, they were one of the few outwardly queer-identified bands that were doing more experimental, strange, more challenging type music. I think there's getting to be more and more of that. But we found each other right away.

"I think more people are wanting to make this kind of music because there's so much music available now, especially digitally," Carns continues. "You have access to all the obscure records now. Things that were really rare are being re-released, and so all these kids have access to way more interesting kinds of music than, say, kids in the `90s. We're doing interesting music in a different kind of way, but now people are doing crazy stuff."

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