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"New Band: The Drug Purse"

All the way from Tacoma, The Drug Purse are making an unholy racket that cuts from JAMC sonic attacks to jangling garage stompers. In short, they're all-killer.

Turntable Eyes, filled with wasted J.Spaceman vox and noisy geetars cracks up the volume and takes a quick look at those Velvet Underground LPs before making off with yer gal. She'll probably be happier with The Drug Purse anyways... they've clearly got the best acid in town.

The promise of a seedy weekend, wrecked on your back, continues with the wired sped-up then downed on Valium of Pioneer Engineer. It's all frazzled and fucked after too many late nights. It's the sound of seeing the light, but not being sure if you're dead or whether it's just too early in the morning. You'll love this band if you have a pair of ears and a working brain. If not, what you doin' here? -


(Hell's Kitchen) Were there a musical war between Seattle and Tacoma, the latter city's scrappy but resourceful guerrilla music scene would be pulling a serious man-in-the-black-pajamas job on us right now. Recently embracing the full psychological implications of its geographic placement between Seattle and Olympia, T-Town seems to have found the glorious midpoint between the former's ambitious big-city rawk and the latter's insouciant small-town experimentation, minus the jaded scenester-ism of either. Two excellent examples will be on display tonight; the Drug Purse, who have the somberly good timing of channeling the spirits of both Arthur Lee and Syd Barrett through their own psych-rock mélange, and Please Give Blood, who show the positive influence of early Cure and Joy Division without aping either. BILL BULLOCK - the stranger (seattle)


(Sunset) Local promoter/politico Chris Olson is the brains (and ears) behind this one. After Syd Barrett's death this summer, Olson decided he wanted to get together a range of musicians who appreciate both the early Barrett days of Floyd and the later, Gilmour-centric years. He's chosen some highly appropriate acts, too; the Drug Purse is yet another dreamy, narcotically inclined band from Tacoma, featuring members of Paris Spleen and the Elephants. Now if only the Sunset would get its absinthe license... HANNAH LEVIN - the stranger (seattle)

"Distinctively Tacoma"

Saturday, Sept. 6, the Point Defiance Music Festival will engulf the area of 51st and Pearl Street in Ruston, and the Weekly Volcano will have its very own stage. Coming to that stage, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., will be Starstruck, GE5, Jonny Smokes, 2112 (a freakin’ Rush Tribute band of all things), the Hard Way, Sons of Ivan, the Drug Purse, the Elephants and Jon Auer of the Posies.

Starting with Sons of Ivan, I’ll be the awkward dude with the microphone introducing the bands. If you saw my less than inspiring performance introducing the Helio Sequence at Showcase Tacoma (which can be explained with the mathematical equation: booze + nerves = botched introduction), you know this feat will represent a “getting back on the horse” moment for me.

That’s my fighter spirit, yo!

Why am I getting back on the horse after a horrible experience doing something I’ll probably never be very comfortable with? It’s a worthy question, but one that can be answered succinctly.

Because this show is worth it. Saying nothing of the bands set to play between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., an afternoon lineup that includes Sons of Ivan, the Drug Purse, the Elephants and Jon Auer is a lineup not to be missed. If I can help introduce bands like that to a crowd at the Point Defiance Music Festival, I’d be dumb not to take advantage. Plus, maybe some of the Drug Purse’s indie sex appeal or the Elephants’ humble genius will rub off on me?

Since I named Sons of Ivan the best (new) indie band in Tacoma in the Weekly Volcano’s “Best Of” issue earlier this summer, and just a few weeks ago I (once again) revealed my man crush on the Elephants — not to mention Jon Auer has graced the pages of this rag plenty of times — it’s time for me to show a little love to the Drug Purse.

Led by ex-Elephant Jason Freet, the Drug Purse is a 253 psychedelic ride into the world of repeated guitar chords, dark sunglasses, mind alteration and Tacoma’s burgeoning and confident indie music scene. Like doing whippets in a field of dandelions near Cheney Stadium or floating off to a chemically enhanced happy place near the bocce field in Wright Park, the Drug Purse combines long revered psychedelic rock aesthetics — i.e. Middle Eastern influences and shag haircuts — with a vibe that’s distinctively Tacoma.

The result is, shall we say, unique.

“Jason has these chords that he just plays over and over again,” explains Drug Purse bassist Tarek Wagner. “He’ll just say ‘yeah, that’s it,’ or ‘no, that’s not it.’ It’s strange.

“He’s kind of a wizard.”

While Wagner says Freet is the band’s main songwriter, in the end he considers the Drug Purse a collaborative project — one that has evolved over time and become something no one in the band envisioned.

“We just kind of went into it blindly. It feels like it has taken shape a little, but our eyes are still adjusting,” explains Wagner. “We’re all freaks here.”

In case you’re playing at home, the Drug Purse is part of the Team Unicorn family — along with fellow Point Defiance Music Festival performers the Elephants. It’s a connection that makes sense considering the closeness of all parties involved with both bands — and they’re two of the best bands Team Unicorn has to offer. The relationship is yet another example why people really should be paying attention to what Team Unicorn is doing in Tacoma.

“If we all put two cents in we have a dollar,” says Wagner of Team Unicorn. “We’re a group of likeminded people created out of necessity. We just don’t have anything to do except play music.”
The Drug Purse will play the Point Defiance Music Festival in Ruston this Saturday along with Sons of Ivan, the Elephants and Jon Auer. I’ll see you there.
- tacoma weekly volcano


EP (2007)



a mantra of chords, electric guitar ragas, organic blood oranges.