The Supercuteness of Supercute!

Supercute! photo 1

Even though she’s seemingly “all growed up,” Rachel Trachtenburg, of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, is still Supercute!  Well… she’s in Supercute!  Supercute! is Trachtenburg’s latest musical project, a brilliantly juvenile, tongue-in-cheek, tie-dyed take on a girl group, which Trachtenburg has described as “psychedelic-indie-bubblegum.”  This June sees the release of the band’s debut LP, however, they’re currently on-tour with long-time friend and collaborator (and my #1 celeb crush), Kate Nash, for what I’m projecting to be the third best tour of the year… behind Morrissey and Belle & Sebastian… Yeah… It’s gonna be that good.  The tour is making its most intimate stop this Sunday, March 24th, when Supercute! and Ms. Nash hit up the 300-capacity Johnny Brenda’s for a show that has been long sold out. (Supercute! take the stage at 9pm, so don’t dawdle when getting dolled-up.)

Supercute! photo 2Despite not having a proper release just yet, Supercute! have been around for a few years now.  The project began in 2009 with Trachtenburg and Julia Cumming (who also host, “Pure Imagination Radio,” a show about art and politics aimed at a teen demographic).  In that time they’ve already toured numerous time with Kate Nash (who produced their debut and who has characterized them as “The next Supremes.”) and garnered critical acclaim from the likes of the New York Times, Deli, and Bust.  I recently got a chance to chat with Trachtenburg and Cumming, who more than live up to the attitude and enthusiasm of their moniker:  “We’re really excited for the album to come out in June and for people to hear it. We really want to continue to tour and play shows with lots of other friends and musicians.  2013 is the year of SUPERCUTE!!!!!!” (Not that it’s terribly important, but to further the “supercuteness” of Supercute!, when I asked Rachel about her thoughts on Philadelphia, she replied, “We used to buy lots of socks and posters in Philly when we were younger,” before lamenting over the closing-down of a veggie cheese steak spot.)

Despite the girls of Supercute!’s candy-coated exterior, they do have a number of existentially dark songs that highlight their politics, exploring subjects such as animal rights and what it is to be a young girl in the Western world.  They tell me about the influences and inspirations behind their debut, which actually include a few things that you wouldn’t expect of a band called “Supercute!”: “The album is a piece of work that’s really an expression of who we are. There are lots of musical inspirations, like Syd Barrett and early Velvet Underground, but there’s also just lots of our experiences, our friends, our beliefs, our fears. Like in ’Candy City’; the whole song is a daydream of a person working in a cubicle.”

Wanting to prod at the girls’ interest in youth culture, I ask if there are any heroes or heroines that they think could be especially helpful to young people.  They go on to tell me, “For girls it’s really great to remember all of the super inspirational female songwriters throughout history, like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Those ladies are heroines for sure. Recently, people like Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson really are great examples of artists who are making a living doing what they love.”  They also seem to have a huge admiration for their friend, tourmate, and producer, Ms. Nash: “Kate is a huge heroine that everyone should be aware of, obviously. She’s so smart, and a real inspiration to us. She’s a real artist.”  They also seem to appreciate their relationship with Kate on a leisurely level: “Just hanging with her backstage and before the shows is the best. We buy lots of fun, small treats for each other. We’re sisters.”  When asked what Philadelphia can expect of an evening with Supercute! and Kate Nash on Sunday, Trachtenburg and Cumming tell me, “The Philly crowd can expect to be bewildered, surprised, and to be shaking their booties and bopping their heads to our sweet jamz.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.