[This profile comes compliments of the the Mercury's sister pub The Stranger, but the new record is being released on a Portland label, so we figured you'd want to know. -eds.]
Sitting around a table full of delicious food and shots of tequila at Tacos and Beer in Crown Hill with Donovan Stewart, Lupe Flores, and Hozoji Matheson-Margullis, and it’s obvious the trio of friends chose the perfect name for their band: Tacos!
It’s not some goofy name picked for the hell of it. This Seattle-based heavy rock power trio has some serious dedication to the hand-sized snack food. So serious that when she’s not playing drums, Flores has her own spot, Situ Tacos (Lebanese Arabic for Grandma) inside the Jupiter Bar in Belltown, where she serves up the “original crunchy taco,” a staple of her Grandma Delores Flores’s kitchen.
When it comes to tacos the food, all three members of Tacos! the band have their distinct go-to spots and preferences. Flores swears by Anita’s taco truck on 120 and Aurora while Matheson-Margullis calls herself a “crunchy shell motherfucker.”
Because Matheson-Margullis lives in Tacoma and Flores lives in Seattle, they often meet up halfway for tacos in Burien, at what Flores claims is the best family-style Mexican restaurant—which she made sure to point out is its own “genre” of Mexican food—Azteca.
“Azteca is top of the pops,” Flores said. “They make their own tortillas, they have a great happy hour. Some of their shit is actually really good.”
On Friday, August 4, Tacos! releasedc their third LP, appropriately titled 3, on Portland’s Nadine Records. The album is notable not just because it’s eight tracks of top-notch heavy, riff-centric stoner-metal-tinged rock ‘n’ roll fury, but it also marks the addition of Helms Alee drummer Matheson-Margullis on bass.
This is a big deal for the OG two. Because Flores plays also drums in the power pop band Wild Powwers and Stuart also plays in the experimental drone trio Gold Sweats, the two were content with keeping Tacos! a duo, despite the fact that many musicians have inquired about joining the team over the years.
“We were happy being a two-piece,” Flores said. “We weren't looking for another person. It took specifically Hozi.”
According to Matheson-Margullis, she knew she wanted to be in Tacos! while watching Flores and Stewart play shirtless at Bar House.
"You guys were just fucking ripping,” Matheson-Margullis said. “It was so good and I just kept envisioning playing bass. It was just coming into my brain like, ‘I want to play this riff and this is what I would do. This is what I would play to this part.’"
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All three members of Tacos! agree the new addition ushered in a new, but welcome shift in their sound.
“I add a little bit of classic rock,” Matheson-Margullis said.
To my ear, this sound comes through most notably on the fifth track, “Coug Snugz,” which lays a tasteful old-school, metal-ish guitar solo atop a driving Black Sabbath-ian groove.
“It's like Thin Lizzy, Heart, and the Melvins all together,” adds Flores.
This kind of ambition to join forces is nothing new to the Tacos! crew. As Flores tells it, the original idea behind the formation of the band came from her boozily approaching Stewart after hearing his former band, Mico de Noche, was calling it quits.
“I said, ‘How about I’m your drummer now and we can keep that band going?’" Flores recalled. “Then at 8 o’clock the next morning, I get a text from him being like, ‘When do you wanna practice?’ I was like, ‘Oh fuck.’ 'Cause I still didn’t really know how to play drums that well. Especially metal.”
While there’s nothing laughable about the hard-hitting music on 3—which was recorded by Matheson-Margullis's Helms Alee bandmate Ben Verellen—song titles like “Chin Up, Tits Out” show off the band's sense of humor, which is also on full display during our meal. It’s clear these three have a blast playing this sludgy style of what Matheson-Margullis calls “weird metal” together. It's impossible to not smile when you’re around them as they take shots and call each other by nicknames, recounting the many taco spots they’ve visited on the road.
“We love each other,” Flores said. “The best bands are the ones that love each other and have fun. It’s fun to shred, to get some shit out with people you love. It makes it feel like the world is less of a ‘we’re all gonna die place,’ at least momentarily."
Tacos!'s new album 3 is out Friday, August 4 on Nadine Records. It's available on Bandcamp here.