Wimps are back! It's been five long years since Seattle's funnest punk band released new music, and The Stranger is very proud to premiere the video for "Mom," the band's first single from their upcoming album, City Lights (out October 13 on Youth Riot Records).
For a decade now, Rachel Ratner and her Wimps cohorts Matt Nyce and Dave Ramm have been writing fast, angsty, and funny songs about everything from the late-night urge to eat other people's pizza ("O.P.P.") to the back pain that comes with getting older ("Middle Ages") to skipping cool parties in favor of taking a nap ("Nap"). Relatable. All of it.
With "Mom," Ratner found inspiration in her latest all-encompassing project, motherhood. Now mom to a three-year-old daughter, Ratner uses the sub-three-minute track to weigh the pros and cons of being a parent. Sleeplessness, consistently dirty hair, peeing a little bit when she runs. But being a mom doesn't mean she can't rock... right? Sure, she might have to wear a nice top, freshly-pressed chinos, and sensible shoes to the parent-teacher conference, but she'll still blow out your eardrums with her Fender Duo-Sonic.
The video was directed by Marcy Stone-Francois, who's also done fun-as-punk vids for Tacocat, Lisa Prank, and Bijoux, as well as a number of other Wimps tracks including "Giant Brain" and "Old Guy." In it, Ratner fights to keep her no-fucks-to-give lifestyle despite responsible adulthood literally banging down the band's practice space door. I'm sure many parents will relate to this punk rock paradox.
In an interview ahead of the band's performance at Bumbershoot this weekend—Wimps play the Vera Stage on Saturday at 2:45 pm—Ratner told me a little more about parenthood, writing songs through dark times, and sandwiches.
I have been racking my brain, and I think this is the first punk song about being a mom written by a mom? Is that right? Meghan Trainor released a song, “Mother,” earlier this year, but Meghan Trainor is not punk.
Honestly, I haven't looked into it, but I think you might be right! Which is weird if you think about it. I've always just written songs about whatever stuff is going on with me day to day, so it was natural to write a song about motherhood. I also had a song about being pregnant, which, while funny, didn't make it onto the album. I bet there's no punk songs about being pregnant, either. Someone, please write one! And stay tuned for the next album, where I'll likely have a song called "Hot Flashes," haha.
This year is your 10th anniversary! Wimps released their debut, Repeat, in 2013. SO MUCH HAS CHANGED. And shit has gotten weird and heavy and hard, especially since your last record, Garbage People, in 2018. Can you tell me a little more about the overall tone of your new album, City Lights? Has the recent *gestures at the entire world literally burning to the ground* impacted your songwriting at all?
Yeah, it's crazy to think about how much has changed. Both in Seattle and in the world. I didn't intentionally try to write this album with a specific tone, but, as you mentioned, the past few years were quite the depression marathon. Like many people, I had a lot of personal lows but also had the wonderful birth of my daughter. Working full-time and being a mom didn't leave a lot of time for band stuff, but throughout the pandemic I would force myself to go out into the garage two nights a week to write songs (many of which didn't make it onto the album). It was a needed and therapeutic creative outlet. Since most of my songs are autobiographical, it would be fair to say that this album has more of a depressive undercurrent than previous ones.
Does your daughter like your music?
I don't make her listen to Wimps, but she has seen us play a few times and has heard the new record. While she prefers to listen to the Duck Tails theme song on repeat, she does know all the words to "Nap" and "Mom" and happily sings along with them when she hears them.
Finally, I hope you can settle a debate. As a mom, as a lunch-making master. Sandwiches: Should they be cut in half north/south to make two rectangles? Or cut diagonally, corner to corner, to make two triangles?
That's an excellent question. I have always felt that triangle sandwiches are very classy. But I have literally never made a triangle sandwich in my life! I do cut off the crust, which is also classy. So tomorrow I will make the first crustless triangle sandwich and report back.