|Origin||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Labels||Smarten Up!, K Records, Kill Rock Stars, Matador Records|
Mecca Normal is a two-piece indie rock band from Vancouver, Canada, formed by Jean Smith and David Lester in 1984. Smith writes lyrics and sings in a style that is often confrontational and laced with feminist themes; Lester's melodic yet dissonant guitar swirls and loops around her vocals. Merging the personal with the political in their songs and art-related activism, they helped define the sound and spirit of the early diy/indie rock/riot grrrl movement alongside bands such as Beat Happening and Bikini Kill.
In 1985 they formed their own record label Smarten Up! to release their debut album. Subsequently, Mecca Normal had full-length releases on three of the largest indie labels of the 90s, with albums on K Records, Kill Rock Stars, Matador Records, and Smarten Up! and a 7" single released by Sub Pop. Smarten Up! later merged with Lester's small press publishing company Get To The Point to form the label Smarten Up! & Get To The Point on which they released an album in 2003.
Empathy for the Evil (M'lady's Records, 2014) was produced, mixed and mastered by Kramer. Most of the songs are directly out of two of Jean Smith's unpublished novels. The album was recorded by Rat Bastard in November, 2012 at the Laundry Room in Miami Beach, Florida.
Smith is a painter and the author of two published novels, and Lester is a graphic designer and painter whose work includes "Inspired Agitators" - a series of posters profiling specific left-wing activists.
Lester's graphic novel The Listener (Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2011) was nominated for a ForeWord Reviews' Book Of The Year Award in the graphic novel category.
Smith reads from her novels at literary events, and performs and records as a solo artist.
- self-titled Smarten Up! 1986
- Calico Kills The Cat K Records 1988
- Water Cuts My Hands K Records 1991
- Dovetail K Records 1992
- Jarred Up K Records 1993
- Flood Plain K Records 1993
- Sitting On Snaps Matador Records 1995
- The Eagle And The Poodle Matador Records 1996
- Who Shot Elvis? Matador Records 1997
- The Family Swan Kill Rock Stars 2002
- Janis Zeppelin Smarten Up! 2003
- The Observer Kill Rock Stars 2006
- Empathy for the Evil M'lady's Records 2014