Karen Meat gets personal11/2/2016
If you want to hear the new Karen Meat songs live, you’ve only got one chance. The Des Moines singer is releasing a new tape this month, “She’s Drunk Like the Rest of Us,” but a Nov. 10 show at Vaudeville Mews will be the last time she performs them.
“I was more hesitant to put these out, because they hit so close to home,” said Arin Eaton, who performs under the name Karen Meat. “I was afraid I would be stepping on toes, since Des Moines is a tight-knit community.”
The songs on “She’s Drunk Like the Rest of Us” do strike a different tone than her material with the band Karen Meat & The Computer. Eaton wrote and recorded the vocals this summer without the help of her bandmates John Huffman, Phil Young and Brad Turk. Instead, she turned the material over to Dana Telsrow of Iowa City’s Flat Black Studios. He handled the instrumentation, hiring Iowa City musicians to play on the tracks.
Karen Meat & The Computer won’t be playing as a full band at the show, but all the members of the band will be performing. Eaton and Telsrow, who makes music under the name Dana T, will perform the new material. Young will play with one of his other bands, Tires; Turk with his band Easy Fruit; and Huffman with his new solo project, Mommy. Also on the bill are Anthony and the Nashville band Birdcloud, which Eaton traveled with this summer as tour manager.
“The show is on my 26th birthday,” Eaton said. “There are six bands on the bill. I keep telling people, ‘It’s my party, and I’ll have as many bands as I want to.’ ”
Eaton recorded “She’s Drunk Like the Rest of Us” without even telling her bandmates. She said she felt guilty having taken up so much of their vacation time working on the Karen Meat & The Computer debut album, but she still had songs she wanted to record. She initially performed the songs at an October show and decided Nov. 10 would be her last time playing them.
“I’ve been through a lot, and I don’t know what I want to do or the person I want to be,” Eaton said. “There’s a lot of self-reflection in these songs. They’re serious, but I still joke about them.”
“I live in a basement and spend a lot of time down there and kind of lost my mind a bit. I’d stay there for two or three days, write songs and not see the sun. After all that, I decided I had to do something with them. I’m never afraid to put anything out.”
Looking forward, Eaton has more work to come with The Computer. She and her bandmates are writing and recording for a second album or EP to come out this winter or in early spring. She’s also planning a tour with Dustin Smith of The Maytags in January, with each of them performing their solo material. ♦