Team Dresch

Reviews

Team Dresch Personal Best LP

Let’s rewind back to the mid-’90s, when yours truly was an uncertain queer punk teen living in the dismal suburbs and listening to TEAM DRESCH’s Personal Best every single day. I scrawled the lyrics from “Fake Fight” on my bedroom wall, much to my parent’s confusion. (“I cry out in the darkness forever to be free / And I cry out so my loneliness won’t get the best of me…”) I air-guitared and headbanged around my bedroom blasting “Freewheel” and “Screwing Yer Courage” over and over again. I wore my Candy-Ass Records “she eats it up” logo T-shirt to high school feeling like I was sharing an inside joke with freaks across the universe. Team Dresch made those difficult times feel less lonely and unbearable. The first person I ever worked up the nerve to come out to was Donna Dresch, in the form of a halting letter mailed to her label Chainsaw Records. I sent it off not expecting a response, but Donna responded with a hopeful letter telling me to keep fighting and to stay free. But all of this, as important as it was to me personally, would’ve been fleeting without the music. If you don’t know it already, I’ll just say it: TEAM DRESCH’s 1995 debut album Personal Best is a stone-cold fucking masterpiece. Every one of these ten songs utterly and totally rocks. I still listen to this record on repeat while air-guitaring and headbanging around my bedroom. There were other bands associated with riot grrrl and queercore that got (and continue to get) more notice, but TEAM DRESCH honestly blows them all away. Personal Best is one of the truly great rock albums of all time, and this gorgeous and excellent-sounding reissue does it the justice it deserves. All hail TEAM DRESCH: “They tested their limits / And broke all the rules!”

Team Dresch Captain My Captain LP

Damn, reviewing these TEAM DRESCH LP reissues—what an honor and what a responsibility! What can I say to adequately convey what these albums have meant to me and to so many queers, dykes, punks, and freaks for the last 25 years? This band saved my life and continues to save my life; they were the best band in the world when this album came out in 1996, and the best band I saw live in 2019. Captain My Captain, their sophomore album, features a different drummer—Marcéo Martinez left the band after Personal Best and Melissa York joined—and has a more introspective vibe than its predecessor, with several songs about dealing with depression and anxiety. Still, the musical formula is the same: heavy, rocking, and emotional queer punk anthems with monstrous guitar parts and transcendent dual vocals from the band’s singers Jody Bleyle and Kaia Wilson. The sublime opening track “Uncle Phranc” taught me what it means to claim a queer chosen family and features the best advice anyone could ever give a young dyke: don’t fuck with straight girls, don’t take pills, and don’t let anyone emotionally blackmail you into doubting who you are. 23 years after its initial release, the songs on this album still make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. What more can I say other than thank you TEAM DRESCH.