Tarah Who? Well, “she” equals “they,” and “they’re” a band masterminded by grunge-punk sage Tarah Carpenter, a firebrand frontwoman who channels explosive emotionality into rousing anthems.
“I’m really sensitive to things that happen around me, and I love studying psychology and human behavior,” Tarah shares. “When I write, I seek to process personal stories and news stories through these perspectives, but in a way that’s relatable to everyone.”
Tarah exudes a spiritual centeredness that is poetically aligned to the origins of her name. The name “Tara” in Buddhist lore refers to the “mother of liberation,” an apt archetypal reference for such a strong and shamanistic female artist.
Tarah Who? recalls 1990s alt-rock and grunge’s tradition of balancing integrity with tuneful songcraft. Entries in the Tarah Who? oeuvre sit nicely alongside Alanis Morissette, Foo fighters, The Distillers, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Spinerette.
Tarah Who? is a power trio in every sense of the phrase, bonded together by telepathic musical interplay and profound interpersonal connections. In addition to Tarah, the three-piece band also features bassist/backing vocalist Joey Southern, and drummer/backing vocalist Coralie Hervé. Previously, Tarah Who? has released two full-lengths, two EPs, and one single of raw punky rock n’ roll. The band’s output has garnered plaudits and earned feature-story coverage from GIG Radar, Kill The Music, La Grosse Radio, Loud Stuff, Moshville, Music Connection, Muzak, and The Ring Master, among other outlets.
It’s a remarkable feat for an unsigned band to make such waves in the biz, but Tarah Who?’s incendiary live shows and snarling sing-alongs are hard to ignore. Even alt-pop goddess Alanis Morissette’s guitarist Jason Orme has given a big stamp approval to the group, co-producing and playing guitar alongside Tarah on the recently released EP, Half Middle Child Syndrome. Jason will also be onboard for the band’s upcoming EP.
With a stable lineup, and a dynamic rhythm section that can effortlessly shift from scorched-earth rock to tender balladry, the band is embarking on a halcyon era ushered in by its current EP, Half Middle Child Syndrome. The EP’s name is a cheeky reference to how outsiders sometimes try to make sense of Tarah’s interior landscape.
The fiery EP brims with tunefully tormented songcraft. A live favorite on the EP,“ Ache,” is built around an ultra-catchy bashed-out punk riff that recalls Nirvana’s irresistible rage. Beneath the maelstrom of the music is a vulnerable admission of pain over manipulated miscommunication accusations. "Garden of Chloé(s)” showcases Tarah’s gift for melding soulfully melodic vocals with bold and raw lyrics. Here, she grapples with the suicides of two friends named Chloé. Other EP highlights include the vitriolic punk of “Pay to Play,” and the sweetly seething mid-tempo alt-rocker “Little Pieces.”
Tarah was born in France and began smashing away at the drums at just 14, ignoring those around her who suggested she try her hand at a more “ladylike” musical pursuit. Willful, and somewhat stubborn, she honed her chops, forged her own creative path, and branched out to bass, guitar, singing, songwriting, and producing (she produced the band’s EP alongside Jason).
After a fateful move to Los Angeles, Tarah made her solo debut as Tarah Who? at a warehouse party. It was a gig she found on Craigslist, and it proved to be the perfect opportunity to share the songs she had been writing privately. After the gig was well-received, Tarah decided to form a band to enhance and support her songs.
Up next, the trio is roaring to get back into the studio with Jason. The band is fired up, inspired, and tighter as friends and musicians. In closing, bassist Joey offers this final thought: “When I first met Tarah, it floored me how bold she is; I felt this exuberance and fire from her. It reminded me of why I play music in the first place.”
Copyright © Tarah Who? All Pictures by Maria Quintana