Sleater Kinney – The Woods

Sleater KinneyDespite what my mates will tell you, there is some music that slips below my oh-so blinkered radar. A lot of the time, by virtue of reading more about music than actually listening to the fucking stuff, I’ll know about a band but never have actually listened to them. Recently I’ve been trying to get into some of the older mid-90’s American indie bands. The idea that all this great music was being ignored whilst we were all in awe with Britpop meant that there’s plenty of catching up to do. One band I always heard of being respected (as opposed to actually being listened to) is the all-female, three-piece rock act, Sleater-Kinney. Despite recording 7 albums in ten years since 1995-2005, I’d not actually listened to them.

So the fact that they’d recorded their last album with Dave Fridmann (produced records by Mercury Rev, the Flaming Lips and Mogwai) I thought I’d get their last LP rather than an earlier 90’s one.It doesn’t start off great, “the Fox” is noisy and distorted but not in a good way, but “Wilderness” and “Jumpers” are a lot more focused. “Jumpers” uses some uneven drumming and great solo guitar work to push the chorus.  It’s all a big departure from other all-female groups, like Pony Up! or Le Tigre. Make no mistake, this is a rawk album.

“Modern Girl” is a little bit quiter and melodic, the harmonica on the 2nd verse is a nice surprise.  Closing track “Night Light” has a great echoey ambience but hightlights maybe a problem with the album. Too many times I felt the tracks were spoilt by scratchy, distorted vocals. Maybe that was the whole idea, to make these songs even more abrasive, but it’s a little off putting. But anyway, there’s still some really good stuff here. Maybe if the band bring out a best of, it’ll be interesting to see where this list album fits is.

Sleater Kinney – Entertain:

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