January 28, 2015

Exhume Your Idols

There is little better in life than when you miss a cultural phenomenon, only to discover it years later. Maybe discover is too tame a word for what I do with cultural phenomenons that I may have missed the first time around. I become obsessed, addicted, enraptured.

Example- last year I started watching The Sopranos, and for a few months, that show consumed my thoughts, my dreams, my life. I slowly made my way through every season and was left crushed and empty when it ended. But I loved the realization when I began that there was so much Sopranos just waiting for me. I have had similar expereinces with Wilco, James Baldwin and even David Foster Wallace. I cherish the feeling of sitting at a nearly endless trough, with an empty stomach, ready to gorge on artists and shows that have extensive bodies of work. Bodies of work I know little or nothing about.

And well my friends, I am currently stuffing my face in the trough that is Sleater Kinney. And, holy shit, is this a good one. With an eight album back catalog spanning back to 1995, there is more than enough music to keep me satiated for weeks to come.

What I knew- after a ten year hiatus, Sleater Kinney was about to release a new album in early 2015, so I began to explore their work from different eras in their career. I started with The Woods and Dig Me Out. I had heard of this band for years, but for whatever reason had chosen to not listen to even one of their songs. WTF?

I guess a feminist punk band involved in the Riot Grrl movement was not on my radar as a twenty something year old dude in the 90's. (Which is surprising, since they have had a pretty close relationship with my fave band Pearl Jam. Singing Hunger Strike? Are you kidding me?) But oh no, I just chose to block them out.

Not anymore. My musical universe knows little beyond Sleater Kinney these days. Still gorging on the original two albums I downloaded early and their latest No Cities To Love, I am in jaw-dropping amazement at the shear gravity of this band.

First off, the guitar sound is unlike anything I have ever heard. Three piece band without a bass player. It's hard to tell who plays lead and who rhythm. Think Creedence Clearwater Revival, meets Modest Mouse, meets Led Zepplin and nothing you have ever heard before. Between Carrie Brownstein and Corrin Tucker, you will be left crushed under the power of sound. Bizarrely tuned guitars sing melodies beneath, over and through Tucker and Brownsteins vocals.

Lyrics and politics. Check.
Punk style and over all bad-assery- Check.

But why are you still reading this post? Get your hands on some Sleater Kinney now. I want to get to know these forty songs before I move onto the other FIVE albums. I cannot wait to see what is waiting for me there.

Hyperbole alert- This could be one of the best bands ever.

It takes a lot for me see it
Hope it better set you free
I went through the thought of you
I went through the void of me
I've grown afraid of everything that I love

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