Sleater-Kinney: Let’s Call It Lost Love

I make a cheesy pun about curtain calls in the article. Cos there are curtains on the cover of the album. Do you see?I’ve gone and written a fairly lengthy tribute to Sleater-Kinney, they of the brilliant punk-rock-cum-classic-rock music. It’s over at ZME for your eyes to eat.

I was lucky enough to be present at what would prove to be Sleater-Kinney’s first and only Irish gig, in the dark, cramped confines of what used to be the Temple Bar Music Centre, in September 2005. Part of an adoring, hopelessly devoted crowd that couldn’t have amounted to much more than a few hundred people, I stood right below Corin Tucker’s monitor, within spitting distance of the lady herself (although she didn’t like it when I kept doing it). It was, needless to say, an amazing performance – I was more in love with Tucker afterwards than I was before, if that was even possible. But then, Sleater-Kinney were an amazing band – perhaps rock’s last great stateswomen, embodying everything angry, joyous, sexual, challenging, playful and empowering about the genre over the course of their all-too-brief 12 year existence.

That was Sleater-Kinney in a nutshell: everything you needed them to be, and more. This was a band that was crowned the queens of the riot grrrl scene, without ever really being part of it; as comfortable deconstructing post-9/11 American politics as sexual politics (often doing both within the same song); less-than-virtuoso playing (save for Janet Weiss’ amazing drumming) made into an unmistakeable, primal sound, informed by conviction and character. And nowhere were their strengths more evident than on their stunningly vicious 2005 swansong, The Woods: an album that, with one shrieking salvo of violent feedback, took everything that made Sleater-Kinney great, and made them into something even better.

Go read. If nothing else, you can mock me later for my unapologetic fanboy-isms.

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