Sleater-Kinney, Electric Lounge, May 25, 1997


Electric Lounge, May 25, 1997

It's gotta be a slow year if this is what's getting profiled in Newsweek. It boils down to this: Don't just stand there, play the album. I can get the album, sit at home, and hit the shuffle button. Same thing. Even better, for the price of two beers at the bar, I can get a six-pack. So, instead of giving me hostility, give me a show -- at least a little bit of a show. With an onstage dynamic that was about as sharp as a butter knife and an "I've-been-traumatized-by-being-20" expression on her face, Corin Tucker's expression alone was enough to kill the hype-driven anticipation. The modulating of her voice, more unsettling than any phase-shifter or theremin, didn't help either. Sometimes though, Tucker's angst, contrived and superfluous as it often seemed, cut right through the mug and made you forget all about the sweat in your shorts. (The Electric Lounge's summer slogan: "Come for the music, stay for the sauna.") With three girls, two guitars, and no bass, the immediate reaction has to be Jon Spencer Chick Explosion, but Sleater-Kinney has more of a Kathy and Kim (Hanna and Gordon, respectively) thing going. And, whoa, there are some damn fine songs emerging from the trademark indie sound of ragged bar chords and borderline dissonant half-step melodies. Right from the opening notes of "Dig Me Out," the band showed its hand in full. They have the substance but no style. Sorry that the suburbs ruined your life, Corin, but everywhere I go the kids wanna rock. Not bad, but not really worthy of Newsweek, now, is it?

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