A bit of a quiet evening here so far, and I’m in a good a benelovent mood. So i’M going to toss you some sonic scraps from mah table of plenty. you know you want it. Beg for it! BEG! Now there’s a good doggie.
For this week, I’ve been listening to a lot of my old Bratmobile and Bikini Kill records. Nice stuff it is too. Lots of righteous indignation and real gender politics set to crackling riffs and noise. For this week’s music dump instalment, I’m going for a band that was part of the late-era word of riot grrrl. What you’re getting is “All hands on the Band One”by SLEATER KINNEY.
Sleater Kinney formed in the same music nexus that spawned the majority of Riot Grrrl bands, the own of Olympia in Washington State, USA. Made up of members of Heavens to Betsy and Excuse 17, they started making music with Sleater Kinney as a bit of a side project to their own stuff. Naturally their original bands splits up so they got a drummer and became SK full-time.
Their music is your classic punky alt-rock that you got from the US in the early 90s (sonic youth, throwing muses, bratmobile and other Riot Grrrl bands etc). You had a lot of lot note based riffs as they had no bassist often with wild vocals that lurched between banshee shrieks and soothing honey melodies. With all this they often had politically charged lyrical themes from War to Consumerism and gender politics, often holding up a mirror to the gender issues often affecting the music scenes in the country at the time.
“All Hands on the big one” released in 2000 is their 5 album and sees them make a bit fo a change from their earlier slash and burn approach to their music. This is probably because they had started to apply some craft and had gained a huge amount of self-confidence in their ability to play. As such the music has a deeper melodic quality from previous efforts. Oh there’s still the riffs, but they’re making them groove instead of grate. And naturally, there’s still the hard-hitting lyrics (check out “You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun,” with the lyrics “Like a piece of art/ That no one can touch/ Your head is always up/ In the clouds/ Writing your songs/ Won’t you ever come down,”).
AHOTBO is a great little gem of pulsing thrusting rock that has a message, but doesn’t forget that sometimes you just want to dance and jump around a lot.
You can try “All hands On The Big One” HERE