If there’s one thing all this running around to shows has reminded me this week, it’s that the world really is full of extremely talented and amazing women. Having been lucky enough to fully agree with D’s glowing review of Bat For Lashes after witnessing her extraordinary performance for myself last night, I’m close to switching to an all-femme diet of music just to see how it goes. But while the beautiful Natasha Khan floats down those mystical aural pathways (her cover of Radiohead’s ‘All I Need’ last night was out of this world), it’s probably good to have some girls who rock in the mix, too. And with the exception of Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and a select few others, nobody rocks harder than Sleater-Kinney. Some of most vibrant riot-grrls of the last two decades who are sadly no longer together, this band’s sound is unabashedly ferocious and is bolder than ever on their 2005 swansong, The Woods.
There’s no escaping Corin Tucker’s voice; it whoops like a siren and comes straight for your face before you have any chance to protect yourself. From the opening ‘Sit down ho-ney…’, Tucker’s blistering tones dominate and thrill like very little else. Backed up by a trio who are as tough as she is, the overall effect you get after spinning ‘What’s Mine Is Yours’ is a bit like losing a boxing match, all attack and dizziness and being hit from seemingly multiple angles. Though The Woods is apparently a reaction to playing stadiums for the first time while on tour with Pearl Jam, there’s nothing glossy about it. Overdriven guitars stick out all over the place, challenging Tucker’s voice for supremacy, while the drums and bass just get louder and louder as the tune rolls towards the chorus. It’s a relatively simple riff that’s built around a sort of tug-of-war between the higher and lower ends of the fretboard with power chord octaves that pull the centre of gravity into half time. This gives the effect of winding the song up before it unravels quickly in the chorus, not to mention the solo which happens around the two minute mark in free time that just destroys fucking everything. By the time that’s over, the beat’s gotten even more primal, the riff more stoner rock than punk and sadly, I’m all out of devil horns.
Speaking of talented and amazing women, I have subsequently found out that Sleater-Kinney are one of actress Ellen Page’s favourite bands. Given that I would do highly stupid and possibly life-threatening things to get close to the Juno star, I feel like I’ve satisfied multiple missions in one by posting on this song today. I’ve managed to connect many disparate female elements with just one kick-ass rock shuffle that has most definitely been pissing off my neighbour because she only likes dance music. That moment in the second half of the chorus where Tucker trades howls with one of the other band members (or possibly herself multi-tracked) is raw and brilliant. It’s thrilling stuff for every woman and man alike.
Sleater-Kinney – ‘What’s Mine Is Yours’
Wipe more Sleats clean here.