Monday, January 14, 2013

Stream: Corin Tucker Band - Kill My Blues

Kill My Blues is Corin Tucker's follow-up to her post-Sleather-Kinney debut 1,000 Years, a much more subdued effort. This album isn't exactly a return to form but depicts our leading lady with renewed vigor. Opener "Groundhog Day" is an immediate declaration that the riot grrrl in her is back - or perhaps more appropriately, never died. The song addresses concerns about the regression of women's issues in today's political climate. "I took some time to be a mom and have some kids. What’s up y’all? I thought we had a plan." It's a blunt and powerful message that is sure to resonant strongly with those sympathetic to feminist ideals. Joined by fellow rock 'n' roll lifers Sara Lund (Unwound, Hungry Ghost), Seth Lorinczi (Circus Lupus, The Golden Bears), and Mike Clark (Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks), Tucker tackles her roles as a mother and as an aging rockstar with a sneering rage.

On the back of a playful syncopated hi-hat-riding beat, "Neskowin" shows that Tucker still has one of the most affecting vocal deliveries in rock with vibrato that could shake the leaves off a tree. Her self-awareness serves her well throughout, especially on tracks like "I Don't Wanna Go", which gallop along with a confidence lacking on her last release. Not every song is a scorching call-to-arms; often, the winners are the ones that display the balance between riot grrrl nostalgia and conscious growth such as "Blood, Bones, and Sand", a powerful blues jam with a stunning vocal performance. Kill My Blues is a valiant effort to recapture her glory days even if it doesn't quite burn with the same intensity. In fact, would we really even want that? Instead of playing the part of the aging rocker trying to act young - which often ends in cringe-worthy results (see: any major "classic rock" act still touring) - Tucker exudes a wise maturity built on the strength of her past.

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