The Corin Tucker Band
Kill My Blues
Kill Rock Stars
Sep 20, 2012 Issue #42 - The Protest Issue
“What’s up y’all/I thought we had a plan/To move things forward for women around the globe/Instead of going forward, where the hell we going now?” is something of the listener’s gauntlet for Corin Tucker Band’s second album. It’s from the opening track “Groundhog Day,” and it’s a call to arms unheard from Tucker since Sleater-Kinney’s sublime The Woods. This Sturm und Drang rocker galvanizes the way only the greatest feminist music can—think The Slits, Delta 5, Bratmobile, The Raincoats, Patti Smith, Bikini Kill, etc. And Tucker doesn’t shy away from this supposedly taboo sentiment throughout the corrosively brilliant Kill My Blues.
This album harks somewhat to the glory days of the Riot Grrrl Olympia scene of the late ’90s, but it’s by no means retrospective or reactionary. “Kill My Blues” is ostensibly a paean to the ineffable power of music, or maybe it’s a love song to her husband or kids. Who knows? But it nonetheless seethes with bile, all bone marrow-rattling guitar and a barreling freight train rhythm section. It’s also abjectly vulnerable, finding Tucker bleating, “kill my blues with your love” as if she’s suffocating, gasping for her last breath.
There is something of an instrumental respite on “Blood, Bones, and Sand,” a mid-tempo power ballad akin to Versus that finds Tucker echoing the song’s title when she contemptuously shrieks during the chorus, “We all love blood, bones and sand…but dig underneath there.” It’s a desperate plea to ignore the bullshit sensationalism that pervades U.S. media coverage and actually do something, recalling one of the underlying mantras of the old school Olympia body politics music and art scene. Can music as powerful as Tucker’s change the world? Probably not. But maybe the people who love music, and believe in its redemptive power as much as she does, can.
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 8/10