Into the Woods
So yeah....I suppose that SoF has very gradually morphed into a sort of Sleater-Kinney fansite, not unlike MMM slowly becoming an Underworld fansite. S-K played the Mercury Lounge last night, and once again this evening. Had this been 2004, I would have gone tonight in a heartbeat-but I didn't work 11-hour days in 2004.
In addition to a handful of (relative) oldies, S-K's set last night consisted of their entire upcoming record The Woods, which I think I've only refrained from illegally seeking out because I've had access to a relatively crisp soundboard copy of their NYE set (essentially the new album) for some time now. Just about everything consistently said about the new material; raw, psychedelic, bass-heavy, Grateful Dead-influenced, is true. Carrie actually seems to play honest-to-goodness barre chords from time to time, and Corin's guitar now sounds capable of playing super-low basslines. And there's mucho fuzz. What some of the new songs lack in speed, they make up for in oom-pah-pah, evidenced by the fact that Janet is allowed to go off now more than ever. OneLouder put it nicely in their review of the show when commenting that Janet owns the new material. Drum fills all over the place. Painfully heavy drum fills. There was literally a point during the punk-rock bridge of new song "Let's Call it Love" where I felt like my skull was about to cave in. I may be mistaken about this-but Janet looks like she uses purposely over-sized drumsticks, which always calls to my mind Tommy Chong behind the drumkit during the "Rockfight" scene in Up in Smoke.
Speaking of "Let's Call It Love," it's the one new song that would appear to be S-K's largest concession to the hippie set as it's apparently always followed by dissonant improvisation that leads into the new song "Night Light." If you were marking this on a Maxell Casette tape, it would read "Let's Call It Love" -> Space Jam -> "Night Light." Not unlike "Help on the Way" -> "Slipknot!" -> "Franklin's Tower" or "Estimated Prophet" ->"Eyes of the World" for all you Deadheads out there. Sorry if that was lame, but the new Sleater material has me extremely excited; if only because it seems to bridge my unabated love of their sound with so many of the late 60's psychedelic acts that I worship.
The not-so new tunes included takes on "O2", "Get Up", "Sympathy" and maybe two others I can't recall, but it's actually a little difficult to imagine much of the older material co-existing with the new songs; so different are their sounds. Some of the tracks on One Beat sort of hint towards the rawness of the songs on The Woods, "Light Rail Coyote" in particular, but it will be most interesting to see a non-small venue Sleater-Kinney show (this June most likely) where they're not purposely showcasing the new album as much as they are now.
Despite me supposedly taking a bunch of pictures, the one below is the only photo that came out well enough to worth posting. Still can't believe The Woods doesn't really hit until May 24.
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