I thought we had a better chance at a sophomore Wild Flag album than we did with a Sleater-Kinney release. Wonder if there’s any chance they’ll bring Kathleen Hanna and Mary Timony into the fold in an attempt to detonate the universe.
ERASE ERRATA – Lost Weekend (Under the Sun): Here’s a much lesser-known female punk trio returning from an elongated hiatus—only Erase Errata’s hiatus is along the lines of eight years to Sleater-Kinney’s ten, and while the SK gals were off in other projects, life had very different plans for the women of EE: Hoyston works full-time, Sparta’s got a brand new baby boy, and Erickson’s a grad student, a bit different from the bar-hopping lifestyle of struggling punk outfits. Still, be thankful this radically short, seven-track reunion exists at all: cut when the three happened to be in the same town in which Hoyston’s pal owns a studio, this loose and lean twenty-minute fuzz guitar extravaganza doesn’t sell itself in the lyrics so much as in its swampy, hypnotic axework: skittish and twitchy opener “History of Handclaps,” drone-soaked “Watch Your Language,” bass-blasting closer “Don’t Sit/Lie,” all capped with Hoyston’s cool, detached delivery. Short, sweet, to the point, fine. Listen for yourself if you don’t believe me. A MINUS
SLEATER-KINNEY – No Cities to Love (Sub Pop): Without skipping a beat, the trio opens with a tirade against unchecked capitalism in their first album since 2005: “We never checked the price tag / The cost comes in, it’s gonna be high,” and advocate a Robin Hood approach on “A New Wave”: “Steal from the makers who unmade us.” But No Cities to Love is more personal than political, though its politics are there, chronicling vague recollections of toxic relationships successfully jettisoned though with scars intact. Yet this emergence hasn’t a hint of defeat, and after a decade-long silence sounds more like a victory lap than a reunion for gloom. “We win, we lose,” Tucker declares on “Surface Envy,” “only together do we break the rules,” a metaphor for SK’s indestructible bond not meant to be subtle. If their individual side projects in the last few years have been any indication of changing winds (Wild Flag, the Corin Tucker Band, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks), this is a down a notch in intensity from the distorted metal of The Woods, but don’t mistake that for a return to ‘form’: there are virtually no slow songs present, flies at lightning pace towards its end mark of barely thirty-two minutes, and rocks like it was made by women as wise as their age but with hearts half as old. “It seems to me the only thing that comes from fame is mediocrity,” Tucker huffs out on “Hey Darling,” not referring to further output, but to the feeling you get about everything when its achieved. Thank God they’re only famous in music circles, i.e. not that famous. A MINUS