#tbt Sleater Kinney / Call The Doctor (1996)

By Randy Nieto
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Label: CHAINSAW
Year: 1996

Before Savages, before Haim, before Lady Gaga or Katy Perry, there was Sleater Kinney. Rock critics in the 90’s pinned them as pioneers of the “Riot Grrl” movement, probably due to their simultaneously inspiring and melting of faces with roaring guitars riffs, pounding drums, and screeching vocals. From my experiences they have always been a polarizing group: lead singer Corin Tucker’s singing can be quite shrill, and it seems most people either love them or hate them. Regardless of the vocals, the power of the music cannot be denied. To me they were like a female fronted Fugazi, with riffs coasting and bouncing from chord to chord, increasing and decreasing in ferocity, and Carrie Brownstein often adding background vocals that ranged from just talking to straight up yelling into the microphone. Later they would explore more of a pop edge in “Dig Me Out”, but Call the Doctor was their first fully realized punk rock record. Their lyrics range from sarcastic to confrontational, fantasizing about Joey Ramone (and seriously, Joey Ramone? Did they ever take a hard look at that guy?) to more poignant metaphors about swallowing spiders and lies in “Anonymous”. With 12 songs clocking in at 30 minutes, the songs are short punk rock gems, maybe a little slower than typical punk, but this is what lets them explore more complexities in their songwriting. Although this record was written in the juvenile stage of the band’s lifespan, it remains, in this humble writers opinion, one of their best efforts. I can seriously listen to the whole thing over and over again, and I never have never gotten sick of it, something I truly cannot say for many records, even ones I love. Check out “Call the Doctor” below:

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