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Sleater-Kinney - The Hot Rock (Cover Artwork)

Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney: The Hot RockThe Hot Rock (1999)
Kill Rock Stars

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: SpookySpooky
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I think it's awesome when just a trio can put out great albums. Green Day, the Lawrence Arms, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists...the list goes on and on, and it takes a lot of talent to pull it off (although I'm not discrediting foursomes, fivesomes, or even huge bands like the great Broken Social Scene .
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I think it's awesome when just a trio can put out great albums. Green Day, the Lawrence Arms, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists...the list goes on and on, and it takes a lot of talent to pull it off (although I'm not discrediting foursomes, fivesomes, or even huge bands like the great Broken Social Scene or Tim DeLaughter's Polyphonic Spree).

Sleater-Kinney is another example of a great trio who in their career never really broke a streak of fantastic albums. Now, while I never was that much into their early releases such as Call the Doctor or their self-titled album, The Hot Rock is when they really did it for me. Still, I can't discredit the amazing Dig Me Out, which still makes rounds on my playlists ("Heart Factory" is a great song).

This album really brought the band into a more accepting indie scene. While it's true that that singer Corin Tucker was a member of the Riot Grrl band Heavens to Betsy, Sleater-Kinney ended up being a pretty vital band before their hiatus in 2006.

The band had an interesting setup that included two guitarists and a drummer. The only catch is that one of would them tune their guitar down to fill the role of a bass, which sounded pretty cool, especially in songs like "Living In Exile" and "Hot Rock."

I should also mention how great SK was live. Their ability to whip the crowd up into a frenzy was always fun to watch, especially Corin Tucker and her outspoken views on current affairs, etc. After being mistaken for groupies at a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion show, she told the audience: "We just want to say that we're not here to fuck the band. We are the band." Definitely a nice touch to a backstage mishap.

"God Is a Number" is a great song with a fantastic chorus. Opening with the lyrics "We're a reference number, a code, a screen, an army out of digits, out of fax machines," it really speaks to the listener about our almost complete reliance on technology in the modern world.

"Don't Talk Like" is another hit on this particular album. The beginning is a quiet shuffle that reminds me of the Japanese band the Pillows and their song "Funny Bunny." Pretty good stuff here as well.

I guess if I had to have one complaint here, it'd be that sometimes the vocals can get a little overbearing on some songs. I think both singers are still great but sometimes it's a little too extreme for my taste when there's nothing but a throaty warble on the opening track "Start Together." Still, it's a good opener with nice guitars and great drumming from Janet Weiss.

"Get Up" is another song I've never really been a huge fan of. The whole talking-during-a-song thing kind of turns me off, but it's by no means a horrible song or anything. I just kind of prefer the calmer singing of guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein.

In conclusion, Sleater-Kinney was a formidable opponent in the indie music scene. They toured relentlessly as a band, and were able to hang up in 2006 without a scratch on their record, making them extremely talented musicians. Now that Janet Weiss is drumming for Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, only time will tell if SK will be reuniting in the future.

Anyways, I highly recommend purchasing The Hot Rock. Even if you're not big into all-female bands, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised giving this gem a listen. These women really knew how to put out thought-provoking albums and rarely strayed from their trademark sound, which was not really a bad thing at all in my opinion.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Replacements - TimTim Barry - Rivanna JunctionThe Aggrolites - IVOperation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Bomb - Speed Is EverythingDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeWe Are the Union - Who We AreThe Dopamines - DopaminesThe Mountain Goats - Heretic PrideStrike Anywhere - Iron Front

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
bytheslice (December 19, 2008)

I cannot stress how important this band was to me: musically, ethically, and artistically. These ladies were my Fugazi. All their records killed, and they were off the hook live.

I always thought that "Dig Me Out" and "The Hot Rock" could be listened to as a giant double album. One LP rock and roll, the other LP more ambient indie rock.

greenvandal (December 18, 2008)

Love this album. Not as good as All Hands on the Bad One though.

Xote (December 17, 2008)

They are great. Hope for them to come back.

ollywood (December 17, 2008)

Easily one of my all-time favorite albums. Sleater-Kinney are defintely one of the greatest bands of all time. It's a shame how underappreciated they were. Their carreer really mirrored The Replacements.

Rastid (December 17, 2008)

this is my least favourite s-k album, but still pretty decent. it's really obvious that i like the opposite songs as the reviewer... i like them when they play faster and louder. but, yeah, one of my favourite bands ever.... so sad when they broke up/went on hiatus/whatever

Bipedcasserole (December 17, 2008)

One Beat is still my favourite. Nothing can top "Light Rail Coyote."

I always hated The Hot Rock because my girlfriend at the time loved it so much. I disliked it to spite her, but now I can admit to the entire internet that it's awesome.

Misanthropee (December 17, 2008)

Not their best album, but that's still a relative compliment.

The only conspicuous wrong SK have ever committed is releasing their best record, barely touring on it and then casually breaking up. At the most expensive festival in the world at the peak of their artistic recognition. As though one of the decade's greatest albums was a fluke.

Or maybe it was, and I'm a moron?

Yeah, they will reform, but The Woods will be long gone in lieu of $$$.

punknewscommenter (December 17, 2008)

After Call the Doctor and Dig Me Out, I was initially felt a bit lukewarm with this album.
Stupid Me. It turned into a slowburn,subtle type album. Absolutely one of my favorites of theirs. "Memorize Your Lines" is one of my favorite.
Thanks for reviewing this although I think you focused much on their image rather than that greatness of this record ("The End of You" !!)

Nameless (December 17, 2008)

I miss this band. And I love this album (though it was All Hands on the Bad One that did it for me.)

They're all great though.

john_stone (December 16, 2008)

a formidable opponent?

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