Thursday 27 September 2012

The Corin Tucker Band - Kill My Blues

Did I lay down, did I fall asleep?

On the backs of the women who have come before me?
Tell me almost equal, almost good enough
Almost had a woman go and run the White House.
What does it mean now, why can’t I wake up?
Is our generation stuck in a deep rut?
We fight the same battle, over and over again,
what are we missing, tell me how can we move on? 
Groundhog Day
Last year, I spent a week or so watching shaky youtube videos of Sleater-Kinney performing on stage, comparing how Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein interacted on stage to what happened whenever Carrie played with Mary Timony in Wild Flag. There's an essay now on my harddrive that will never ever see the light of day, but the point is, I think I've sort of made peace with the fact that it's The Corin Tucker Band and Wild Flag for now, and Kill My Blues has made this coming to terms process way easier, because Corin Tucker's voice is back (and it was technically back for the first record, too, but if you were able to made sense of that first sentence then you know exactly what I mean). 
The meaning of the first song on their second record couldn't be more explicit. What happened between 1991 (when Heavens to Betsy formed) and 2012? I think Kill My Blues is brilliant at discussing one theme from different perspectives. Where Wild Flag celebrate making music together ("the sound is what found us / the sound is the blood between me and you" in the opener of their self-titled record, Romance), Neskowin describes the glorious moment of two friends discovering music together, making sense of themselves in the process. The video is even more explicit: Two teenagers sneak out to watch X-Ray Spex play. Corin Tucker plays different roles in the video - the mum, the random stranger who makes the girls' journey possible, and finally, the singer on stage, the girl's catalyist. The record lives up to that idea, Corin Tucker in all these roles, the singer who took a couple of years off to raise her kids (it's mentioned in the first lines of the first song), the figure who provides access to the kind of liberating pop culture that helps with self-discovery, and the incredible singer on stage, the symbol (there's a song called Joey, not incidanntly alluding to S-K's I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone from more than 15 years ago - and Constance quotes someone else's riffs, that song that changed everything when commercial radio stations started playing it in 1991).
Kill My Blues is an excellent record on its own, but it's probably also the much-awaited record after The Woods - and as much as I genuinely like 1,000 Years, I think this is an even stronger proof that Corin Tucker is back on that stage, asking kids to start their quest for what music means to them. 

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