Sleater-Kinney :: Revisiting The Hot Rock

Every band has 'em - the red-headed stepchild of an album. It may work real hard in school, make good grades, help old ladies across the street, but the fact remains that there's somethin' peculiar that sticks out about it. And things just never go its way as a result. Thus, The Hot Rock.

Released on the heels of their career making Dig Me Out, the album that would haunt them stylistically until they blew it all away with their swan-song, The Woods, The Hot Rock is a troublesome, dark and thoughtful album. Gone are the out-and-out flailing maelstroms of riot-grrl power pop like "Dig Me Out" and "Words and Guitar." In their stead, depends.

On the one hand, The Hot Rock doesn't stray that far from Sleater-Kinney's earlier albums - think a better produced Call the Doctor. "Living in Exile," "Burn Don't Freeze," "Memorize Your Lines" and "One Song For You" all have the sparse, almost awkwardly picked lead lines that had become the band's stock in trade by this point. I'll mention (for those who have forgotten or didn't know in the first place) that Sleater-Kinney crafted their sound without a bass player - just Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein's guitars. Where this enabled the band to have a unique sound from the beginning, it was already starting to paint the band into a corner. Subsequent albums would see them striking out in different directions and flailing a bit in each try, ultimately nailing it on The Woods. But here the band's spartan sound is still a novelty if not a genuine asset.

Continue Reading Sleater-Kinney :: The Hot Rock after the jump....

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