Corin Tucker Band / Corin Tucker

Kill My Blues

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While Corin Tucker's first post-Sleater-Kinney album, 1,000 Years, occasionally felt like it had training wheels on it, her second album with her band of Pacific Northwest all-stars, Kill My Blues, comes roaring out of the gate. The time spent touring in support of 1,000 Years only sharpened her songwriting and fully rekindled her passion, and she reclaims the war whoop of her voice effortlessly, using it to decry personal and political outrages. Kill My Blues' ferocious opening track, "Groundhog Day," attacks on both levels: a stunned Tucker compares herself to "Rip Van Winkle in a denim miniskirt" as she rails against the backsliding on women's issues during the 2010s, which must seem all the more baffling to someone so committed to advancing feminism in her music. While Kill My Blues is quite a bit punkier than the Corin Tucker Band's previous album, she and the group don't trade much of 1,000 Years' expansiveness for this energy. These songs find Tucker taking unpredictable twists and turns, and her band (which includes Hungry Ghost's Sara Lund, Golden Bears' Seth Lorinczi, and Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks' Mike Clark) is right behind her on songs like "Constance," which moves from a power ballad to garage rock, its delicate organ melody jostling with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" riffage. Similarly, Tucker displays an intriguing balance of full-on earnestness and mature self-awareness throughout the album, but particularly on "I Don't Wanna Go," where she shares more thoughts on balancing domesticity, feminism, and rock, and on "Outgoing Message," where she wonders, "We're not making songs for suburban little girls/Or are we?" Best of all, Tucker and crew rock out a lot, and in a lot of different ways, on Kill My Blues, from the driving darkness of the title track to "Summer Jams"' towering riffs to the stark stops and starts on "Tiptoe." Even "No Bad News Tonight," a piece of jangly Pacific Northwest pop, still has a striking amount of intensity when Tucker sings "I want another chance!" This album's highlights rival Sleater-Kinney at the band's most impassioned, but now there's more room for curiosity and exploration in Tucker's music. Having the Corin Tucker Band and Wild Flag both thriving in similar yet distinct ways may be even better than an S-K reunion.

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