Corin Tucker’s place in rock history is already set in stone, and her work in the riot grrrl era is pretty much peerless, thanks to the the muscular guitar style, otherworldly wail, and knack for punchy, pounding three-minute blasts she brought to such great heights with riot queens Sleater-Kinney.
With that in mind, anything she—or Carrie Brownstein or Janet Weiss, the other two core members of S-K—does from now on is pretty much gravy. Back in 2010, Tucker released 1,000 Years, her debut with the Corin Tucker Band. It was a steady if sometimes sleepy collection of tunes that traded in Sleater-Kinney’s adolescent vigor for more refined ideas about family, money, and generally navigating the world of adulthood. (There was also “Miles Away,” which was about Bella Swan.)
Last week, the Corin Tucker Band released its second album Kill My Blues, which will inevitably go down as one of the most underrated albums of the year.
Fans of Sleater-Kinney went ape for last year’s Wild Flag album (which featured both Brownstein and Weiss), but for me, Kill My Blues is the most S-K-sounding thing any of the trio have released since they called it quits in 2006.
Last night, Tucker and her crew rolled into New York’s Mercury Lounge for a sharp, sweaty sonic assault the drove home just how many of the songs on Kill My Blues owe to the rocksteady rhythms of dub and ska—a trend driven home by the group’s hip-swaying cover of Blondie’s “Atomic.”
A handful of the 1,000 Years songs found new depth (especially the throbbing “Half a World Away” and the frantic “Doubt”), but the showcase moments were all standouts from Kill My Blues: The frank “Groundhog Day,” spry single “Neskowin,” the grinding title track, and the sweet Joey Ramone tribute track “Joey.”
The latter was the clear highlight, and a clever bookend for a woman whose first big taste of success came via the Sleater-Kinney track “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone.” It acted as a reminder that she may be older and wiser, but Tucker still knows how to tug at the rock and roll heartstrings with grace and power.