[Photo courtesy of Tom Choi. See his flickr stream HERE]
Corin Tucker is 39 years old. She spent most of the 90s and a solid chunk of the 2000s fronting Sleater-Kinney with co-frontwoman Carrie Brownstein, and she has also played in the bands Cadallaca, Heartless Martin and Heavens to Betsy. Corin may be (by rock standards) “getting older”, but she sure is making it look like fun with the Corin Tucker Band, now on their second LP.
“Groundhog Day”, one of the standout tracks on her band’s latest, Kill My Blues, tells her current story with its opening lines
Huh? Que pasa? I’ve just woken up / Like Rip Van Winkle in a denim mini skirt / Wait, you see, now, I took a rest / I took some time to be a mom and have some kids
The rest of the song takes Tucker through some familiar territory for her – a disappointment with the state of modern feminism, a bewilderment at a cause that she feels is stagnating – “Instead of going forward, where the hell we going now?”. So yes – Tucker is no longer 22, and yes, she is a mom. But take one listen to Kill My Blues, and take a look at the band that took the stage at Mercury Lounge on a recent Wednesday night, and tell me she doesn’t still have the fire. Corin’s first solo record, the critically-loved 1,000 Years, was touted as a more subdued “middle-aged mom record” in her words, Kill My Blues is a caffeinated, lacerating return to the form that made her contributions to Sleater-Kinney so memorable.
Which is to say, Tucker has the kind of voice that’ll rattle your cage when in full throat, and she lets it rip on most of these new songs. While many of her contemporaries in like-minded bands could hold their own in terms of raw power, Tucker’s voice is notable for her control and unique tonality as well as its power. Songs like “I Don’t Wanna Go”, Tucker’s tribute to Olympia, WA punk scene fixture Natalie Cox, push those vocals to the max, and live, Tucker is even more visceral than on record. This night’s lineup of the Corin Tucker Band featured Portland journeyman Dave Depper on bass, Seth Lorinczi (of Golden Bears) on guitar and keys, and Sarah Lund (of Unwound) on the drums, and they proved to be a formidable rhythm section, so tight that the show sounded like a studio outing at points. But for fans who thought that 1,000 Years was too subdued, Tucker had an answer, too, as the band tore through “Doubt” to close out the main set with a squall of perfect Pacific Northwest-style noise. For an encore, the band served up two covers, including Blondie’s “Atomic” and “Three Minute Hero” by the UK ska greats The Selecter. Seeing Corin Tucker Band will certainly help sate your Sleater-Kinney craving; it might also kill your fear of getting “older”.
I recorded this set with a flawless soundboard feed of the house mix by Jeff Hylton Simmons, the band’s FOH, together with Schoeps MK41 supercardiod microphones in my usual location. This recording demonstrates how good the club’s new PA system is, and it could well be my personal best Mercury Lounge recording of this year. Enjoy!
Stream “Groundhog Day”
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Corin Tucker Band
New York, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Schoeps MK41 (PAS)>KC5>CMC6 + Soundboard >> Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down, adjust levels)>Izotope Ozone 5 (light EQ, exciter)>Audacity 3.0 (tracking, set fades, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 59:05]
01 None Like You
02 Kill My Blues
03 No Bad News Tonight
04 Half A World Away
06 Handed Love
07 Groundhog Day
09 Summer Jams
10 I Don’t Wanna Go
14 [encore break]
15 Atomic [Blondie]
16 Three Minute Hero [The Selecter]