Monday, September 13, 2010

The Corin Tucker Band Offers Up 1,000 Years

Corin TuckerSleater-Kinney seems to be on permanent hiatus, leaving fans waiting for the group to do something, anything. It had a successful run as a punk-edged trio with riot grrrl roots showing for more than a decade. And then?

Janet Weiss (drums), Carrie Brownstein (vocals/guitar), and Corin Tucker (vocals/guitar) never said they've broken up. But it has been four long years since Sleater-Kinney has been together as a cohesive unit. It's an odd way to leave things, given that they were once hailed as the best rock band in America by respected critic Greil Marcus (and rightly so in 2001).

The Corin Tucker Band Slates Something For October.

While S-K isn't recording together, something almost as great is in the works. Singer/guitarist Corin Tucker is back. And her eponymously-titled Corin Tucker Band has an album called 1,000 Years set for release on Oct. 5. The label is Kill Rock Stars.

While Tucker was away for the last four years, she invested most of her energy as a full-time mom raising her two children. And although her Oregon home life was her primary focus, the music inside has never left her.

When she was asked to play a benefit in 2009 in Portland, she readily agreed and decided to try out some new songs in the process. The benefit was quickly followed by another. And friends and fans started to urge her back into the studio.

The resulting album is a solid return for Tucker. Her band includes percussionist Sara Lund and producer/arranger//multi-instrumentalist Seth Lorinczi, the latter of whom has managed to give Tucker a sound that’s still tough, but explores different textures.

Instead of just shredding guitar, bass, and drums, there’s an eclectic mix of acoustic guitars, keyboards, cello and violin thrown in for good measure. The sound speaks for itself. Here is a fan clip of Tucker singing Young Man Blues on New Year's Eve 2009.

Tucker's life may have changed since her carefree days in S-K and it's reflected in the lyrics to her songs. What isn't missing is the strength and power behind them. There’s sadness and angst to be found here.

Several of the 11 tracks were written for inclusion on the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack, but the songs didn't work for that project (and weren't included) so Tucker kept them for herself. This makes for an interesting mix of tunes on 1,000 Years.

There are the un-Twilight songs along with some cut right from her life. It’s Always Summer and Half A World Away are about Tucker’s filmmaker husband, Lance Bangs. He frequently travels for work, leaving her at home to take care of the kids and keep things together.

The lyrics reveal Tucker coping and waiting yet looking forward to his return. Another song, Thrift Store Coats, takes aim at the sad state of unemployment in Oregon, with families being hit especially hard. And then there is Doubt, which was just released on ITunes.

The Corin Tucker Band’s 1,000 Years Rocks An 8.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

I feel fortunate to have heard the whole album because The Corin Tucker Band reveals a different side of Tucker. S-K fans will eat this up, given that she can still scream and wail (and she does here) with the best of them. Amazingly, the quiet Tucker can be compelling too.

You can download Doubt from iTunes as a warmup. It's an excellent choice for a debut single, giving Tucker a chance to work those pipes and rip through some great riffs. Amazon has the whole 1,000 Years up for preview.

Of course, if you are really paying attention, you can hear Doubt in full. Special thanks to Kill Rock Stars. Or watch for the band live. They're on tour in Oregon, Washington and California in early October before heading to the East Coast.
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