Sleater-Kinney: The Woods
I knew virtually nothing about this album before I bought it, except for the fact that drummer Janet Weiss allegedly dated Elliott Smith in the past, and I only knew that because Weiss is the drummer for Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. To further reinforce my ignorance, I didn't know that The Woods was the band's final record until earlier today when I was conducting research. I also found out that Greil Marcus was a big fan, and that he called Sleater-Kinney "America's best rock band", and he made that proclamation in the pages of TIME magazine. Even Robert Christgau digs on them, and he doesn't like anything. So, apparently this band is a big deal.
After listening to this record, I can tell you that it kicks ass from beginning to end. I can't tell you much else, though. Based on what I had read, I was under the impression that the songs were greatly influenced by Hendrix and Zeppelin because all the articles I read said that the band was trying to make songs in the vein of Hendrix and Zeppelin. And that may be the case, but honestly I'm not hearing it. There is deafening accelerated guitar, and there's a fleeting, agile quality to the drums but I never had a moment where I said, "Man, this sounds like Zeppelin."
Generally, when there is an album that features women playing music fast and loud I would tell people that it's hot, but if I did that here it would be doing both this band and this record a grave injustice. This is easily one of the better rock and roll records that I own. I put this on when I'm getting ready to go to work and when I'm lounging around drinking. Christgau gave this record an 'A', and considering what it takes to receive an 'A' from that man shows how good it is. An explanation of Christgau's grading system reveals that "An A is a great record both of whose sides offer enduring pleasure and surprise. You should own it." With that being said, I'm done.