by Joshua Frank
Our protest songs are here! Portland Oregon based female trio Sleater-Kinney brings us the album of the year, yearning for answers and valiantly asking questions--their latest rock extravaganza One Beat is riddled with more enthusiasm then the whole Democratic Party combined.
Social change starts at the roots of any culture, and bands like Sleater-Kinney are nurturing this grounded effort.
“Oh look it’s time to pledge allegiance, Oh god I love my dirty Uncle Sam...” roars the vocals of Carrie Browstein on a song titled Combat Rock, a tribute to the Clash’s 1982 album.
“I think rock musicians can provide social and political critique that can stimulate people,” Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney told me recently, “A big inspiration for us was the Clash's album, "Combat Rock", which was written in the ultraconservative Thatcher era.”
It couldn’t be more refreshing to listen to rock songs that are more intelligent than our corporate muddled media ever could be. With influences ranging from Public Enemy to the Sex Pistols, Sleater-Kinney is not prone to sitting still on controversial issues.
“I don't know why there aren't more artists writing about the pending war or the government, but I do see more bands getting involved in anti-war benefits, says Tucker, “I guess protest songs are sort of uncool these days.”
One Beat also challenges our governments reaction to September 11th, “...the president hides while working men rush in to give their lives..” belts Corin on Far Away.
“I am concerned with the US using military action on Iraq before all of the diplomatic solutions are exhausted. I am afraid we are going to be caught in a very violent conflict in the middle east, where everyone has nuclear bombs and horrible weapons. We need to be diffusing this situation instead of going in with bombs.”
We must appreciate brilliance when we see it, or in Sleater-Kinney’s case, when we hear it. They’re a band you’d be proud to have your kids listen to. With millions of albums sold, and rave reviews from Village Voice, Billboard, and Rolling Stone to name a few, don’t you think its time for you to take a listen? And as an added bonus their fantastic independent record label Kill Rock Stars hates war too! (www.killrockstars.com)
“We’ll come with our fists raised, the good old boys are back on top again, and if we let them lead us blindly, the past becomes the future once again.”- Combat Rock
Joshua Frank, 24, is an activist and freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org