Watch Kathleen Hanna Sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” And “Rebel Girl” At Joe’s Pub Last Week

Kathleen Hanna is slowly creeping back into the limelight — a few nights after taking the stage during her own star-studded tribute show at the Knitting Factory, the Riot Grrrl luminary/semi-recluse showed up at an Our Hit Parade fete at Joe’s Pub for a long, rambling, thoroughly engrossing multimedia presentation that begins, of course, with “I’m gonna tell a story about the ’90s.” Discussed: Kurt Cobain, fake abortion clinics, hangovers, the ubiquity of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and being forced to strip to Janet Jackson songs for the pleasure of a hardcore band (named Muttonchop) your own band had opened for earlier that day because your van needs $1,000 in repairs. And then, of course, she further contributes to the ubiquity of “Teen Spirit” by singing it herself, with a whiff of “Rebel Girl” in there too, of course. She oughta do Broadway. (OK: Off-Broadway.) (Off-Off-Broadway.) Probably a Beastie Boy somewhere in here, too:


Live: The Corin Tucker Band Charms Girls With Glasses at the Bowery Ballroom

The Corin Tucker Band
Tuesday, October 26
Bowery Ballroom

Better than: Quasi at SXSW 2010

Watching the Corin Tucker Band at the Bowery Ballroom is akin to seeing a favorite essayist discuss a novel (or vice versa): this may not be the body of work you want to hear this seminal figure address, but this is the only person who owns the voice that changed your life, so you make do. Gonna make an educated guess that the audience comprised of mostly women (many bespectacled), the sensitive men who love them, and Lee Ranaldo and his wife felt the same way, all here because Corin Tucker spent more than a decade as the front-lung of riot-lady rock monolith Sleater-Kinney. And while her former Ess-Kay partners, guitar goddess Carrie Brownstein and percussion monster Janet Weiss, have spent the last four years dabbling in art-comedy skits, receiving honorary writing laurels, or hammering snares for Stephen Malkmus and Quasi, this one of the went off to be a mom.


Let me repeat: a mom. This “mom” role is the publicly cited reason that Sleater-Kinney went on indefinite hiatus four years ago, and it’s also very disorienting for young women who’ve looked to Sleater-Kinney for cues on how to wear a skirt, yet aspire to be Thurston Moore, not Kim Gordon. And so this was the first real chance to inspect Tucker in person after she’d been sequestered for four years potty-training, piling together peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, devouring Twilight (?), and working on “web development and marketing and training video for a medical devices company” (!). (Her dad owns the company, but still.) Did civilian life shrink her? Has motherhood made her daft? Is the dream dead?

Nope. Just like in Tucker’s Sleater-Kinney days, it takes two warm-up songs before she seems comfortable enough to let that chainsaw vibrato rip. Tonight, the first time we hear that unmistakably Corin vocal fluctuation is during 1000 Miles‘ reflecting-glass soliloquy “Handed Love,” when she turns “aches” turns into “Ay-Yakes!” And from then on, there is the Corin Tucker we remember, slightly more reserved, but still focused, hopping, wailing. There’s inconsequential banter (Her: “How are you?”; an invisible one of us: “We’re happy to see you!”), echoes of her former dominance (“It’s Always Summer” is the closest thing we’ll get to “One More Hour” for some time), and enough caterwauling to blow your hair back (especially during “Doubt”). There’re also two cover songs (The Au Pairs’ “It’s Obvious” and Pylon’s “Cool”), both of which she howls somehow delicately in a blue long-sleeved dress and ankle-high boots.

That dress. At one point, a shouting audience member asks where Tucker got it, and she attempts to explain how there’s a vintage operation in Portland and it’s run by one woman and she had a crazy sale and then realizes this response is getting too involved for the circumstances and then just clarifies, “I got it at Yo Vintage.” It’s the only moment you can actually tell that Tucker’s days are devoted to politely longwinded explanations for little people. And in that second, you can actually see that being a mom isn’t only, well, evolution, but can actually be a good look.

Critical Bias: Sleater-Kinney saved my life.

Unattributed quote: Sweet Bulbs are on Team Weingarten!”

Random Notebook Dump: Really hope that wasn’t Kathleen Hanna I accidentally ran into downstairs.

Set list
Thrift Store Coats
Half a World Away
Handed Love
Big Goodbye
It’s Always Summer
1,000 Years
Pulling Pieces
It’s Obvious [The Au Pairs]

Miles Away
Cool [Pylon cover]


Please Enjoy’s List Of The 75 Greatest Tunnel Bangers Of All Time

The Tunnel, as you’ll recall (?), was a famously wild Manhattan nightclub that played host to raucous, dangerous, and thus permanently legendary Sunday-night hip-hop parties, hosted primarily by the shy, retiring Funkmaster Flex and generating practically their own personal cache of hit songs, as warm-up DJ Cipha Sounds now fondly recalls:

The crowd? “The thugs, the drug dealers, the fucking jail dudes. Even the security guards were hustlers,” says Ciph. The mood? “It wasn’t a ‘dance’ club, people weren’t really dancing,” he says. “But records would just make people go crazy, hands in the sky, jumping.” And the music? “The records you would not hear at any other club because they were too hard,” says Ciph. “Street records, which would usually just be album cuts, became their own genre.”

Thus goes the intro to Complex‘s rundown of the 75 Best Tunnel Bangers, all 75 streaming (though each on its own individual page, in classic click-bait style). Thus far Canibus’ “2nd Round K.O.,” a remnant of his epic clash with L.L. Cool J, has given me particular pause. For the record, when Diddy was asked to name his personal favorite Tunnel Banger during his 92Y Tribeca chat last week, his immediate answer was the Jungle Brothers’ “J. Beez Comin’ Through.” Not sure if that even makes this list, as I’ve still got a lotta clickin’ to do.


The Dipset Reunion Is Nigh, If This Footage Of Everyone Hanging Out At A Construction Site (?!) Is To Be Believed

So in large part the above video consists, hilariously, of Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, and Freekey Zekey pulling up and getting out of their respective cars really ominously, and yet it shows the four founding members of Harlem’s finest slightly esoteric hip-hop clique standing together and shaking hands and pointing excitedly at a blueprint and whatnot, seeming to officially end several years of slightly esoteric enmity. (The Boombox attempts a chronicle here.) Apparently this was supposed to happen onstage at Summer Jam 2010, but Jim Jones ain’t welcome ’round there at the moment, so. Hopefully they’re building something nice.


Devo Street Promotion for Something for Everybody Makes Us Care About Devo Again

The first Devo studio album in two decades, Something for Everybody, comes out next Tuesday. We’ve been indifferent, largely because these trumped-up late-career recording-returns (cough and cough) are almost always awful, or worse, boring. Devo, live? Any time. (They were terrific at SXSW 2009.) Mark Mothersbaugh’s rugs? When that cash windfall comes, top of the home-furnishings list. But Devo, who’re annoyingly too self-important to play All Tomorrow’s Parties, trying to duplicate “Girl U Want” 20 years later on Warner Brothers’ dime? No, thank you.

But damned if we didn’t actually stop on Third Avenue yesterday and marvel at these posters promoting next week’s release. Adhering to the record title’s theme, the focus-group-chosen Something for Everybody, the series stars Devo’s trademark energy dome, now turned blue, as a universal panacea.

Retired businessmen will beg for the energy dome.

Diapered babies will want to climb the energy dome.

And, best of all:

Grandmas and ballers will want to lick the energy dome. Not bad for $32.

We now officially care about Devo’s new record, something even their Winter Olympics performance didn’t elicit. Nice work, ad robots.


Hole at Terminal 5: Is Courtney Love Scary? Not Anymore.

Terminal 5
Tuesday, April 27

“Courtney Love is scary,” is how the first Village Voice piece about Hole and its “genre-defying,” Kim-Gordon-produced triumph Pretty on the Inside began. Published February 1992, this was the month after Nirvana’s epochal Nevermind displaced Michael Jackson’s pervy-eyed funhouse-romper Dangerous on the Billboard charts, but before Love gave birth to Frances Bean or famously lost her husband. Eighteen years and many public catastrophies later, who would dispute this prophecy? Well, everybody at Terminal 5 last night.


For one, at the proper New York live debut of the newly revived Hole, the band went on early, seven minutes before their posted 10:15 set time. Mind-boggling, considering that on the walk from Columbus Circle to West 56th Street, an ambulance went squealing by and I briefly worried it was coming for Courtney Love. (Thankfully, not.) For two, the band played for exactly 50 minutes, including a three-song encore–the actual set was less than 45. This version of Hole went through everything the sold-out cage of a room wanted to hear (“Violet,” “Miss World,” “Celebrity Skin,” “Malibu,” a “song about a little town that won’t give me the keys,” “Doll Parts,” “Samantha,” “Skinny Little Bitch”) and a couple it didn’t (the dreadful “Letter to God,” which yes, still reminds me of Kermit the Frog’s “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” and a weirdly punk cover of Rolling Stones’ “Playing With Fire”). But even the angry-girl classics didn’t sound quite right: too fast; shouted, not sang; hollow professional hazards. During soundcheck, a friend who was present thought Courtney Love was wearing a wig and sounded like Linda McCartney. Can’t say about the hairpiece rumor–though it does look synthetic on Letterman–but there was a distinctly Weekend at Bernie’s feel to last night’s show, which was defiantly not the case during the two visceral Hole spectacles I saw at SXSW.

Here’s the thing. The Courtney Love we’ve been trained to know is a character fashioned from rejection. Personal rejection, social rejection, physical rejection–Love’s career persona has been obsessed with luxury, looks, and name-dropping popularity since day one. And the way the terminally insecure woman beneath this invention confronted these superficial constraints was simultaneously to rebel against them and to hate herself for being so consumed with them. Over time, this manifested in a cartoony noncomformity and a violent self-destruction, which have led to addiction, isolation, despair, failure, both familial and artistic. Courtney Love the character is not sustainable–hell, even Jay Reatard the character wasn’t–and especially not now for a 45-year-old single mom with a supposedly dwindling bank account who’s entirely reliant on the goodwill of ever-evaporating nostalgia. Hole, the band, and Courtney Love the public figure were both founded on the unrestrained refusal not to bore, or be bored. Yet the only way they can continue to exist, literally and figuratively, is to be boring.

So it’s not that Courtney Love seemed like a corpse, exactly, more that she was behaving like a puppet, or a trained zoo animal. You really got the sense that she’d wisely been sat down and ordered firmly to keep her damn mouth shut–just Monday, her ramblings on Howard Stern caused all sorts of TMZ drama. Today’s story, she must’ve been reminded, was supposed to be how changed the “clean-and-sober” Love appeared on Letterman, not some stupid crap she said onstage later that night. “It’s been an insanely good day,” she noted. Her band wanted to keep it that way: at one point, they pulled the ol’ Oscars acceptance speech trick and started to play just when it looked like she was going to ramble.

“She needs to realize that the reason people are attracted to her is because she’s a hot mess,” said a random girl on the sidewalk outside Terminal 5. “No one wants her to be normal.” Character as tragic flaw is scarier in 2010 than Courtney Love.

Yes, a set list
“Pretty on the Inside” > “Sympathy for the Devil”
“Skinny Little Bitch”
“Miss World”
“Letter to God”
“Pacific Coast Highway”
“Someone Else’s Bed”
“Celebrity Skin”
“Play With Fire” (Rolling Stones cover)
“Doll Parts”
“Northern Star”


Just Admit It, You’re Really Excited to Hear Hole’s Nobody’s Daughter. Good Thing There’s a Listening Party Tomorrow at Angels and Kings

Courtney Love isn’t entirely feeling this whole performing live thing anymore. The recent incarnation of Hole played three shows at SXSW–the first of which, the Spin 25th anniversary performance was pretty bad-ass, haters be damned–but her Holeness was miserable. “In Austin, I hated every minute of it,” she says in this oddly compelling video interview. “I had a little implosion down there, a little bit of a nervous breakdown.” Not out of character, but perhaps doing what Love described as “the worst show I’ve ever played” in front of Larry Flynt homie Woody Harrelson and his puff-brother Matthew McConaughey, will do that to¬† you. Truth be told, the far-worse opener of that second Hole show–which was better than Love made it sound–was a very skinny, very awkward Patrick Stump, who in his solo live debut, managed to unplug his guitar in the middle of a song and abort the performance after only three songs. Even the footage is uncomfortable to watch.

Love and Stump’s connection is they’re currently both represented by Crush Management, the artist-rep firm who oversees Panic! at the Disco, The Academy Is. . ., Fall Out Boy, and now Courtney Love/Hole. And so this is why the listening party for the new Hole record Nobody’s Daughter will take place tomorrow night, 10:30, at Pete Wentz’s bar Angels and Kings. “It’ll be the first time the entire album will be played for the public,” trumpets the press release. Current Hole guitarist Micko Larkin will also be on hand to, uh, answer the “What is like to work with Courtney Love” question for the zillionth time, and stand there looking like a young Beck. If you’re lucky, maybe he’ll wear one of his Slash hats.


In Praise Of No Enigma, Rich FourFour’s Splendid Mix of Late-’80s/Early-’90s Dance Music, Inspired By (But Not Including) The Titular Band In Question

Get it here: Suffice it to say it begins with Soul II Soul’s “Keep on Movin’,” ends with Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Symphony,” and features plenty of Seal, PM Dawn, Snap!, and Janet Jackson in between. “Tom’s Diner,” too. As Rich himself explains:

It’s so named because I could not bring myself to include anything from the weird drum-machine druids that helped define the sound I’m exploring here. They seem crucial and yet…well, go back and try listening to them. You get pan flutes. I’m sparing you.

Anyway, I think it was really interesting that for a stretch of time, post-disco dance music was not really defined by its tempo (this mix doesn’t get faster than 116 BPM and mostly hovers around 105). It’s definitely similar to Cosmic in that way, although I think I kind of like this take on slowed-down dance even more because it seems trashier. Basically, this is the sound of malls and cassingles to me. Obviously, it all holds a very, very significant place in my heart.

Go on. You know you want to hear “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” again.