Posted by: detourmag on June 28, 2007 at 8:18 am

SLEATER-KINNEY, Dig Me Out (Kill Rock Stars, 1997)
Sometimes the best records are the completely unexpected ones. The scuffed, used disc you dig from the bottom of a cutout bin and, without having heard a single song, decide on the spot to purchase. The price has more slashes on it than the entire Halloween series put together; it’s no big deal if the record totally blows.But here’s the kicker: it doesn’t. In fact, it’ss actually kinda good. Make that really good. And you know you’ve read about this band somewhere before, but can’t quite place it.

In this instance, the group is Sleater-Kinney, and the album is Dig Me Out. The Olympia-based trio’s third effort has acknowledged classic status amongst critics and fans alike, at least in part because it’s representative not just of a musical movement, but an entire period in the history of dress, politics, and advanced social theory. But even as part of a stellar discography, Dig Me Out stands out.

It has personality.

If it were a person, it would mix baby doll dresses with big black combat boots, reference Karl Marx in casual conversation, and wouldn’t recall his/her (probably her) natural hair color. Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein’s twin guitars make the kind of aggressive crunch that most punk upstarts can only dream of. And bass player, schmass player; these women tackle each song with the ferocity of a Sid Vicious army, blood stained torso and all. Each track has bite to match its ambitious bark; it’s an album that transcends the narrowing label “riot grrl,” even as it typifies why the sorta-genre came to wider public attention in the first place.

With a final, triumphant gig at Lollapalooza 2006, Sleater-Kinney went off to the great alternative dive bar (or university library) in the sky. But they left behind a body of work — and this gem of an album — that is sure to inspire generations of girls to drop the groupie dream and pick up guitars. Once they kidnap Dig Me Out from their big sisters or the cutout bins, of course.

– Emma Kat Richardson


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