If one record encompasses the fear, agony, heartache, and paranoia of the Bush era, it's Sleater-Kinney's One Beat. Carrie Brownstein's guitar is a slithering, sinister force and Janet Weiss plays the drums like she's trying to beat the devil out of them. But it's Corin Tucker's voice that stands out. She adds blue notes to her wails, a mournful soul beneath the anger and ecstasy. She's frantic, demanding of herself and the forces that have started to suffocate her. She's a radical: "Could you invent a world for me? / I need to hear a symphony / If I'm to run the future / You've got to let the old world go."
Yesterday, Tucker's new band, Filthy Friends, released their first track "Despierta." This is a supergroup that features R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Portland staple Scott McCaughey, King Crimson's Bill Rieflin, and Fastback guitarist Kurt Bloch. All of that in itself should be worthy of immediate column inches, but that would mean moving past Tucker's voice and I'm sure as Hell not about to do that.
The point of all this is that no living rock vocalist can communicate the range of emotions that Tucker can. There are singers with broader ranges, more octaves, but none with the nuance that Tucker brings. Deep down, she's a blues musician.
So yes, Dave Eggers's anti-Trump 30 Days, 30 Songs project is a pretty clear case of preaching to the choir; there aren't many Sleater-Kinney or R.E.M. fans who were sitting on the fence in this election. What's important is that Tucker can make you believe a line like "Your time is over / Your power's peaked," purely through the dismissive authority in her throat.
Filthy Friends have an album coming out in 2017, apparently, and Buck says that "Despierta" will be included on it. On this form, the record will make for a fascinating listen. Tucker's guitar is permitted to wander and her vocals remain stunning, but being backed by a gaggle of indie legends means that she's got a stronger base than she did on, say, her debut as The Corin Tucker Band. That's an exciting proposition.
Listen to the track below.
Photo via Corin Tucker on Facebook.
Alex Robert Ross was 11 when One Beat came out. Follow him on Twitter.