October 2002

Give it up for Firefly slash! Three episodes in and they're already crawling out of the woodwork. Good job, guys. < g >

Two different authors with two very different moods:

"Tetchy" by debchan almost feels like an episode: it's funny and flirty and tongue-in-cheek, and it's also hot as hell. (Whoops, not so much like an episode then.) Jayne and Simon... escalate.

On the other end of the spectrum, Lemon Lashes has written a very good, very disturbing series based on the events of "The Train Job": what if Niska's employees weren't so forgiving? It's Wash and Simon, with a bit of Jayne and Cross-Dressing Mal thrown in for good measure, and it's... sad. But good. Did I mention disturbing? First story? Not for the faint of heart.

Sleater-Kinney, One Beat: fucking amazing.

That's it in a nutshell, really.

For almost ten years now, Sleater-Kinney's been one of the best punk-rock bands on the scene, largely unsung save by a very devoted cult following. Their fans tend to be Xena fans. If ya know what I'm sayin'.

But if you don't give Sleater-Kinney a chance? You're missing out.

And their sixth album, One Beat, is the pure distillation of nearly a decade of totally and completely rocking.

  • "One Beat": the title track is... pure alchemy. It's like, it shouldn't even be a song, it's chaos theory or quantum physics or something else that reaches into your gut and turns your entire world view upside down - but they made it a song because they're just that good.
    take me to the source of chaos, let me be the butterfly
    in my imperfect symmetry, underlying poetry and rhyme

  • "Far Away": is grating and discordant in the best possible way. This is what punk is - anger masking hurt and desperation about the world we live in. The very dissonance of it is what makes it so damn good.
    I look to the sky and ask it not to rain on my family tonight

  • "Oh!": is just jubilant, plain and simple. It's a celebration.
    the way I feel when you call my name, makes me go crazy to sane

  • "The Remainder": is traditional Sleater-Kinney from start to finish, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker alternating vocals in a straightforward rock indictment of a dysfunctional relationship, with an unexpectedly soaring, melodic chorus. It's a formula that, by now, they have down to an art.
    I don't know you like this, you're as reckless as wind

  • "Light Rail Coyote": is a paean to the punk lifestyle and urban beauty and cities with rivers, and Janet Weiss's explosive drumming sets the scene here, interspersed with Corin and Carrie's overlapping, almost poetic vocals and Carrie's primal screaming. It's driven by the beat.
    if you wanna be a friend of mine
    cross the river to the east side
    find me on the eve of suicide

  • "Step Aside": is Political Sleater-Kinney at its best, an almost joyous exploration of life in troubled times, mixed with a bunch of brassy big-band horns. Got a good beat, you can dance to it. < g >
    this mama works till her back is sore, but the baby's fed and the tunes are pure

  • "Combat Rock": is, on the other hand, Political Sleater-Kinney at its most searing. And yes, it is a tribute to The Clash. Warm and fuzzies end here.
    hey look, it's time to pledge allegiance
    I love my dirty Uncle Sam

  • "O2": is just magic. It's a damn good song, it's... I can't even find the words. It just gels. It's good rock, and it works.
    I rely on oxygen, I depend on the bitter cold

  • "The Funeral Song": is haunting in every aspect, from the solo string-plucking at the beginning to the pounding, rushing drums of the chorus, and everything in between. It's a song of pure pain.
    nothing says forever like my very own grave

  • "Prisstina": is the only song on this album I could do without. And not even because it's bad; it's just very... ordinary. But it's solid rock all the same.
    don't wait on your fairy godmother, she's late on her way to you

  • "Hollywood Ending": this is old-school Sleater-Kinney, from Corin's stuttering, hiccuping verses and the roller-coaster ride of the guitars, to the disdainful venom and snark of the lyrics. Pure fun.
    you think there's something here for you, go out and buy yourself a clue

  • "Sympathy": is probably my favorite. It's bluesy and painful and joyous, and it's everything good music should be.
    I search for meaning in sores, the sentences that might form
    it's the grammar of skin, peel it back, let me in
  • Buy this record now.

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    Email: panthea@populli.net

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