FROM THE DESK OF MR. LADY
MR. LADY RECORDS
Le Tigre's self-titled 1999 debut was every-track-a-classic: kids still dance to it in the streets (I've seen that happening in bunches myself). And it was reverently described by at least one stunned reviewer as "Public Enemy tangled up with the Shangri-Las." Don't laugh, fucker—that's right-on. Kathleen Hanna (and we all know who she is by now, right?), writer Johanna Fateman and filmmaker Sadie Benning have turned warbling eight-bit samples, a few power chords and a workhorse of a drum machine into probably one of the most uncompromisingly vital and influential bands you'll hear. You either get into Le Tigre, or you get out of the way. This follow-up EP (some long-gone B-sides, some new material) is still the same powerful pop with political fangs, weaving confident and calculated social critique into catchy pep-bomb songs (even if it's not quite as invincible as the full-length). "Gone B4 Yr Home" is a chiller, its alienation and frustration all the starker against a gentle puff-pop melody line, and "Yr Critique" nails 20-plus years of derailed youth energy to the wall with "I can't stand your fake rebellion/Misdirected and anti-art." Maybe you couldn't call this punk now, but that's punk's fault. Like that rebel girl once said, "If I can't dance, I want no part of your revolution." (Chris Ziegler)
THE DONNAS TURN 21
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Daddy's sassy little spitfires are raising hell again, only this time, they're legal, lethal and leaving sobbing boys in their riff-driven spoor. The Donnas Turn 21 doesn't stray too far from the success achieved with their last offering, Get Skintight. Poppy vignettes still ooze from the great, five-chord, bombastic melodies with no intention of letting anyone go to bed early. Songs like "You've Got a Crush on Me" are merciless, with insidious lyrics like "You tried to play it cool/That's hard to do/When you're wiping off your drool." They just want to party here like rock stars, like Judas Priest, whom they pay tribute to with a "Living After Midnight" cover that smartly doesn't try to improve on the mighty, meaty original—a straight-up, vicarious, air-guitar-in-the-mirror homage. "Little Boy" wreaks revenge on girl-band-groupie guys ("I think you might be missing a chromosome/'Cause you keep comin' back for more"). The Donnas know heartbreak as well—see "Drivin' Thru My Heart" ("There's a skidmark on my aorta")—while "Hot Pants" acquaints us with a girl who wishes she'd never heard of the Donnas: "Hey, little girl, you're trying to get with my guy/I've got two words, 'hands off,' or baby, I'll make you cry." Probably deserves it anyway, the tramp—she's got last year's hair. (Arrissia Owen)