The Woods


Instead of the heavy rock of Hendrix, Zeppelin, et al. being the launching pad for the stadium-ready heft of Sleater-Kinney’s latest (as many critics are insisting), couldn’t The Woods’ overdriven immediacy just be a matter of using fuzzier effects pedals? The real story here is the first-time use of Flaming Lips engineer David Fridmann. Not only has his and the band members’ goal of trying to capture the trio’s powerful and dangerous live presence in the studio resulted in one of the most in-your-face and grungy recordings since Nirvana, but the band’s songwriting rose to the challenge as well. Not since ’97’s Dig Me Out has S-K sounded so energized. The opening chords of “The Fox” can only be described as destructive, stomping through the redwoods like Paul Bunyan with an alternately plodding and swirling guitar attack and Corin Tucker’s frightening vibrato voice running around in circles like a madwoman. So many inventive guitar lines and varied dynamic choices (especially on “Wilderness,” “What’s Mine is Yours” and “Rollercoaster”) and that ever present speaker-busting volume make for the kind of wonderfully exhausting dynamic noise that maybe only Austin’s Trail of Dead could touch.