Nothing screams riot grrl quirky like Kathleen Hanna fronting one of her ever-shifting modern fem-punk bands. Yes, I mean screams. Take that as you will.
There”s nothing subtle about the “don”t-give-a-fuck-what-you-think” attitude that emerges in all riot grrl stuff. However, if it was anger-tinged in Bikini Kill, it”s plain old silly in Le Tigre, Hanna”s second well-known band that draws on punk influences but throws in a lot of sloppy big synth noise too.
Lyrics like, “For the ladies/And the fags yeah/We”re the band with the roller skate jams,” fill Feminist Sweepstakes, the band”s second full-length release. On this album, Le Tigre moves away from the “I-made-these-weird-sounds-and-screamed-over-them” sampler punk of their first record to a sort of lesbian-intellectual street punk electronica.
Also, Hanna, with the aid of Johanna Fatemean and new band member J.D. Samson, have somehow made the screaming a bit more coherent and the lyrics still meaningful, but less biting and more bizarre.
“Fake French,” is the perfect example of Le Tigre”s absurdity. It has a crazy wah basis, some bad vintage early-“80s synth, a call and answer verse and a dreamy disco sounding chorus.
Don”t worry though. It”s not time to give up on hard-hitting chick punk with Le Tigre. They still have it in them. This is apparent with the semi-sampled and semi-pitchless “F.Y.R.,” which stands for, yes, “Fifty Years of Ridicule.”
“RU-486 if we suck your fucking dick?/One step forward/Five steps back/One cool record in the year of rock-rap,” screams Hanna on “F.Y.R.”
Again, they”re just not subtle.
Another classic track is “Much Finer.” This one wins for lyrical content, no question. Any woman, regardless of musical tastes, can appreciate, “Do you want to stay in bed all day?/Yeah!/Do you remember feeling any other way?/No!” and “I must have been sleeping when you called/ I”m not feeling well at all/I”ve got this thing that”s been going around called please pretend that I”m out of town.”
It”s possible that I dig this album because I”m the right gender for it and it”s important to point out that if you”re a guy who”s super-obsessed with, say, Insane Clown Posse, you might not feel the same. However, I think anyone of any gender who has a true appreciation of innovative and weird indie punk with a twist of garage synth will thoroughly enjoy Le Tigre”s Feminist Sweepstakes.