Known by reputation as the home of many a poker machine and a brace of elderly chaps nursing pots of VB complaining about the young people and reminiscing about the days when they used to be able to sit at the pokies and smoke a durry, the Croxton Park Hotel in Thornbury has never been particularly high on my list of places to visit. However, when the news broke that Sleater-Kinney, The Greatest Rock And Roll Band In The World™, were booked to play the Croxton Bandroom on March 9th, it was clear that I would indeed be spending a night at the Croxbury.
Tomorrow Sleater-Kinney return to Melbourne for the first time in just over a decade. Given the fact that the last three posts that I have published have focussed somewhat heavily on Sleater-Kinney, some of the more astute readers amongst you may probably have some inkling that I have a certain fondness for the band. Over the past couple of weeks, partly in preparation for seeing the band live again, but mostly because it’s exactly the kind of thing I’m likely to do anyway, I have immersed myself again into the band’s back catalogue. Out of this retrospective I have put together a list of ten Sleater-Kinney songs that falls somewhere between my favourite ten songs of theirs and the ones that I’d most like to hear them play live this week (however unrealistic that may be in a couple of cases). Either way, hopefully it’s a pretty decent overview of the band’s career and a good starting point for anyone new to their music.
I’m not particularly bothered with balance here, these are quite simply my favourite twenty songs from 2015 placed in an approximate order of greatness. Subsequently I’m not going to impose any arbitrary rules on my selections, such as trying to find some kind of equilibrium between genres or limiting artists to a single song. As a result, this selection will almost certainly contain a disproportionate number of tracks from talented female musicians and men with luxurious beards. I can also absolutely guarantee that there will be several songs by Sleater-Kinney. Enjoy!
Musically, 2015 started with a bang. On January 20th Sleater-Kinney released what was pretty obviously going to be my album of the year, Belle And Sebastian brought me down with what was the most disappointing album of the year and The Decemberists left me pleasantly surprised with a fantastic album which only just missed out on my top ten. In fact, my favourite albums of 2015 ended up heavily stacked towards the start of the year, with seven of the ten albums released by March 31st. Looking at the final list of albums, it seems pretty well balanced between phenomenally talented women, men with luxurious beards, incredibly innovative hip hop and albums with commas in their titles.
Back around the year 2000, Beastie Boys Video Anthology was the first Criterion Collection title that I bought. New to the DVD format at the time, I remember spending a night transfixed watching seemingly endless permutations of “Intergalactic” and “Shake Your Rump”, the first two songs on the first disc. When selecting a title for the Criterion Blogathon, Beastie Boys Video Anthology seemed the obvious choice. Not only does it shows the great variety of the “contemporary” side of The Criterion Collection, but it’s also an excellent example of their history of pushing the envelope of what could be achieved both technically and artistically in home video releasing.
I’ve been looking for a book like Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl for years. Sleater-Kinney have been my favourite band since somewhere around the release of One Beat and have been crying out for a decent book on their history, if for no other reason than to provide some kind of explanation of what happened in 2006 to led to those dreaded two words “indefinite hiatus”. However, it was unexpected that this book would be written by a member of the band.
Released in 1967 Dont Look Back is a fly on the wall documentary following Bob Dylan during his ten day tour of the UK in April/May 1965. Falling just over a month after the release of Bringing It All Back Home, the film captures Dylan at a fascinating turning point of his career. Dont Look Back is also particularly notable with D. A. Pennebaker being given a level of access to the enigmatic Dylan that has not been seen since. That said, Eat The Document, Dylan and Pennebaker’s rather unsuccessful attempt to film his 1966 UK tour may have played a role in this change of heart.