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Le Tigre - Claire Moss - Rachel Fuller

Le Tigre - This Island
Label: Universal Records
By Joey Grace

Is it ok for a guy, a man, a person with penis, to be in love with three feminists from New York.  If not, too bad, cause these ladies know how to rock. This semi political three-piece outfit encompasses everything despite the self-appointed tag of Feminist.  They sing about a male dominating society as well as clubbing, love, peace, hope, even about being backstage at their own gigs.  J.D. Samson, with her thinned mustache kicks out the beats, while Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman trade off on guitars and vocals.  The album is a steady mix of fuzzy guitars and looped drum tracks, great for alternative dance nights.  At first listen this album or music may not seem too special, but it embodies the idealized achievement of DIY that most “studio punk” bands have concept of.  Although this is their major label debut, and have a bigger budget to work with, they don’t go overboard with the studio polish.  Their tracks seem thicker and tighter but Le Tigre are still the same band that recorded on the lesbian-run and truly independent Mr. Lady Records. 

The first track “On the Verge” accosts the listener’s ear with Kathleen Hanna’s Bikini Kill vocals.  Stumbling guitars and steady drum machine drives the songs message of not imitating, and more importantly not sucking when comes to creating music.  The catchy chorus consists of “We’re on the verge of…we’re on the verge of…we’re on the verge of…All Right!”  We have no idea what they are on the verge of and the beautiful thing is, neither do they, all I know is they are creating something aesthetically beautiful.

 “Seconds” invokes Hanna’s riot-girl persona, with electropunk backbeats.  They dip into synthpop beats and whizzing keyboards in “Afterdark” where all the girls with their Karen O outfits will raise their drinks on the dance floor and sensually grind with their girlfriends.  The first single and video for the album “New kicks” is a peace driven political song that samples protestors at various peace rallies, this stand out tracks show that Le Tigre have not lost their political edge, this maybe one of the only protest songs you can actually dance too.  In “Viz” J.D. Samson steps up on the mic, and sings this hilarious disco pop song about going to a lesbian club showing of her pecs and mustache and getting hit on by a straight girl, “Hey you’re not a dike!”  To show that haven’t lost their love for dance music they cover the Pointer Sister’s “I’m So Excited,” an excellent cover that I’m sure will be a single and will one day be played in every top-forty dance club in the nation. 

I strongly recommend you get this album, if you love new and different music.  Men, don’t let the feminist tag scare you away, Le Tigre are truly all encompassing of different life styles.  Ladies, if you are a true music lover there is no excuse why you shouldn’t have this album, even you die hard metal chicks with you shaved heads and pierced clits should soften up and buy This Island.

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Claire Moss
Label: Indie
by Gary Schwind

If I were to write simply that Claire Moss is a young woman who sings, you may group her with all the other young female pop stars that seem to dominate the music scene.  She certainly doesn’t deserve to be placed in the same group as those pop stars that all sound the same.  Claire Moss puts a lot more growl in her songs than your average pop star.

This self-titled EP shows Claire’s talent as a songwriter.  According to her website, Claire wrote her first song at age 3 1/2.  The fact that she writes her own songs places her far beyond any of the agglomeration of pop stars.  These aren’t manufactured songs.  These are songs that convey the love, anger, and disappointment that we all feel. “Meant It” is probably the most powerful song on the disc with some good screaming vocals.

Claire has talent as a songwriter and musician but this album didn’t reach out and grab me.  Still, it’s worth checking out just to know that not every twenty-something woman sings manufactured, meaningless, overproduced songs from a can.

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Rachel Fuller - Cigarettes & Housework
Label: Universal Records
By Greg Howell

When I heard Rachel Fuller’s debut album, Cigarettes & Housework, visions of a more up beat Tori Amos, or Dido filled my head. I was pleasantly pleased with the rest of the album. It’s put together extremely well and is lyrically quite good. Not only did she either write or co-write every track on this album, but she even plays the piano on a few of the songs. One of the key tracks would be "Eat Me" where her voice just seems to take you on a ride that you never want to get off of. A second song of interest would be, "Nothing Worthwhile"  with Rachel’s voice and the backing vocals singing over lyrics of an unhappy relationship, make for a great song. Rachel Fuller is one artist on the rise and is one of the best new artists of 2004. Listen to it, buy it, whatever you have to do to get your hand’s on Cigarettes & Housework, and you won’t regret it.

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