Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
No Cities To Love is punk outfit, Sleater-Kinney’s first album after a nine-year hiatus. No Cities begins with “Price Tag”, a punchy anthem to consumerism. From minute one of the short thirty-three minute (ten song) album you’re hit with the hard-driving tempo that carries it throughout. “Fangless” is a tad funkier than the rest with a more danceable tune. “A New Wave” conquers the dilemma of identity, as much of the album does, with some welcome harmonizing. “Surface Envy” is arguably the crowning jewel, featuring quite a bit of dual guitar play. No Cities To Love definitely follows on in the path of their previous work yet seems a bit more concise. There’s no respite for the listener, each song gets straight to the point and before you can recover you’re thrown back in.
Viet Cong – Viet Cong
Death plays a major part in Viet Cong’s composition. Aside from being the title of the epic final track on their debut album, it is death that initially brought the band together. After the tragic death of Women’s guitarist Christopher Reimer, Bassist/vocalist Matt Flegel and Drummer Michael Wallace formed Viet Cong, continuing the creation of anxiety fueled post-punk. Since their Cassette Ep, Viet Cong have incorporated synthesizers and drones of Swans intensity, further expanding their sound. “March of Progress” begins with a repetitive drum rhythm over minimal synth chords and tape loops, leading to metallic arpeggiating guitars and a verse that builds with full intensity, highlighting Wallace’s precise drumming and their ability to interweave guitars. The presence of Christopher Reimer lurks through each track, inspiring much of the content lyrically and musically. On Continental shelf, Flegel sings, “Don’t want to reminisce” and “Don’t want to face the world, it’s suffocating”, further revealing his emotional angst. On the album’s closer “Death”, Viet Cong play with driving force, exemplifying their greatest strengths and abilities. At just over 11 minutes, “Death” takes many forms, patiently building up into a throbbing drone until a sudden shift, changing the pace and playing at unusual time signatures similar to Women’s “Heat Distraction”. Viet Cong is an incredibly consistent album that stretches the boundaries of their previous work, blending familiarity with a certain freshness.