le tigre are boss


le tigre!

Art, electronica, surfy hammond organs, and feminism in one delicious package: Kathleen Hanna is back, and Miss AMP is v. happy about it!

Three words, a guitar twiddle, and a flurry of handclaps were all it took for the cat to jump off my lap with her ears back, and my flatmate to leave the room with the words 'Oh no, not her!' Yes, it's her. Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill has hooked up with superstar Pixelvision videomaker Sadie Benning and a zinester called Johanna Fateman to form Le Tigre. Cast aside your memories of abrasive early-90s punk pop and get over your natural reactions to Kathleen's sometimes piercing voice: this is a delicious record.


Le Tigre sound as though a riot grrl song and a thumping housey stomper somehow got it together, and had the resulting offspring raised by an early 60s girl group. They use samples, claves, farfisa, a live dj, guitar, voices, beats and fingerclicks to make their music. Sonic Youth bass hooks twist themselves round clappity-handclaps and keyboard samples that sound like they belong to totally different songs. Kathleen's not-to-be-trusted cute voice whirls around the tracks, settling into a demure ballad for Eau de Bedroom Dancing, then teetering close to excitable hysteria for My My Metrocard, which is catchy and danceable and comes on like The Shirelles whizzing round town on a zones 1 and 2 metrocard and bitching about Mayor Guilliami ('He's such a fuckin' jerk!')


Top track is The The Empty which starts out with a shower of fuzzy guitar and classic Bikini Kill atonal vocals, before the voice of an angel cuts in with 'all that glitters is not gold', a scurry of digital rhythms break out like hives all over the track and in the background Kathleen dissolves into squeals of frustration at the vacuity of modern culture: 'Went to yr concert and I didn't feel anything I went to yr movie and I didn't see anything I went to yr comedy club and didn't laugh at all oh, baby, you don't say ANYTHING!'

The band share songwriting credits, but it's got to be filmmaker Sadie Benning's influence in Dude Yr So Crazy's ominous shlock horror soundtrack, which conjours images of the shabby chic alterna-dude of the title stalking some frightened girl down endless corridors. The American 'crazy dude' of the title seems eerily like the London hipster guys I keep meeting: 'Film festival / retro porn / shabby chic / carnivore / transgressive / devil's advocate / anti PC / obscure reference / muscle tee.' Scary.


The only duff track is 'What's Yr Take on Cassavetes', a meditation on whether an artist's unsavory beliefs or private life diminishes the value of their work. It starts promisingly with a wavery-voiced female confessing that she just has to know her friend's opinions on the master filmmaker, but degenerates into an slanging match with both parties yelling 'misogynist!' 'genius!' at each other ad infinitum. I guess it demonstrates the futility of such politically correct arguments in the face of great art, or something, which is fab, but oh-so-painful to listen to. That aside, this is a fantastic album: like all Hanna's work, an emphatically female take on modern culture, but also danceable, thoughtful, complicated and catchy. A must.


Le Tigre: Le Tigre is out now on wiiija records. We're hoping to interview Le Tigre in the near future, so if you have any questions for the band, email them to letigre@ampnet.co.uk!


For more info, check out the Le Tigre website






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