I've observed that different forces control people's music tastes. Whether it's peer pressure, conformity, love or fear, you probably have some unconscious motives that help to populate your record collection. Musically, Le Tigre falls into two categories for me: fear and curiosity. Like many people, my first introduction to Kathleen Hanna was through the staunch feminist approach of Bikini Kill back in the early '90s. Hanna's charismatic voice spurred my brain and definitely changed my actions, once I'd been indoctrinated by Bikini Killís viewpoints. And of course, I'll admit it, I was damn scared of Ms. Hanna for some undisclosed reason. I wouldn't even go see Bikini Kill when they came to Austin.
Curiosity has driven me to check out one of the Bikini Kill offshoots, Le Tigre. If you've ignored previous Le Tigre releases, the most important note to heed is that this is not Bikini Kill. Le Tigre is an amalgamation of feminism, punk and the general evolution of music into the new millennium. Before you decide that Le Tigre must be some post-rock electro-spastic dance band, Iíll give you a few clues. Thankfully, there's still plenty of grating screaming and yelling on From the Desk of Mr. Lady, underscored by a strong punk ethos. Clashing with your holy-punkrockitude are the lo-fi blips and bleeps of samplers and keyboards, which add another wholesome dimension to Le Tigre's sound. While the band likes to refer to their sound not as lo-fi, but rather as "economic," I'm happy absorbing its unrefined rawness, which points all ears towards what really matters -- the music.
Starting off this seven-song jaunt is a true gem, "Get Off the Internet". Everyone's run into this modern day, phone-line swindling problem, and Le Tigre's cyber-tirade is not only a catchy little number, but drives home some contemporary politics to boot. So finish reading this review, then go outside and do something! The ironically titled "They Want Us to Make a Symphony Out of the Sound of Women Swallowing Their Own Tongues" places, at its core, samples of a bunch of tongue-tied women, none of them able to speak a coherent word. While it's intriguing enough just to listen to this bizarre concoction of stammering, stuttering and beats, Le Tigre drives the point home that if something's on your mind, you should make sure it's heard.
For those of you looking for a bit of political feminist fire in your music, Le Tigre will deliver. Likewise, for those in search of raw tracks that speak their piece with a distinctive sound, Le Tigre will also be a good match. Just as Bikini Kill brewed a strange-yet-addictive combination of curiosity and fear in me almost a decade ago, Le Tigre has ignited another similar spark. Is the band a walking time bomb, a subversive political force or a feminist trio out creating some solid tunes? I'd wager that it's some sort of combination of the three...and this time, there's no way in hell I'm going to miss the band's live show!