Toronto
1 min

Electrified strap on

The revolutionary party band

HEAR THEM ROAR. Le Tigre's new album is rrriotous. Credit: Xtra files

“For the ladies and the fags yeah/ we’re the band with the roller skate jams!” sing Le Tigre on the opening cut of their second full length CD, Feminist Sweepstakes. And for those of you who haven’t joined the party yet, let that be your invitation.



Kathleen Hanna, of the shreddingly intense Bikini Kill and an architect of the riot grrrl movement, has found her sense of humour – and the world is a much better place for it.



Along with Le Tigre teammates Johanna Fateman and new band member JD Samson (who jokingly refer to themselves as “underground electro feminist performance artists”) Hanna is exploring the kind of cool modern music that looks backwards and as far forward as possible, at the same time.



The sound is all punk rock DIY, using retro machinery from the early ’80s which lends an early New Wave innocence along with the fuzzy guitars and distorted vocals; at times, it recalls the wild fury and wackiness of The B-52s. But listen a little closer.



This is one smart party band with plenty on it’s mind, writing songs like “On Guard” about “The forever beauty pageant I’m always in;” or “Fake French” with it’s hilarious boasting; “I’ve got the new sincerity/ I’ve got multiple alliances/ I’ve got a conceptual stunt double/ I’ve got post-binary gender chores!” all over a groove that pulls the perfect funk moves.



And musically, groove is what this band is all about, setting “Dyke March 2001” which celebrates “Marching naked ladies” over breakbeat and house music samples.



The band has talked about this as a record for touring and many of the songs work as shout outs to their rabid fans.



But there’s plenty of real heart drama here, too. “It’s all so precious and you throw it all away,” Hanna sings on “Shred A” and you can feel the desperation in her heartbreaking wail. And certainly the album closer, “Keep On Living,” could be a hold over from Bikini Kill’s political fury.



These post-modern feminists use sample culture like an electrified strap on. Revolution grrrl style now, indeed!