This Island marks Le Tigre's first involvement with a major label. For this fiercely political and independent band, the jump to the majors was quite a surprise and a cause for concern among fans. Yet this album is just as loud, energetic, angry, and stubbornly hopeful as their past releases, and even sounds a lot like lead singer Kathleen Hanna's work with her previous band, Bikini Kill. This is political feminist pop at its best: music that refuses to compromise or settle for less than everything.
Here Hanna switches between angry screaming and seductively rhythmic singing over frequently energetic and danceable music. The album opens with the fuzzy guitar sounds of "On the Verge," and soon leads into "Seconds," which sounds like a riot grrrl anthem from 1991. "Nanny Nanny Boo Boo" is a band anthem of sorts, which perfectly illustrates Le Tigre's ability to combine the personal and the political effortlessly along with the fun and the serious. "Tell You Now" is a catchy, understated statement of survival, and the cover of the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited," is pure punk pleasure. -- Miranda Hale
My Last Go Round FOUR STARS
Rosalie Sorrels has a voice bold enough to echo across the high lonesome of her southern Idaho home and tender enough to rock a baby to sleep. She's at her best alone onstage with her voice, her guitar, and a roomful of stories, and this live CD captures that essence. Folk's traveling lady has hung up her touring shoes; this concert was her grand send-off, with friends Jean Ritchie, Peggy Seeger, Loudon Wainwright III and others. The guest artists are almost a distraction, though, because the highlights here are pure, iconic Rosalie: Utah Phillips' classics, "The Telling Takes Me Home" and "I Think of You"; Pete Seeger's "Old Devil Time"; and her own anthem to life on the road, "Traveling Lady." The title song, inspired by a Ken Kesey story, brings to life the dusty imagery of the Old West and the heart-pitched emotions of a final farewell. Quoting poet Julia Kooken about the West she loves, Sorrels is neither sentimental nor soft: "I want to get leaner and meaner, sharp-edged, the color of the dirt / Until I discorporate from sheer joy." --Ann M. Colford