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by Luke Baumgarten and Leah Sottile & r & Sleater-Kinney & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.447828463 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; title= & quot;Click to listen on iTunes & quot; & The Woods & lt;/a & **** & r & This isn't your angry older sister's Sleater-Kinney, though maybe it should be. Still aggressive, but in a new way, this S-K forgoes the overtly political for the allegorical, subversive and satiric. They do it with massive, loose, distorted licks and big drums (see also: an 11-minute guitar solo). "Panache," I think, is the word.


On "Entertain," they mock your favorite Cure-worshipping indie bands. S-K is reusing an entirely different movement in music, though one that isn't as well worn as New Wave. Given the riot girl thing S-K has been working through for 10 years, The Woods is either a retreat into arena rock or a final push past punk to ... arena rock. Whether you like this album may hinge on how comfortable you are pulling out your old KISS tapes.


Admit this, though: There can be no bigger symbolic feather in a feminist rocker's cap than taming testosterone-rock. And I think we can all give credit to Carrie Brownstein for the perfect Jefferson Airplane impression. --Luke Baumgarten





Black Eyed Peas & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.452096289 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; title= & quot;Click to listen on iTunes & quot; & Monkey Business & lt;/a & *** & r & Upon first, second and even third listen, the Black Eyed Peas' newest album is a glossy, flawless sophomore album (sophomore if you count from their overhaul of the BEP look/sound/style). Monkey Business is pop, disco, funk and watered-down hip-hop, and while it's easy to get into, there's something shady about it.


When you spin it a fourth time, it quickly becomes clear that the BEPeas are simply relying on their collaborators to make the album truly sing. Example: the Peas swap spit with Justin Timberlake on "My Style," a poppy, dance cut. With its faux-Latin beat, the song sounds more Justified than Peas. On "Like That," they mix with Q-Tip. What would be a genius alliance quickly turns into a thick, beating hip-hop track -- a rip-off of the entire Tribe Called Quest repertoire. "They Don't Want Music," features James Brown -- and guess what? More Brown than Peas. On Monkey Business, the Black Eyed Peas don't show their talent -- they just come off as masters of mimic. --Leah Sottile
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