Music » CD Reviews

Le Tigre

"From the Desk of Mr. Lady" (Mr. Lady)


Kathleen Hanna has been kicking around indieville for a decade now, first with proto-grrrl group Bikini Kill and currently with the lo-fi, found-sound noisemaking trio Le Tigre. She's a tough gal, not one to just let popular opinion -- or modern technology -- get in the way of her raging idealism. "Where are my friends?" she asks on "Get Off the Internet," the lead track on Tigre's seven-song EP, "From the Desk of Mr. Lady." "Get off the Internet!" she shouts; "I'll meet you in the street," a weary voice replies. It's the sound of Hanna breaking down the right wing and a sociopolitical action call from someone whose own self-promotion is her greatest contribution to modern politics.

Still, though most of her targets (online addiction, music critics) are, by now, obvious and tattered, the counting of the 41 shots plugged into African immigrant Amadou Diallo by N.Y.C. police officers on "Bang! Bang!" resonates with a hard truth, matched only by Bruce Springsteen's recounting of the tale. And the Boss wasn't gutsy enough to conclude his song with "Bring me Giuliani's head." Ultimately, "From the Desk of Mr. Lady" is all about Hanna. Her bandmates make mighty noise throughout, but it's her new-century doctrine (which is an awful lot like her '90s one, which itself was rooted in '80s DIY romanticism) that drives most of these songs. On "Mediocrity Rules," she falls back on one of the '90s' most overplayed narrative devices: postmodern irony. Like Hanna and Tigre itself, it's a bit antiquated, but the point behind the "yabba dabba dude" chant is timeless. In Hanna's hands, personal idealism never goes out of style.

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