Twenty years ago today, Pacific Northwest rock trio Sleater-Kinney released its third LP, Dig Me Out, a commanding collection of punk-fueled songs with an apt title if there ever was one. We say that on one level because the record was famously recorded during a snowstorm – one of the heaviest snowstorms in Seattle’s recorded history at that point, dumping between two and three feet of accumulation across the North Olympic Peninsula during the final days of 1996. As singer-guitarist Carrie Brownstien recalls in her memoir, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, the band had to quite literally dig its van out of the snow to get to producer John Goodmanson’s studio, where it recorded in an unheated live room wearing coats and sweaters.
Whether the whiteout conditions were a contributing factor or merely coincidental, you can feel the urgency across the 13-song, 36-minute collection: the opening title track’s hurtling desperation (“Oh, God, let me in / There’s nowhere else to go”); the barreling punch and crunch of “The Drama You’ve Been Craving” (where Brownstein and fellow singer-guitarist Corin Tucker’s counterpoint vocals engage in conversation about escape); the powerful takedown of normative gender roles in “Little Babies,” propelled by a catchy-as-heck chorus (“Rock the little babies with one two three four”).
That overarching urgency is why Dig Me Out is a fitting title on another level. Continue reading →