Sleater-Kinney, 'Little Rope'
Motivated by grief following the sudden death of guitarist-singer Carrie Brownstein’s mother and stepfather in 2022, the longtime indie rock standard-bearers have delivered their most cohesive and dynamic work since 2015’s reunion album No Cities to Love. Co-founder Corin Tucker’s signature wail sounds as powerful as ever here, and even if the band no longer rips quite as recklessly as they did in their Dig Me Out heyday, there’s an open-eyed, heart-on-a-sleeve sincerity that reminds you just how much drama the band can wring out of even their most restrained moments. Album closer “Untidy Creature,” in particular, is a slow-building stunner. -- Andrew Barker
Green Day, 'Saviors'
For their first album in four years, the Bay Area trio did a full-court press of pre-release publicity, starting their own satellite radio station and performing everywhere from a New York City subway platform to Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve, while plotting a stadium tour with Smashing Pumpkins and Rancid for later this summer, during which they will play the bajillion-selling albums Dookie and American Idiot in their entirety. But what of the new music? While it might not capture the snotty heedlessness of those earlier records — and these guys are in their fifties now, give them a break — there’s an immediacy to the production here that lifts it above its sometimes on-the-nose messaging, and tracks like "Father to a Son" prove Billie Joe still knows how to write a big heart-tugging arena anthem when he puts his mind to it. -- A.B.
'Pushin’ Too Hard – American Garage Punk 1964-1967'
This 3CD, 94-track compilation from UK’s Cherry Red Records is an all-in celebration of a genre that legendary Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye first brought together in 1972’s Nuggets. Garage punk is that wonderful time period where a bunch of kids, inspired by the onslaught of the British Invasion, started to investigate what being in a band was all about. That kind of raw excitement would germinate in several U.S. regions and if you were lucky, you might just have gotten a record deal. Here, the 13th Floor Elevators tick-tocky “Tried To Hide” rubs up against the seductive Limey & the Yanks “Out of Sight, Out Of Mind,” while the Sparkles “Hipsville 2.9. BC (I Need Help)” trips along like early B-52s. There are Billboard No. 1’s included, but as epitomized by the Seeds “Pushin’ Too Hard,” the swirling organs, stinging fuzz guitars and urgent vocal harmonies are certainly not for the faint of heart. -- Amy Hughes