During the summer of 2006, while I was on a hiatus from blogging, the amazing band Sleater-Kinney announced the sad news that they were no longer going to record or tour as a group.
From my perspective, there have been three truly great "alternative" guitar bands in the last 25 years: Husker Du, Sonic Youth, and Sleater-Kinney. These bands produced a diverse catalog of music over many recordings and many years, but always with a signature sound -- complex and musical, but unmistakably punk in inspiration.
Like Thurston Moore's guitar feedback, Corin and Carrie's screechy vocals put a lot of people off. Their queer politics put others off. They never really got mainstream recognition - although some indy radio stations did put "Entertain," from S-K's final album, The Wood, in rotation.
To me, the unbridled punk lyricism of their guitar playing was magical. Check out "Not What You Want" on Dig Me Out, or "Light Rail Coyote" on One Beat, or "Far Away" - one of the best post-9/11 songs ever - or the classic rock-inspired tunes on The Wood. You'll see what I mean.