Ms. Led, a Seattle four-piece fronted by Lesli Wood aka "Roxy", turn out a raucous, danceable, soul-punk rock, coughing 30 minutes of catchy, rocky, danceable, empowering bliss on their latest release These Things We Say.
What make Ms. Led so infectious is equal parts smart lyrics, attitude, and musicianship. The band's lyrics exalt feminism and put social issues in the hot seat. These Things We Say packs a powerfully political punch; it was no coincidence that the album was officially released on Election Day, sadly also known as "Black Tuesday" in these parts. But the band wants us to keep active for our causes. "The most important point is that even after this election, the fight isn't over," Roxy says.
Ms. Led has an inherent knowledge of how to mix their strong assets. They perfectly blend crunchy guitar riffs (Roxy and Peg "Violet" Wood), bouncing basslines (Matt "Clark" Menovcik), technically tight drums (Steph "Bootsy" Hasselman), and soaring, searing vocals. And what makes an imaginary writer smile even more? It's Roxy's voice, so noticeably Northwest. She is at times Kathleen, at times Carrie, at times Mia (RIP), but all at once her own mix of growl and soul, unique enough to no doubt place her on a first-name-only list in the not-too-distant future.
It is hard to pick out the most notable tracks. "Small Change" is a three-minute wonder of big drums, rolling basslines and a lyrical battle-cry that may just be 2004's anthem ("You gotta start talking/And you gotta start moving/If you wanna stay sane/Just remember that small change is still change"). "Keep on the Outside" rivals the best electro-dance tune by Le Tigre. And "It Took Until April" throws those tapping toes into a tailspin; it's Ramones-ish riffs so peppy, Wood's wails so full, how can you not want to take it up a notch and actually dance to the music?
And on that note, Ms. Led have a lot of shows coming up extremely soon! Dec 9th is the TIG-sponsored CD-release party, 9pm at the Crocodile. (The band also plays live that same day on KEXP 90.3) And catch Ms. Led once again Dec 11th at The Clipper in Olympia, 9 pm. Check out www.msled.com for more shows and more info!