Corin Tucker has a superhero voice – soaring, nimble and hitting with the blunt force of a speeding bullet. Throughout the ’90s and early aughts, she lent its powers to riot grrrl trailblazers Heavens To Betsy and political punk powerhouse Sleater-Kinney, and then she decided to (as she says herself in the invitingly conversational new single “Groundhog Day”) “be a mom, have some kids.” But on Kill My Blues, her second album with post-Sleater-Kinney project The Corin Tucker Band, Tucker sounds like the iconic hero in the opening scene of a long-awaited sequel, sighing at the state of affairs that’s forced her return to her old job as a professional ass-kicker. “I thought we had a plan, move things forward for us and women around the globe,” she sings. “Instead of going forward, where the hell we going now?”
Following through on the promise of its opener, Kill My Blues never shies away from tough questions (“How can I keep you safe in a world full of violence?” she wonders on the cathartic “Blood, Bones, And Sand”) or complex emotions (“I Don’t Wanna Go,” a deeply felt song about choosing between family and life on the road.) But, although Blues occasionally recalls the blustery punk energy of mid-period Sleater-Kinney records The Hot Rock and All Hands on the Bad One, her bandmates Seth Lorinczi, Mike Clark, and former Unwound drummer Sara Lund breathe new life into Tucker’s signature style. “Medicine, like the sound of your voice,” she sings on the title track – which is a pretty apt description of her one-of-a-kind howl’s soothing power.