L7

Tuesday, Sept. 28; Karma

So, let's get this straight — with all the chatter about women in rock and girl power that we've put up with this decade, the end result of that particular strain of musical evolution turned out to be the Spice Girls, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera? What the hell happened? Even riot divvva Courtney Love wound up going under the knife for a boob job because being pretty on the inside apparently wasn't enough anymore. Sheesh — had Charles Darwin been a rock historian, those boneheaded Kansas School Board members might actually have a point.

OK, OK: We have the Donnas, the Muffs and Sleater-Kinney. But until they rule the music world like Spears and Aguilera do right now, it somehow seems that the combined efforts of the Runaways, Babes in Toyland, Patti Smith, and L7 were all for naught.

Of course, that doesn't mean anyone's giving up the battle just yet, least of all L7. Their new album, Slap Happy, is a blast of punk/metal sludge of the sort that the public may not want right now, but that's all the more evidence of how much it's needed. The Los Angeles band has been pared down to a trio, with bassist Gail Greenwood having been dropped primarily for geographical reasons. Guitarists/vocalists Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner and drummer Dee Plakas are soldiering on, though, making music on their own terms and, for the first time, on their own label. In an effort to maintain their independence in the face of continuing industry indifference and consolidation, the group formed its own imprint, Wax Tadpole. There's no denying that over the course of the last 10 years or so, the group has been handed more than its share of lemons. So what are they going to do about it? As they say on "Livin' Large," a track from the new album, they're going to "make some kick-ass lemonade."

 
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