Dig Me Out

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Dig Me Out
Studio album by Sleater-Kinney
Released April 8, 1997
Recorded December 1996 – January 1997
at John and Stu's Place in Seattle, Washington
Genre Punk rock
Length 36:34
Label Kill Rock Stars
Producer John Goodmanson
Sleater-Kinney chronology
Call the Doctor
(1996)
Dig Me Out
(1997)
The Hot Rock
(1999)
Singles from Dig Me Out
  1. "One More Hour"
    Released: June 1, 1998
  2. "Little Babies"
    Released: September 7, 1998

Dig Me Out is the third studio album by the American rock band Sleater-Kinney, released on April 8, 1997 by Kill Rock Stars. The album was produced by John Goodmanson and recorded from December 1996 to January 1997 at John and Stu's Place in Seattle, Washington. Dig Me Out marked the debut of Janet Weiss, who became the band's longest serving and last drummer. The music on the record was influenced by traditional rock and roll bands, while the lyrics deal with issues of heartbreak and survival.

Two singles were released in support of the album: "One More Hour" and "Little Babies". The title track "Dig Me Out" peaked at number six on the KEXP Top 90.3 Album Chart in 1997 without being released as a single. The album received substantial acclaim from music critics, who praised the album's energy and feminist lyrics. Dig Me Out is included on several publications' best album lists. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it number 272 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Background and recording[edit]

Dig Me Out is the follow-up to Sleater-Kinney's highly acclaimed second album Call the Doctor, released in 1996 by the queercore independent record label Chainsaw Records. Call the Doctor confirmed the band's reputation as one of the major musical acts from the Pacific Northwest, rebelling against gender roles, consumerism, and indie rock's male-dominated hierarchy.[1] After the release of Call the Doctor, drummer Janet Weiss of Quasi joined the band. Previously, the band had had a number of temporary drummers, including Misty Farrell, Lora Macfarlane, and Toni Gogin.[2] Weiss would eventually become Sleater-Kinney's longest serving and last drummer. For its third album, Sleater-Kinney worked again with producer John Goodmanson.[3] The band left Chainsaw Records and decided to release the album through Kill Rock Stars, another independent record label which singer and guitarist Corin Tucker thought had better resources to ensure the band's distribution. Goodmanson also remarked that Kill Rock Stars afforded the band a generous amount of studio time for an independent label, stating that Call the Doctor only took four days to record while Dig Me Out was recorded over the period of eight days.[4]

Dig Me Out was written in nearly two months and recorded from December 1996 to January 1997 at John and Stu's Place in Seattle, Washington.[5][6] During the recording sessions, recording the vocal interplay between Tucker and co-vocalist and guitarist Carrie Brownstein involved some difficulties. However, the producer took care and prevented favoring one voice over the other. As Goodmanson recalls: "We always used different mikes for the lead vocal and for the second vocal, or different kinds of processing to make those things really distinct. To make it so you can hear both things at once".[2] Goodmanson also noted that the fact that the band features no bass player was an advantage for the album's production.[3] He explained: "The awesome thing about having no bass player is you can make the guitars sound as big as you want. Usually you have to clear all that room out for the bass, so you can hear the bass line. With no bass there, you can just go for giant guitar sounds that you wouldn't normally be able to go for".[3]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Musically, Dig Me Out was considered "rockier" than its predecessor. Weiss' drumming style was influenced by traditional rock and roll bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Kinks, as well as numerous blues rock musicians such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Billy Boy Arnold, and Bessie Smith, among others.[3] Both Tucker and Brownstein remarked that Weiss became an essential part of the band's sound. According to Brownstein, Weiss was "the first drummer that matches [their] energy." Similarly, Tucker commented: "Musically, she's completed our band. She's become the bottom end and the solidness that we've really wanted for our songwriting".[3] Weiss also provides hand claps and tambourine in "Turn It On".[3] The song "Words and Guitar" was said to "[leap] and [skit] with the just-released repression of early Talking Heads",[7] while "Dance Song '97" was said to "sport Devo-esque keyboards of a distinctly '80s vintage".[8] Dig Me Out also contains more guitar and vocal interplay by Tucker and Brownstein than Call the Doctor.[9] Brownstein pointed out that "If you were to separate our guitar parts I don't necessarily think they would fully stand on their own. Our songs [...] aren't really complete until the other person has put their part over it, and their vocals".[9]

The lyrical themes on Dig Me Out deal with issues of heartbreak and survival.[10] The song "One More Hour" is about the breakup of Tucker and Brownstein's romantic relationship.[11] Spin magazine published a controversial article discussing Tucker and Brownstein's personal relationship without their permission.[5] Brownstein felt that "it was a complete invasion of privacy. My parents didn't know Corin and I were going out. They didn't know I had ever dated a woman before. It was horrible. I was pissed at Spin, really mad. Luckily my parents are great people, but God forbid I would have some family that would disown me over something like that. And I would have totally held Spin responsible for that."[5] The song features a lot of vocal interplay by Tucker and Brownstein. Chris Nelson of Addicted to Noise said of the song, "one can almost hear Tucker crying in the studio as she wails, 'I needed it', while behind her Brownstein offers her attempts at consolation".[2] Like Call the Doctor, the album also contains songs that show frustration with sexism and women's role in society.[7] The title song "Dig Me Out" exposes a woman in a dominant role, while "Little Babies" is a protest against the traditional maternity role.[7]

Release[edit]

Dig Me Out was released on April 8, 1997 by Kill Rock Stars.[12] The album cover is an homage to The Kinks' 1965 album The Kink Kontroversy.[13] After the release, the band went on a tour to promote the album; a performance of "Words and Guitar" at El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles is featured in the documentary film Songs for Cassavetes by Justin Mitchell.[14] As of July 1999, the album has sold 64,000 copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.[15] Two songs from the album, "One More Hour" and "Little Babies", were released as singles by Matador Records on June 1, 1998 and September 7, 1998 respectively.[16][17] The first single features the song "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" from Call the Doctor as the B-side, while the second single features "I'm Not Waiting", also from their previous album.[16][17] The compact disc version of "One More Hour" includes a third song, "Don't Think You Wanna", which was originally released on the band's debut album Sleater-Kinney.[16] The song "Dig Me Out" peaked at number six on the KEXP Top 90.3 Album Chart in 1997 without being released as a single.[18]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 4.5/5 stars[19]
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[20]
Robert Christgau A[21]
Entertainment Weekly B+[22]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[23]
Spin 9/10[7]

Dig Me Out received substantial acclaim from music critics. Randall Roberts, writing for CMJ New Music Monthly, described the album as a "hum of life wholly transcending gender and genre, filled with the kind of excitement and singular voice that made punk rock glorious in its infancy [...] Dig Me Out is a monster".[24] Ann Powers, writing for Spin, praised Tucker's emotional vocals and Brownstein's energetic guitar playing, noting that the band "now [delivers] the punch their words describe." Powers also gave high marks to the album's feminist lyrics, commenting "If [Sleater-Kinney] wanna be our Simone de Beauvoir, Dig Me Out proves they're up to it."[7] Similarly, Matt Diehl of Rolling Stone stated that "while the Spice Girls prattle on about 'girl power', Sleater-Kinney remain the real socket for that energy".[8]

AllMusic reviewer Jason Ankeny credited the band for expanding their musical boundaries with a more confident and mature sound.[20] Wook Kim of Entertainment Weekly praised Tucker and Brownstein's "interlocking" vocals and called the record a "fine example of state-of-the-art punk".[22] Prominent music critic Robert Christgau praised the union and teamwork of the band, stating that "they're so confident of their ability to please that they just can't stop. And this confidence is collective: Corin and Carrie chorus-trade like the two-headed girl, dashing and high-stepping around on Janet Weiss's shoulders. What a ride".[21] He referred to the album as one of his "favorite albums of the year, easy".[25] In a retrospective review, Anthony Carew of About.com highlighted the album's complex compositions and opined that the album took the band "from the cult corner of the Pacific Northwest to international acclaim".[19]

Dig Me Out is included on several publications' best album lists. The album appeared at number four in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 1997.[26] In 2001, Spin placed it at number 19 on its list of "50 Most Essential Punk Records".[27] In 2003, the album was ranked number 272 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[28] In 2005, the album was ranked number 24 in Spin's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005".[29] In 2012, Spin also ranked it at number 74 on their "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years", stating that "Dig Me Out captures the noise of a soul-filled body shaking itself awake, and that's an experience that bridges any gender divide."[30] In 2008, the song "Dig Me Out" was ranked number 44 in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time".[31] In 2011, the album was placed at number 71 by Slant Magazine on its list of "The 100 Best Albums of the 1990s".[32]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Sleater-Kinney.

No. Title Length
1. "Dig Me Out"   2:40
2. "One More Hour"   3:19
3. "Turn It On"   2:47
4. "The Drama You've Been Craving"   2:08
5. "Heart Factory"   3:54
6. "Words and Guitar"   2:21
7. "It's Enough"   1:46
8. "Little Babies"   2:22
9. "Not What You Want"   3:17
10. "Buy Her Candy"   2:02
11. "Things You Say"   2:56
12. "Dance Song '97"   2:49
13. "Jenny"   4:03
Total length:
36:34

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from AllMusic.[33]

Sleater-Kinney
Additional musicians
Technical personnel

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jason Ankeny. "Sleater-Kinney Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2014-06-29. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  2. ^ a b c Chris Nelson. "Sleater-Kinney Make Rock & Roll New Again - Page 3". Addicted to Noise. Archived from the original on 2000-06-10. Retrieved 2000-06-10. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Chris Nelson. "Sleater-Kinney Make Rock & Roll New Again - Page 2". Addicted to Noise. Archived from the original on 2000-06-10. Retrieved 2000-06-10. 
  4. ^ Chris Nelson. "Sleater-Kinney Make Rock & Roll New Again - Page 5". Addicted to Noise. Archived from the original on 2000-06-11. Retrieved 2000-06-11. 
  5. ^ a b c Marlene Goldman (1999-02-19). "Hot-Rockin' Beats". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  6. ^ Dig Me Out (CD booklet). Sleater-Kinney. Olympia, Washington: Kill Rock Stars. 1997. KRS #279. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Ann Powers (June 1997). "Dig Me Out". Spin 13: 117. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  8. ^ a b c Matt Diehl (1997-04-17). "Dig Me Out". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  9. ^ a b Chris Nelson. "Sleater-Kinney Make Rock & Roll New Again - Page 4". Addicted to Noise. Archived from the original on 2000-06-11. Retrieved 2000-06-11. 
  10. ^ Chris Nelson. "Sleater-Kinney Make Rock & Roll New Again - Page 1". Addicted to Noise. Archived from the original on 2000-06-10. Retrieved 2000-06-10. 
  11. ^ Chris Tinkham (2006-08-12). "Sleater-Kinney". Under the Radar. Archived from the original on 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  12. ^ "Sleater-Kinney". Kill Rock Stars. Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  13. ^ Jeff Terich (2008-08-20). "Sleater-Kinney : Dig Me Out". Treble. Archived from the original on 2013-08-10. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  14. ^ Lindsay Zoladz (2013-07-16). "Hush, Hush and Rock: Snapshot Of A Young Sleater-Kinney". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2013-08-24. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  15. ^ Mike Boehm (1999-07-01). "Emerging From Under Rock". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  16. ^ a b c "One More Hour - Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2014-06-29. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  17. ^ a b "Little Babies - Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2014-06-29. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  18. ^ "The KEXP Top 90.3 Album Chart for 1997". KEXP-FM. Archived from the original on 2013-08-11. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  19. ^ a b Anthony Carew. "Definitive Albums: Sleater-Kinney 'Dig Me Out' (1997)". About.com. Archived from the original on 2013-03-29. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  20. ^ a b Jason Ankeny. "Dig Me Out". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  21. ^ a b Robert Christgau. "Sleater-Kinney". Robert Christgau website. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  22. ^ a b Wook Kim (1997-04-25). "Dig Me Out". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  23. ^ Chonin, Neva (2004). "Sleater-Kinney". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 742–743. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  24. ^ Randall Roberts (June 1997). "Dig Me Out". CMJ New Music Monthly (46): 12. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  25. ^ Robert Christgau (1998-02-24). "The Year of No Next Big Thing". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2002-06-25. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  26. ^ "The 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. 1998-02-24. Archived from the original on 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  27. ^ "50 Most Essential Punk Records". Spin: 109. May 2001. 
  28. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time (Page 272)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  29. ^ "100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005". Spin 21: 78. July 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  30. ^ "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years". Spin. 2012-02-15. Archived from the original on 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  31. ^ "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time (Page 20)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  32. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1990s". Slant Magazine. 2011-02-14. Archived from the original on 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  33. ^ "Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 

External links[edit]