Kate Nash & Her Influences
One of the most pleasant and unexpected developments in alt rock right now is singer-songwriter Kate Nash's evolution from confessional pop songs pounded out on blocky piano to scratched-out punk songs that recall the reign of riot grrrl at its best. This year's criminally underrated Girl Talk is her best album ever, combining her early sweet-and-sour hooks with fury on surfy howlers such as "Fri-end" and "Sister" that recall Kathleen Hanna's fast, fun work with Le Tigre and early Sleater-Kinney (before their '70s guitar-goddess dreams really took shape). There's also a huge, spitting dose of Courtney Love's disarmingly direct, acrid sarcasm. Hearing a trained pianist "regress" into punk simplicity is as liberating for Nash's audience as it must be for her.