Random fact: the most popular blog post on this site is my love letter to the alt-rock women of the 1990s: https://jason-sizemore.com/2014/05/30/letters-to-cleo-kay-hanley-and-ben-wyatt/
The highlight of that post was the confession that I harbored an innocent crush on the lead singer of Letter’s to Cleo. I mean, I still do, but I’m happy to jam to Kay Hanley’s music and follow her antics on Twitter.
For example, she’s still as cool and fierce now as she was back then.
Obviously having a lot of feelings while idling in my car in front of my house, paralyzed by this sick Zeppelin rock block. @TheSoundLA
— Kay Hanley (@kayhanley) February 19, 2017
Also, she still personifies the rocker grrrl aesthetic these days as much as she did back in the 90s.
A few months back Kay Hanley’s band, Letters to Cleo, released their first new music since 2008 in an EP titled Back to Nebraska.
How is it? Fun. Jaunty. Quite good. Kay’s powerhouse vocals are still intact. The band sounds as great as ever.
I’m reminded of how I felt when another 90s rocker grrl band, Garbage, released new material a few years back. Shirley Manson’s incredible voice remained intact. The outstanding guitar and drum work was still there. But the music lacked the edge that drew me to it. It felt like going through the paces. Shirley Manson has mellowed with age. And I understand that it happens as you mature.
(Granted, I keep waiting for my mellow, but it has yet to happen.)
Letters to Cleo is still delivering the goods that drew me to them 20 years ago (good lord, 20 years).
The EP opens with the fast, peppy pop-rock in “Can’t Say.” Jumps next into “4 Leaf Clover”, then a squeal and a twangy rock chord introduce the title track. “Hitch a Ride” is a pulsating punk-lite that recalls the best of 90s fast rockers.
Kay Hanley has described her music as “Gloomy lyrics” and “Happy-as-fuck melodies.” That’s exactly what you get in the new EP, and I love it.
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