Chainsaw Records

Chainsaw Records  is an independent record label run by Donna Dresch, devoted to Queercore bands and operating out of Portland, Oregon.  (More from Wikipedia)
However, that certainly was not true of all of the female musicians in that time period.  Though I was slow to get the details, I was starting to hear about the rumblings of the “riot grrrl” movement, a female offshoot of punk rock; about all I had actually heard in the early days is the 1992 hit “Pretend We’re Dead” by a band called L7 (slang for “square”).  Singer/guitarist Corin Tucker was in Heavens to Betsy, one of many early riot grrrl rock duos.  The fact that only two people could create such a big sound was a revelation and led to a slew of other two-member rock bands in the years to come.  Classically trained pianist Carrie Brownstein (also a vocalist and guitarist) met Tucker in 1992 and was so inspired by her and other early riot grrrl bands like Bikini Kill that she started her own grrrl band, Excuse 17.  What began as a side project between the two of them became a full-fledged band with the addition of drummer Lora MacFarlane; MacFarlane was replaced by the third album with another drummer, Janet Weiss.  The arrival of Sleater-Kinney’s lo-fi–looking first album in 1995Sleater-Kinney (appropriately released on a label called Chainsaw Records) quickly established them as one of the finest feminist punk rock bands of that period.  Each album brought them greater fame and a more widespread fan base; by the beginning of the new millennium, Sleater-Kinney had enough mainstream appeal that Time magazine named them America’s best rock band in a 2001 issue.  Their 2002 album, One Beat is one of my very favorite albums of the 2000’s decade. 
(January 2013)
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Once Lora MacFarlane (who was originally from Australia) was hired as their permanent drummer, Sleater-Kinney quickly put together their first album, Sleater-Kinney, an indie-rock masterpiece that came out on Chainsaw Records in 1995.  The rough-cut nature of this album only gave a hint of the glories to come as Sleater-Kinney refined and enriched their sound in future albums.  Chainsaw Records had been started by Donna Dresch who was in yet another Pacific Northwest punk rock band, Team Dresch.   


(January 2014)


Last edited: March 22, 2021