Since scoring "rock 'n' roll saviour" hype with their KRS debut, Dig Me Out, Sleater-Kinney's scrappy triumvirate have stuck like glue with their post-riot grrrl duelling staccato vocal/jagged guitar/primal drumbeat template. Though the brass accents on 2002's One Beat suggested the ladies were veering to the left, nothing prepared me for the staggering psych-fuzz opus that is The Woods. Their first disc for Sub Pop seethes with Carrie Brownstein's hallucinatory solos, wavering hooks that suggest they're disappearing down an echo chamber and hypnotic drum fills that sound like a mescaline marching band. Dave Fridmann keeps things muscular and raw, avoiding the twinkly sheen that pervades most of his other production work, and he reinvents Brownstein's and Corin Tucker's customary call-and-response shtick by burying it in layers of effects so it sounds like they're playing a panicked game of Marco Polo. From the breezy 60s ballad Modern Girl to the growly music biz indictment Entertain, these are S-K's best songs in years. Awesome.