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The Spells

In the middle of '99, Mary Timony of Helium and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney got together as The Spells and recorded their Age of Backwards EP. At just over eight minutes, the only way this collaborative effort falls short is by being too brief. With the two women trading vocal duties, The Spells somehow capture the essence of both Helium's intricate fairytale pop and Sleater-Kinney's disjointed feminist punk with more minimal instrumentation than either of those bands. The title track ("The Age of Backwards") features darkly melodic guitar interplay and gorgeously plaintive lead vocals from Brownstein. The rest of the EP features two more originals and a great stripped-down cover of The Who's "Can't Explain."

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