Posts Tagged ‘Carrie Brownstein’

Did Sleater-Kinney have an identity crisis, or did we? On their ninth record, Sleater-Kinney remain resolutely misunderstood, though they’ve always sounded different from record-to-record. While Sleater-Kinney are a rock band, The Center Won’t Hold isn’t really rock music—the epic scope and industrial aspects of this words-and-mostly-guitarless offering—courtesy, some might say of producer Annie Clark (though who really knows)—have far more in common with stylized art pop than anything in their back catalog. But its aims are grander, as well, and Sleater-Kinney still bring a vibrating desperation and undimmed punk anger to their music in a way that suits our new era of fraying nerves and grinding anxiety. Carrie Brownstein throws off the Hollywood sparks these days, but it’s true believer Corin Tucker whose full heart promises protection from the oncoming terror. “Tell me if you feel like you are lost and alone / I am your friend / You can cover me / Just come over here and give me everything” she sings on “The Future is Here.” Her vocals brim with tenderness and compassion, a motherly bookend to the Tucker of 20 years past, who furiously wailed, “Not what you want? It’s everything!” And everything it remains.

Sleater-Kinney newest album, The Center Won’t Hold, released on August 16th via Mom + Pop Records. The song from it, “Can I Go On,” via a lyric video. It comes accompanied by the band’s press photo as a duo (Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) in the wake of drummer Janet Weiss unexpectedly announcing at the start of the month that she was leaving Sleater-Kinney only a month and a half before their new album is to be released.

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Brownstein had this to say about “Can I Go On” in a press release: “In this song, a woman’s desire is used against her, so she turns it into a sinister infectiousness. The narrator finds herself on the brink of self-annihilation, grappling with the paradox of an internal darkness at odds with the pressure to outwardly perform modes of joy, relatability, and likability.”

In a previous press release Brownstein also had this to say about recording the album: “Instead of just going into the studio to document what we’d done, we were going in to explore and to find the essence of something. To dig in deeper. It felt like a really crucial part of the process itself, not just the end game.”

The Center Won’t Hold finds the band experimenting with a slightly more polished sound, thanks to producer St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark), and on a new label in Mom + Pop. Prior to the announcement of The Center Won’t Hold, Sleater-Kinney shared the album’s first single “Hurry On Home” via a Miranda July-directed lyric video for the track . When the album was announced they shared its second single, “The Future Is Here,” Then they stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform “Hurry On Home,” in what might be Weiss‘ last public performance with the band. Then they shared the album’s title track, “The Center Won’t Hold”.

Sleater-Kinney share “The Future Is Here,” the second new track to be revealed from their forthcoming highly anticipated album, The Center Won’t Hold, produced by St. Vincent and slated for release August 16th on Milk! RecordsThe Center Won’t Hold is the tenth album from the iconic trio comprised of Carrie Brownstein (guitar/vocals), Corin Tucker (guitar/vocals) and Janet Weiss (drums). Brownstein explains, “We’re always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person — ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness — in the middle of the chaos.”   Weiss adds, “I think for Carrie and Corin it was liberating to explore a different sound palette. Annie (St. Vincent) has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us.” Tucker says, The Center Won’t Hold drops you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election. And almost like a mission statement, at the end of that song, it’s like the band is finding its way out of that space by becoming a rock band.”

“The Future Is Here” permeates an understated intensity, with building vocals and a menacing longing while simultaneously drawing the listener in with its catchy chorus “I need you more than I ever have, because the future is here and we can’t go back.” The track follows “Hurry On Home,” the first single unveiled from the forthcoming record.  Upon its release the critical praise was unanimous; NPR raved, “Sleater-Kinney’s first new song since 2015’s No Cities To Love blisters with desperation and desire, a promising hint of the St. Vincent-produced future we were promised,” while GQ stated, “urgent and throttling and sticky all at once, ‘Hurry On Home’ is the first taste of rock legends Sleater-Kinney’s upcoming album that’s produced by St. Vincent. If the rest sounds anything remotely as good as this, well, we’ve got an Album of the Year contender on our hands.” Pitchfork said of the Sleater-Kinney/St. Vincent pairing, “The endless possibilities of what this collaboration might sound like remain a bit mystifying, but the first taste is a clear knockout.”

The Center Won’t Hold – Out August 16th, 2019

Sleater-Kinney St. Vincent new album

Sleater-Kinney is recording a new album, and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark is in the producer’s chair. The band shared the above image on social media this morning, with the announcement that their next album is in the works. NPR Music confirmed the news with the band, though as of yet the album doesn’t have a title or a release date.  “We always planned on getting back in the studio — it was just a matter of when,” Carrie Brownstein says in the NPR article. “If there is an overarching principle to this album, it’s that the tools on which we were relying proved inadequate. So we sought new ones, both metaphorically and literally.”

the holy, loud and vulnerable “Hurry on Home,” the band’s first new music since 2015’s. Sleater-Kinney’s last album was 2015′s No Cities to Love. The new single is brassy and obsessive, and finds the band exploring a different sonic direction. “Disconnect me from my bones! / So I can float, so I can roam,” Corin Tucker cries, confessing that she’s uptownable, unfuckable, unlovable, unwatchable—and really, really wants her lover to please, please come home.

Oh, and by the way—the single is accompanied by a lyric video directed by Miranda July, because Sleater-Kinney is Sleater-Kinney, and we’d expect nothing less.

“Hurry on Home” is the band’s first proper release of new music after a teaser for the band’s forthcoming ninth studio album appeared and then disappeared from indie label Mom + Pop’s website.

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Sleater Kinney  became one of the best and most important bands of the era by growing up and growing out of the scene that spawned them.

Initially inspired by the riot-grrrl movement of the early ’90s, the all-female Olympia, Washington.-based trio quickly found its own voice within that often-stagnate scene,

By the time of their third album, Dig Me Out, in 1997, Sleater-Kinney had nailed down everything that made them so vital over the next decade: Corin Tucker’s wailing howl, her stabbing musical interplay with co-singer and guitarist Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss’ positively rhythmic drumming.

Their punk-influenced social and political beliefs were in place early, but as they matured as artists, they evolved to include sharp commentary on their feminism, the music around them and their crumbling relationships. They went deeper and with more honest intensity than most of their peers. And they weren’t afraid to musically grow up, either. They became more melodic over time, without ever sacrificing the indie-rock foundations that helped shape them.

Plus, the way they went out, and came back, went against the way these things were usually done. Their great 2005 album, The Woods, was designed to be a farewell, but a decade later they returned with an even better comeback record, No Cities to Love.

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Sleater-Kinney started 2015 by returning to the road to support “No Cities to Love,” its first album in a decade, and ended the year with a unique live challenge: a run of five consecutive shows in New York, each in a different space. The band’s drummer, Janet Weiss, described it as a “shrinking tour” — the Portland-based trio started big, with the Kings Theater in Flatbush, Brooklyn (capacity: nearly 4,000, where most fans had assigned seats) and played a subsequently smaller stage every night until it reached the recently revamped Market Hotel in Bushwick (capacity: approximately 300, where attendees were packed shoulder to shoulder, crammed into window frames and wrapped around pillars).

In the background you might hear, “Oh my God! This is so awesome!” It’s the truth. Such honest words were yelled repeatedly at New York’s Terminal 5 , when Fred Armisen (Ms. Brownstein’s co-star on “Portlandia”) joined on vocals and smacked  his cowbell helped surprise Sleater-Kinney fans with this seven-minute to the B52’s “Rock Lobster” cover. The band introduced a cover song it had played only once before, in 1997: the B-52’s playful surf-rock party jam “It’s just the most fun song,”  Weiss said. She added that the group practiced it two or three times at sound check: “Everybody showed up very prepared and I was impressed with all of us for studying and being ready. “Improvising is always more exciting when the crowd is into it and you don’t feel like you’re in a fishbowl. When you feel like you’re with the crowd, it’s easier to go out on the ledge.”

2015 was a massive year for Sleater-Kinney: They released their first album in a decade, “No Cities to Love”, bowled critics over with it, toured behind it all over the world and wrapped it up with a five-night string of shows in New York. Starting at the Kings Theatre and ending at the newly re-opened Market Hotel, the Olympia punk trio defended their newly christend title of America’s Best Punk Band Ever as they rocked out at venues that just increased in intimacy earlier this week.  Weiss, who assembles the group’s set lists, had a host of variables to consider: How the sound would reverberate in the various-sized rooms; if fans would return on multiple nights and wish to hear different picks; the emotional and physical demands on the band’s singers; how the musicians could feed off the energy of the crowd.

Sleater-Kinney, GIF-ified: Here Are 16 From Their Five-Night NYC Stand (15)

Sleater-Kinney might, complete with a flailing Fred Armisen cameo and one especially heartwarming capture of Janet Weiss at her kit with the M Train rolling behind her in the distance, above.

Near the end of the first show in the cavernous Kings Theater, the band — which also includes Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker on vocals and guitars, and the touring guitarist and keyboardist Katie Harkin  made an on-the-fly call to cut from the set the sprawling “Let’s Call It Love,” from the 2005 album “The Woods.”

Weiss said the band was exhausted by the time it hit the stage, after spending the day at “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” repeatedly playing the “No Cities to Love” track “Bury Our Friends” for broadcast that night. “Everything felt like, really scrappy and sort of wild, slightly out of control,” Weiss said. “It’s a smaller, more live-sounding stage, so it was loud and super raw sounding.”

“Little Babies,” from their 1997 album, “Dig Me Out,” made its sole appearance of the run that night: “Songs like ‘You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun’ and ‘Step Aside’ or ‘Little Babies,’ we like those songs, but in the context of this tour it felt a little campy and out of place,” Weiss said. “So those didn’t surface as much as some of the more tough songs.”

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Excuse 17 sat in the dead center of the early-’90s Olympia, Washington  The band formed by riot grrrl, queercore, Kill Rock Stars, and Evergreen State College. By the time Carrie Brownstein, Becca Albee, and CJ Phillips released the band’s self-titled debut album in 1994, via Chainsaw Records (a Portland queer zine turned label), riot grrrl’s first wave was already ebbing. Their second and final album, 1995’s Such Friends Are Dangerous, reinvigorated feminist punk with a sound simultaneously harder and more melodic than Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. In a setup similar to the one Sleater-Kinney would adopt, Brownstein and Albee both sang and played guitar, scattering hardcore howls amid catchy pop hooks.

Such Friends’ centerpiece song, “This Is Not Your Wedding Song,” is a bitter rejoinder to an ex who’s trying to hide her true self under a bridal gown. “I won’t cry at your wedding,” Brownstein screams in the chorus. But in between those electric jolts, crunching guitars lead her back to the deadpan deconstruction of a person she can see right through. Other songs brim with the biting sarcasm of smart women fed up with condescension. “I asked what time it was/Not how to make a watch,” Albee sneers at a proto-mansplainer on “Watchmaker.” Excuse 17 were more than just Carrie Brownstein juvenalia, but their music brims with all the elements that would come to define her career: intelligence, dark humor, and indelible riffs.

CARRIE BROWNSTEIN – HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL (SIGNED COPIES)
​From the guitarist of the pioneering band Sleater-Kinney, a candid, funny, and deeply personal look at making a life-and finding yourself-in music.

Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she w as a young girl grow ing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one of the most important movements in rock history. Seeking a sense of home and identity, she would discover both while moving from spectator to creator in experiencing the power and mystery of a live performance. With Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein and her bandmates rose to prominence in the burgeoning underground feminist punk-rock movement that would define music and pop culture in the 1990s. They would be cited as “America’s best rock band” by legendary music critic Greil Marcus for their defiant, exuberant brand of punk that resisted labels and limitations, and redefined notions of gender in rock.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is an intimate and revealing narrative of her escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue. Along the way, Brownstein chronicles the excitement and contradictions within the era’s flourishing and fiercely independent music subculture, including experiences that sow ed the seeds for the observational satire of the popular television series Portlandia years later.

With deft, lucid prose Brownstein proves herself as formidable on the page as on the stage. Accessibly raw , honest and heartfelt, this book captures the experience of being a young woman, a born performer and an outsider, and ultimately finding one’s true calling through hard work, courage and the intoxicating power of rock and roll.

Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
The trio still snap and crackle on their first set since 2005. No Cities might sound chaotic at first, but each element Corin Tucker’s sweet snarl, Janet Weiss’ rugged beats, Carrie Brownstein’s noisy solos—is exactly in its right place. Of course Sleater-Kinney was going to reunite—everybody reunites these days—but
Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss were stealthy about it: the trio didn’t let slip that they had been working on their first album in 10 years until it was already finished.

And what an album! The interplay between Brownstein and Tucker has rarely been tighter or more ferocious, their voices and guitars twisting, turning and intertwining over explosive drumming from Weiss on songs that are as tuneful as they are hard-hitting. Sleater-Kinney had built an enviable catalog before dissolving in 2006; No Cities to Love is a staggering return that ranks among their best work.

Sleater-Kinney perform No Cities To Love from their 2015 album of the same name on Sound Opinions.

Sleater-Kinney perform Get Up from their 1999 album The Hot Rock on Sound Opinions.

Sleater-Kinney perform Price Tag from their 2015 album No Cities To Love on Sound Opinions in Chicago.

Carrie Brownstein, Corrin Tucker and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney had released their most critically lauded album to date, The Woods, in 2005 when they decided to put the band on indefinite “hiatus.”Now, 10 years later, they have returned with a critically acclaimed new album, “No Cities to Love”, and sold out shows across the United States. Greg sat down with Carrie, Corin and Janet earlier this year and talked about the Riotgrrl origins of the band, why exactly they decided to go on hiatus and why it was important to them to make such a high energy new album. Greg and Carrie Brownstein also talked about her new found fame as 1/2 of the comedic duo with Fred Armisen in Portlandia.

Sleater-Kinney – ‘No Cities to Love’

The last time Sleater Kinney played the 9:30 Club, a transformer threatened to blow in the midst of a summer heat wave. Or maybe the Washington, D.C., club just couldn’t handle Corin Tucker’s pipes. That was nine years ago, on a goodbye-for-now tour that caught the trio at the top of its game. The show was rescheduled and Taped for NPR Music Radio, and we had our closure, crossing fingers that it wouldn’t be the last we’d hear from Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss.

In the intervening years, all three put their energies into other projects, some musical and some not, sometimes even together . But Sleater-Kinney has an electric chemistry of its own. As Brownstein quotes, “I really think Sleater-Kinney is a singular band with no clear predecessor or successor, so I don’t think we started out creating music that you could see the palette of colors that we were using, and maybe draw a lineage.”

On the first night of a two-night gig at the 9:30 Club, Sleater-Kinney went all-in with its set list. Tracks from the band’s monster of a new album, No Cities To Love, felt natural alongside songs like “Oh!” and “Words And Guitar,” obliterating the band’s timeline by demonstrating a catalog that’s always present, always on fire.

SET LIST
  • “Price Tag”
  • “Start Together”
  • “Fangless”
  • “Oh!”
  • “Surface Envy”
  • “Get Up”
  • “Ironclad”
  • “No Anthems”
  • “Youth Decay”
  • “What’s Mine Is Yours”
  • “A New Wave”
  • “No Cities To Love”
  • “One Beat”
  • “Words And Guitar”
  • “Bury Our Friends”
  • “Sympathy”
  • “Entertain”
  • “Jumpers”
ENCORE
  • “Gimme Love”
  • “Little Babies”
  • “Turn It On”
  • “Modern Girl”
  • “Dig Me Out”