Posts Tagged ‘Corin Tucker’

Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein

Sleater Kinney have announced a new album, “Path of Wellness”. Out June 11th, the follow-up to 2019’s “The Centre Won’t Hold” it’s their first record to be recorded without Janet Weiss since the drummer joined the group in 1996. To round out the new record, Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein invited local Portland musicians to the studio. It is their first LP to be self-produced, and it’s coming out on Mom+Pop Records.

Watch the video for new song “Worry With You”.

Sleater-Kinney’s 10th studio album was recorded in Portland, Oregon during the summer of 2020′ against a backdrop of social unrest, devastating wildfires, and a raging pandemic. It’s music for an imagined togetherness. This marks the first Sleater-Kinney album produced by the band members themselves.

The band has also added a date in August on tour with Wilco.

Sleater-Kinney with their tenth album, Path of Wellness, on June 11th via Mom + Pop.

The first single is “Worry With You,” which finds the band kind of navigating the middle ground between the funkier vibe of The Center Won’t Hold and the more stripped-back rock sound of their classic records. It’s unmistakably Sleater-Kinney, and you can check it out for yourself by watching the Alberta Poon-directed video .

Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out

Hailing from Olympia, Washington, Sleater-Kinney are pioneers in the riot grrrl movement. At its core, “Dig Me Out” is an album leading listeners through vigorous emotional strains — and the tension implodes on nearly every track. The record was released just barely a year after the bomb-hitting Call the Doctor, but the trio somehow managed to upstage themselves with “Dig Me Out”. This is the record where they first teamed up with Janet Weiss, and the change only did amazing things for them.

This album shows a sense of confidence. Sleater-Kinney were still an underground band when this record came out; Call the Doctor was a critical hit, but still wasn’t smashing numbers, and the band had shifted from a tiny indie label to a less tiny indie label. Dig Me Out is an album that will always push first into people’s minds when they think of the band, because it’s the record where everything first clicked for them — the record that marked their territory as a defining rock band in American history. 

“Dig Me Out” was the third studio album by the American rock band Sleater-Kinney, released on April 8, 1997, by Kill Rock Stars. The album was produced by John Goodmanson and recorded from December 1996 to January 1997 at John and Stu’s Place in Seattle, Washington. Dig Me Out marked the debut of Janet Weiss, who would become the band’s longest-serving drummer. The music on the record was influenced by traditional rock and roll bands, while the lyrics deal with issues of heartbreak and survival.

The album cover is an homage to The Kinks’ 1965 album “The Kink Kontroversy”. Two singles were released in support of the album: “One More Hour” and “Little Babies”.

Call the Doctor confirmed the band’s reputation as one of the major musical acts from the Pacific Northwest, rebelling against gender roles, consumerism, and indie rock’s male-dominated hierarchy. After the release of Call the Doctor, drummer Janet Weiss of Quasi joined the band. Previously, the band had had a number of temporary drummers, including Misty Farrell, Lora Macfarlane, and Toni Gogin. Weiss would eventually become Sleater-Kinney’s longest serving drummer. For its third album, Sleater-Kinney worked again with producer John Goodmanson.

Both Tucker and Brownstein remarked that Weiss became an essential part of the band’s sound. According to Tucker, “Musically, she’s completed our band. She’s become the bottom end and the solidness that we’ve really wanted for our song writing”. In addition to playing drums, Weiss provides hand claps and tambourine in “Turn It On”. Dig Me Out also contains more guitar and vocal interplay by Tucker and Brownstein than Call the Doctor. As Brownstein explained, “If you were to separate our guitar parts I don’t necessarily think they would fully stand on their own. Our songs aren’t really complete until the other person has put their part over it, and their vocals”. The lyrical themes on Dig Me Out deal with issues of heartbreak and survival.

The band left Chainsaw Records and decided to release the album through Kill Rock Stars, another independent record label which singer and guitarist Corin Tucker thought had better resources to ensure the band’s distribution. Goodmanson also remarked that Kill Rock Stars afforded the band a generous amount of studio time for an independent label, stating that Call the Doctor only took four days to record while Dig Me Out was recorded over the period of eight days.

The song “One More Hour” is about the breakup of Tucker and Brownstein’s romantic relationship.

Dig Me Out also features songs that show frustration with sexism and gender stereotypes. “Little Babies” is a protest against the traditional maternity role, while the title song “Dig Me Out” exposes a woman in a dominant role. The album’s title was inspired by the fact that the band had to literally dig out the recording studio after a heavy snowstorm that took place in Winter 1996 in Seattle. Musically, the song “Words and Guitar” was said to “[leap] and [skit] with the just-released repression of early Talking Heads”, while “Dance Song ’97” was said to “sport Devo-esque keyboards of a distinctly ’80s vintage”

Sleater-Kinney:
  • Carrie Brownstein – guitar, vocals
  • Corin Tucker – vocals, guitar
  • Janet Weiss – drums, percussion

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 is back with their new single “Animal” from the sessions that brought you The Center Won’t Hold. Sleater-Kinney delivers a song about rebellion, retaliation and rage. It’s about letting go of all politeness and filters and letting the “animal” side speak. Vocals were recorded in St Vincent’s home studio – the perfect place to unleash a voice like this!.

The duo made their return earlier this year with comeback album ‘The Center Won’t Hold’.

Mom + Pop Released on: 2019-10-02  Vocals, Guitar: Corin Tucker , Vocals, Guitar: Carrie Brownstein , Drums: Janet Weiss Producer: St. Vincent

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

The first releases from Filthy Friends, the scorchingly melodic rock group whose membership consists of some of the most original musical voices of the past three decades, came as a small, delightful shock to the system. Not only because of the names associated with the project, including Sleater-Kinney co-founder Corin Tucker, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and indie stalwarts Scott McCaughey and Kurt Bloch, but also because of how ably they were able to mesh their individual sounds into a crackling melodic whole on debut album Invitation.

Now, with their follow-up—Emerald Valley, out on Kill Rock Stars on May 3rd—the Friends have proven their collective mettle, crafting a thematic suite of songs that finds the quintet digging deeper into their bag of musical tricks and giving Tucker room to rage about and mourn the fate of our planet and the people who inhabit it.

The core idea came from a demo Buck shared with Tucker for a grinding blues song that eventually turned into this new album’s title track. The minute she heard it, Tucker says, it sparked something within her: “I had this long poem growing in my brain,” she says. “It turned into a sort of manifesto about the kind of place we are at as a country but also as a region. Just taking stock of where we’re at and feeling like I can’t believe we let things get this bad.”

While Emerald Valley starts off with idyllic imagery (“Rolling fields, they speak your name/vibrant green is here again”), the album and its title track slowly reveal the ugly underneath, with human arrogance and hubris hurting the Earth and the people who take on “backbreaking work for little pay.”

From there, the Friends address growing concerns over oil production and distribution (“Pipeline”), gentrification and income inequality within the band’s hometown of Portland, Oregon (“One Flew East”), and taking on the voice of the desperate souls that are getting crushed under the wheels of capitalism (“Last Chance County”). The band paints these themes with many different shades of the rock palette, nestling a snapping punk tune between a bit of jangly pop and an almost-shoegaze ballad, with stops along the way for songs that burn as hot and move as slow as lava and tunes that stay steady and fast as a rocket launch.

Emerald Valley is also a testament the indefatigable spirit of the Filthy Friends themselves. Scott McCaughey bounced back from a stroke he suffered in late 2017, which curtailed the band’s tour plans and is playing with more fire than ever. As well, Corin Tucker and Peter Buck were able to devise some amazing work even as their creative energies were being pulled toward other projects like Arthur Buck and Sleater-Kinney. Too, the band was able to bring a new member into the fold with drummer Linda Pitmon coming on board to replace Bill Rieflin without losing an ounce of their power.

We could all take a lesson from Filthy Friends. As proven by Emerald Valley, when a group of like-minded people gather their individual strengths together and point them toward a singular goal, there’s no telling how powerful they can become and what an impact they can make on the world at large.

Released May 3rd, 2019

Kill Rock Stars: Filthy Friends: 05/27/2017, SE Portland, OR

Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and R.E.M.‘s Peter Buck are in a new band called Filthy Friends. Listen to “The Arrival”, the new single from their debut, Invitation. The LP is out August 25th.

Filthy Friends is the sound of music being made free of expectations, free of fear for how it will be received, free of any and all bullshit that has become part of the modern music industry. Filthy Friends is the product of like minded individuals with nothing to prove getting together and making a heroic racket together that finds space for their many influences and interests.

The band is lucky in that regard. Their legacies in the music world are comfortably secured. Lead singer CCorin Tucker has left an indelible mark on the punk scene through her memberships in Sleater-Kinney and Heavens to Betsy. Guitarist Kurt Bloch has logged a lot of hours as the leader of The Fastbacks, as well as serving as a producer/mentor for up and coming Seattle rock groups. Drummer Bill Rieflin has a fine day job as one of the drummers in King Crimson. Bassist Scott McCaughey keeps plenty busy doing studio work and mining the power pop underground with his long-running band the Young Fresh Fellows. As for the other guitarist Peter Buck…if you’re unfamiliar with him, you haven’t been paying attention to the last 30 years of alternative/college/indie rock.

So far, the world has gotten to know Filthy Friends through a nicely scattershot batch of songs: “Despierata,” their entry into the anti-Trump project 30 Songs For 30 Days and the 2017 Record Store Day release featuring their original “Any Kind of Crowd” and a sinister take on Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.” Now this fierce collective is fanning the flames even hotter with the release of their debut full-length Invitation. Yes, it does slip their already released tracks into the mix, but what surrounds those tunes is oh so much more than you could have ever asked for.

The 12-song collection works through a flurry of different moods and styles, genre exercises and joyous experiments. The intricate guitar knots and blasts of bubblegum pop of Buck’s beloved Television are all over the herky-jerky “Windmill.” A mashup of ‘60s downer vibes and rootsy rumblings makes up the marvelous “Second Life” whereas “Come Back Shelley” is all swagger and glitz in the style of a lost glam rock 45. There ain’t nothing this band can’t do with the wet clay of rock music and what they sculpt out of it is pure art.

If you can sense an ease with the way these songs and this band got together that isn’t a mistake. The five Filthy Friends have gotten to know each other well, lo these past few decades. Bloch and McCaughey are both longstanding members of the Young Fresh Fellows. Rieflin and McCaughey were both unofficial members of R.E.M. during the band’s post-Bill Berry years. If that weren’t enough Buck, Rieflin, and McCaughey are also members of the Minus 5 and the Venus 3, bands that have made fantastic records on their own and with venerated singer-songwriters like John Wesley Harding, Alejandro Escovedo and Robyn Hitchcock. With all of them living and working in the Pacific NW, they’ve all gotten to know and love the work that Tucker has done in Sleater-Kinney and with her solo ventures.

The bottom line is that this is a group of musical lifers who, after 30+ years of playing shows both big and small, still get a visceral thrill out of recording a great song or standing on stage. They’d be doing it with the same enthusiasm and authority if they had an audience of 5 or 5,000. Don’t ask much more of them beyond that. We demand far too much from the artists we love. Best to let these kids do what they wanna do and just enjoy rolling around in the muck with them whenever we get their invitation

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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.”

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.