Posts Tagged ‘The Center Won’t Hold’

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