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Sleater-Kinney (/ˌsltərˈkɪn/ SLAY-tər-KIN-ee[1]) is an American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington, in 1994. [2] The band's current lineup features Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar) and Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals) following the departure of longtime member Janet Weiss (vocals, drums, and harmonica) in 2019.[3] Sleater-Kinney was influenced by riot grrrl and is a key part of the American indie rock scene.[4] The band is also known for its feminist and left-leaning politics.[5]

Sleater-Kinney
The band members sitting side-by-side with Janet Weiss holding drumsticks
Sleater-Kinney in 2019
Background information
OriginOlympia, Washington, United States
Genres
Years active
  • 1994–2006
  • 2014–present
Labels
Websitesleater-kinney.com
Members
Past members

The band released seven studio albums between 1994 and 2005: Sleater-Kinney (1995), Call the Doctor (1996), Dig Me Out (1997), The Hot Rock (1999), All Hands on the Bad One (2000), One Beat (2002) and The Woods (2005). They went on hiatus in 2006 and devoted themselves to solo projects. They reunited in 2014 and released No Cities to Love on January 20, 2015, and Live in Paris in January 2017.[6] Their second studio album after their reunion, The Center Won't Hold, was produced by St. Vincent, and released in August 2019.

Critics Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau have each praised Sleater-Kinney as one of the essential rock groups of the early 2000s.[7] Marcus named Sleater-Kinney America's best rock band in 2001.[8] Tom Breihan of Stereogum called them the greatest rock band of the past two decades in 2015.[9]

HistoryEdit

Formation, early years (1994–1999)Edit

Sleater-Kinney was formed in early 1994 in Olympia, Washington, by Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. The group's name derives from Sleater Kinney Road, in Lacey, Washington, where signs for Interstate 5 exit number 108 announce its existence.[10][11][3] One of the band's early practice spaces was near Sleater Kinney Road. Tucker was formerly in the influential riot grrrl band Heavens to Betsy, while Brownstein was formerly in the band Excuse 17. They often played at gigs together and formed Sleater-Kinney as a side-project from their respective bands. When Heavens to Betsy and Excuse 17 disbanded, Sleater-Kinney became their primary focus. Janet Weiss of Quasi was the band's longest lasting drummer, though Sleater-Kinney has had other drummers, including Lora Macfarlane, Misty Farrell, and Toni Gogin.[3]

Upon Tucker's graduation from The Evergreen State College (where Brownstein remained a student for three more years), she and then-girlfriend Brownstein took a trip to Australia in early 1994. Their last day there, they stayed up all night recording what would become their self-titled debut album.[12] It was released the following spring. They followed this with Call the Doctor (1996) and Dig Me Out (1997), and became critical darlings as a result.[3] Produced by John Goodmanson and recorded at John and Stu's Place in Seattle, the record was influenced by both classic rock ‘n’ roll and the band's usual punk predecessors.[3] From Dig Me Out onwards, the band's drummer was Janet Weiss.

Later albums (2000–2006)Edit

Their next few albums (The Hot Rock, All Hands on the Bad One) pushed the band towards mainstream listeners, culminating in 2002's One Beat. The group opened for Pearl Jam at many North American shows beginning in 2003, and the band cited the experience of playing to large arenas as part of the inspiration and motivation for the music found on their seventh album, The Woods. The Woods was released in 2005, and was a departure from the sound of their previous albums. In its place, The Woods featured a denser, heavily distorted sound that drew on classic rock as its inspiration. In 2006 they helped to curate an edition of the British All Tomorrow's Parties festival.

They contributed to the Burn to Shine project, appearing on Volume 3 (Portland), playing "Modern Girl".

On June 27, 2006, the band announced an indefinite hiatus, stating there were "no plans for future tours or recordings." Sleater-Kinney's last major public show at this time was at the 2006 Lollapalooza music festival. The band's last appearance prior to the hiatus was at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, on August 12, 2006. No explanation for the hiatus was given.

Hiatus (2007–2013)Edit

Upon the dissolution of Sleater-Kinney in 2006, Weiss joined Quasi bandmate Joanna Bolme in Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. She performed on two albums, Real Emotional Trash in 2008 and the 2011 release Mirror Traffic. She left the band prior to the tour for the latter album. In April 2010 Tucker announced she was recording a solo album for Kill Rock Stars to be released in October 2010. Working along with Tucker on her solo album was Unwound's Sara Lund and Golden Bears'/Circus Lupus Seth Lorinczi. According to Tucker, the album would be a "middle-aged mom record". The album, entitled 1,000 Years was released on October 5, 2010, to positive reception by music critics. Tucker toured on both U.S. coasts to support the 1,000 Years album, in addition to dates in other parts of the country. The band's second album, titled Kill My Blues, was released on September 18, 2012. This album was supported by a US tour.

In September 2010, Brownstein revealed her latest project was the band Wild Flag, with Janet Weiss, Mary Timony, formerly of Helium, and Rebecca Cole, formerly of The Minders."[13][needs update] Their Self-titled eponymous debut album was released on September 13, 2011, on Merge Records.[14] By 2014, the band was no longer active.[15][16] In an interview, Brownstein stated, "We had a fun run… but all the logistics started seeming not quite worth it."[16] In January 2011, Brownstein's television project Portlandia premiered on IFC, and has aired a new season annually every year until its series finale in March 2018.[17]

Return, and departure of Weiss (2014–present)Edit

In October 2014, it was revealed the band had recorded a new album, No Cities to Love, later released on January 20, 2015.[18] The members of Sleater-Kinney also announced a 2015 tour covering North America and western Europe.[19] In 2014, the band released the vinyl box set of their previous releases as Start Together.[20] It was reviewed by BUST Magazine, where writer Claire McKinzie stated, "With their feminist, left-leaning lyrics, Sleater-Kinney's relevance today is obvious. While some singers back away from being labeled "feminist," Sleater-Kinney exists partially to redirect society's perception of the word."[21]

In January 2017 the band released their first live album, Live in Paris, recorded at La Cigale on March 20, 2015.[22] By January 2018, the band was said to be working on their follow-up to No Cities to Love, though Brownstein has said that they're "going to do this very slowly."[23] In January 2019, the band announced that a new album, produced by the artist St. Vincent (Annie Clark), was expected that year.[24]

In May 2019, Sleater-Kinney released a new song "Hurry on Home" along with a lyric video. This served as the lead single for The Center Won't Hold, released in August 2019.

On July 1, 2019, Weiss announced she would be leaving the band on her Twitter account saying it was "time for me to move on".[25] The band performed their first concert without Weiss at the Hopscotch Music Festival on September 5, with new drummer Angie Boylan.[26]

Musical styleEdit

 
Sleater-Kinney in 2005. (Photo by Tyler Craft)

Sleater-Kinney's musical style was rooted in Olympia, Washington's punk and independent rock scenes of the early- to mid-1990s, forming around the last years of the riot grrrl movement. Both Tucker and Brownstein came from veteran acts from the beginning of the movement. Although the band's lyrics revolved around a variety of topics, they were included in the riot grrrl movement because of the subject matter that supported feminist ideals. On the topic of the band's involvement in political movements, Carrie Brownstein was quoted, "Sleater-Kinney are brave enough and strong enough to make a difference and get the word out."[27]

Their sound incorporates personal and social themes along with stripped-down music that was influenced by punk and the free-thinking ideals of 1980s-1990s alternative and indie rock. They experimented with this foundation by bringing in different instruments and arrangements.[28] Sleater-Kinney have been compared to female singers such as Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees,[29] Patti Smith and Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex.[30] They have also named influences such as Bikini Kill, Mecca Normal, Bratmobile, Throwing Muses and Sonic Youth. Corin Tucker's emotional vocals[31] and the band's lyrics alternate between personal and political topics, rebelling against war, traditionalism, gender roles and consumerism from feminist and progressive perspectives.[5] Sleater-Kinney contributed the protest song "Off With Your Head" to NOFX leader Fat Mike's Rock Against Bush compilation. In 2017, Sleater-Kinney contributed the single "Here We Come" to 7-Inches For Planned Parenthood, which is a compilation of 7-inch records and digital downloads whose proceeds went to Planned Parenthood.[32]

In a documentary about riot grrrl, Tucker revealed that her vocal style has always been intentionally harsh to suit the band's message and to demand focus from the listener,[33] and her vocals have been described by AllMusic critic Heather Phares as "love-them-or-hate-them vocals."[34] At the beginning of the band's career, lead vocals were often performed by Tucker, though as the band progressed, Brownstein began to appear more as a vocalist. Both Brownstein and Tucker played guitar, with Brownstein usually handling lead and Tucker performing rhythm. Although Sleater-Kinney had no bass player, both Tucker and Brownstein tuned their guitars one and a half steps down (D♭ tuning), and Tucker's tone and style enabled her to fill the same role as a bass guitar.

CollaborationsEdit

In 1998, the band recorded "Big Big Lights", the first split single (with Cypher in the Snow) in the series of recordings dealing with women's self-defense entitled Free to Fight, and released on Candy Ass Records.

In 1999, Carrie Brownstein recorded a four-song EP, The Age of Backwards, with Mary Timony in a duo called The Spells.

In 2000, all three members of Sleater-Kinney assisted Robert Forster and Grant McLennan of the now-defunct Brisbane indie band The Go-Betweens to record the album The Friends of Rachel Worth.

In 2003, the band recorded the song "Angry Inch" with Fred Schneider of The B-52's for the Hedwig and the Angry Inch charity tribute album Wig in a Box. Proceeds for the album went to the Harvey Milk School, a school for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

Along with performing in Sleater-Kinney, Tucker also was a member of the band Cadallaca with Sarah Dougher and sts (both formerly of The Lookers). In a recent interview, however, she told people "not to hold [their] breath for a new Cadallaca album."[citation needed]

Tucker was featured on Eddie Vedder's solo album Into the Wild, where she performed vocals on the track "Hard Sun" along with Vedder. In 2008, Tucker collaborated again with Vedder on a cover of John Doe's The Golden State on Doe's Golden State EP.

On November 29, 2013, the members of Sleater-Kinney joined Pearl Jam and Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck (who were members of the retired band R.E.M.) during a concert in Portland for a cover of Neil Young's "Rocking in the Free World".[35]

In 2015, Sleater-Kinney collaborated with Bob's Burgers to create a video for the song "A New Wave" off their album No Cities to Love.[36]

MembersEdit

Current members

  • Carrie Brownstein – guitar, backing and lead vocals (1994–2006; 2014–present)
  • Corin Tucker – lead and backing vocals, guitar (1994–2006; 2014–present)

Touring musicians

  • Katie Harkin – guitar, keyboards, percussion, occasional backing vocals (2015–present)
  • Toko Yasuda – keyboards, backing vocals (2019–present)
  • Angie Boylan – drums (2019–present)

Former members

  • Misty Farrell – drums, percussion (1994)
  • Laura Macfarlane – drums, backing vocals (1995–1996)
  • Toni Gogin – drums (1996)
  • Janet Weiss – drums, occasional backing vocals, harmonica, percussion (1996–2006; 2014–2019)


Timeline

 

DiscographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pronounced by Terry Gross at time offset 0m20s and by a band member at 12m27s, in NPR Fresh Air episode "Sleater-Kinney Go into 'The Woods'", August 3, 2005, retrieved April 27, 2011.
  2. ^ "Record Bin: How Sleater-Kinney used punk rock to break social stereotypes on "Dig Me Out"". Nooga.com. September 23, 2017. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Janet Weiss: Why the Drum Goddess Was the Heartbeat of Sleater-Kinney". Rolling Stone. July 3, 2019. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  4. ^ "15 Minutes With Carrie Brownstein". Mother Jones. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason (May 19, 2005). "Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  6. ^ Hansen, Candace (September 22, 2017). "Sleater Kinney Drummer Janet Weiss Brings Hard Hitting Flavor to Music Tastes Good". OC Weekly. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  7. ^ O'Dair, Barbara (May 9, 2001). "A conversation with Robert Christgau". Salon. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  8. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (January 19, 2015). "Sister Saviors: Sleater-Kinney returns". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  9. ^ Breihan, Tom (January 11, 2015). "Premature Evaluation: Sleater-Kinney No Cities To Love". Stereogum. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  10. ^ "500 Sleater Kinney Rd SE". Google.com. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  11. ^ Ross, Curtis (April 11, 2003). "Sleater-Kinney backs message with meaningful rock". Tampa Tribune.
  12. ^ Ganz, Caryn (June 2005). "Eat 'em And Smile". Spin Magazine. Sleater-Kinney.net. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  13. ^ "Carrie Brownstein: 'I Have A New Band'". All Songs Considered blog. National Public Radio. September 22, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  14. ^ Jessica Hopper (2012). "Wild Flag, Wild Flag". Spin.com. SPIN. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  15. ^ "Indie Rock Supergroup Wild Flag Are No More". Spin.com. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  16. ^ a b Vozick-Levinson, Simon (March 14, 2014). "Carrie Brownstein's Life After Punk". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  17. ^ Hugar, John. "Portlandia embraces its weirdness one last time in a fitting finale". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  18. ^ "Listen to Sleater-Kinney's new song "Bury Our Friends" - Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  19. ^ "Sleater-Kinney Return! New Album No Cities to Love! 2015 Tour! "Bury Our Friends" Lyric Video!". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  20. ^ Pelly, Jenn (October 25, 2014). "Sleater-Kinney: Start Together Album Review". pitchfork.com. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  21. ^ "Album Review: Sleater-Kinney | Start Together (Box Set)". Bust.com. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  22. ^ Headley, Janice. "Friday Music News". Blog.kexp.org. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  23. ^ Blais-Billie, Braudie. "Sleater-Kinney Working on New Album". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  24. ^ "New Sleater-Kinney Album, Produced By St. Vincent, Confirmed For This Year". Npr.org. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  25. ^ "Janet Weiss on Twitter: "Big changes...."". Twitter. July 1, 2019. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  26. ^ "Sleater-Kinney's new drummer is Angie Boylan (watch their first show together)". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  27. ^ Annie Wilner. Sleater-Kinney’s Protest Rock Archived April 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine msmagazine.com. Retrieved March 15, 2015
  28. ^ Huey, Steve (August 20, 2002). "One Beat - Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  29. ^ "Sleater-Kinney - All Hands on the Bad One review". NME. May 12, 2000. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
    Hodgkinson, Will (January 28, 2017). "Pop: Sleater-Kinney: Live in Paris {subscription required}". The Times. Retrieved March 28, 2017. Wild screams greet Dig Me Out, a celebration of female sexual domination from 1997 on which Tucker finds the missing link between Chrissie Hynde and Siouxsie Sioux against Brownstein's primeval guitar
  30. ^ "Music interview: 90s Riot Grrrls Sleater Kinney". Swide.com. January 27, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015
  31. ^ Ankeny, Jason (April 8, 1997). "Dig Me Out - Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  32. ^ "Stream The 7-inches For Planned Parenthood Compilation". Stereogum. October 19, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  33. ^ "Corin Tucker Interview". YouTube. April 29, 2007. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  34. ^ Phares, Heather (May 24, 2005). "The Woods - Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  35. ^ "Sleater-Kinney reunites at Pearl Jam show". The Oregonian. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  36. ^ "Sleater-Kinney - A New Wave [OFFICIAL VIDEO]". Sub Pop. Retrieved February 23, 2015.

External linksEdit