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Sleater-Kinney


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Driving punk pop. (neal)

Status:

Most recent release, Live in Paris (live, 2017); most recent release of studio material, No Cities To Love (2015)

See also:

Sleater-Kinney's site

Wikipedia's entry on Sleater-Kinney

The Ectophiles' Guide entries for Corin Tucker's side project, Cadallaca and former member Laura (Lora) MacFarlane's current band, Ninetynine

Comparisons:

My verdict tends to be: Better than Bikini Kill (who tends to be almost tuneless and undisciplined), angrier than Veruca Salt (not necessarily a good thing or bad). (2/98, 4dm@qlink.queensu.ca)

They really sound like early Throwing Muses to me, particularly on the album The Hot Rock. (1/00, Neile)

Covers/own material:

Own material

General comments:

This band has a vital pop element to its music. "The Day I Went Away", "Call the Doctor" and "Dig Me Out" all run on hooks and melodies. I think critics have tended to excuse Corin Tucker for oversinging. Her guitar playing (with Carrie Brownstein) is very good, though, with some of the most interesting riffs around. (2/98, 4dm@qlink.queensu.ca)

I think they're one of the most interesting bands in that genre around but my interest in the genre as a whole is limited—I like it but connect with it only rarely these days. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in post-grunge punk or whatever they're calling it these days. Heavy fast guitar-based. (2/98, Neile)

Their cd Dig Me Out made my top 10 of 1997, and after finally getting a copy of Call the Doctor this past December I count them as being one of my favorite bands, even though I don't actually buy very much stuff from the loudfastpostgrungepunk genre. (2/98, mcurry@io.com)

Can someone please explain to me the Sleater-Kinney fascination? It's not that I don't like them—I have their CDs and enjoy them. I just don't see how, aside from sexual orientation, they're much different than any other pop-punk band. Although I like their CDs, they mainly strike me as Velocity Girl covering old Throwing Muses songs. Heck, I think that if Velocity Girl had covered The Clash's "Loose This Skin" on Simpatico! they'd have the ultimate Sleater-Kinney song. Again, they're not a band I dislike at all, I like them, bought the new CD the day it was released...it just seems like they rate about 10% of the hype they get. (3/99, jgreshes@netaxs.com)

i think whether you think sleater-kinney deserves the hype may depend on yr personal lyrics vs. music balance. i love sleater-kinney, don't get me wrong—hey, i'm the guy who was the big excuse 17 fan (lukewarm on heavens to betsy) in those few months when sleater-kinney was being bandied about as an all-star riot grrl side project—but consistently great lyricists, they're not.
     incidentally: if you think of sleater-kinney as having one "guitar" player, and having one "bass" player who happens to be playing an octave higher than normal, does that change things? on "tapping" for example, the two parts seem quite distinct. (3/99, dmw@mwmw.com)

...and as for Sleater-Kinney...it's just something about them...their sexual orientation isn't very interesting to me, really, but they're so passionate and energetic, that's the initial attraction...secondly, I think that somehow they're transcending whatever limitations are in the two-guitars-and-a-drummer trio...they sound so full and amazing without any bass guitar and any real overdubbing to speak of... I believe it was Spin that said they face rock'n'roll with excitement, and I'll second that notion. But something, there's just something in the interplay of the two guitars, the two lyrical lines, the two vocal lines...and the metaphor in the song "Hot Rock" (kind of the title track of The Hot Rock) just kills me, since it's pretty amazing...and they just rule way more than other pop-punk bands I've heard...
     anyhow, the attraction of Sleater-Kinney I think is that all of their elements, their pop-punk myopia and their rock'n'roll fascination, it all just *works*. The elements they have just really fit together, and if you're on a certain wavelength, it just totally clicks and you start drooling all over yourself and the world stops turning until you dare yourself to turn off your stereo...it actually kind of reminds me of the Tori obsession...I know plenty of people who like Tori , but aren't willing to run down to the record store every time some obscure single comes out to snatch it up before anyone else does. It's because Tori is the perfection of a certain wavelength, and if you're on that wavelength, good LORD, does it feel good to know that somebody else is too...and for me, Tori *and* Sleater-Kinney are on wavelengths similar to mine..., (3/99, John.Drummond)

Comments about live performance:

This was my introduction to Sleater-Kinney, and that too was a lot of fun. All female power trio format stomping around in the rock, punk, riot-grrrl mode. (5/97, neal)

I saw a Sleater-Kinney show last November or December or so in Chicago and, while I wasn't a fan at the time (dragged along by girlfriends), I do believe they played every memorable song in their published repertoire in that show. It was indeed an incredible live event. They came out and fiddled with instruments for fifteen minutes and then sorta just hit us in the face with "I'm Not Waiting" without anything like an introduction. From the start to the close of the show, cataclysmic seems like the only fitting adjective. It was very nearly a religious experience. They were like their own private force of nature, or perhaps a bomb exploding in the venue. (3/99)
     Anyway, the last time, unfortunately postponed into the summer by some sort of injury, was not quite so hot, or rather it was Hotter than Hell inside the Metro. One of the posts that the guitar strap hangs on kept falling out of Corin's guitar. It was only natural that the show couldn't hold the sort of energy that the last one did. So...hopefully a new show will get around to kicking ass again. (2/00, james_r_mitchell@yahoo.com)

They rocked so hard, played about an hour plus two encores. I only have the newest album, so I'm not familiar with the other stuff...but their songs are short and fast and it seems like they must've play almost the entire repertoire. Not good speakers with the audience, though. The few things they said were totally inane. (Plasterofstevie@aol.com)

I saw Sleater-Kinney last year here in Atlanta and then the next night in Athens, and both nights they were incredible...the Athens show was at the 40 Watt, which is Michael Stipe's club, and it's a remarkably intimate venue, but both shows made good on the promise of brilliant guitar squall. I adore them. (2/00, John.Drummond)

Even though One Beat hadn't come out yet, and I therefore didn't know most of the songs they played, it was still a great set. I guess that's a testament to just how talented they are. (12/02, mcurry@io.com)

Recommended first album:

The Hot Rock

Recordings:


Sleater-Kinney

Release info:

1995—Chainsaw—CHSW 12

Availability:

Good

Ecto priority:

High, at least for those whose tastes run toward the crunchier side of ecto. (11/00, mcurry@io.com)

Group members:

Corin Tucker—vocals, guitar
Carrie Brownstein—guitar, vocals
Lora MacFarlane—drums, vocals on "Lora's Song"

Produced by:

Tim Green and Sleater-Kinney

Comments:

They started off just as lively as they went on, though less polished than they became. There's something strangely hooky about even this early work. Sometimes they sound a little more generic girl punk band than they became later, though there are some hints of Sonic Youth's sound, too. The songs are all short, which helps them stay catchy. (Neile)

Call The Doctor

Release info:

1996—Chainsaw—CHSW 13

Availability:

Good

Ecto priority:

Very high, at least for those whose tastes run toward the crunchier side of ecto. (11/00, mcurry@io.com)

Group members:

Corin Tucker—singing, guitar, drums
Carrie Brownstein—guitar, singing
Lora MacFarlane—drums, singing, guitar

Produced by:

John Goodmanson and Sleater-Kinney

Comments:

A touch more sophisticated than their debut, but also with that special young band energy. They maintain a terrific tension between edgy post-punk and melody. Another brief gem. (Neile)

Dig Me Out

Release info:

1997—Kill Rock Stars—KRS 279

Availability:

Widely Available

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Carrie Brownstein—guitar, vocals
Corin Tucker—vocals, guitar
Janet Weiss—drums, percussion

Produced by:

John Goodmanson

Comments:

They get a lot of press for the lesbian riot grrl lyrics, but Dig Me Outis perfectly listenable, aside from the vibrato-crazed singing. The music sounds like Simpatico-era Velocity Girl. In fact, if you want the full Dig Me Out sound just imagine Velocity Girl covering The Clash's "Loose this skin." (2/98, jgreshes@netaxs.com)

Their new CD Dig Me Outis great. (rkb200@is5.nyu.edu)

This album rocks! A bit more melodic than their last one (Call the Doctor), but only a bit. (mcurry@io.com)

I think Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker, though not much of a singer, writes some very angry but musically intriguing songs. Dig Me Out's snaky guitar lines, the low-key frustration of "The Day I Went Away" and the true angst on "Call the Doctor" are my examples of a solid marriage of angst and music. (4dm@qlink.queensu.ca)

I never bought into the brilliance of Sleater-Kinney, however, this is probably the best pop-punk album I own. (10/00, neal)


The Hot Rock

Release info:

1999—Kill Rock Stars—KRS 321

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended if you're at all interested in this genre of music

Group members:

Carrie Brownstein
Corin Tucker
Janet Weiss

Guest artists:

Seth Warren—violin, viola on 2 tracks
Roger Moutenot—slide guitar on 1 track

Comments:

I *love* it, it's everything amazing that I love about Sleater-Kinney really coming together and working equally...and those voice lessons are saving Corin all over the place...
     Anyhow, to make a long story short (too late), I am so entirely in love with the new Sleater-Kinney album, and I'm hoping most of y'all are too. :D (3/99, John.Drummond)

I've enjoyed this a lot. The vocals and approach seem very early Throwing Muses to me, though Jim disagrees about the approach part. As other people have said, I love the interplay of the two singers a lot. (Neile)

Another great effort from Sleater-Kinney, this time with a bit more variety than was evident on Dig Me Out. (mcurry@io.com)

funny, i don't think of this as grrrl post-punk at all, it's like new wave pop—more Athens GA for sure than Muses. well, okay, Muses too. (bossert@suddensound.com)


Get Up (single)

Release info:

1999—Kill Rock Stars

Availability:

Unknown

Comments:

did any of y'all get the pre-release single for "Get Up"? It has two b-sides on it, "By The Time You're Twenty-five" and "Tapping", and the latter is my absolute favorite Sleater-Kinney song anywhere, ever. It even beats the pants off "Turn It On" and "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone", which in my approximation were going to own my heart until the day I died...but no, if you haven't gotten the single yet and you're totally obsessed with Sleater-Kinney like I am, run out and find it, since "Tapping" has the most AMAZING like four seconds in it...in the first verse, Corin sings, "sit down, you make me nervous", and follows it with what may be an "oh, yeah" or may just be some vowel sound she thought fit, but the absolute furious purity of it just knocks me on my ass...I put that song at the beginning of the dub of The Hot Rock I made for my car, and I usually almost run off the road rewinding that part of the song over and over and over...wow...she just has such a powerful, hurtling voice. Mmm...and they've learned the beauty of getting different non-punk pedals for their guitars too...*tasty* (3/99, John.Drummond)

All Hands On The Bad One

Release info:

2000—Kill Rock Stars—KRS 360

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Carrie Brownstein
Corin Tucker
Janet Weiss

Produced by:

John Goodmanson

Comments:

While I don't like this one as much as The Hot Rock—it's got a much lighter feel—this is a lot of fun. Straightahead indie rock. Recommended. (7/00, Neile)

...the music is astonishing, they've grown even MORE, weird! It still has their defiant, immediate style, but they're playing with it more, it's more loose and effortless with this go-'round, and I'm really impressed...I've only just finished my first listen, so I'll have to say more in a few days...but wow. (4/00, John.Drummond)


One Beat

Release info:

2002—Kill Rock Stars—KRS 387

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Carrie Brownstein—guitar, vocals
Corin Tuck—guitar, vocals
Janet Weiss—drums, percussion, vocals

Guest artists:

Steve Fisk—keyboards on 2 tracks
Brent Arnold—string arrangement and cello on 1 track
Jen Charowhas—violin on 1 track
Russ Scott—trumpet on 1 track
Mike Wayland—alto and tenor sax on 1 track
Sam Coomes—theramin on 1 track
Stepehn Trask—synthesizer and backing vocals on 1 track
John Goodmanson—ebow on 1 track

Produced by:

John Goodmanson

Comments:

An excellent new album from what is currently (in my opinion) the best rock band there is. I really, really like this new effort, and think it's a more solid piece of work than their last release (All Hands On The Bad One). Of special note are their take on 9/11 ("Far Away") and their shot at a political protest song ("Combat Rock"). (mcurry@io.com)

I think I love One Beat as much as The Hot Rock, which is saying a lot. (Neile)


The Woods

Release info:

2005—Sub Pop—SPCD 679

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Carrie Brownstein—guitar, vocals
Janet Weiss—drums, backing vocals
Corin Tucker—vocals, guitar

Produced by:

Dave Fridmann

Comments:

Terrific, classic, Sleater-Kinney. Always good rock. Hard to believe that this will likely be their last album as it is as lively and creative as they have ever been. The digipak also includes a live DVD. (Neile)

No Cities To Love

Release info:

2015—Sup Pop—SP1100

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Carrie Brownstein—guitar, vocals
Janet Weiss—drums, backing vocals
Corin Tucker—vocals, guitar

Produced by:

John Goodmanson

Comments:

A very welcome return. Sleater Kinney hasn't lost an ounce of energy or relevance in their sound. Damn, it's good to hear them again and hear such great new songs from them. Few bands can sound this alive after a ten-year break. (Neile)

One of the best albums of the year. (raschee@gmail.com, valrichardson@igc.org)


Thanks to Neal Copperman for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2017-01-25 20:18:12.
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