Wednesday, January 21, 2015

'It’s not punk, exactly, and it’s sure as fuck not indie rock'

Before we even get into how good the new Sleater-Kinney album No Cities To Love is — and it is very good — we should take a moment for what a miracle it is that the album exists in the first place. Sleater-Kinney’s self-titled debut turns 20 this year, and they are, without question, the best rock band to come along in the past two decades. (Who’s their competition? Seriously, who?) But when Sleater-Kinney announced their “indefinite hiatus” in 2006, it clearly was not one of these “we’ll be back on the festival stages in nine months” situations. They were done. They had other things going on. Corin Tucker had two kids, and if you know any women with small kids, you know that Sleater-Kinney’s relentless touring and recording schedule is not exactly compatible with doing mom stuff. She went on to record a couple of low-stakes solo albums and only barely toured on them. Carrie Brownstein wanted to try things like writing and acting — a sideline that started with a promising-enough NPR blog and somehow led to straight-up TV stardom. She’s more famous for Portlandia now than she ever was for Sleater-Kinney. Janet Weiss is the best drummer in the world, and she’s also an extremely fun hang, so she was never going to be hurting for work. The only Portland bands that didn’t try to recruit her were probably the ones who were scared to ask. When they went their separate ways, it wasn’t because they started hating each other. They were always friends. I went to Portland to interview them in 2005, when The Woods was about to come out, and learned that they still did shit like assembling at Tucker’s house to watch the Super Bowl or the Oscars. They probably still do that. But they’d done what they needed to do, said what they needed to say. They were ready to end that chapter and move on to other things. They did it. Those other things worked out. They didn’t need to come back. And yet here they are. Thank fuck.

- Stereogum