Album: The Center Won’t Hold
Artist: Sleater Kinney
Release Date: August 16, 2019
- Hurry on Home
- Bad Dance
- The Dog/The Body
This is a new sound for the band, one that incorporates electronic instruments and an industrial music sound to its raging guitar riffs. The producer is Annie Clark of St. Vincent and her stamp on the sound is clear, although not overwhelming. It’s not without controversy as drummer Janet Weiss announced her departure from the band over the change in direction.
The lyrics touch on the politics of being women continuing to perform as they age, defying the expectations that women in the public eye always be young and beautiful. Similarly, these songs are steeped in the experiences being women and identifying as queer in the Trump Era even if the lyrics aren’t always explicit on that point as they are on the album’s finale “Broken.”
An experienced band and a big name producer bring with it a lot of expectations. I’m not sure if The Center Won’t Hold lives up to those expectations, but its worth listening on its own terms.
The Monthly Mixtape for May will take you on a journey!
Sarah Pagé :: Ephemeris Data
Kick it off with some experimental harp music.
The Silver Lake Chorus :: Tabu
Follow up with some tight choral harmonies and hot rhythms.
Black Pumas :: Colors
Then slide into some classic psychedelic soul.
Sass :: Spoiled by Rotten
Nex, some aural time travel to 1991.
Sleater-Kinney :: Hurry on Home
And while you’re in the 90s, pick up Sleater-Kinney and bring them to the present to work with St. Vincent!
Is there any great new music I missed along this journey? Let me know in the comments!
Author: Carrie Brownstein
Title: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
Narrator: Carrie Brownstein
Publication Info: Penguin Audio (2015)
I know Carrie Brownstein as a sometimes music critic on NPR’s All Songs Considered (as well as her work on Portlandia – a show I find only moderately funny) so I knew that her memoir of her life and work with the band Sleater-Kinney would be an interesting work. Brownstein explores the effect of her childhood in which her mother suffered anorexia, her father repressed homosexuality, and Brownstein herself seeks to entertain as way of transforming the sadness around her. A lot of this books is about identity and the Brownstein analyzes her own search for identity in raw detail. The music of Sleater-Kinney is similar in its naked emotion and self-expression and Brownstein details the autobiographical detail that went into that songs. Sleater-Kinney also had to deal with the typecasting and prejudice of being an all-woman band, when Brownstein wants people to recognize them as simply a great rock band. Brownstein also relates her own struggles touring with the band that resulted in anxiety and physical illness. This a very honest and introspective addition to the rock memoir oeuvre.