Is the music world ready for a riot grrrl revival?
The underground, feminist, post-punk movement saw the return of rock royalty when Sleater-Kinney released their first record in a decade, No Cities to Love. Passion charged vocals, riff-heavy guitar, drum bashing and political lyrics by Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals) and Janet Weiss (drums) gave birth to the group's eighth studio album. The first wave, riot grrrl trio has already managed to release one of the most innovative and authentic rock records of the year.
In their decade-long absence from playing together, they've been involved in notable side projects. Brownstein wrote and starred in Portlandia alongside Fred Arminsen. She also created an indie-rock, supergroup named Wild Flag with Mary Timony, Rebecca Cole and Janet Weiss. Weiss, who joined forces with Brownstein, played alongside Bright Eyes, Elliot Smith and The Shins. Tucker went on to form The Corin Tucker Band releasing two albums accompanied by U.S. tours. With Sleater-Kinney's acclaimed discography and praise from critics, many question their revival after a decade of snarling absence (especially given their independent success).
The left-leaning band formed in '94, just two year's after third wave feminism had become a trending topic. Today they add dialogue to a conversation that's beginning to scream for answers, the evaporating middle class, forging mass movements and the limitations of the struggle for power. With progressive women leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton and a presidential election around the corner, the emergence of Sleater-Kinney seems less sporadic and more strategic than ever. Sleater-Kinney holds a mirror to the moment, as progressive women standing tall in the rock world.
Weiss spoke with Boston's NPR news station saying, "What has been important to us still is important to us-the idea of equality, the idea of people feeling disenfranchised or outside, these ideas of empowerment. I think these are all the same sort of big issues we've been making records about since the beginning. If anything, it's more so."
With the release of seven previous albums in the last decade, the band was constantly on tour, simultaneously writing and recording. Feeling the weight of their legacy, the trio was determined to edit No Cities to Love, to perfection, before announcing their reunion. They did just that, writing and recording in an airtight studio space, creating a sound quality that trumps their past recorded albums. Unsurprisingly, their self-titled debut album was recorded during an all-nighters in Australia. Yet even an unmastered record wasn't problematic for a band like Sleater-Kinney because they scream their vital agenda.
For a band that writes about loosing faith in humanity, religion and music, they sell hundreds of thousands of records, continuously redefining themselves.
Alongside their album release, the undisputed queen's of rock have also released a lyric video for "Bury Our Friends" featuring Miranda July hunched over, moving ever-so-slightly, in an ape-like mask. For their forthcoming tour, they will be joined by Katie Harkin on guitar, keyboard and tambourine who has played alongside Wild Beasts and led British indie rock band Sky Larkin since 2005.
Check out their tour dates, including an L.A. show at the Palladium May 1. here.