Sleater-Kinney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the band. For their debut album, see Sleater-Kinney (album).
Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney - backstage SXSW 2006 - crop.jpg
Sleater-Kinney in 2006. Left-right: Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss.
Background information
Origin Olympia, Washington, United States
Genres Punk rock, indie rock
Years active 1994–2006
Labels Chainsaw, Kill Rock Stars, Sub Pop
Associated acts Cadallaca, Excuse 17, Heavens to Betsy, ninetynine, Quasi, The Spells, Mary Timony, Pearl Jam, Wild Flag, The Corin Tucker Band
Website Official website
Past members Corin Tucker
Carrie Brownstein
Janet Weiss
Lora McFarlane
Toni Gogin
Misty Farrell

Sleater-Kinney (/ˈsltərˈkɪn/ SLAY-tər-KIN-ee[1]) was an American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington in 1994. The band's most prominent lineup consisted of Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals), and Janet Weiss (drums). They were a key part of the riot grrrl and indie rock scenes in the Pacific Northwest.[2] The band was known for its feminist and left-leaning politics.[3]

History[edit]

Sleater-Kinney was formed in early 1994 in Olympia, Washington, by Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. The group's name is derived from Sleater Kinney Road, Interstate 5 exit number 108 in Lacey, Washington,[4] the location of one of their early practice spaces. Tucker was formerly in the influential riot grrrl band Heavens to Betsy, while Brownstein was formerly in the queercore 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 is the band's longest lasting and final drummer, though Sleater-Kinney has had other drummers, including Lora Macfarlane, Misty Farrell, and Toni Gogin.

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.[5] 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.[citation needed]

Their next few albums 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 last 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.

Renowned critics Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau have each praised Sleater-Kinney as one of the essential rock groups of the late 1990s/early 2000s. Marcus named Sleater-Kinney America's best rock band in a 2001 issue of Time magazine.

Musical style[edit]

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

Sleater-Kinney's musical style sprang from and was rooted in Olympia, Washington's fertile punk and independent rock scenes of the early- to mid-1990s, forming around the last years of the riot grrrl movement, and with Tucker and Brownstein coming from veteran acts from the beginning of the movement. Although the band's lyrics revolved around a variety of different topics, they were included in the riot grrrl movement because of the subject matter that supported the 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.” [1] The band's musical style went along with the liberal and feminist ideas heard in their lyrics.

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.[6] Sleater-Kinney have named influences such as Bikini Kill, Mecca Normal, Bratmobile, Throwing Muses and Sonic Youth. Corin Tucker's emotional vocals[7] and the band's lyrics alternate between personal and political topics, rebelling against war, traditionalism, gender roles and consumerism from feminist and progressive perspectives.[3] Sleater-Kinney contributed the protest song "Off With Your Head" to NOFX leader Fat Mike's Rock Against Bush compilation.

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,[8] and her vocals have been described by Allmusic critic Heather Phares as "love-them-or-hate-them vocals."[9] 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.

Hiatus[edit]

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 was at the 2006 Lollapalooza music festival. The band's last appearance was at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, on August 12, 2006. No explanation for the hiatus was given. In a May 2005 interview, Weiss stated, "Corin's hurdles were my biggest hurdles. Her pulling away from the band was the hardest thing for me as far as writing music. She said in a recent interview that she thinks about quitting every week - and that's heavy for me, 'cause this is all I want to do."[10]

Tucker had previously hinted in interviews that Sleater-Kinney might become inactive soon. In a 2005 interview with Bust magazine, she was asked how she would handle touring when her young son started school, and she replied that she didn't even know if they would make another record after The Woods.[11]

In an interview from March 17, 2010, Carrie Brownstein claimed that Sleater-Kinney may reunite and release an album "sometime in the next five years."[citation needed] She repeated this affirmation in an interview with This Is Fake DIY in 2012.[12]

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".[13]

Collaborations[edit]

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 titled 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."

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. Tucker, Brownstein, and Weiss joined Pearl Jam onstage in November 2013 for a single song during the Lightning Bolt Tour show in Portland; they took the stage for the band's final song, a cover of Neil Young’s "Rockin' in the Free World."[14]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  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'", 3 August 2005, retrieved 27 April 2011.
  2. ^ http://www.motherjones.com/riff/2010/03/interview-carrie-brownstein-sleater-kinney
  3. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason (2005-05-19). "Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  4. ^ Ross, Curtis (11 April 2003). "Sleater-Kinney backs message with meaningful rock". Tampa Tribune. 
  5. ^ Ganz, Caryn (June 2005). "Eat 'em And Smile". Spin Magazine. Sleater-Kinney.net. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  6. ^ Huey, Steve (2002-08-20). "One Beat - Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  7. ^ Ankeny, Jason (1997-04-08). "Dig Me Out - Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  8. ^ "Corin Tucker Interview". YouTube. 2007-04-29. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  9. ^ Phares, Heather (2005-05-24). "The Woods - Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  10. ^ Levin, Hannah (May 2005). "Rock of the Decade". The Stranger. Sleater-Kinney.net. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  11. ^ http://sleater-kinney.net/gallery/displayimage.php?album=32&pos=3[dead link]
  12. ^ "Carrie Brownstein: Sleater-Kinney ‘Will Just Start Playing Music Again’". This Is Fake DIY. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  13. ^ "Sleater-Kinney reunites at Pearl Jam show". The Oregonian. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Scoop: Gossip Driving Cadillacs In Its Dreams". Willamette Week. December 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-11. "Sleater-Kinney (briefly) reunited at Pearl Jam’s Nov. 29 show at the Moda Center. All three members of the band—Corin Tucker, Carrie “Portlandia” Brownstein and Janet Weiss—joined Eddie Vedder and company onstage for the final song of Pearl Jam’s set, a seven-minute cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”" 

External links[edit]