Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sleater-Kinney Is A Great ROCK Band. Here's Why.

About a week ago I saw Sleater-Kinney at The Depot in Salt Lake City. The rock-punk* trio played a helluva show--only their third after a nine-year hiatus--and I'm going to tell you why, if you don't already know them, they should be one of your favorite bands right now.

Meet your new favorite band. Carrie Brownstein (of Portlandia fame) on guitar/vocals, Janet Weiss on drums, Corin Tucker on guitar/vocals.

For one thing, Sleater-Kinney is awesome because they're all-female and unapologetically feminist. Check out this interview for a taste of that. Second, they ROCK. Third, analysis is stupid so just listen to these songs:

1. No Cities to Love

The lead single from their latest album of the same name, this is a good intro to Sleater-Kinney because it features some celebrities. The song is hella catchy, too.

2. Surface Envy

To get a sense of how incredible Corin Tucker is live, check out this version of Surface Envy they performed recently on Conan. Listen to Corin on verse 2! And then that solo!! And then Corin AGAIN!!! WOW!!!

3. Jumpers

The first two minutes paint a powerful and moving picture of an individual dealing with depression and suicide. Then comes a rocking solo and a vocal bridge from Carrie. At 2:38 Carrie shouts "Let's go!" and the song takes right off into the freakin' stratosphere.

4. One More Hour

The most poignant breakup song ever written. Shut up Gotye, you don't even know.

If you could talk
What would you say?
For you things were
Just night and day
Take off the dress
Take off the face
I'll hold you close
Before I leave
Don't say another word
About the other girl

5. Little Babies

I love Taylor Swift, but she has to live with the crushing burden of knowing she'll never write as chorus as catchy as this.

6. Entertain

LISTEN TO THAT DRUM BEAT. THAT'S JANET F'N WEISS PEOPLE. I also love this song's takedown of cheap nostalgia and the righteous anger in Carrie's voice.

You come around looking 1984
You're such a bore, 1984
Nostalgia, you're using it like a whore
It's better than before
It's better than before
You come around sounding 1972
You did nothing new with 1972
Where's the fuck you, where's the black and blue?
Where's the black and blue
Where's the black and blue

7. Gimme Love

All the SLC show Corin prefaced this song with a shout out to Planned Parenthood (who had a booth in the corner) and a call to action demanding women's right to choose. Then...

Gimme love, Gimme love

8. Get Up

Alright, let's take it down a notch. I'm a sucker for songs with a little spoken word and it's all the better when the chorus features a typically great interplay between Corin and Carrie.

And when the body finally starts to let go
Let it all go at once
Not piece by piece.
But like a whole bucket of stars
Dumped into the universe.

9. Words and Guitar

It's a scientifically proven fact that the only way to get the chorus of Little Babies out of your head (not that you should want to) is to hum the guitar melody to Words and Guitar.

10. You're No Rock N' Roll Fun

Finally, a very personal choice. This was first Sleater-Kinney song I ever heard, back in 2000 when it rotated through MTV2 for a few months (insert joke about MTV2 playing music). Unfortunately it took another a decade and a half before I really listened to more than a few other Sleater-Kinney songs, but for me this is where it began, and where I'll end this post. If you're not a fan yet, you're wrong and you should feel bad.

*I call S-K "rock punk" and not "punk rock" because I think that's a more fitting description of their music. But you can categorize them in whatever way makes you happy.

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