FIVE YEARS AGO, alternative rock fans were ecstatic when the pioneering feminist punk trio Sleater-Kinney called off their nine-year hiatus and released their most raucous and diverse album to date, No Cities to Love. Fast-forward to 2019, and the group has made even greater stylistic leaps on a brand new disc, The Center Won’t Hold. Days before the album’s release, however, co-founding guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein were stung by the surprise news that longtime drummer Janet Weiss was packing it in.
Both women are loath to discuss the reasons behind Weiss’ departure; but when pressed, Tucker says, “We asked Janet to stay, but she said, ‘I’m definitely leaving.’ We feel like her drumming on this record is great. We’re really proud of the work we’ve done, and we’re just kind of moving ahead in terms of how we’re going to play this album for people so they can hear it. As for anything more on that, I think it’s for Janet to say.”
The famously political group doesn’t shy away from current events on the new album. Indeed, the harrowing title track explores what Brownstein calls “the fractious and tumultuous period we’re in leading up to the next election.” But she’s also quick to point out that many of the tracks carry multiple meanings. “Some of them could be seen through a political lens,” she says, “but at the same time they spread out and deal with deeply personal issues, through various iterations of fragility. You can react to them how you want.”
While Tucker and Brownstein’s famed twin-guitar/no-bass approach is still evident throughout The Center Won’t Hold — sparky, fuzzed-out guitar riffs and snappy yet lyrical solos abound — songs such as “Reach Out,” “Hurry on Home” and “Love” gurgle with the sounds of synth and electronic underpinnings. Brownstein credits producer St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) with this radical change to the band’s sonic palette. “One of the biggest reasons we wanted to work with Annie was because of her prodigious imagination and her desire to be innovative,” she says. “She challenged us on multiple levels, embracing our methodology while re-assessing our strengths. She presented us with a new toolbox and showed us a way we could reconfigure our sound. A lot of times, what you think are guitars are keyboards, and vice versa.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
PUNK LEGEND BRIAN BAKER KEEPS BAD RELIGION — AND FAKE NAMES, HIS LATEST PUNK SUPERGROUP — ROLLING WITH HIS STASH OF VINTAGE GUITARS
Twice As Nice
FENDER DUAL MARINE LAYER REVERB AND DUEL PUGILIST DISTORTION
Separated at Birth
DID YOU KNOW KIRK HAMMETT’S FAMOUS AND HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT 1959 GIBSON LES PAUL, GREENY, HAS A SIBLING? AND THAT IT’S OWNED BY HIS FRIEND, GIBSON BRAND PRESIDENT CESAR GUEIKIAN? NEITHER DID THEY! UNTIL VERY RECENTLY...
Rockabilly Renaissance Man
CANADIAN GUITARIST PAUL PIGAT GETS BACK TO BASICS ON COUSIN HARLEY’S LET’S GO!
The ROYAL TREATMENT
SIX-STRING HEAVYWEIGHT ERIC GALES DISCUSSES HIS TRIUMPHANT NEW ALBUM, CROWN, AND HIS JOURNEY TO ULTIMATE BLUES SALVATION
Romance Play - EASTMAN ROMEO LA
IF YOU’RE IN the market for a thin-line semi-hollow electric, there’s never been a better time to shop than the present. Whereas only a few years ago the selection was pretty much limited to large, double-cutaway 335-style models with a pair of humbucking pickups, today one can find semi-hollow guitars in a variety of body sizes and styles with a wider variety of pickup and electronic configurations.
KINGPIN of the BLUES
JOE BONAMASSA RETURNS WITH TIME CLOCKS, HIS STRONGEST AND MOST DIVERSE ALBUM TO DATE — AND ALSO DISCUSSES HIS NEWFOUND ROLE AS 2021’S FOREMOST BLUES/ROCK IMPRESARIO
Joanne Shaw Taylor
WITH JOE BONAMASSA AT THE HELM, THE HERALDED BRITISH GUITARIST TACKLES 11 AWESOMELY OBSCURE BLUES GEMS BY LITTLE MILTON, MAGIC SAM, ALBERT KING AND MORE
2021 NEWS OF THE (GUITAR) WORLD
Lean back, crack open that broadsheet and get ready for the splashiest guitar-centric news stories of 2021!
2021 A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Like the headline says, here’s a solid sampling of new gear that struck our fancy over the past 12 months
I Couldn't Help But Wonder …
Was this really the best they could do?
TOO MANY OLD GHOSTS MAR ‘GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE'
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” — the direct cinematic follow-up to 1984 classic — is haunted, of course. But not in a good way.
Sarah Jessica Parker: JUST LIKE THAT!
IN A NEW INTERVIEW, THE SEX AND THE CITY VET GETS REAL ABOUT BEING AN ‘OLDER’ WOMAN IN HOLLYWOOD.
CARRIE'S CAREER KICKING MIKE TO THE CURB!
Former pro athlete hubby tired of playing Mr. Mom
JERRY'S TALK REGRETS
“Jerry's used to being the most popular guy in the room," says a source.
Throughout her three-decade career artist, Carrie Pearce has become recognized for painting odd objects or out-of-the-ordinary scenarios that have a touch of whimsy and sentimentality.
The Autumn Blues
SOME PEOPLE CAN’T WAIT for the lovely colors, cooler weather, and cozy sweaters of autumn. In fact, fall is Americans’ favorite time, the season of choice for about 30 percent of us, according to a recent YouGov poll. But for a minority of others, the transition from summer create worry, fear, and worse. We often hear about the short, cold days of winter causing what is known as seasonal affective disorder. But according to Carrie Landin, a psychologist with the University of Colorado Health Integrative Medicine Center, a significant number of people actually experience autumn anxiety.
A PARENT'S GUIDE TO PROGRAMMING
Mike Bedford investigates which languages to consider if you want to help your children get a head start in coding
Sleater-Kinney – ‘The Role of the Artist Is to Thrash Around'
SHARON, ALL IS FORGIVEN!
DAYTIME disaster “The Talk” is in jeopardy after hitting a horrendous new low in the ratings — and desperate producers are ready to beg Sharon Osbourne to come back and save the sinking show, sources snitched.