Released the year after Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Sleater-Kinney’s first album signaled an evolution not just for guitar rock from the Pacific Northwest, but for anyone who cared about underground music. Riot grrrl was a fully fledged genre, and S-K’s self-titled debut embodied the sound: angular guitars, feminist lyrics, howled vocals, stripped-down sonics and an electric current channeling palpable (here’s an antiquated word) angst. The first song, “Don’t Think You Wannna,” aped Nirvana’s loud-soft-loud dynamic, and the band’s screamy vocals plus lo-fi production can’t help but be compared to Bleach. Nirvana, though, was seldom as explicitly political as “A Real Man” (“I don’t wanna join your club/ I don’t want your kind of love”) or “Sold Out,” two kiss-offs to the male gender. The album’s confrontational edge was sharpened by the decision to subordinate Brownstein’s sweeter vocals to Tucker’s (“How to Play Dead” is an exception). Weiss hadn’t yet joined the band and, in retrospect, her absence is deeply felt — Laura MacFarlane’s tempos were sludgy where later discs felt spring-loaded with surprises. Simply put, this is a loud, young, angry rock record by a band that had yet to coalesce: Only two tracks exceeded three minutes long, and “Slow Song” could get away with that title because it was so unusual in context. Nuance would come later.
By Nick Marino on 04.18.12 in Icons
From their formation in Washington State in the mid-1990s to their amicable split in 2006, Sleater-Kinney were more than just the standard-bearers of riot grrrl, transcending both gender and the signature post-grunge sou...
By Marc Hogan on 02.19.15 in News
Sleater-Kinney and Bob's Burgers are together at last, and they're a mighty endearing combination. The riot-grrrl icons' TV ties are well-documented — or haven't you visited Carrie Brownstein's Portlandia? — and when Bob...
By Marc Hogan on 01.28.15 in News
There's no way the groundhog will see his shadow — at least, not based on this week's charts, which are thawing early from their usual January freeze. Fall Out Boy claim the top spot on the latest Billboard 200, but the...
By Marc Hogan on 01.20.15 in News
When Sleater-Kinney originally announced their first new album in a decade, No Cities to Love, they said the deluxe vinyl version would come with a 12-inch single containing two bonus tracks. Today is the album's release...