Showing posts with label sleater-kinney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sleater-kinney. Show all posts

Friday, January 30, 2015

video review: 'no cities to love' by sleater-kinney

And that should - mostly - catch me up on my backlog. Now for that Doomtree record I've been anticipating for months - stay tuned!

album review: 'no cities to love' by sleater-kinney

Let's talk a little bit about comebacks.

Now if you're familiar with sites like Buzzfeed at all - and if you're online, you've probably been linked to one of their advertisements disguised as a list masquerading as legitimate content at some point - you're probably aware that there's a certain market for nostalgic material. To be fair this is nothing new - artists have always had a fondness for looking back and improving or innovating upon the material of those that came before, or at the very least subverting or satirizing it - but the rise of the Internet and nerd culture means that it's much easier to wring something out of that market. And given we're currently riding something of a 90s-nostalgia wave in indie music - most of which was also influenced by the 70s which in turn was influenced by the 50s and all of it is partially driven by whatever's in the underground but that's besides the point - we've seen a slew of artists that were prominent in the 90s make something of a comeback in the past couple of years across a number of genres. 

But even as it can be an easy paycheck for the artist, I'm always a little wary about comebacks driven off of nostalgia, especially in this vein. For one, it's rare that an artist will pick up where they left off in terms of their sound or aim to experiment further - after all, that'll push that treasured fanbase away unless you can guarantee success. So often times you get artists that stick pretty close to their comfort zone with their comebacks - which is fine, you can give the fans what they want - but it's rarely all that challenging or interesting or potent.

But even with that qualification, I have to admit to having high hopes here. I've talked a little about Sleater-Kinney when I reviewed the debut album from Ex Hex called Rips late last year, but that was more of a Mary Timony project. Sleater-Kinney is more of the brain-child of Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker, who along with drummer Janet Weiss managed to craft several great punk and art rock records across the 90s and early 2000s before going on hiatus. And while I won't subscribe to the hyperbole of a site like Vox saying that 'Sleater-Kinney is the last great rock band' or some clickbait headline like that, I will say that with records like All Hands On The Bad One, Dig Me Out, One Beat, and The Woods that they've made some stellar, insightful, incredibly well-written records that I really enjoy.

Yet even with that, at the back of my mind, I was uneasy about this. It wasn't just that Sleater-Kinney had a passionate fanbase that would buy that comeback album in a heartbeat, but Carrie Brownstein could easily use her cult comedy TV show Portlandia for free marketing - in other words, it was something of a guaranteed investment, and given that I wasn't expecting off-beat experimentation to follow from The Woods, they could easily make this just pure fanservice. But even with that, I'm still a fan of Sleater-Kinney, so I made sure to give No Cities To Love plenty of listens - how is it?