IGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED
Today’s SotW guest contributor is Haley Flannery. I was first introduced to Haley when her father, a lifelong friend of mine, asked me to add her to the SotW distribution list. I have since come to know her as the outstanding author of the Emphatic Hands blog where she professes a fondness for girl bands amongst other things.
Carrie Brownstein published a memoir last year. Though she is now arguably better known as an actress (see Portlandia, Transparent), as well as a writer and cultural critic (for NPR and others), Brownstein devoted the majority of the memoir’s pages to Sleater-Kinney, the punk band that she founded with Corin Tucker in 1994, dissolved in 2006, and reformed in 2014 to release one of 2015’s best albums, No Cities to Love.
It is not surprising that Sleater-Kinney is so vital to Brownstein’s life story. They’re a vital band that has made some of the most singular, electrifying music released in the last two decades. No Cities to Love picks up right where their last album, 2005’s The Woods, left off, exploring the anxieties of living in the modern world, making music, and relationships.
The songs on No Cities to Love are powerful and catchy, none more so than mid-album track “A New Wave,” which is Sleater-Kinney at its most upbeat. Even the music video, a collaboration with the animators of Bob’s Burgers, is pure fun.
No one here is taking notice
No outline will ever hold us
It’s not a new wave
It’s just you and me
When Brownstein sings these lines, and when she sings later of “inventing our own kind of obscurity”, it brings to mind the band’s career-long refusal to be defined. Sleater-Kinney are shapeshifters. They are punks, feminists, mothers (literally and figuratively). They are world-class musicians and intellectuals. They are entertainers. They are uniquely themselves. They were, and still are – as Greil Marcus once called them – America’s best rock band.
Enjoy… until next week. TM