Sleater-Kinney’s next phase

I’m assuming that everyone who regularly follows this blog is by now aware of two musical projects involving members of Sleater-Kinney. One is Wild Flag, an indie rock supergroup comprised of guitarist Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss, as well as Mary Timony and The Minders’ Rebecca Cole. The other is the Corin Tucker Band, whose 1,000 Years, which Kill Rock Stars will officially release on Tuesday that I listened to via NPR’s First Listen series.

In my world, Wild Flag coexists with . . . ; image courtesy of pitchfork.com

. . . Corin Tucker Band; image courtesy of undertheradarmag.com

I’m excited about these developments for a few reasons. I regret missing an opportunity to see Sleater-Kinney despite having heard recordings that confirm their reputation as one of the most formidable live rock acts in recent memory. But I’m pleased that the trio is attempting to make new music rather than take the more lucrative but potentially less creatively ambitious route of reuniting. Several peer acts choose the latter. While I don’t want to assume that Pavement, Slint, Guided By Voices, and others are merely cashing in on fans and interlopers’ nostalgic itch, there’s something unfulfilling to me about fashioning a simulacra of past concert experiences for a present-day audience. It’s not gonna feel like 1995, yo.

Thus, I think it’s braver to make new music within a different context, especially when female artists often have more abbreviated periods of cultural relevance than their male counterparts. I also think its empowering for veteran female musicians to come together to produce new work, as Tucker is doing with Unwound’s Sara Lund alongside her former band members efforts. In Brownstein’s case, I’m also energized by her ability to pursue multiple interests across media platforms, including music, blogging, and adapting a successful Web-based comedy series into a television program.

I have an investment in the music as well. Tucker’s 1,000 Years is a strong release with a particularly haunting first half that has Tucker exploring a myriad of musical influences beyond Sleater-Kinney’s feminist musical reinterpretations of Led Zeppelin. And while I didn’t catch the Shells, Brownstein and Timony’s past project that some friends found underwhelming, nor am I a Quasi fan, I am invigorated by the merging of Timony and Weiss’ uncontested instrumental profficiency.

Make no mistake. I’d absolutely attend a Sleater-Kinney reunion gig. I just find these developments far more interesting.

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