Sleater-Kinney opens up about "No Cities to Love," their first new album in nearly a decade

"We're trying to push through, so desperately, to something bigger"

Published November 20, 2014 10:15PM (EST)

Sleater-Kinney     (Brigitte Sire)
Sleater-Kinney (Brigitte Sire)

The rocking band Sleater-Kinney -- once dubbed “America’s best punk band ever. EVER,” by Rolling Stone -- is back after an eight-year hiatus. In January 2015, they'll release "No Cities to Love," after teasing fans earlier this year with an unlabeled 7-inch of a new song "Bury Our Friends" slipped into their remastered box set.

On Thursday, the band -- Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss -- sat down with NPR's "All Songs Considered" to discuss the upcoming album. It was the first interview, since "No Cities to Love" was announced.

The impetus to record as Sleater-Kinney again, after nearly a decade, was born in Tucker's home, watching "Portlandia" with Fred Armisen, and Corin's husband, Lance Bangs. From NPR:

"CORIN TUCKER: Actually, Carrie was at my house. We were hanging out, and I think we were watching Portlandia episodes that they were working on. And Fred [Armisen] was there, too. We were talking about playing music ... and I said, ...'I wonder if we're ever gonna do a Sleater-Kinney show again.'

"CARRIE BROWNSTEIN: I think we had two people in the room who are known fans of the band. One is Corin's husband, Lance Bangs, and the other is Fred Armisen, who was a fan of the band long before he and I worked together... they were very encouraging, and I think just wouldn't let that conversation die ... It was something that began percolating then. We talked to Janet and, you know, the conversation started."

In terms of how their writing has changed with aging, Janet Weiss had this to say:

"JANET WEISS: I feel like, with the three of us, with the way we connect, there's a desperation to reach a certain level...a desperation to break through of the mundane, of the generic. We're trying to push through, so desperately, to something bigger, that it just sort of comes out in this really powerful, forward-moving way. But I don't think that's changed. I think...we just...don't write a lot of slow songs —there's a lot of...unbridled energy....I guess as far as young versus old, I don't really feel like I've said it all, and I'm comfortable, and I'm sort of ready to kick my feet up. I feel like there's a lot left to do... and if we're gonna do this, the three of us, let's make it off the charts."

The band thinks that in the time since they started writing music in the '90s, the music has gotten better for women, but there's still a lot more to do:

"CORIN TUCKER: I think it has gotten better. Our society has become more progressive in talking about women's issues and safety and I think Obama just really stepped up recently and spoke about talking to survivors of sexual assault, and saying, you know, we've got your back. We need to do something about this. I mean, that's a really big deal. That's something no president has ever done, and, you know, for someone that's in charge of our country to say, "This is important and we need to work on this, and keep working together," that's a huge step forward."

"JANET WEISS: I still think if you looked at the headliners of festivals, though — the people that play after dark, I like to say — it's hard to be a woman. You will see it's very male-dominated, still. I mean, there's just still not a lot of women in those top slots, even though they have earned it completely. It's not like things are really that different, even though some of the best work is being made by women."

The entire 38 minute and 33 second interview is a must-listen. The women discuss everything from their creative process, harnessing energy, their past music, the politics woven into their music and if Sleater-Kinney has any influences. Listen here and hear their new song "Bury Our Friends" below:

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

MORE FROM Sarah Gray

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

'90s Nostalgia Bands Carrie Brownstein Cool Culture Music Npr Sleater-kinney Video