Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Art of the Cover - Sleater-Kinney's 'No Cities to Love' (2015)

It's not he cities, it's the weather we love ....

Some beautiful minimalist artwork adorns this fine LP.

Art direction was by Mike Mills (the ex-REM guitarist is keeping busy!) with design by Mills along with Thea Lorentzen.

'No Cities to Love' is available in a beautiful, limited edition, 2-LP version on white vinyl - which also includes a Download Card.

Heavens to Betsy.. indeed! This one is an unexpected surprise!

Yap, telly totty Carrie Brownstein and pals Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss are back, baby!

The eighth studio album from riot-grrrrls Sleater-Kinney No Cities to Love dropped last week.

This is the band's first LP after their decade long "definite hiatus" since 2005's The Woods.

After a decade in hiatus and new projects from Portlandia to Drumgasm piling up, a Sleater-Kinney reunion seemed unlikely. But here we’ve got No Cities to Love, a thoroughly excellent return to form that proves the band hasn’t missed a step. 

At a lean 10 tracks, there’s a no-bullshit approach here that accentuates each member’s key talents. Drummer Janet Weiss still makes herself essential in subtle ways, while Carrie Brownstein still writes guitar lines as well as she does hipster jokes (the lead on “Fangless” ranks as one of her fiercest). Meanwhile, Corin Tucker just sings like she’s been waiting 10 years for the chance (which she has!), injecting each track with a vitality almost always missing from these sorts of reunion records. 

The gals are still able to knock it out of the park - especially on songs like the anthemic “No Anthems” and the shuffling “Surface Envy” - and there’s no question Sleater-Kinney hasn’t lost an ounce of power.

And this thing has really been garnering rave reviews!

Yap. Jon Pareles writing for The New York Times called it "the first great album of 2015", full of "hurtling, bristling, densely packed, white-knuckled songs that are all taut construction and raw nerve".

Chris Bilton from Exclaim! called the record "a thoroughly raging collection of post-punk anthems that nudges up the powerful perfection of 2005's The Woods at least another notch."

Meanwhile, acclaimed muso St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark), writing for Rolling Stone's 2014 year-end report, said it was her favorite Sleater-Kinney album so far and "a crowning jewel in their legacy."

“We sound possessed on these songs,” says guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein about Sleater-Kinney’s eighth studio album, No Cities to Love. “Willing it all–the entire weight of the band and what it means to us–back into existence.”

The new record is the first in 10 years from the acclaimed trio–Brownstein, vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker, and drummer Janet Weiss–who came crashing out of the ’90s Pacific Northwest riot grrrl scene, setting a new bar for punk’s political insight and emotional impact. Formed in Olympia, WA in 1994, Sleater-Kinney were hailed as “America’s best rock band” by Greil Marcus in Time Magazine, and put out seven searing albums in 10 years before going on indefinite hiatus in 2006.

But the new album isn’t about reminiscing, it’s about reinvention–the ignition of an unparalleled chemistry to create new sounds and tell new stories. “I always considered Corin and Carrie to be musical soulmates in the tradition of the greats,” says Weiss, whose drums fuel the fire of Tucker and Brownstein’s vocal and guitar interplay. “Something about taking a break brought them closer, desperate to reach together again for their true expression.” The result is a record that grapples with love, power and redemption without restraint. “The three of us want the same thing,” says Weiss. “We want the songs to be daunting.”

Produced by long-time Sleater-Kinney collaborator John Goodmanson, who helmed many of the band’s earlier albums including 1997 breakout set Dig Me Out, No Cities to Love is indeed formidable from the first beat.

1. "Price Tag"   3:54
2. "Fangless"   3:34
3. "Surface Envy"   3:06
4. "No Cities to Love"   3:05
5. "A New Wave"   3:38
6. "No Anthems"   3:19
7. "Gimme Love"   2:16
8. "Bury Our Friends"   3:23
9. "Hey Darling"   2:25
10. "Fade"   3:37

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