Sleater-Kinney Preach To The Choir

Does Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss believe politically charged songs and artists can effect real change in society? “No, I don’t think the mainstream listens to those types of records,” she admitted to Time Off magazine. “I think it motivates people who already think that way to do something themselves. I’m not sure the young people today believe music can change anything and until people really believe music can change something I don’t think it will.”

Improv Jam Guided Sleater-Kinney In A New Direction

It was during a tour supporting Pearl Jam in 2003 that Sleater-Kinney’s new direction of musical experimentation and freedom first raised its head. “We had this improv jam that we did on the Pearl Jam tour and we just loved it,” vocalist and guitarist Corin Tucker told Australia’s Time Off magazine. “It really opened some doors for us, in terms of what we could do with our instruments, and gave us some freedom to play with. When we wrote ‘Let’s Call It Love’ that pushed us into new territory. It was like, ‘Okay, that was new. This is a really weird song’. I mean, it’s heavy and it’s got the potential to go into improv and we kinda knew that about that song. So that was like a piece of the puzzle for us [and] we knew we needed to write songs that would match that or fit that song. [In the past], everyone had their part in the band and we were so compartmentalized. But playing together in the improv, we found all these new and cool things we could do and really liked it. It was the most exciting direction we could go in.”

Sleater-Kinney’s Brownstein Weighs In On War

Just as the U.S. led invasion of Iraq started, Jennifer Mathieu of the Houston Press caught up with Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein, who had more on her mind than her band’s tour with Pearl Jam. “It’s just horrible,” she said. “It’s hard to wake up every morning and know we’re at war and people are dying and the rest of the world pretty much disagrees with what we’re doing.” But the band had no plans yet for any protest songs. “I feel like right now it would be hard to create something,” she says. “It’s too big. How do you write about it? It’s pretty hard when we’re in the middle of it.”

Sleater-Kinney Increases Political Emphasis

Jason Gargano of Cincinnati CityBeat caught up with Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss and asked about the band’s increased political emphasis on ‘One Beat’, their latest effort. “Sometimes global politics intrudes into your personal politics in a very large-scale way,” Weiss explained. “Some of the dark events of the past year-and-a-half were political and personal at the same time. You couldn’t really separate those things. Plus there is no decision that, you know, ‘We’re only going to write about this, as opposed to that.’ You write about the things that matter to you, things that mean something and affect your life. That’s what what we wrote about on the last record.” Read more.

On TV: Ryan Adams, Sleater-Kinney, Flaming Lips

Rock acts on talk television this week include Ryan Adams on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, then Rocket from the Crypt performs on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. On Wednesday, look for Sleater-Kinney on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. On Thursday, the Foo Fighters are on the Late Show with David Letterman, the Flaming Lips on Conan, and Earshot on Last Call with Carson Daly. Check your local listings for times and channels.

Sleater Kinney ‘Connected’ And ‘Engaged’ On ‘One Beat’

Sleater-Kinney 'One Beat' album cover

Franklin Bruno of LA Weekly reviewed the new album from Sleater-Kinney, saying ‘One Beat’ “feels connected, engaged” on ever track. Bruno adds, “Sleater-Kinney’s significance is that they’ve consistently (though not infallibly) broadened both their sound and their content without denying — without even wanting to deny — their subcultural standing.” As for why most have never heard of the group, Bruno explains, “The fact that you won’t hear it on commercial radio alongside better-funded garageisms by the Hives and the Vines says more about the rigging of our airwaves than a month of congressional hearings.” Read more.