Release Date: Oct 21, 2014
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Riot Grrrl
These days, Sleater-Kinney’s two main protagonists, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker are, respectively, a comedy writer and actor whose US TV show, Portlandia, has been garlanded with Emmy nominations; and a mother of two, married to film-maker Lance Bangs, who occasionally makes “middle-aged mom records” with the Corin Tucker Band. It seems fair to say that is not an outcome anyone who bought Sleater-Kinney’s 1995 debut album probably envisaged. This was a 22-minute-long blast of righteous gay fury, released on queercore label Chainsaw: amid the distorted guitars and screaming and songs in which anyone in possession of a penis was told where to get off, there weren’t a lot of ROFLs, Emmy-winning or otherwise.
"World domination is what I want for Sleater-Kinney." I am wont to believe Carrie Brownstein when the Sleater-Kinney guitarist, then 21, qualified this 1996 assertion by shrugging it off as a joke. She was, in all likelihood, alluding to the mainstream-affixed mantra of Seattle's blown-up grunge scene, which her own band's roots in the nearby punk-feminist community of Olympia opposed. Like Bikini Kill and Fugazi before them, Sleater-Kinney would never succumb to the beckoning of major labels.
Sleater-Kinney's groundbreaking discography gets the deluxe treatment with Start Together, a limited-edition box set that collects all seven of the group's remastered albums -- which spanned and reconfigured sounds as far-reaching as Motown, the Kinks, and post-punk while never letting the band's passion waver -- as colored vinyl LPs. Along with the band's pioneering body of work, the set also includes a 44-page hardcover book featuring previously unreleased photos and a limited-edition print and the new song "Bury Our Friends." A beautiful collector's piece commemorating one of America's most vital indie bands. .
These days, Carrie Brownstein is better known as co-creator and co-star of Portlandia, as opposed to founding guitarist and vocalist of seminal punk/riot grrrl powerhouse Sleater-Kinney. Though the Olympia, Washington band – their iconic line-up completed by other vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker and drummer Janet Weiss – called it a day eight years ago, their legacy and influence remains as strong and important as it ever was, not just in terms of their music, but their ideals and belief systems. Not that those things – their left-leaning politics, feminist outlook, or ambiguous sexual persuasions – dominated the music, though they certainly influenced and inspired it.
A year or so ago, I interviewed Lou Barlow from Sebadoh; ostensibly, it was to promote their new record, Defend Yourself, but they’d not long since reissued their classic Bakesale LP, too; the live shows in support of it were basically an even split between material from that record and its follow-up, Harmacy, which made me wonder why they hadn’t also reissued the latter. “To be totally honest, I don’t know why any Sebadoh record would be reissued,” he said, sounding a little nonplussed by the question. “I mean, they’re not unavailable.