I haven’t died… and neither have Sleater-Kinney.

Courtesy of Stereogum

Well, a very belated Happy New Year to you Tastemakers! The hiatus was nice as I got back into the groove with full-time school AND work… which is total BS, btw, part-time work is MUCH more advisable while you’re a student, because: SLEEP… But now I need my music.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015 was the Super Tuesday of music, y’all. Sleater-Kinney, The Decemberists, and Björk all seemed to rise from the grave to grace us with new, dope shit; and Panda Bear finally released his Grim Reaper project. I mean, these are all well-seasoned and well-loved artists… it was like a wall of LOVE being hurled at their fans! Needless to say, I jumped on all albums with the zeal of a lioness.

First up, I present to you: Sleater-Kinney’s first album in over a decade. Track. By. Track.

No Cities to Love
released 20 January 2015

1. Price Tag – Definitely the right choice as an opener. Super-catchy! I can’t help but think ’90s and angry female when listening, but I don’t mean that in a negative way — it’s a socio-political commentary on materialism, vanity, and greed in America, for Pete’s sake. Be f*cking angry, ladies. I am, too. What’s the cost of your hang-up, anyhow?

2.  Fangless – On the srs, these women know how to construct a legit piece. This is new without being overly contrived… it can be quite difficult to be innovative in the garage rock realm, things can start to sound monotonous if you’re not careful. So far, so good. No comment on these lyrics, though.

3. Surface Envy – You maaaayyyyyy or may not be finding me with my windows rolled down at a stoplight, belting this at the top of my lungs sometime. Really. The lyrics piss me off, just because they’re sophomoric and too artsy flippin’ fartsy for me, but this is kinda like a little virus. Very Pat Benatar. I wanna throw on my acid wash jeans, fringe leather jacket, and use too much Aqua Net to this. Complete with glitter blue eyeshadow and Barbie pink lipstick. Then I wanna go rough up some haters through angry interpretive dance. Le’go.

4. No Cities to Love – Faithful Tastemakers: you know how I feel about title tracks. Newcomers: too. much. pressure. Anyone who commits to a title track better be sure it delivers. This doesn’t. It makes me mad, actually, how much I’m not digging this track, because I wanted to. I could have written this shit in middle school. Nope. Nopenopenope. Fail, bitches.

5. A New Wave – Fun!!! Now, this is better form. I can see myself pulling this out for a solo underwear dance party at home, like, once a month or so. I mean, the first line is all about “every day I throw a little party”… so hop to it! And that mid-song jam break?! The iiiiiiiissssshhhhhh! You don’t hear that classic garage band trick much these days. Very talented musicians, and they’re at their best right here.

6. No Anthems – I appreciate this drastic change in style here. Fantastic track placement. It’s interesting to me that this is actually a sexy song for this group. Cool for them! It’s not getting me going, but whatever floats their boat. Besides… I have a very hard time picturing Carrie Brownstein in any sort of feminine mystique way after her role as Lance on Portlandia. I mean… does not compute. So this song makes more sense to me.

7. Gimme Love – Perfectly constructed song. It even has a distinct “hit” methodology, though I wouldn’t project that it will be in the mainstream as a hit. Indie underground? Remains to be seen if they’ll put some time and money into producing a video for it.

8. Bury Our Friends – I don’t need to say anything here. Ok, so I do! But this was the first new track we’ve heard since Carrie joined up with Fred on Portlandia, and the first few times I listened to it, I had a helluva time taking the whole project seriously. All I could think was that she was making fun of us and the garage band scene! Now that it’s worked its magic on me, I can’t get enough. I cannot.

9. Hey Darling – I immediately got a flashback of No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. Anyone? Anyone? I’m not sure I’m cool with the subject of this track is truly infidelity. I’m not down with that. If you’re gonna be in a relationship, stick with it. Don’t be a dick and disappear like the bitch who’s talking to her fella here. It’s lame. BUT, good track otherwise 😉

10. Fade – What a great closer! Not boring, not too high energy, leaves the listener excited for what’s next. Slightly reminiscent of the majestic rock opera of yesteryear without the hours of fluff. Good. Shit.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not what I was expecting, and in a pretty delightful way! Sure, some of the lyrics REALLY missed it for me, but this album never left me bored, was the perfect length, and had decent track placement! I am very disappointed that the story is disjointed and that these seasoned veterans in the music biz didn’t make use of the powerful storytelling that the album format affords… A collection of songs does not offer adequate insight into the band! #SorryNotSorry. Overall: ♦♦½/5.

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