We often hear about The Go-Go’s and The Bangles as “influential and important” to the female rock scene, as they were somehow successful in the pop world of the 80s. Hard rockers L7 also get some recognition as being able to rock as heavy as guys do. But the real women rockers don’t necessarily play in all-girl bands: PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, Tanya Donelly can lead men, respectfully, creating some of the most creative rock of the last 20 years.

The only band that qualifies in both “categories” (if we must…) of great indie rock made by all female band is Sleater-Kinney, back with a new album of flaming rock, their first in 10 years. The girls from Olympia, Washington state, have reunited after a hiatus in which Corin Tucker issued solo albums and had children, and Carrie Brownstein launched a comedy show called Portlandia, with Saturday Night Life cast member Fred Armisen.

Here are a few songs from the latest album and some older ones. Notice the continuity.

“No Cities To Love” is a strong album on which Sleater-Kinney show they haven’t lost one bit of their edge, with nervous rhythms keeping the listeners on their toes (A New Wave). Corin Tucker’s signing sometimes sounds like Getty Lee’s (Fangless) but in a woman’s body, it’s far less annoying. There’s a bit of grunge here and there, as guitars never stop raging although the album. We hear the contrast dynamics that grunge brought to hard rock (No Anthems) with strong influence from St. Vincent’s type of neo funk rock (Gimme Love, one of the best tracks) that somehow reminds of Talking Heads, with a more distorted sound.

The trio, completed by Janet Weiss on drums, recorded seven albums between 1995 and 2005, initially associated with the feminist riot grrrl movement, singing about sexism, violence, and struggling economy.

PBS did a great topo on the band, with in depth interview with the three musicians.

An exciting album that requires a few listens before truly adopting, mainly because of the lack of strong hooks on the singing front. But once passed this first impression, “No Cities To Love” is an album you’ll listen often.

SLEATER-KINNEY
No Cities To Love
(Sub Pop, 2014)

-Genre: alternative rock
-In the same field as St. Vincent, The Pixies, Hole

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.