Song of the Day: Sleater-Kinney - Bury Our Friends

Song of the Day
01/02/2015
Jacob Webb
photo by Brigitte Sire

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Bury Our Friends” by Sleater-Kinney from the forthcoming album No Cities To Love on Sub Pop.

Sleater-Kinney - Bury Our Friends (MP3)

One of the most singular and influential bands of the last twenty years, Sleater-Kinney ended their original sixteen-year run as one of America's most revered and ferocious bands. Singer/guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein both cut their teeth in the riot grrrl movement in Olympia, Washington before founding Sleater-Kinney in 1994. Built around the duo's complimentary characteristics – Tucker's soaring wail and thick rhythmic guitar with Brownstein's inimitable sneer and stabbing leads – and, from 1996 onwards, the thunderous pounding of drummer Janet Weiss, Sleater-Kinney took the passionate, feminist spirit of riot grrrl and used it to take on indie rock as a whole, climbing the ranks of the club circuit while racking up critical accolades on both sides of the Atlantic for their seven albums. After the tour behind 2005's masterful The Woods, the band went on hiatus; Tucker intermittently embarked on a solo career while raising children, Weiss played with Quasi, Bright Eyes, Wild Flag (with Brownstein) and Stephen Malkmus, and Brownstein created and starred in the sketch comedy show Portlandia. After an abstract suggestion from Brownstein's Portlandia partner Fred Armisen in late 2012, the trio clandestinely made strides towards reactivating Sleater-Kinney, writing and rehearsing songs throughout 2013 and recording them in early 2014, resulting in the band's eighth album, No Cities to Love.

First released on a cryptically-labeled 7" included in Start Together, the band's retrospective box set, "Bury Our Friends" shows no signs of rust. With a drum beat that alternates between a martial stomp and a punk-inflected amen break, Tucker and Brownstein trade off verses about overcoming oppressors both internal and external before coalescing in the chorus with the same balance of melody and force that powered "Dig Me Out", "One Beat", "You're No Rock n' Roll Fun", "Jumpers", and the rest of their finest tracks. As the final cry of "we're wild and weary/but we won't give in" rings out, it's clear that only a band as self-aware and unrelenting as Sleater-Kinney could wink at their own shortcomings before rallying to overcome them.

Sleater-Kinney are embarking on a tour behind No Cities to Love in 2015. They'll start the tour in Spokane on February 8th and finish with a trio of shows at The Showbox on May 7th, 8th, and 9th. All of those shows are sold out, but the trio will be touring again after the summer, so keep an eye on their website and Facebook for those dates. Below, watch the Miranda July-featuring lyric video for "Bury Our Friends".

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