NPR’s currently streaming in full some new albums of note from veteran musicians, among them, the ninth studio album from Belle and Sebastian, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, and the first album in ten years from one of this writer’s all-time favorite bands, Sleater-Kinney.
The album, titled No Cities to Love, is the band’s eighth studio release, technically, but, after so much time, rather than sounding like an emotionally stunted picking-up of where they left off in 2005/6, Cities sounds like they’ve been making music together all this time. With the exception of the unmistakable, unshakeable roaring croon of Corin Tucker, most other aspects of the music have evolved and shifted into new, pretty surprising areas that I just didn’t expect to hear when putting this record on.
Honestly, I was never a huge fan of their 2005 release, The Woods—I appreciated the experimentation and liked when they veered off into the CCR-esque stylings, but, overall, it sounded like an album form a band that had just developed a bit of an identity crisis. Cities definitely sounds jumbled or disorganized at times, but it’s striking me as more current and urgent and…interesting this time round.
I think it might be a slow burn—something of a musical enigma for the first few listens for me at least. You can listen to it for yourself in full for a limited time and read Katie Presley’s write-up at NPR’s First Listen.