Any discussion of women in the music industry who kick-arse and rock-out must eventually mention Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss, who are collectively known as Sleater-Kinney. Emerging from the punk and riot grrrl scene of Olympia, Washington in 1994, Sleater-Kinney quickly began amassing interest with their self-titled 1995 debut and, following the release of 1996’s Call the Doctor, converting this interest to critical acclaim. By the time The Woods arrived in 2005 – the last album the band released before entering an extended hiatus in late 2006 – the trio was firmly entrenched as one of the most influential bands to emerge from the 90’s alternative scene.
Eschewing the traditional rock-trio arrangement of drums, bass, and guitar, Sleater-Kinney build their sound around the down-tuned – one and a half steps down to C#, for those interested – guitars of Tucker and Brownstein, and Weiss’ potent drumming. I’m continually astounded by the big sound Weiss manages to coax from her drum-kit, and perpetually charmed by how she manages to whale-on the kit while maintaining a casual air – it’s easy to see why she frequents lists of the best rock-drummers.
During Sleater-Kinney’s hiatus, Tucker released two albums for her solo project, The Corin Tucker Band, while Weiss continued drumming in her other band, Quasi, while also lending her talents to acts like Bright Eyes, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, The Shins, as well as joining Brownstein in the short-lived, Wild Flag. Using the break to continue building her career as a writer, Brownstein wrote a blog for NPR Music and published her Memoir, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, in 2015. Brownstein also created, wrote, and starred in the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning comedy, Portlandia, alongside Fred Armisen.
Being talented and successful individually; Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss could easily be independently included in Women-Who-Rocktober, but it is collectively as Sleater-Kinney that these women have most demonstrated they skill and influence. Luckily for their fans, Sleater-Kinney ended their hiatus in 2014, releasing No Cities to Love in 2015, returning to the stage to share the sonic joy.