Sleater-Kinney, Lizzo | Riviera Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney

When: Tue., Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. 2015
Price: sold out
I’m not interested in attaching motives to Sleater-Kinney’s decision to reunite last year—so many groups re-form these days that it becomes exhausting to investigate their reasons, though many reunions are probably cash grabs. The bigger problem is that most of them are nothing more than weak exercises in nostalgia. On the other hand, No Cities to Love (Sub Pop), Sleater-Kinney’s new release, vividly demonstrates what a productive near-decade-long gap between records and tours sounds like. There are additions I wouldn’t have expected to hear in 2006, like the subtle, pulsing synths on “Fangless,” but they’re natural and unobtrusive—the band’s vintage sound remains intact, with no reduction in the unholy power of Corin Tucker’s wild soul or the bulldozer force of Janet Weiss’s drumming. No Cities is an unrelenting record that feels as real and sincere as anything the band has made: the flinty interplay between Tucker and Carrie Brownstein’s guitars is thrilling, and the lyrics don’t ignore the ages and realities of the band members. During the trio’s early days Tucker wouldn’t have sung about the brutal economic treadmill described in the ferocious “Price Tag” (“Let’s say off label / Just ’til we’re able / To save a little up”), but her rage sounds no less genuine. And even when the band is humbled by life, admitting worry and a desire for calm in “Bury Our Friends,” it doesn’t give up the fight. As Sleater-Kinney has aged, the group’s immediate concerns have shifted, but the sense of indignation and the attack of guitars and drums have not. This reunion makes it seem like Sleater-Kinney never went away. —Peter Margasak

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