Saturday, May 2, 2015
all hands on the bad one
Sleater-Kinney broke the spell and smoothed out the feelings of being used to get to heaven with a three chord song. They had followed up the fury of 'Dig Me Out' with the complex introspection of 'The Hot Rock', leading to criticism from fans that they had sold out. For their next album, they decided to take a more spontaneous approach. 'All Hands on the Bad One' was produced by John Goodmanson and engineered by Larry Crane at Jackpot! Studio in Portland, Oregon and at John and Stu's Place in Seattle, Washington with Carrie Brownstein on guitar and vocals; Corin Tucker on vocals and guitar; and Janet Weiss on drums and percussion; with Sam Coomes adding mellotron on "Milkshake n' Honey"; and Sarah Dougher contributing organ on "All Hands on the Bad One" and "The Swimmer".
Carrie Brownstein: "I think "The Hot Rock" was the most conversational in terms of vocal style. There was a lot of inter-twining vocal melodies and a sense of conscious/sub-conscious interplay. I think on that record we were interested in exploring dualities. When we do approach a song like that it is actually more haphazard than one might think. It just ends up that we both want to sing over a part and then we try to find a way to make it work...I see the previous records as documents of various times in our lives. I don't see it as strictly a linear progress though I do see us pushing ourselves to go further with each record. But I don't feel like we fear or reject the past and so we allow it to pop up in our current songwriting; but we make sure to expand on it. One thing I am proud of is that all of our records sound different from one another. Some of my favorite songs from past records are: Hubcap, Get Up, Hot Rock, Start Together, One More Hour, and The Day I Went Away...The new record came together out of a new renewed sense of enjoyment in relation to playing music. There was not one over-riding concept behind the album ... I think a lot of the way we've been treated is like, politics is something you grow out of. Like, 'Oh, when you get older, you grow up and away from politics and this sort of righteousness.' I think that we tried to reiterate it and make it more holistic in a way that it's integrated in our music. That's just not something that we've left behind. It's part of who we are. So, I think that this record sort of proclaims that most eloquently. We felt like in the past we were being labeled as having arisen from the riot grrrl ghetto, or out of this political yet immature sort of hub of politics that didn't make any sense. Like the only way we could be accepted was to leave that at the door. So, I think this is just saying, 'Well, that's not really true.' We're a great rock band. Our songs aren't just political but some of them are very political. Some of them are fun. Some of them are nonsensical and some of them are personal. But it's all these things at once and it's really important that these things are integrated into us as people. I mean, obviously those live within us and they can live within our band without us having to choose and access them or pick one in order to move on. I mean, we can move forward with all these things with us and not have to leave anything behind in order to be successful."
Weiss: "Usually Carrie or Corin have a skeleton for a song to start. They sometimes work together first, crafting the guitar parts, and then bring it to me to add drums and whatever else. Sometimes we jam in the basement and come up with tasty riffs on the spot. It's all quite organic and spontaneous, although this album consists of more songs which had more structure prior to all of us playing together. Youth Decay is an example...John Goodmanson has the incredible ability of capturing our live sound and heightening it, so we sound better. Plus, he's such an awesome guy an has lot's of great studio stories...There are tons of advantages to being on an independent label, the obvious being total artistic freedom. We really have control and a say in all aspects of business that pertain to this band. We work together with KRS, not in opposition, and think of them as our partners. Having a large corporation, such as a major label, controling our music would be destructive for us."
Tucker: "I think that there were some things that happened last year that really made me feel a sense of urgency about making music and writing. I felt like it was a really nasty year. Nineteen-ninety-nine was a really nasty year and a lot of really sexist things happened in rock and that's the area where we work. The most popular bands have really misogynistic lyrics and a lot of women were raped at the Woodstock concerts. So, to me, it was a reminder that you can't ... even if we're older and we're successful and we've made this niche for ourselves as musicians, we can't give up. We can't say there's not these really sexist things happening because they are affecting women, young women...The songs just came out. It was so spontaneous with this record. The songs just kept popping up one after another. We didn't really talk about anything. It just kind of happened. We did have one conversation that was before we even started writing that was like, 'We need to be able to write really freely.' We had been writing much more sophisticated melodies with The Hot Rock, doing stuff that was really intricate. And we just decided for this record that we were going to let go and whatever came out was just going to be something we would work on. So after that it was like the songs just popped up, I guess....My writing process hasn't changed. I still write songs very spontaneously, without any kind of self-sensorship. I feel this is essential to the artistic process. If I worried about what other people thought, I wouldn't be in this band."
'All Hands on the Bad One' charted at number one hundred and seventy seven on the US Billboard 200 album chart and number twelve on the US heatseekers album chart. Weiss reveals: "[The cover] photo is of Carrie being hauled off a dance floor. She worked herself into a frenzy and passed out. People are laughing in the background because she's wearing a bunny suit."
"You're No Rock n' Roll Fun"
"Leave You Behind"
"All Hands on the Bad One"
'All Hands on the Bad One'
All music composed by Sleater-Kinney.
1. "The Ballad of a Ladyman" 3:11
2. "Ironclad" 2:34
3. "All Hands on the Bad One" 2:57
4. "Youth Decay" 2:30
5. "You're No Rock n' Roll Fun" 2:38
6. "#1 Must Have" 3:04
7. "The Professional" 1:31
8. "Was It a Lie?" 3:16
9. "Male Model" 2:33
10. "Leave You Behind" 3:27
11. "Milkshake n' Honey" 2:55
12. "Pompeii" 2:43
13. "The Swimmer" 3:46