Sleater-Kinney have announced their anticipated new album, Little Rope, out January 19th on Loma Vista. The song’s remarkable one-shot music video, directed by Nick Pollet, features celebrated Australian freediver Amber Bourke holding her breath underwater for the song’s three and a half minute duration.
On Little Rope, Sleater-Kinney unleash one of their most potent weapons: the shattering emotional range of Corin Tucker’s vocals. In an album so centered on the vulnerability required to face the world as it is, Tucker manages to find her way from composure to its utter absence, and what she conjures is a series of visceral turns, a sharper, heavier manifestation of a rawness that’s always been there, most notably on the band’s early landmark record, Dig Me Out. Perhaps the most unforgettable of these moments comes near the very end of the album, in the brilliant closing track, “Untidy Creature” – a song that almost didn’t make it onto the record, but ends up being the perfect coda, at once the biggest-sounding track on the record and its most lyrically intimate: “But here’s too much here that’s unspoken/And there’s no tomorrow in sight/Could you love me if I was broken/There’s no going back tonight.” Then the chorus gives way, and in its place a deep, desperate wail that closes one of the most honest and soul-bearing albums by one of modern rock’s most vital bands.
To call Little Rope flawless feels like an insult to its intent – it careens headfirst into flaw and brokenness – a meditation on what living in a world of perpetual crisis has done to us, and what we do to the world in return. On the surface, the album’s 10 songs veer from spare to anthemic, catchy to deliberately hard-turning. But beneath that are perhaps the most complex and subtle arrangements of any Sleater-Kinney record, and a lyrical and emotional compass pointed firmly in the direction of something both liberating and terrifying: the sense that the only way to gain control is to let it go.
In the autumn of 2022, Carrie Brownstein received a call from Corin Tucker, who herself had just received a call from the American embassy in Italy. Years earlier, Brownstein listed Tucker as her emergency contact on a passport form, and while she had since changed her phone number, Tucker had not. The embassy staff were desperately trying to reach Brownstein. When they finally did, they told her what happened: While vacationing in Italy, Brownstein’s mother and stepfather had been in a car accident. Both were killed.
Although some of the album had already been written, aspects of each song—a guitar solo, the singing style, the sonic approach—were pulled into a changed emotional landscape. As Brownstein and Tucker moved through the early aftermath of the tragedy, elements of what was to become the emotional backbone of Little Rope began to form – how we navigate grief, who we navigate it with, and the ways it transforms us.
Little Rope was recorded at Flora Recording and Playback in Portland, Oregon with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton.
Little Rope track list:
- Needlessly Wild
- Say It Like You Mean It
- Hunt You Down
- Small Finds
- Don’t Feel Right
- Six Mistakes
- Dress Yourself
- Untidy Creature