Sleater-Kinney Go Exploring

Rock trio stretches out on the experimental "Woods"

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"We just wanted things to really explode," Corin Tucker says of Sleater-Kinney's seventh album, The Woods, out May 24th. "There's a rebelliousness on this record."

This mood led the trio -- singer/guitarist Tucker, guitarist Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss -- to bust their trademark taut song structures wide open with ragged guitars and expansive drums. "What's Mine Is Yours" boasts an epic guitar solo by Brownstein, while "Let's Call It Love" is an all-out eleven-minute jam.

"I don't know how everyone's going to react it," Tucker says of the album. "I think some people will really like this record. Some people have already told me, 'Oh, I liked the last one better.' But it's about us pushing ourselves somewhere different and keeping ourselves joyful about playing music."

Sleater-Kinney, long identified with the Pacific Northwest (they formed in Olympia, Washington), traveled to upstate New York to record in the studio of producer David Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Weezer). The album's title reflects the band's geographic and sonic dislocation. "The experience of recording it in this really rural woods is partially why that title resonated with us," Tucker says. "There's also a feeling of apprehension and possible isolation that comes with those words -- and exploration, as well."

The exploration is further evident on tracks like the seemingly saccharine "Modern Girl," its crisp, clean sound drowned out by fuzzy guitar at its close. "I think the song is really great, because it's so happy and clean while the lyrics are so sad," Tucker says. "[Its ending] needed something more obvious, a sound of destruction and chaos."

While The Woods' ten tracks may not sport the trenchant political content of 2002's One Beat, Tucker considers the album just as potent. "We went inward with the things we wanted to say," she explains, "and I think the intensity of the record is reflective of the political and cultural climate that we've been living in."

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