Sleater-Kinney get experimental on their new single, the title-track from their forthcoming ninth studio album, The Center Won’t Hold. The song marks the band’s first release since longtime drummer Janet Weiss announced her departure from the line-up. (Weiss performed on the LP, out August 16th.)
“The Center Won’t Hold,” like the record itself, is produced by St. Vincent, who helps guide the band down a dark, post-modern path. For its first two-thirds, the song plods through banging pots and pans, electric guitar fuzz and Carrie Brownstein’s jagged vocals. Soon after Weiss’ echoing drums enter the mix, the song explodes into full-on noise-rock, with Corin Tucker’s wail transforming the titular phrase into a battle cry.
In a statement about the song, Tucker wrote, “‘The Center Won’t Hold’ drops you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election. And almost like a mission statement, at the end of that song, it’s like the band is finding its way out of that space by becoming a rock band.”
The Center Won’t Hold also features the previously issued “Hurry On Home,” which they played on The Tonight Show, and “The Future Is Here.” They will promote the album on a fall North American tour that launches October 9th in Spokane, Washington.
In a public statement about her decision to leave Sleater-Kinney, Weiss wrote that the band is “heading in a new direction” and that “it is time for [her] to move on.” In response to a fan question, Brownstein commented on Weiss’ exit via Instagram. “What am I supposed to say? She left. We asked her to stay. We tried. It’s hard and sad,” she wrote. “She’s left us with a job to do, a job we also expected and wanted her to be a part of. Her playing on this record is amazing and she’s raved about this album to us and to Annie. But we have to keep looking to the future. Things change, even when those changes are hard and unexpected.”