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Long Play: Sleater-Kinney - The Woods

As part of our ongoing Long Play series, opbmusic is playing selections from Sleater-Kinney’s 2005 release The Woods all day throughout the broadcast on Monday, March 7.

Sleater-Kinney's 2005 release The Woods

Sleater-Kinney’s 2005 release The Woods

When Sleater-Kinney reformed in 2015 and released the critically acclaimed No Cities To Love, a lot of people were surprised, but virtually no one treated their return with the kind of caution that’s typically associated with legacy acts who reunite after lengthy layoffs. Their previously penultimate release, 2005’s The Woods, had served as one hell of a mic drop for the band. So much so that, even after a decade, music fans were still clamoring to hear more from Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss. 

The Woods was a juggernaut of an album that marked an even bigger move away from Sleater-Kinney’s early punk-influenced sound and hinted at a band that had found not just another gear to slide into, but maybe a whole new transmission. Although the album included what would become one of the group’s most recognizable songs, the sweet and incredibly accessible “Modern Girl,” The Woods was mostly a face-melter. The album prominently featured heavily distorted dueling guitars from Tucker and Brownstein, an ever-present wall of nasty feedback reminiscent of 1970s stadium rock, and what was one of the most punishing performances in rock history from Weiss on drums.

At the time, The Guardian went with this delightfully tacky (but accurate) lede:

Proto-riot grrrls in prog rock shocker!

But it was Pitchfork that truly hit the nail on the head:

With its artificially sweetened melody, “Modern Girl”, for instance, almost sounds saccharine (“My whole life is like a picture of a sunny day”), but coming after “Jumpers”, a song so empathetic it considers suicide a viable act of defiance, “Modern Girl” takes on deeper meanings. The pair are two sides of the same woman, the ultimate predicament: To survive these days, you have to be either suicidal or superficial. Sleater-Kinney, meanwhile, get by simply sounding f**king supersonic.


Listen to opbmusic on Monday, March 7 as DJs Molly Woon, Francis Storr, and Gerard O’Sullivan play tracks from The Woods.

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