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Sleater-Kinney: The End Of You

Sleater-Kinney: The End Of You

Sleater-Kinney, The Best Band In America, are breaking up. I found the news on their website today and I am heartbroken.

“After eleven years as a band, Sleater-Kinney have decided to go on indefinite hiatus. The upcoming summer shows will be our last. As of now, there are no plans for future tours or recordings. We feel lucky to have had the support of many wonderful people over the years. We want to thank everyone who has worked with us, written kind words about us, performed with us, and inspired us. But mostly we want to extend our gratitude to our amazing fans. You have been a part of our story from the beginning. We could not have made our music without your enthusiasm, passion, and loyalty. It is you who have made the entire journey worthwhile.

With love and thanks,

This is VERY depressing news for independent music; Sleater-Kinney are one of the biggest independent bands in America. With Clear Channel and MTV dominating the business of music and youth culture, modern “artists” have become little more than the products of corporate manufacturing. What does the future hold? Websites delivering songs to micro-communities? On-air voting for singers doing glorified karaoke? Is this a culture worth living in?

I could see this one coming, though. The band has grown more ambitious in recent years, playing larger venues (and tearing the shit out of them) and waiting and waiting and waiting for the world to catch up and make the whole project sustainable. There were the appearances on Letterman and the big push from new label Sub Pop to try and get the band into the public consciousness. And yet, there was The Woods; the band’s now final album is a fuzz drenched example of rock music at its most challenging and essential. Even the engineer turned everything up to 11. How could you not? I think of Sleater-Kinney as the perfect embodiment of the outrage and political anger that has dominated the last six years of my own political life. Maybe the band are as exhausted and disillusioned by it all as I am.

But, damn. If Sleater-Kinney can’t make it, who will?

And now, the band will be no more. Hiatus is a word I never like to hear. Neutral Milk Hotel are on “hiatus”. So are My Bloody Valentine. Both are bands we will likely never hear from again, but I will always cherish both as essential. With Sleater-Kinney leaving me, they will skyrocket to the top of the list of things I love that are no more. But I won’t cry yet; the band’s last NYC show, scheduled for August 2nd, is already sold out (with tickets going for $150 each on Craigslist), but I just grabbed two tickets for the Philadelphia show on July 31st. I will be there with a heavy heart, ready to say good-bye to my favorite band in the world.

Ladies, you are the best. What are we going to do without you?

The End Of You by Sleater-Kinney. Live at Warsaw, May 24, 2002 (and I was there…)

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