indie-rock royalty sleater-kinney are restarting together

photos by jimmy fontaine

back in black.

“As you get older, you’re expected to quiet down and settle down—and I don’t feel settled or quiet,” says Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, packed into a West Village diner booth with her longtime friends and bandmates, singer-guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. “I mean, listen to the record,” adds Weiss. Her hearty laughter competes with the clatter of an early-December lunchtime crowd, but she’s right. Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities to Love, the band’s first new album since going on “indefinite hiatus” in 2006, and its eighth overall, finds the pioneering Pacific Northwest rockers as vociferous as ever. “There’s a desperation in that music,” says Weiss. “Just for it to exist, and for us to fight together to express ourselves honestly.”

It’s a sentiment echoed in No Cities’ fiery “Surface Envy”: “We win, we lose, only together do we break the rules/ We win, we lose, only together do we make the rules.” Which is also a fair approximation of the two-year-long period of writing and recording the album, which involved deliberately redefining the parameters of the trio’s dual-guitar sound. “We can do things too easily and too intuitively, so part of the process was to push past those ideas that felt natural or good but weren’t the best musically,” says Brownstein. “We had to make it not sound just like Sleater-Kinney the first time around.”

Sleater-Kinney the first time around were the stuff of indie-rock-fan exuberance and critics’ year-end best lists. Formed amid the Olympia, Washington riot grrrl scene in 1994, the trio would record seven albums, all vital and all collected in Start Together, a lavish vinyl box set released on Sub Pop last fall. It was on the heels of Start Together’s release that the now Portland, Oregon-based band made the surprise announcement that they had recorded a new album and would tour behind it, beginning in Spokane, Washington, on February 8.

But it wasn’t like the band members hadn’t kept busy in the intervening years: Tucker recorded and toured with her own Corin Tucker Band and raised two kids; Weiss continued with her longstanding indie-rock group, Quasi, and did a stint in Stephen Malkmus’s band The Jicks; Weiss and Brownstein played together in the shortlived alt-rock supergroup Wild Flag. Most unexpectedly, Brownstein stepped up her sketch-comedy game with Portlandia, the singular IFC show that she and former Saturday Night Live cast member Fred Armisen created and star in. The hit series just entered its fifth season.

Interestingly enough, Portlandia plays a role in the Sleater-Kinney reunion story: While Brownstein and Armisen were screening early cuts of the series for Tucker and her husband, filmmaker Lance Bangs—Tucker cameoed in the first season, and Bangs has appeared on the show as well—Tucker brought up the idea of getting the band back together. “I said, ‘Are we ever gonna do that again?’” recalls Tucker. “And then it was like, Huh!” She throws her hands back, mimicking the excited reaction of Armisen and Bangs, who vehemently championed the idea.

Armisen is such a huge Sleater-Kinney fan, in fact, that he’s even offered to roadie for the group—though that’s unlikely, given his full-time gig as leader of the Late Night With Seth Meyers house band. “I think if we actually asked him to do any job on the tour, he would,” says Brownstein.

“Merch!” exclaims Weiss. “Fred would be the best merch seller.”

“We’d sell twice the amount,” says Brownstein, warming to the idea.

Once Sleater-Kinney 2.0 got underway in earnest, Brownstein and Tucker spent many an hour together listening to an unlikely mix of songs for inspiration: Kanye West’s “New Slaves,” Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers,” David Bowie’s “Fame,” Turkish psych-folkie Selda Bağcan’s “Yaylalar.” “I would be like, ‘What about this song? Let’s write a song like this,’” recalls Brownstein. “But anything that we funnel into this band comes out sounding really different.”

Bowie got channeled into album closer “Fade,” which Tucker wrote from the vantage point of a “rock star” character: “If we truly are dancing our swan song, darling/ Shake it like never before.” It’s a “tongue-in-cheek” reference to the fact that this could be Sleater-Kinney’s last go-round, Tucker explains. “We’re here today,” she says. “‘Fade’ is about this idea of living in the moment: We don’t know if there’s gonna be another album, so let’s go for it. Or, if we’re gonna be in this band, let’s fully embody this kind of heroic person onstage, and step into the idea of being a rock star—the drama, all of it.”

On the chance that this is Sleater-Kinney’s swan song, concertgoers would be well-advised to pick up a souvenir at the show. Just don’t be surprised if you find a certain nerdy, bespectacled comedian working the merch table.

You can stream No Cities to Love here.

We also see Margot Robbie take on Sharon Tate

The new trailer for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gives a look at the Manson Family. In the previous clip, we saw Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio at their funniest. Now, we get to see Margot Robbie take on actress Sharon Tate, Lena Dunham become a cult member, and how the fictional and real-life story lines will intersect in the film.

Per a press release, the film—that follows a fictional story set around the time of the real-life Manson murders—"visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore."

In this clip, after being introduced to Dalton and Booth, viewers get to see how the latter ends up mingling with the Manson Family. As Booth picks up a girl (Margaret Qualley) on the side of the road, he unknowingly welcomes a Manson family member into his life and begins to visit their ranch. The fiction and real-life stories intersect when we find out that Dalton lives next store to Tate, who was murdered by the members of Charles Manson's cult in 1969.

Watch the new trailer for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood ahead of its July 26 theatrical release, below.


Photos by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

This photo proves that they are the chillest onscreen family

Sophie Turner just posted a photo of herself, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright—aka the Stark siblings—to her Instagram, showing just what the three used to get up to when the Game of Thrones cameras weren't rolling.

The photo shows Wright looking quite pleased with himself while sitting on a makeshift throne, wearing no pants. As he should be, seeing as (spoiler) his character, Bran, won the Iron Throne this weekend. Williams, meanwhile, is looking way too cool to be involved in the shenanigans, wearing a pair of black sunglasses and staring absently off-camera. As for Turner, she's looking away from her onscreen brother, too, nervously smoking a Juul.

"The pack survived," Turner captioned the photo.

This photo just goes to prove that the Stark siblings are the chillest onscreen family. (It also proves, yet again, that Turner's social media is an absolute delight.)

We're actually a little sad that this footage didn't make it into the final season, considering how many modern-day objects have been spotted in the show's last few episodes.

Photo via @mileycyrus on Twitter

Meet Ashley

Miley Cyrus shared the trailer for her forthcoming Black Mirror episode, and it's basically Hannah Montana set in a dystopian future. Cyrus is a pink wig-wearing pop star named Ashley who is rolling out an in-home virtual assistant, named Ashley Too, that looks like her and shares her voice. But, as is the case with every Black Mirror episode, this technology is not as cute and fun as it's advertised to be.

In the trailer, we get the idea that Ashley is all about wanting fans to "believe" in themselves—but underneath that pink wig, maybe she doesn't feel that same self-love. After Ashley Too introduces herself to fan and new owner Rachel, promising to be her friend, we get a look at Ashley's darker side. She's depressed and tired of the pop star life. A record label executive says to several people in the room, "She doesn't understand how fragile all this is." As they consider upping her dose of medication, Ashley's life is on a downward slope. "It's getting so hard to keep doing this," she voices over glimpses of a police car chase, performances, and breakdowns backstage.

But back to the technology: Does Ashley's breakdown also mean the breakdown of Ashley Too? Looks like it. We see Rachel's virtual assistant screaming, "Get that cable out of my ass! Holy shit! Pull it out," breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they pull it out. A title card then reveals the episode name, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too."

Watch the full trailer and get a full view of Cyrus' cyborg-esque pop star look, below. Black Mirror returns to Netflix on June 5.

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Photo by Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images.

Several actresses allegedly had "issues" with him

Lena Waithe's Showtime series, The Chi, just lost one of its main characters. Jason Mitchell, who was also set to appear in the Netflix film Desperados, has been dropped from both projects following multiple allegations of misconduct. He has also been dropped by his agent and manager.

Hollywood Reporter heard from a source "with knowledge" of The Chi, who says that Tiffany Boone, the actress who plays Mitchell's girlfriend on the show, is just one of several actresses who had "issues" with him. She eventually told producers at Fox21 that she could no longer work with him after filing several sexual harassment complaints. Apparently, her fiancé, Dear White People co-star Marque Richardson, would join her on set when she would shoot with Mitchell.

While news of Mitchell's alleged misconduct is just now beginning to surface, it looks like the ball started rolling on the fallout weeks ago. He was dropped from Desperados and replaced by Lamorne Morris before filming began. A source from the production team said that the producers received "specific information" that they reviewed and acted on quickly. Similarly, a source familiar with Mitchell's former agent, UTA, said the decision to drop him a few weeks ago was very quick following the allegations.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Prior to the college admissions scandal, she said she doesn't "care about school"

Apparently, Olivia Jade wants to go back to school despite all those YouTube videos that suggested otherwise. Back in March, it was revealed that her mom, Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, and dad, Mossimo Giannulli, had scammed Jade's way into the University of Southern California. Now, Loughlin faces jail time, and Jade lost out on plenty of lucrative ad partnerships.

According to Us Weekly, "Olivia Jade wants to go back to USC," per a source. "She didn't get officially kicked out and she is begging the school to let her back in." Another source though ousted Jade's real motivation to the publication. "She knows they won't let her in, so she's hoping this info gets out," they shared. "She wants to come out looking like she's changed, learned life lessons and is growing as a person, so she for sure wants people to think she is interested in her education."

Jade previously shared in a YouTube video she's in college for the "experience of like game days, partying" rather than the education. She also said, "I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend... I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Though these statements were made prior to the scandal coming to light, her brand partnerships didn't come into question until her parents were indicted.

Right now, despite previous reports that Jade and her sister would both be dropping out of USC, Jade's enrollment has been placed on hold—meaning she cannot register for classes, or even withdraw from the school—until her parents' court case comes to a close. Then, the school will make its own decision as to how Jade will be affected. I think, either way, she should have to pay off a few of her classmates' loans for all the BS she pulled.