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Sleater-Kinney | The Center Won’t Hold

WHO ARE THEY? The recently reconvened Olympia indie-punk outfit founded and fronted by singer-guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein — and anchored until a few weeks ago by drummer Janet Weiss.

WHAT IS THIS? Their ninth studio album, second release since triumphantly returning in 2014 with No Cities To Love, and presumably their last album with longtime drummer Weiss, who unexpectedly left the group last month.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Deeper, darker, slower and artsier than the scrappy No Cities — perhaps due to the influence, impact and input of post-modern singer-guitarist St. Vincent, who produced these 11 tracks.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Coming Apart. Or perhaps Way Left of Center.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? Over headphones — all the better to appreciate their urgent lyrics, keyboard-heavy arrangements and St. Vincent’s envelope-pushing production.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Moody, frank, serious, committed, stylish, expansive, textured, noisy, uncompromising, challenging.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Hurry on Home, Reach Out and Can I Go On are some of the more approachable cuts, but the B-52’s-meets-Devo new wave-pop of Love and the buzzy boogie of Bad Dance crank things up a notch.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Are they going to start rocking or play a punk song anytime soon?’ followed by ‘I think I’m starting to understand why the drummer decided to quit.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? If you just want to be entertained instead of educated, not very often.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A SOCIAL GATHERING, WHAT KIND OF GATHERING WOULD IT BE? A long-awaited get-together with old friends — that ends with you realizing you’ve drifted apart.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Sample some songs and see if it takes hold.

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