The Centre Won’t Hold, the title of Sleater-Kinney’s ninth album, is taken from W.B. Yeats’ 1919 poem The Second Coming, the words of which have been repeatedly invoked in the Trump era: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold … The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
The cover of the album features the faces of the three band members – founding members Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker and long-serving drummer Janet Weiss – split, as though they are dissociated identities, reflecting what Brownstein calls “a sense of brokenness, fractiousness and tumultuousness” in the surrounding political and cultural landscape.
Sadly, the band’s own centre wouldn’t hold in the album’s aftermath: only weeks ahead of the album’s release, Weiss decided she was done. “It’s ironic, or coincidental I suppose, that an album that speaks to the fragility of structures, that our own structure was dismantled in the process,” Brownstein says.
Losing Weiss, whose distinctive, polyrhythmic thump formed the core of the band, is a severe blow. Brownstein admits she is effectively irreplaceable: “You don’t replace her. I think you find a different drummer that can find their own way into the songs and their own way into the music, and to us, and we enter the middle period of Sleater-Kinney.”… Read more..