Critically acclaimed punk-trio Sleater-Kinney's highly anticipated fourth album will be titled The Hot Rock and is due in stores Feb. 23, according to band-publicist Julie Butterfield.
Among the 13 tracks on the Kill Rock Stars-label release are several the band showcased on recent Midwest tour dates, including "Get Up" and "God Is a Number."
Shortly after finishing recording The Hot Rock, guitarist/singer Carrie Brownstein said the album would show the band -- known, because of songs such as "One More Hour" (RealAudio excerpt), for its often raw, emotional explorations -- in a more comfortable, exuberant light than most fans might have expected.
"Maybe for the first time there are these plateaus, where things sort-of feel OK, things feel good," she said last month from her home in Olympia, Wash. "A lot of the songs are celebratory, in terms of feeling a sense that you have a spirit or singing about love from a perspective that's not about victimization or commodification, which we have done in the past."
The band will play several Northwest dates in February behind the album's release, then it will tour the U.S. in March and April.
The complete track-list for The Hot Rock -- which follows the band's two acclaimed LPs, Dig Me Out (1997) and Call the Doctor (1996), and its self-titled, 1995 debut -- includes: "Start Together," "Hot Rock," "The End of You," "Burn Don't Freeze," "God Is a Number," "Banned From the End of the World," "Don't Talk Like," "Get Up," "One Song for You," "The Size of Our Love," "Living in Exile," "Memorize Your Lines" and "A Quarter to Three."
In Japan, the album's release on Bandai Records will include two additional songs, "By the Time You're 25" and "Tapping."
During a recent show in Chicago, a punchy take on "Get Up" showcased the exuberant vibe running through some of the band's new material. "God Is a Number," meanwhile, backed singer/guitarist Corin Tucker's shout-to-the-sky vocals with almost mathematically precise drumming from Janet Weiss.
The "hot rock" of the album's title is actually a play on words, Butterfield said. "The Hot Rock is a stolen diamond, and everybody's after it," she said, referring to a 1972 movie, "The Hot Rock," starring Robert Redford. The moniker also likely refers to Sleater-Kinney's interest in pursuing the "rock" roots many punk bands shun, as well as to Hot Rocks, 1972's two-record set of greatest hits by the Rolling Stones, a clear influence on Sleater-Kinney's rock leanings.
Tucker said Sleater-Kinney's new lyrical focus helped shape the music of the album, which was produced by Nashville, Tenn.'s Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo).
"There's a lot of themes of love and struggling through different things," Tucker said last month from her home in Portland, Ore. "They're also about working really hard in your life to find a sense of gracefulness. And I think this record is more graceful because of it. That's also reflected in the searching that the lyrics do about how to live your life."