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There are heartbreaking band breakups, marked by bad press and hurled instruments, and then there's the demise of Sleater-Kinney, whose members remain friends but just wanted to pursue other projects for a while. Corin Tucker has been raising kids and writing songs, Janet Weiss has been playing with Stephen Malkmus and Quasi, and Carrie Brownstein has performed comedy and made a TV show, and even stooped to writing a blog for NPR Music. A reunion seems more or less inevitable, given that even the band itself always called its time off a "hiatus," and in preparation, all three members are re-acclimating themselves to the spotlight.
For Tucker, that now means putting out a fine solo album called 1,000 Years, which sounds surprisingly muted compared to the raging wails of many Sleater-Kinney records, but which nevertheless finds the singer in a bold and exploratory place. Aside from a few muscular, careening rockers ("Handed Love," "Doubt"), it's more stripped-down than many of her most ardent fans might expect. But it's also a marvelous showcase for a voice that retains every scintilla of its power, authority, dignity and grace, even at its most restrained. That voice has been missed, but now it doesn't have to be.
1,000 Years will stream here in its entirety until its release on Oct. 5. Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section below.