Sleater-Kinney on Letterman Last Night and 9 Years Ago: Let's Compare

by James Rickman

What a difference nine years make. In 2005, Sleater-Kinney appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman to play a song off what at the time looked like their final album, The Woods; last night, they were promoting their comeback LP, No Cities to Love. It's understandable that the earlier performance, of "Jumpers," is dressed down, dark and aggro, and last night's "A New Wave" is triumphant and polished. Both songs are loaded with riffs, rousing choruses and shredding breakdowns, so your preference between the two will most likely come down to your personality type. (Aggro always wins out for me, so it's "Jumpers" ftw! And drummer Janet Weiss crushes that one.)

Already, much has been made of Carrie Brownstein's rock kicks, made all the more Townshendian by her billowing white pantsuit. No doubt the GIFs pitting her against Ryu from Street Fighter 2 will appear later this morning. And Letterman himself, having perhaps reviewed his questionable response to the 2005 performance -- "Excellent... great job... thank you, girls." -- ramped it up last night to a hoarsely intoned, "That's right. That's exactly right." Not quite Samuel Herring-level enthusiasm, but a big improvement.

Watch both clips here.

Subscribe to Get More