At the same time Sleater-Kinney were recording their latest full-length, Little Rope, they realized some of the songs would feel different with new lighting. So they recut them with producer John Goodmanson at Portland, Oregon’s Flora Recording. Three of those renditions make up the new EP, Frayed Rope Sessions, which came out today, International Women’s Day. The group will donate all net proceeds from sales of the EP via Bandcamp today to Noise for Now, an organization that helps provide resources for reproductive rights around the country.

“Say It Like You Mean It,” which has a heavy beat, new-wave guitar, and even a little woodblock on Little Rope, now sports a lush backdrop of chamber music. A string quartet plays weepy strings, and singer-guitarist Corin Tucker delivers a weepier performance, giving the song new depth.

“Hunt You Down,” a charging disco rocker with a plodding bass line on the Little Rope version, now sounds more ragged and punk rock in its “Frayed Version.” Carrie Brownstein sings the verses with breathy conviction until Tucker takes over, singing, “The thing you fear the most will hunt you down.”

And on the new version of “Untidy Creature,” Little Rope’s big closing number with its springy bass and squeaky, seismic guitar lines, the women put down their instruments, and the string quartet emulates the melodies. Tucker again gives an emotional reading of the vocals. “Could you love me if I was broken?” she sings. “And there’s no going back tonight.”

The duo also released a 16-minute documentary about the songs and the Frayed Rope Sessions. While discussing “Untidy Creature,” Tucker explains how the song ties into the International Women’s Day initiative Sleater-Kinney are supporting. “‘Untidy Creature’ is a song that’s about a relationship, so it takes this personal relationship that the narrator of the story has with another person, where they feel very trapped and very unable to function the way they want to function,” she says. “They realize they need to leave, but it’s going to be very difficult for them.

“It’s a little bit more of like a mirror of what has happened to women’s rights in the country in the past two years and losing our rights for bodily autonomy,” she continued. “You know, losing that sense of self, that sense of worth, that we should be able to decide which healthcare we need. … It’s taking into the feeling of what that means, how that’s reflected in our everyday lives, and what that does to our self-worth to not be able to have that. I grew up in a world where that was a given. It was something that we thought we had won, and it was taken away. And it felt like a sense of loss, grief, and betrayal.”


Sleater-Kinney are in the middle of a North American tour that will run through April 5. While in New York for a couple of Brooklyn shows, they’ll stop by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on March 15.

In January, Brownstein told Rolling Stone she felt like Little Rope was a new chapter for the group. “This album, to me, signals the next era of Sleater-Kinney,” she said. “It feels like a reclamation of all that I love about playing music with Corin. And so, I’m going to be very careful with that and try to enjoy it, because you don’t know when it could end.”

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