Saturday, 4 March 2017

Bikini Kill

This marks post numero 600. As always, thanks for continuing to check in on this blog throughout its five years of existence, and hope to continue sharing as much music as possible with you guys for another five. To mark the occasion, as I have in the past, I picked one particular band that I think is absolutely essential to check out. This time around it's Bikini Kill, a band whose relevance has not wavered, even decades after they formed. Thus, cementing them as one of the most important bands to ever emerge out of punk rock as a whole, and known for putting the "revolt" in "revolution", haha.


Bikini Kill formed in Olympia, Washington in 1990. What began as a fanzine eventually turned into a band consisting of Kathleen Hanna (vocals), Billy Karren (guitar), Kathi Wilcox (bass), and Tobi Vail (drums). Though their reputation tends to precede them, there's no denying that Bikini Kill, in the sole context of a punk rock band, were fantastic. They brought an unadulterated energy to their music that very few bands ever match. In a way, they formed as a response to the brutish male aggression that had begun to dominate hardcore punk, and ended up besting those bands at their own game. Bikini Kill were a unique creation, that still sound distinct thanks to some fantastic songwriting and Hanna's indescribably charismatic vocal performances.


Though they do stand on their own, they are also inseparably linked to a major movement in punk, riot grrrl, which they are often credited with having kick-started (along with Bratmobile and many others). Essentially, it was punk's feminist movement (and also a major factor in third-wave feminism), in which many bands began addressing women's rights issues, in addition to a plethora of other sociopolitical subjects. I can't think of a better example than Bikini Kill, who laid their agenda out in plain sight, with their sound, approach, and lyrics being incredibly empowering to an undeniably (and unjustly) marginalized group of people (aka 50% of the world's population). I'm not going to get into it more than that, but essentially a band like this is important, in addition to being straight-up good.


A few notes on their discography. Revolution Girl Style Now! was their debut, a self-released demo that came out in 1991 (and reissued in 2015). It was followed up by their first official release, a self-titled EP in 1992 that began their relationship with Kill Rock Stars (a fantastic label). Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah was originally released as a split with another band, Huggy Bear, and was the first appearance of their signature anthem, "Rebel Girl". Both their first EP and split would later be compiled on The CD Version Of The First Two Records, which is aptly titled. Their debut LP, Pussy Whipped, came out in 1994, and is a definite essential here. It's follow-up, Reject All American, was released in 1996, a year before they broke up. It's a bit poppier than their prior releases, but still just as strong. A posthumous compilation, The Singles, was put out in 1998. If there is one thing here that must be heard, it's this. Every song is incredible, it clocks in under 20 minutes, and contains some of their best material.


Post-Bikini Kill, its members still remained fairly active. All members except Hanna had been playing in another band called The Frumpies, who were active in the years after Bikini Kill broke up. Hanna formed a short-lived project, Julie Ruin, before fronting Le Tigre, an electronic project that's arguably just as well-known as Bikini Kill. She is now active in another band, The Julie Ruin (key word is "The"), with Kathi Wilcox. They just released a new album last year, which is very solid. In addition, a documentary came out in 2013, The Punk Singer, which documents Hanna's life and career. It is highly, highly recommended if you get the chance to check it out. Enjoy.

1. Candy
2. Daddy's Little Girl
3. Feels Blind
4. Suck My Left One
5. Carnival
6. This Is Not A Test
7. Double Dare Ya
8. Liar

1. Double Dare Ya
2. Liar
3. Carnival
4. Suck My Left One
5. Feels Blind
6. Thurston Hearts The Who

1. White Boy
2. This Is Not A Test
3. Don't Need You
4. Jigsaw Youth
5. Resist Psychic Death
6. Rebel Girl
7. Outta Me

1. Blood One
2. Alien She
3. Magnet
4. Speed Heart
5. Lil' Red
6. Tell Me So
7. Sugar
8. Star Bellied Boy
9. Hamster Baby
10. Rebel Girl
11. Star Fish
12. For Tammy Rae

1. Double Dare Ya
2. Liar
3. Carnival
4. Suck My Left One
5. Feels Blind
6. Thurston Hearts The Who
7. White Boy
8. This Is Not A Test
9. Don't Need You
10. Jigsaw Youth
11. Resist Psychic Death
12. Rebel Girl
13. Outta Me

Reject All American (1996)
1. Statement of Vindication
2. Capri Pants
3. Jet Ski
4. Distinct Complicity
5. False Start
6. R.I.P.
7. No Backrub
8. Bloody Ice Cream
9. For Only
10. Tony Randall
11. Reject All American
12. The Finale

The Singles (1998)
1. New Radio
2. Rebel Girl
3. Demirep
4. In Accordance To Natural Law
5. Strawberry Julius
6. Anti-Pleasure Dissertation
7. Rah! Rah! Replica
8. I Like Fucking
9. I Hate Danger

Bandcamp

7 comments:

  1. Huge congratulations on your 600th post and your amazing work in musical history. Thank you so much. Bikini Kill is a great way to celebrate that! 👙🏹

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for turning me on to so many new bands

    ReplyDelete
  3. awesome! love Bikini Kill. Any chance you have Le Tigre, too? Thans!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Add finally WSTR !

    ReplyDelete
  5. as someone thats been here since 12 thank you for keeping it going and never giving up. you have no idea how much you've helped me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you! I've been searching for Bikini Kill's discography for a long time. Also congrats on post 600! Stay awesome

    ReplyDelete