Tuesday, September 3

RUN FAST

Kathleen Hanna is the comeback kid.  She formed Bikini Kill while attending Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA in 1990.  Over 7 years, the group released only a few albums, but their influence was felt by bands like Sleater-Kinney, Jack Off Jill, The Gossip, and those that joined the Riot Grrrl movement.  Without Hanna, Nirvana would never have unleashed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the world.  It was she who scrawled, "Kurt smells like teen spirit" (the deodorant) on a wall to mock Cobain.

Bikini Kill split up in the late 1990's.  Hanna created her alter ego, Julie Ruin and recorded a bunch of very lo-fi songs in her apartment.  She then found some friends to play these songs live, which evolved into something very different, Le Tigre.  This band carried on the Bikini Kill political and feminist themes, but the music was electronic pop instead of punk.

And then Kathleen Hanna disappeared - or so it seemed.  She battled a mysterious illness for six years before it was finally diagnosed as Lyme Disease.  Her husband, Adam Horovitz (Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys) encouraged Hanna to start singing again.  She revisited her Julie Ruin identity, and again assembled a band.

This Julie Ruin is an amalgamation of all of the above.  Bikini Kill Bassist Kathi Wilcox joins Hanna again.  The Julie Ruin is punk and electronic, dark and upbeat.  Their debut album, Run Fast was released today.  You can pick it up by clicking the link to the right.  The crowning jewel is the first song on the album, "Oh Come On".  You can hear it on KJRW.

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