We have the Internet now, and with great power comes great responsibility. One of those responsibilities is to understand pop culture movements…or at least that’s the responsibility of me and my roommates. We now have access to limitless information about musical movements in culture that began, and ended before we were born, and now we can participate. If there’s one subgenre of punk I find more interesting to research then No Wave it’s Riot Grrrl.
The most defining feature of Riot Grrrl seems to be no one seems to know the exacts of what happened. There are several differenting opinions of who influenced who, what started where, ect. As it often is in subcultures and social movements there are plenty of pockets of groups that could each tell their own history, and it may not line up with others. Keep in mind I wasn’t there, so you’ll have to do some research to get any exact information.
These guys formed as an early 90’s in the Pacific North West around the time all those grunge bands did. They were all about female empowerment and activism, and focused a lot on fanzines and DIY ethic, like grunge in its early stages. Unlike grunge, these guys and other bands in this genre are still pretty similar to what they were back in the day. (Interesting side note Riot Grrl seem to have some of the most consistently hilarious/awesoeme band names of any genre, case in point: Dickless, Jack off Jill, Bratmobile, My Therapist Says Hot Damn, Adicked, Heavens to Betsy, Phantom Pregnancies, Gretel's Revenge, Jesus and His Judgmental Father, Pussy Riot and tons more I've probably missed.)
Bikini Kill is pretty important (at least at that time, and region.) They inspired a lot of people, as well as motivated a bunch of new. Even today they are still working in the industry. They worked with artists lie Nirvana, Joan Jett and Ian MacKaye, which helped bring them to the forefront of the regional movement. However, as with most hardcore musical movements, they never really received much commercial success. Their radio unfriendly image and lyrics as well as their dirty disheveled sound keep them kind of confined to much less success then what they were entitled to.
Maybe I should start talking about the song…okay. Anyway, Rebel Girl was originally released on “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” (I suspect that is where the band “Yeah Yeah Yeahs” get their name from.) The album version is very rough with the squeaking of the amps. However, I decided to put up the single version that was produced by Joan Jet (because I couldn't find the other version.) It certainly has a different sound to it, with a much cleaner pop-punk sound this kind of removed from Bikini Kill’s normal DIY sound. Either way both versions are great, and worth checking out.
Speaking of which, check out Bikini Kill Records, a record label formed by the band to re-release all their old material. You can pre-order the first release, their 12" debut EP, starting the 20th. The album itself drops 11/20 with more releases to follow.
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