Word on the street is that Bikini Kill’s July 13th show at Franklin Music Hall is just about sold out… More than two years in the making, it will be the recently reunited riot grrrl co-founders’ first show in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection in nearly three decades. So, if you’re a fan of Kathleen, Kathi, Tobi, or any of the wonderfully punk expressions of feminism they have been inspiring since the early ‘90s, and you don’t already have a ticket, I would highly recommend getting one ASAP. In the meantime, take a little bit of time (It won’t take long.) to revisit all of their releases, and let us know if you agree with our ranking of their significance…
5. Reject All American (1996) Kill Rock Stars
By the time Bikini Kill’s last studio album hit shelves, the first wave of riot grrrl had all but dissolved (The media blackout was well in effect, and fellow originators like Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, and Huggy Bear had called it quits.), but the band had recently toured alongside acts like Beastie Boys and Sonic Youth, and their sound was finding favor with fans of mid-‘90s alt-rock. Despite being the band’s least celebrated release, it is easily a contender for the best “final album” of the ‘90s and includes a title track that is arguably the band’s second most powerful anthem.
4. Pussy Whipped (1993) Kill Rock Stars
As their first “official” LP, Pussy Whipped marked the first time for many to hear the quintessential riot grrrl anthem, “Rebel Girl.” It also features a plethora of other riot grrrl classics, most notably “Sugar” (Kathleen’s most blatant call-out of the grossness of popularly perpetuated heterosexual relations) and “Alien She,” which seemed to perfectly set the stage for all of the most memorable “post-riot grrrl” music to come. In addition to serving as a [if not the] definitive landmark of the riot grrrl community, it also actually managed to put major music critics onto the sounds of the scene.
3. The Singles (1998) Kill Rock Stars
Like most great punk acts, Bikini Kill didn’t earn their due until after disbanding, so it’s no surprise that this compilation is their most championed release by many. Collecting three singles (including “New Radio” and B-sides “Rebel Girl” and “Demirep,” which feature production and guitar by Joan Jett), this release features the band at their most popularly rocking and highlights drummer Tobi Vail’s too-often-unrecognized vocal power.
2. Revolution Girl Style Now (1991) self-released
Although the majority of the songs of Bikini Kill’s self-released cassette demo (which was largely unavailable until 2015) were first heard elsewhere, the release certainly deserves the cache of being the group’s debut, in addition to the album’s title (found shouted on “Double Dare Ya”) becoming punk’s most potent rallying cry since “Kick out the Jams!”
1. The C.D. Version of the First Two Records (1994) Kill Rock Stars
Released in 1994, this compilation is arguably the definitive Bikini Kill document, featuring their 1992 self-titled EP, in addition to Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, their 1993 split album with Huggy Bear. It features the original recording of “Rebel Girl” and was the first release on which most heard “Double Dare Ya,” “Carnival,” and “Feels Blind,” the 10-ton-truck of a track that is riot grrrl’s greatest ballad, in addition to Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Jigsaw Youth,” perhaps the band’s greatest masterpiece.
*Get your tickets here.