Top 5 Riot Grrrl Bands
Miley Cyrus made waves on the Internet the other day (shocker) with some Instagram photos highlighting her love and affection towards Riot Grrrl icon and ex Bikini Kill fronter Kathleen Hanna. Sharing two photos of the singer in her early 90’s heyday, Cyrus was excited to share to a whole new generation of young women how “#girlsrule” and how feminist punk icons are the “coolest ever.” While this might seem an obnoxiously simplified version of the traditions and ideals of the Riot Grrrl movement, Hanna responded enthusiastically, thanking Miley for the shout out and tweeting “have an idea for an album that only you are daring enough to make.” Is this the beginning of a widespread Riot Grrrl resurgence? Is Kathleen Hanna capable of turning Hannah Montana into the 21st century’s face of third wave feminism?! In honor of the possibly most empowering musical collaboration ever, we compiled a list of our top 5 essential Riot Grrrl bands. #DownwiththePatriarchy
5. White Lung: The only band on this list that is still active, White Lung emerged from the grimy underground scene of Vancouver to slay us all with the might of their sheer punk power. Their music can be described as machine gun head thrashing perfection, and with music videos shot on VHS cassette they are the embodiment of the DIY ethic, a cornerstone of Riot Grrrl philosophy. Their third album, Deep Fantasy, was released earlier this summer, so expect a bright and varied future career from these scream queens.
4. Le Tigre: One of many bands that featured the illustrious Kathleen Hanna, Le Tigre was presented to the world with their eponymous debut album in 1999. The self-described underground electro-feminist performance artists shed light on many issues pertinent to the time, and were forerunners in incorporating LGBT issues into their lyrical content.
3. Bratmobile: Bratmobile’s origin story is one that is comparable the Riot Grrrl movement itself. Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman lived life as students at the University of Oregon working on their own very own DIY feminist zine when they decided it was time to form a band. Despite having no musical experience or even instruments, Bratmobile rose to the most upper echelon of feminine punk royalty. Although on hiatus for a while, the band most recently helped score the self-proclaimed Riot Grrrl video game, Gone Home.
2. Sleater-Kinney: Many may only be familiar with Sleater-Kinney due to guitarist Carrie Brownstein’s starring role in a little hipster-centric tv show called Portlandia, but they also happen to be (arguably) the most successful band to come out of the Riot Grrrl movement. Consistently a band regarded as critical darlings, they withstood a relative amount of mainstream exposure before calling it quits in 2006. Their sophomore album, Dig Me Out, is a finely crafted masterpiece, combining the ethos of proto-feminism with the slick melodies of classic rock and roll.
1. Bikini Kill: The first and foremost band of Riot Grrrl, led by the one and only Kathleen Hanna; no other band could possibly take the top spot. Formed in 1990, they are the undisputed pioneers of their field. Loud, abrasive, radical, and above all hardcore, they were the message that the women of the world had been waiting for. Summed up best in the song ‘Rebel Girl’ off their aptly titled album Pussy Whipped: “Rebel girl, rebel girl you are the queen of my world.”
Craving more? Check out Milk Gallery’s exhibition on the glory of DIY