Riot Grrrl

January 24, 2012

To me Riot Grrrl was something thats always been on the edges of my musical knowledge, but nothing i really paid much attention too.
I was aware of it through interviews from early grunge stars, but due to the patriarchy feeling threatened by it, it had never become mainstream, and thus i discounted it straight away. But Riot Grrrl is important, beautiful, empowering and just as relevant now as it was during its inception in the early 90s.
The beauty of Riot Grrrl is its not really a genre, just loosely collected by a set of personal, social and political ideals mostly focusing on equality. There are techno-dance riot grrrl bands, there are hardcore bands. But its most frequent incarnation is a grungey-altrock feel, with powerful female vocals.
Riot Grrrl isn't about talent, so if you are expecting picture-perfect playing then its probably not for you, but if you're into DIY themed raw power, with a focus on changing the world and encouraging others then this could be for you. Beware though, before long you'll be identifying as a fully fledged riot grrrl ( or boi)!
Hands down the most famous riot-grrrl band is BIKINI KILL. Formed in the early 90s, and running parallel to the Seattle grunge scene Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail and Kathi Wilcox changed underground music radically. Hanna's sugar-sweet voice is an amazing juxtaposition to the honest, and often brutal lyrics. In a time malerock was totally dominating the scene, these grrrls attempted (and pulled off) and amazing feat. Who can resist singing alone to the chorus of "Rebel Girl" or feeling empowered and strong by "Don't need you"?!
Another well known Riot Grrrl band, Bratmobile, attacked the genre with the bounce of what would later be called surfer or pop punk. They make every song sound like a party, albeit a party with strong social ideas. With songs likw "Gimme Brains", which will be stuck in your head for weeks, they're like that intelligent kid who eats too much sugar to be called a dork. For fans of a more easy-going and poppy sound.
However the movement isn't stuck in the 90s, and with up-and-coming bands such as Grim Dylan, The Jezabellas and Kathleen Hanna's new project The Julie Ruin, its certainly not dead.
This is an underground movement that YOU could get involved in, and find a home. Riot Grrrl is a totally accepting equality movement, trying to bridge the sexist divide that still exists in many music genres, especially punk rock. Check it out further by searching Riot Grrrl or Grrrl Virus on facebook or tumblr. Its not just for grrrls either, riot bois are becoming more common too!

Suggested listening; Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl
Hole - Miss World
Nirvana - Been a Son. (Kurt was a self proclaimed Riot Grrrl supporter)
Grim Dylan - Escape
Le Tigre - Riot Grrrl
The Runways - Cherrybomb
L7 - Pretend we're Dead.

The author's comments:
Inspired by Kathleen Hanna and Tobi Vail, always.

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