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Music / Bikini Kill

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Bikini Kill were a Punk Rock band from Olympia, Washington (although they often moved between Olympia and Washington, D.C.), widely credited as the pioneers of the Riot Grrrl movement. Its members were:

  • Kathleen Hanna - vocals, guitar
  • Kathi Wilcox - vocals, bass, guitar
  • Tobi Vail - vocals, guitar, bass, drums
  • Billy Karren - guitar, drums

The band existed from 1990-1998 and released two albums, a split LP, a 12" EP, a 7" EP, and two singles on the independent Kill Rock Stars label. Their Hardcore Punk-Alternative Rock sound, political lyrics and staunch DIY stance quickly gained them an audience and helped spearhead the similar Riot Grrrl movement. They occasionally collaborated with high-profile acts that shared their political stances and musical influences, such as Nirvana and Joan Jett.

Ever since the breakup, Bikini Kill's members have pursued various other projects. Hanna is now a member of the political New Wave band Le Tigre and created a side project Julie Ruin. Vail plays with The Old Haunts, Wilcox is a member of The Casual Dots and Karren has joined Boo-Boo and the Corrections. Hanna and Wilcox reunited for Hanna's new band 'The Julie Ruin'


  • Revolution Girl Style Now! (1991) - self-released cassette
  • Bikini Kill (1991) - 12-inch EP
  • Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah (1993) - split LP with Huggy Bear (their side is called "Our Troubled Youth")
  • "New Radio/Rebel Girl" (1993) - 7" single, collaboration with Joan Jett
  • Pussy Whipped (1993) - LP
  • The C.D. Version of the First Two Records (1994)
  • "The Anti-Pleasure Dissertation" (1995) - 7-inch EP
  • "I Like Fucking/I Hate Danger" (1995) - 7" single
  • Reject All American (1996) - LP

Bikini Kill provides examples of:

  • Harsh Vocals: Kathleen doesn't even try to sing half of the time, instead preferring high-pitched screeches.
  • Rearrange the Song: "Rebel Girl" was recorded three times, once for the Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah LP, a 7 inch single (which was produced by Joan Jett), and again for the Pussy Whipped album. All three versions have varying levels of fidelity (the Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah version being the rawest and the Jett version being the most polished). Additionally, the Yeah Yeah Yeah and Pussy Whipped versions feature the line "They say she's a slut", which was changed to "They say she's a dike" on the Jett version.
  • Studio Chatter: the Bikini Kill EP includes two instances, which happen to open each side of the album:
    • "Double Dare Ya" starts with some amplifier feedback, followed by:
      Kathleen Hanna: Is that supposed to be doing that? ...Okay, sorry, okay, we're starting now.
    • "Suck My Left One" has an engineer announcing "'Suck My Left One', take one, rolling".