Clip Job: Five Second Acts for Riot Grrrl Veterans
Partyline (2005-present): Fascination with the riot grrrl movement burned brightly and briefly, but the members of Bratmobile—which formed in 1991—kept making music, on and off, until 2002. Sort-of based in D.C., Partyline isn't the first other project for singer Allison Wolfe, but it's had the most staying power. The band's name sort of reminds me of that chirpy Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie where they share a phone line, but Partyline's music—snotty, high-adrenaline, feminist—quickly corrects that association. The trio plays at the Velvet Lounge tomorrow night at 9 p.m. with Edie Sedgwick and Noisy Pig. Tickets are $8.
More riot grrrl second acts after the jump: flowcharts, riots in MTV studios, and Christina Aguilera!
Julie Ruin (1998): When Bikini Kill split up in 1998, singer Kathleen Hanna recorded a one-off album under the sobriquet Julie Ruin. Sonically, it's a bridge between Bikini Kill and Hanna's later electroclash outfit Le Tigre. The lyrics, too, are of the same smart, anarcho-feminist mold, but they also irreverently take measure of riot grrrl itself. Take "Aerobicide," whose spoofy video plays with the cop-show aesthetic of Beastie Boys's "Sabotage" promo, and contains mustachioed suits strategizing how to sell riot grrrl. Best shot? A flowchart in which all arrows point to "dance party."
Sleater-Kinney (1994-2006): This jagged Olympia, Wash.-based band emerged from Heavens to Betsy and Excuse 17, and took the riot grrrl ethos to its largest audience yet. The best testament to the trio's success? None of the Sleater-Kinney fans I know have the same favorite album. Also, member Carrie Brownstein's Moniter Mix blog is one of the Web's best blends of hard thinking and excellent taste.
Comet Gain (1993-present): The members of the U.K. band Huggy Bear all joined other groups, none better than Comet Gain. This jangly outfit featuring bassist Jon Slade—one of the few males to play in a riot grrrl band—formed around the time Huggy Bear started a minor riot in an MTV studio, thus earning canonization by British rockists. Production assistants have rested easy since: Comet Gain's vibe is decidedly calmer.
Le Tigre: (1998-present): Kathleen Hanna's second second act. Originally conceived as the back-up band for Julie Ruin, Le Tigre pumped out three loud, rude, and synthy releases beginning in 1999, and is still making music in 2009—with Christina Aguilera. Don't get snooty: A decade after the fact, Le Tigre's "Deceptacon" remains the best part of any dance party where people have the chutzpah to play it.