Preview: The Julie Ruin
- Fiona Shepherd
- 9 November 2016
Lo-fi punk return of Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill / Le Tigre)
For 15 years, from the turn of the 90s until the mid-00s, Kathleen Hanna was always there, declaiming loud and proud for women, for outsiders, for minority rights, agitating for a female-friendly environment at gigs where shoving and groping was not considered part of the deal.
But then in 2005, having raged righteously in riot grrrl trailblazers Bikini Kill and explored the politics of dancing in dayglo electro trio Le Tigre, she dropped off the radar – no records, no shows, no voice.
All was eventually revealed in Sini Anderson's 2013 Hanna documentary, The Punk Singer. Hanna had been forced into retirement due to ill health, her voice and ear problems, dizziness and fatigue finally identified as Lyme disease after a tortuous process of misdiagnosis.
With treatment came the comeback, and a new band, The Julie Ruin – named after a lo-fi solo bedroom recording Hanna made in the late 90s and occupying a musical space somewhere between her two previous bands. Their current album Hit Reset combines the punk rock action of Bikini Kill (BK bassist Kathi Wilcox returns as her right-hand woman) with the playful pop danceability of Le Tigre, but also makes room for more personal material about her parents and the first known instance of a Kathleen Hanna ballad.
The voice cuts through again, true and unfettered, just like her emancipated stage presence. Naturally, Hanna is still agitating – where to begin with the ongoing woes of the world? Unsurprisingly, she has shared her irrepressible thoughts on the US presidential battle by releasing the first new Le Tigre track in a decade – 'I'm With Her' is trademark Hanna bubblegum electro punk, on which she cheerleads freely for 'pantsuit-wearing herstorical first-timer' Hillary Clinton.
The Art School, Glasgow, Tue 6 Dec