Bikini Kill have technically been disbanded for over a decade now, but you shouldn’t consider their absence, or riot grrrl’s retreating prominence in American culture, as an indication of resolution to all of the feminist causes that served as an inspiration during the early-to-mid 1990s. On the contrary, with the introduction of so-called “personhood” bills in some states, and Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, one could quite easily make the case that we’re actually regressing, not progressing, when it comes to women’s issues, at least in terms of the national debate.
Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell is this guy doing talking about politics!? Just get to the fucking music, man!” Well, MAN (or PERSON), any discussion of Bikini Kill, and by extension, the riot grrrl movement, has to involve politics to some extent, and I find it particularly relevant that, at a time when we’re reviving debates from the 1960s about the validity of contraception, Bikini Kill have started their own record label, Bikini Kill Records, dedicated largely to reissuing each of their physical albums, in commemoration of their upcoming 25th anniversary (they were formed in 1990). The label itself is a reminder of the issues that they stood for, many of which have yet to be settled among the national consciousness.
In addition to reissuing each of their physical albums, Bikini Kill also intend to re-release their original demo tape, which contains songs that were “previously unavailable and/or hard to find on vinyl & CD.” Likewise, their self-titled EP is set to come out this fall, and members are currently sifting through their archive for “photographs, practice tapes, live recordings, unreleased songs, films, video, writing, interviews, zines and flyers” to include with future releases, or to post on their website.
Currently, digital versions of albums from Bikini Kill, The Frumpies, and The Casual Dots are available via Bandcamp, alongside several new t-shirts. One thing I wouldn’t expect any time soon: commemorative women’s razors.
• Bikini Kill: http://bikinikill.com