Eighteen years ago, Kathleen Hanna recorded her debut solo album, a bedroom-pop one-off she dubbed Julie Ruin.
“I was leaving Bikini Kill and I’d been really associated with it. I was like, ‘the militant asshole bitch from Bikini Kill,'” she says in SPIN’s August 2013 cover story. “But also, I was supposed to be ‘the tough-ass feminist from Bikini Kill,’ which really wasn’t what I was offstage. It was so much more personal, in a way. I wasn’t trying to write ‘Rebel Girl’ over and over again. I wasn’t trying to write a feminist anthem. I was writing the shit that was in my diary.”
Now, after a tenure as frontwoman for Le Tigre, a lengthy hiatus from music, and an exhaustive fight against Lyme disease, Hanna has resurrected the Julie Ruin as a full-on band. Featuring Bikini Kill bassist Kathi Wilcox, guitarist Sara Landeau, drummer Carmine Covelli, and Kiki & Herb member Kenny Mellman on keyboards, the Julie Ruin will issue their proper debut LP, Run Fast, on September 3 via TJR Records, but it’s streaming right now over at NPR.
Hanna and co. had already dropped a few tracks from the highly anticipated effort — “Oh Come On” and “Ha Ha Ha,” plus an alternate version of “Girls Like Us” — but the entire long-player reveals the breadth of the project. SPIN’s Julianne Escobedo Shepherd describes “a raucous album that unites Hanna’s songwriting strengths — punk wailing, pop hooks, ’60s girl-group harmonies, synthy squelches, and of course, lyrics that waver between polemical and terribly personal.”
If you haven’t yet, be sure to read SPIN’s cover story on the feminist icon, Kathleen Hanna: Love Among the Ruin, and flip through the exclusive photo gallery.