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.”