Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bikini Kill - Reject All American

Bikini Kill - Reject All American
Download -
Release - 1996

Story by Taryn Hipp, record slinger at Siren Records.

I was a suburban teenage punk in the mid-'90s. I would sit alone in my room and read MRR, Heartattack & Punk Planet in hopes of finding bands that I could relate to (bands that had girls in them). I would read record reviews and send "well-concealed cash" to post office boxes for cassette demos if there was mention of even one girl. One day after school, I took the bus to Siren Records in Doylestown. I asked the dude working behind the counter to recommend some bands to me. I probably said something like, "I really like Hole, Babes in Toyland and L7." I remember he said to me, "Well, you've heard of Bikini Kill, right?" That was 1996 and I was 17. I bought Reject All American on vinyl that day and caught the bus back to the tiny apartment I shared with my Dad. When I got home, I put the record on figuring it would be like the other "girl bands" I was into. It was that day that I realized I would never love a record more than that one. I sat on my bed reading the lyrics included on the inner sleeve, memorizing them as I listened to the record over and over.

"The Slyvia Plath story is told to girls who write. They want us to think that to be a girl poet means you have to die. Who is it that told me all girls who write must suicide? I've got another good one for you. We are turning cursive letters into knives."

This was punk rock, but this was different. This was exactly what I had been searching for and I found it. I found Bikini Kill and riot grrrl that day. Fifteen years later, I'm the girl working behind the counter at Siren Records recommending that same record to young girls searching for something different.

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