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Label Spotlight: Kill Rock Stars

 

Riot-grrrl punk and noise rockers who actually give a shit about their community.

With a label like Kill Rock Stars, there's a lot to celebrate. From riot grrrl rock to leftfield experimental noise to mopey indie folk, Kill Rock Stars has done it all. The label was founded in 1991 with a spoken word split 7" release from Slim himself, and Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna. KRS prides itself on being Queer-positive, feminist and artist-friendly, a part of the vibe of the label that was modeled by label founder, Slim Moon and representative of the Olympia Washington underground music community. It's nice to see a label that gives a shit about their community [world, really] and what's going on in it, and supporting artists that also feel the same way. Not to mention that with Slim's move to Nonesuch in 2006 his wife Portia Sabin now runs the show, so the label now boasts being one of the few labels with a female in charge!

Admittedly, my favorite bands on Kill Rock Stars have and probably always will be the amazing riot girl rock bands, everyone from Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Team Dresch to the Bangs, Free Kitten and Huggy Bear. When I was a kid my dad used to take me and my sister to the Tower Records over on Bascom Avenue in Campbell (RIP), a couple times a month. He allowed us each get to buy a couple cassette singles (they were like two for five bucks), so we'd get your garden variety of top 40 r&b or hip hop. Eventually he took us up the street to a independent record store, Streetlight Records, where I discovered their section of vinyl (my dad was a vinyl hound). I thumbed through the shelves and discovered the first 7" I wanted to play on my very first non-Fischer Price record player, Bikini Kill's The Anti-Pleasure Dissertation 7". I showed it to my dad and he beamed slightly because his music nerdiness was beginning to rub off on his daughter, not to mention the fact that he wouldn't have to say no to buying me Ice T and Warren G singles.

Not long after that I began to delve deeper into the KRS catalog, finding Free Kitten and Bratmobile releases, as well as longtime KRS band, Unwound. Though I'm not going to waste time documenting key releases, as the website has a nifty timeline with commentary from Slim about how certain releases came about (www.killrockstars.com/about/timeline.php). Over the years though KRS and side-project label, 5RC (5 Rue Christine) has put out releases for the Decemberists, the Gossip, Xiu Xiu and one of my personal faves, Slumber Party.

Although KRS no longer accepts mailed demos they will check out music online, and mostly via live shows. Which really comes as no surprise as most of the roster are very skilled and energizing live performances. Already with a number of great releases in 2008, including new stuff from Jeff Hanson, Shy Child and a live Gossip album and the much anticipated new Deerhoof album, Offend Maggie, set to be released in October, KRS proves they are still on their game. The folks running the label are hardcore music fans, scouting out stuff they can really get excited about, and that's what makes Kill Rock Stars one of the top independent labels in the biz.

- Nicole Coxe

Click through the artists at the right and download each individual mp3 (there are over 50!) or stream them all below. Enjoy!

[ play ] Play our 54-song Kill Rock Stars sampler

Don't forget to visit Kill Rock Stars for the latest news on upcoming releases.

Related Downloads
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Decemberists, The
song:The Soldiering Life
album:Her Majesty (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Deerhoof
song:Milking
album:Milk Man (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
John Wilkes Booze
song:Sweetback's Gonna Make It
album:Five Pillars Of Soul (Kill Roc…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Gold Chains and Sue Cie
song:Shoot Straight
album:When the World Was Our Friend …
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Bikini Kill
song:New Radio
album:The Singles (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Unwound
song:December
album:Leaves Turn Inside You (Kill R…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Hella
song:The Mother Could Be You
album:Devil Isn't Read (Kill Rock St…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Paper Chase, The
song:Said The Spider To The Fly
album:God Bless Your Black Heart (Ki…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Sleater-Kinney
song:Oh!
album:One Beat (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Smith, Elliott
song:Between the Bars
album:Either/Or (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Har Mar Superstar
song:Cry 4 Help
album:Har Mar Superstar (Kill Rock S…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Born Against
song:Mt. Dew
album:Patriotic Battle Hymns (Kill R…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Xiu Xiu
song:Clowne Towne
album:Fabulous Muscles (Kill Rock St…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
XBXRX
song:Track 2
album:Gop Ist Minee (Kill Rock Stars…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Slumber Party
song:Air
album:3 (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Gossip
song:SweetBaby
album:That's Not What I Heard (Kill …
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Bangs
song:I Want More
album:Call & Response (Kill Rock Sta…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Bratmobile
song:Die
album:Real Janelle (Kill Rock Stars…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Comet Gain
song:Skinny Wolves
album:Tigertown Pictures (Kill Rock …
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Get Hustle
song:Bloo Boo
album:Earth Odyssey (Kill Rock Star…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Great Unraveling
song:The Calling Beckons
album:Great Unraveling (Kill Rock St…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Huggy Bear
song:No Sleep
album:Taking the Rough with the Smoo…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Mocket
song:Spot-For-Best-Vision
album:Pro Forma (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
PeeChees
song:Fine Watch
album:Life (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Quix O Tic
song:Ice Cream Sundae
album:Mortal Mirror (Kill Rock Stars…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Replikants
song:CyberGhetto
album:Slickaphonics (Kill Rock Star…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Universal Order Of Armageddon
song:Switch Is Down
album:The Switch Is Down (Kill Rock …
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Wrangler Brutes
song:Shit Search
album:Zulu (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Decemberists, The
song:The Engine Driver
album:Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Stereo Total
song:I Am Naked
album:Do the Bambi (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
The Old Haunts
song:Poison Control
album:Fallow Field (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Gravy Train!!!!
song:Darque Tan
album:Are You Wigglin? (Kill Rock St…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Linda Perry
song:Freeway
album:In Flight (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Deerhoof
song:Wrong Time Capsule
album:The Runners Four (Kill Rock St…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Comet Gain
song:Just One More Summer Before I …
album:City Fallen Leaves (Kill Rock …
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Hella
song:Madonna Approaches R&B Blonde …
album:Concentration Face/Homeboy (Ki…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Tarkio
song:Tristen and Iseult
album:Omnibus (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Delta 5
song:Now That You've Gone
album:Singles and Sessions 1979-1981…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Anna Oxygen
song:Fake Pajamas
album:This is an Exercise (Kill Rock…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
They Shoot Horses Don't They
song:Emptyhead
album:Boo Hoo Hoo Boo (Kill Rock Sta…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Imaad Wasif
song:Out in the Black
album:Imaad Wasif (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Paper Chase, The
song:We Know Where
album:Now You Are One of Us (Kill Ro…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Deerhoof
song:+ 81
album:Friend Opportunity (Kill Rock …
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Macromantics
song:Scorch
album:Moments in Movement (Kill Rock…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Marnie Stern
song:Every Single Line
album:In Advance of the Broken Arm (…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Barr
song:Song Is The Single
album:Summary (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Smith, Elliott
song:High Times
album:New Moon (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Gravy Train!!!!
song:Club Situation
album:All the Sweet Stuff (Kill Rock…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Stereo Total
song:Ich Bin Der Stricherjunge
album:Paris-Berlin (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Panther
song:Puerto Rican Jukebox
album:14k God (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Panther
song:Violence, Diamonds
album:14k God (Kill Rock Stars)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
song:Beat (Health, Life and Fire)
album:We Brave Bee Stings and All (K…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Shy Child
song:Astronaut
album:Noise Won't Stop (Kill Rock St…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Horse Feathers
song:Curs in the Weeds
album:House With No Home (Kill Rock …
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]