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.