Tag Archives: DIY


Album Review: The Julie Ruin – ‘Hit Reset’


Kathleen Hanna, musician, feminist activist, and a figure formative to who I am today has consistently churned out pithy punk tunes while creating space for women and combatting misogyny in the punk community (and beyond). After a three year hiatus, during which Hanna dealt with her long-standing struggle with Lyme disease, her current group The Julie Ruin released their second full studio album Hit Reset. The album as a whole is an incredible revival and expansion of Hanna’s traditional riot grrrl sounds, with her do-it-yourself punk aesthetic alive and well in its framework. The album sets itself apart from The Julie Ruin’s previous release, Run Fast, in that Hanna’s powerful lyrics are more confrontational and cuttingly personal than before.

Hanna kicks off the album with a sharp title track recalling trauma she endured in her youth because of her father. She sings, “Slept with the lights on on the floor, behind a chair that blocked the door… At least I made it out at fucking all.” This powerful song that mixes sweet and scream-y vocals with ripping guitar and steady punk drums sets the tone for the album, giving the listener a taste of Hanna’s raw lyrical tendencies and varied yet consistently charged feminist punk sound. Later in the album, Hanna sings about childhood wishes stunted by her father’s neglect on “Roses More Than Water”. The track displays chaotic vocals with beach-y organ, and orderly drum and guitar rhythms. Hanna chants, “maybe I want roses more than water and to be a loving father’s daughter” and “maybe I’m more hell-bent on living than I am just surviving,” showing her working through traumas and personal experiences.

The discordant “I Decide” rings out with siren-like electric keyboard, a pulsing drumbeat, and a handful of “Na-na-na-na-na’s” amidst lyrics that exude Hanna’s assertion of her self-autonomy. “I Decide” is followed by “Be Nice”, which addresses the emotional labor women are expected to perform in a patriarchal society. Hanna highlights the fact that women are socialized to “be nice” in response to male micro-aggressions and entitlement through her pithy, spitting lyrics. Later in the album, she confronts male feminists’ hypocrisy in “Mr. So and So,” calling out pseudo-feminist men who use their privilege to take up space in feminist circles and offer condescending, patronizing remarks to women. The chorus rings “you can’t say good-bye before I get my hello,” commenting on the silencing of women within feminist communities at the hands of entitled men.

As an outspoken feminist musician and riot grrrl movement icon, Hanna has had her trauma and activism commoditized, which she addresses in “Planet You” and “Hello Trust No One,” in which she confronts toxic people who exploit her emotional labor and set expectations for her performance of self. In “Hello Trust No One”, pop keyboard and bouncy drums accompany Hanna’s staccato vocals projecting satirical lyrics. She sings “cause I can play one-handed guitar while braining my hair on a shooting star!” and “Cause I can play electric guitar while shaving my legs in a moving car!” mockingly addressing the absurd expectations she is met with as a feminist performer and figurehead.

“Let Me Go” greets you with fun poppy keyboard and playful guitar riffs accompanied by rhythmic claps. Hanna sings about her husband’s encouragement that kept her head above water while battling Lyme disease. She sings, “you never, ever really know how many memories you have to go.” With the rock-pop vibes that are mirrored in “Time is Up” later in the album, The Julie Ruin shows their versatility and coherence all while creating incredible tunes. The album ends with a ballad to Hanna’s mother, titled “Calverton” after the Maryland town in which Hanna grew up. Her offbeat vocals are accompanied by a soft and slow keyboard rhythm, setting the tone of the song to be a touching and tender message of appreciative reflection. Hanna has noted that her mother has inspired and drove her forward. She sings, “Without you, I’d take the fifth or be on my deathbed full of wishes”.

The Julie Ruin is playing in Montreal this Tuesday at Fairmount Theatre, and until then I’ll be dancing around my room to Hanna’s music like I used to in high school. Hit Reset will definitely be my Summer 2016 soundtrack and is truly a testament not only to Kathleen Hanna’s resilience, but also to The Julie Ruin’s musical prowess as a whole.

– Review by Erika Kindsfather

dub rifles cd booklet cover

Revisiting the Dub Rifles

dub rifles cd booklet cover

A Retrospect by CKUT’s Vince Tinguely

A few years ago, I read a beat-up copy of Subculture: The Meaning of Style by Dick Hebdige. One could immediately sense this was a damn clever book when it came out back in 1979 – back in 1979 there weren’t too many books partaking of ‘punk’ design values – a lurid pink-black-and-yellow cover, featuring a stark cartoon portrait of a Ziggy-era Bowie-clone. It stood out to such an extent that I remembered it, a quarter-century later, when I came upon it in some thrift shop or other. Based on that odd media-memory alone (in our mediated world much memory devotes itself to media) I bought the book.

Reading Subculture: The Meaning of Style now means reading it as an artifact. Hebdige was writing about the punk subculture in Britain, specifically – dragooning ruminations upon its ‘antecedents’ like the mod, teddy boy and glam scenes in order to pad the book out beyond a couple of chapters. (Weirdly, he completely ignores or excludes the hippie subculture of the sixties – apparently because hippie culture was so big it falls outside of the purview of the ‘subcultural’ focus. But to me it looks like an omission big enough to drive Kesey’s bus through. I guess he likes his countercultures nice and small and contained within the dominant überculture.)

He was writing about punk in the very midst of that scene’s flourishing, which lent his thoughts a nicely unfinished, unpolished and inconclusive flavour. What I found most stimulating about the book was Hebdige’s examination of British Rasta youth culture as the flipside of the British punk scene. For some reason it was only by reading this book that I finally ‘realized’ the connection. It’s a strange thing, since I know for sure I lived this connection at the time.

I distinctly remember the first time I really felt like I was participating in something that I’d only previously known through mediated forms like records (ie. Gang of Four’s Entertainment, and the Lee Perry-produced Bob Marley and the Wailers bootleg bought at Canadian Tire for $3.99) – when the Dub Rifles played Domus Legis, a law frat house in Halifax, in June of 1983.

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Towanda on the Montreal Sessions



For their third episode of the Montreal Sessions, local punks Towanda keep the mic pointed squarely towards the ladies in the house. Delving into the history of ’77 punk, feminist rap, and riot grrrl they dust off some true gems and dig into how these sounds came to influence Towanda as we know (and love) them today.

Bringing things into the present day, they invite local musician and Rock Camp for Girls coordinator Heather Hardie into the studio to discuss the intersection of feminism and music culture. If we do say so ourselves, it struck the perfect mix of insightful conversation and kickass music. In case you missed it the first time around, be sure to check out the full audio here.