I have been a big fan of Kathleen Hanna for quite some time. As a teenager, it was ironically The Spice Girls who eventually led me to discovering the nineties genre of feminist music known as riot grrrl. Perhaps too late, as by the time I discovered them, most of those bands were no more, including Kathleen Hanna’s riot grrrl spearheading band Bikini Kill, and even her later band the slightly more electronic sounding Le Tigre was not making any music at the time. As it turns out, maybe I was not there at the height of it all, but my opportunity would still come.
In 2015, Kathleen Hanna did a tour as The Julie Ruin, her solo project and I went along to the gig in London. I was almost crying with tears of joy to see my feminist hero, not only for her music, but her zines and activism. Fast forward through time and in March 2020 Bikini Kill announced a reunion tour, and well it was 2020, so I think you can all guess what happened. The reunion tour is now happening this year, but ‘Mirrorball’ is the first new music from Kathleen Hanna herself for over four years now.
‘Mirrorball is a track appearing on charity album Land Trust – Benefit for NEFOC. All profits from this album will benefit the Indigenous-led grassroots organization Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, which acquires farmland in order to return it to Indigenous nations and to reconnect POC farmers to land stewardship and control. The album is curated by Bikini Kill’s touring guitarist Erica Dawn Lyle and Vice Cooler – a producer for the likes of Peaches and Ladytron and a drummer for The Raincoats. The album was dreamt up in the height of Covid, as the artists were all quarantined at home, wondering what they could do to be productive and helpful. They figured out how to do remote recording and then invited various guest artists to provide vocals. In addition to Kathleen Hanna, the album also features such artists as Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Alice Bag of The Bags.
Kathleen Hanna’s contribution features her trademark rally to arms vocal, and harks back to the more electronic punk of Le Tigre. With catchy lyrics and strong guitar hooks from Vice Cooler, it doesn’t take long to fall in love with this song.
Land Trust will be available to buy from June 3rd on Bandcamp, where you can currently listen to ‘Mirrorball’.
Land Trust – Benefit for NEFOC will be released on 3rd June – pre-order now via Bandcamp
Find out more about Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust on their website
Review by Hayley Foster da Silva