Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Oh Come On” by The Julie Ruin from the 2013 album Run Fast on TJR Records.
Arguably the most prominent figure of the Riot Grrrl movement, Kathleen Hanna has found a new voice in The Julie Ruin, a newly expanded version of a 1998 solo project that also serves as her return to music after a lengthy hiatus. Originally becoming interested in feminism during her youth, Hanna’s first creative outlet was photography, which she studied at Evergreen State College in the late 1980s. After meeting the punk poet Kathy Acker, Hanna was inspired to start Bikini Kill, a punk rock group that quickly became well known for its furious live shows and vocally broadcast feminist agenda. When Bikini Kill ended in 1997, Hanna formed the more electronic-based Le Tigre, and fronted that band until illness (later diagnosed as Lyme disease) forced her to go on musical hiatus. She remained active nonetheless, teaching an art class at NYU and serving as the subject of Sini Anderson’s documentary, The Punk Singer. In 2010, Hanna announced her intention to return to music as part of The Julie Ruin, a quintet that shares a name with Hanna’s 1998 solo release. “Oh Come On”, the band’s re-introductory statement, is two-and-a-half minutes of chaotic, barely contained DIY punk spun with a raucously melodic edge. Hanna’s distorted vocals ride an excitingly loose rhythm section and a gloriously messy call-and-response shout of the titular refrain. “Say it on the beat/In the new girl style/Represent oh oh/Every day is brand new” in the song’s first verse, it’s a clear statement that Hanna is glad to be back, and that her voice, more relevant and powerful than ever, remains a rallying cry for feminists everywhere.
The Julie Ruin played Neumos earlier this year, but they’ll be back in the Pacific Northwest this weekend to play the opening of the 30th Annual Olympia Film Festival at the Olympia Theater on November 8th. Get tickets and more info about that all-ages show here, keep up with the band at their website and Facebook, and watch the video for “Oh Come On” below.