Julie Ruin, The – “Run Fast” – [Dischord Direct]
THE JULIE RUIN, not to be confused with JULIE RUIN, both projects of Kathleen Hanna, is a propulsive, power punk/punk rock pleasure put together by some big names in the alterna music and performance scene. Julie Ruin was Hanna’s post Bikini Kill project, a solo work that would prepare her for Le Tigre. THE Julie Ruin is a current project, coming after her about 10 year hiatus due to, among other things, her struggle with Lyme disease. Along with Hanna are Sara Lindeau on guitar, Kathi Wilcox (also of Bikini Kill) on bass, Kenny Mellman (of Kiki and Herb) on keyboards, and Carmine Covelli on drums.
“oh come on” opens the CD and is on my list for one of the best songs of the last few years. It is perfect, this superb blend of raw rock, simple and familiar yet straight to the gut drum beat, crashing guitar, bass pounding out the line to follow, and those high screechy angry vocals that rise and fall. IT IS SO GOOD. You just want to kick something over. It seems that Hanna and Mellman, who both wrote all the lyrics, are speaking about the role and expectation the public puts on someone as outspoken as a person like Kathleen, being back in the public, and the challenges this brings. Or maybe it is what anyone who speaks up, especially women, get hit with by the public. Whichever, or if it is something else entirely, it sets the standard that this is not going to be a set of just love/relationship songs. Thank god.
Then there is the rest of the album. It is not “oh come on”. This disappointed me at first. But I listened over and over and finally fell for the rest of the album. The remaining 12 songs deal with topics of feminism, fame, relationships, activism, personal struggle, messed up society. It’s tough and real and challenging and all with this infectious pop punk beat. If you loved the cheesy synth sounds of Le Tigre, they are here, graciously played. Wonderful to hear. And Kathleen’s vocals. So distinct. So challenging and angry. So childlike in this odd way but ready to fuckin’ rip your face off. And she does like to sing “fuckin” in many of the songs. Not every word, but a well placed slap in the face. Unfortunately, just a few tracks for daytime play, but enough to get the hint. It is a pleasure to have these folks playing together and to have Kathleen back making music. Enjoy.