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Baker's Dozen

Musical Memoir: Kathleen Hanna's Favourite Albums
Milene Larsson , August 10th, 2016 09:12

Following the release of The Julie Ruin's new album, Hit Reset, last month, the musician, activist and founding member of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre talks Milene Larsson through 13 favourite records that changed her life


Lesley Gore – Girl Talk
When I heard Girl Talk I was already in Bikini Kill, towards starting my solo Julie Ruin thing and I clicked with everything with a female performer on it. I was always aware of Lesley Gore and her songs and Joan Jett had covered some of them and I was like, "Oh, these are actually kind of feminist." The things that I learned from her from that album in particular was that there was a certain quality to her voice that told a different story than some of the lyrics. The lyrics could be about one thing but the way she sang; her singing had such an amazing tone that you really can't duplicate. I was just listening to the tones of her voice, thinking about the voice as an instrument and thinking – this is when I was doing my solo record — "It's not just the lyrics you're singing, it's how you're singing them." And so much can come across in the way you're singing that can either underline or scratch out the lyrics or amplify them. So I started to realise there were all these nuances there and her voice just viscerally affected me. I started playing with that idea a lot on the solo record. Some things didn't really have lyrics, I was just singing made-up nonsense stuff, it was just the way I was singing that was getting across, I was just going for a feeling. I was really focused on the lyrics in Bikini Kill and getting across these certain ideas and then listening to Lesley Gore I started realising it's not just the lyrics but the tone. That you can make the song sound like a sunny day and you're driving in your car having a great time and you can make the song sound like it's been raining for the past year; that was a new thing I found in my tool box.