Sunday, May 15, 2011


I was obsessed with Hole's 1991 debut Pretty On The Inside when I was in high school. It was dirty, nasty, druggy, and nightmarish, a muddy wave of grinding guitars and Courtney Love's banshee howls. A tormented mix of ugly noise and tormented screams and hints of melody. Brilliant.

Love was ugly in a way that few females were in 1991. Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth was tough and cool, but Courtney went one further, laying it all out there. While still being sort of sexy. Kate Bjelland of Babes in Toyland (terrible name, not much better band) accused her of stealing her babydoll style, but Courteny worked it better.

I liked Live Through This, the follow up, even though it lacked the edge of Pretty On The Inside. When punk loses its rawness, the result is often bad rock, which definitely showed its face on Live Through This. "Ms. World" seemed calculated to play on MTV, and it did, and Hole made it big.

Love has always wrestled with demons, and has often been a train wreck that everyone like to watch and laugh at. After melting down post Live Through This, she cleaned up, got made over, and got her shit together. The resulting album, Celebrity Skin, wasn't great, but the title track is one of my favorite songs.
She's rocking a new look, working the crowd like a pro, and seeming more like a rock star than a punker.

I stopped following Love at that point. She's released solo albums, Hole has reportedly rejoined, I don't care.
I briefly got excited about the Distillers six years ago, when it seemed like singer Brody Dalle was following in Hole's footsteps. Then I lost interest. I still dig out Coral Fang every once in a while. Like scratching a scab, in a good way.

All of this led me across a rare live video of seminal riot grrrl band Bikini Kill doing "Orange Julius" live in Nebraska. I love this song. Reject All American and their collection of singles are both pretty amazing. And they have some good song titles.

"I believe in the radical power of pleasure, babe, I do I do I do."

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