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October 26, 2013 7:14 AM Morning music: Kathleen Hanna’s new band, The Julie Ruin

By Kathleen Geier

In the last couple of months, two of the great divas of punk/alternative rock have each released an excellent, and fascinating, new album. Each of them experienced a life-changing crisis, which they each reacted to by going back to their musical roots. Yet the two records they created couldn’t be more of a contrast in terms of mood and emotional content.

The two women I’m referring to are Kathleen Hanna and Kim Gordon. I’ll be posting something from Gordon tomorrow. But today, here’s a video from Kathleen Hanna’s new band, The Julie Ruin. It’s from their debut album, Run Fast, which was released last month. In recent years, Hanna experienced a devastating health crisis (late-stage Lyme disease) that left her seriously weakened, fatigued, and depressed.

Thankfully, she’s recovered, and she’s responded by making the most buoyant, life-affirming rock and roll music of her career. For a Kathleen Hanna project, there is surprisingly little politics, but there is a lot of joy, as well as wistfulness, seasoned with some acute observations, such as here (from my favorite song on the album, “Goodnight Goodbye”):

What happens when you’re not 20 but 41
And you have to sink into the you, you’ve now become
Will the teenage sneer you so cultivated
Sneer back at you and make you feel so hated?

Now on to the video (the song is “Oh Come On”). If you like it, chances are you’ll like the rest of the album as well. There is also a documentary about Hanna coming out later this year called The Punk Singer which sounds intriguing, and quite possibly of interest even to people who aren’t necessarily fans of her music.

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee

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