In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, as Bikini Kill reissues one of its old LPs, we’re highlighting our favorite riot grrrl bands.
Skinned Teen wasn’t one of the biggest bands of the riot grrrl movement. Okay, it wasn’t even one of the remotely popular bands of the riot grrrl movement. The short-lived British outfit issued only a handful of recordings, and its location overseas didn’t help those releases gain much traction in the States—even though one of Skinned Teen’s fellow British riot grrrl bands, Huggy Bear, managed to become one of the movement’s luminaries. Skinned Teen’s big break—or what could have been a big break—came in 1994. The group released a split album, titled Jail-Bait Core/Bazooka Smooth!, with the snotty, teenaged, Bay Area band Raooul for Lookout Records, the label that gave Green Day its start.
Not that Green Day’s success in 1994 with Dookie—or even the relative notoriety of riot grrrl as a whole that year—helped Jail-Bait Core/Bazooka Smooth! make its way to the masses. Lookout was known for pop-punk, not riot grrrl, and that simple disconnect helped the record get lost in the shuffle. That’s criminal, seeing as how the track “Pillowcase Kisser” is a prime example of what makes riot grrrl great: hooks, rawness, empowering lyrics, and echoes of trailblazing punk bands like The Slits up through contemporaneous movers-and-shakers like Bikini Kill. Mostly, though, “Pillowcase Kisser” is simply a fun, bratty blast of post-adolescent passion, regardless of any pigeonhole.