Kill Rock Stars

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Kill Rock Stars
Founded1991 (1991)
FounderSlim Moon
Tinuviel Sampson
Distributor(s)Redeye Distribution
GenreRock, indie rock, punk rock, electronic
Country of originUnited States
LocationPortland, Oregon
Official Edit this at Wikidata

Kill Rock Stars is an independent record label founded in 1991 by Slim Moon and Tinuviel Sampson,[1][2][3] and based in both Olympia, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. The label has released a variety of work in different genres, but was originally known for its commitment to underground punk rock bands and the Olympia area music scene.[4]


Sampson and Moon initially started the label because, in Moon's words, "I just wanted to put out my friends' records because nobody was putting out my friends' records. And to put out spoken word 7-inch records."[5] KRS-101 (the label's first release) was in fact a split 7-inch spoken-word record with Kathleen Hanna and Slim Moon; other "Wordcore" releases followed. The first major release was a compilation of Olympia-area bands simply titled Kill Rock Stars (Stars Kill Rock and Rock Stars Kill would follow in the same compilation series) and featured Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Unwound, Nirvana, Mecca Normal, Heavens to Betsy, The Nation of Ulysses, and the Melvins, among others.

Although the label's music has never reflected a singular genre or underground music movement, it is arguably most notable for releasing the work of various riot grrrl bands during the mid-'90s, some of which, especially Bikini Kill, generated a good deal of press attention. Other Kill Rock Stars releases in this genre includes albums by Bratmobile, Huggy Bear, Heavens to Betsy and Excuse 17.

The label continued its tradition of spoken word by releasing their first full-length spoken word LP Big Broad by Juliana Luecking in 1995. This was also the year that Elliott Smith released his self-titled solo LP on the label. Another milestone was the 1997 release of Sleater-Kinney's third LP (and first on Kill Rock Stars) Dig Me Out, which garnered national press attention in Spin and Rolling Stone.[6]

In 1997–98, the 5RC label was formed as a sister label to Kill Rock Stars; it released generally harsher-sounding and more experimental rock than Kill Rock Stars. The 5RC roster included Xiu Xiu, Deerhoof, Need New Body, The Mae Shi, The Robot Ate Me, and Metalux, among others. 1998 also marked the first-ever Mailorder Freak Singles Club, featuring Quasi, Small Stars, Sta-Prest, and Rock*A*Teens, among others.

Another popular band on Kill Rock Stars was the Decemberists, who released three full-length albums on the label between 2001 and 2005. The band's singer, Colin Meloy, also released a solo album on the label in April 2008. Other notable releases by Kill Rock Stars include albums by the Paper Chase, Jeff Hanson, Unwound, Marnie Stern, the Gossip, Mecca Normal, Two Ton Boa and Comet Gain; spoken word albums by Kathy Acker and Miranda July; and reissues of work by earlier punk/post-punk bands such as Kleenex/Liliput, Essential Logic, and Delta 5.

In October 2006, Slim Moon, the label's owner, announced he would be departing Kill Rock Stars to work as an A&R representative at Nonesuch Records, a Warner Music Group subsidiary.[7] Moon's wife, Portia Sabin, then took over ownership of Kill Rock Stars. In 2007, the label released eleven records, including New Moon, a collection of songs recorded by Elliott Smith between 1994 and 1997. The label has begun to further diversify its roster: since 2013, Kill Rock Stars has released albums by comedians including W. Kamau Bell, Nathan Brannon, Kurt Braunohler, River Butcher, Cameron Esposito, Emily Heller, Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen, Ian Karmel, Hari Kondabolu, and Amy Miller.

In September 2019, Kill Rock Stars issued a press release announcing Slim Moon's return to management of the label after a thirteen-year hiatus, as well as the signing of Portland band MAITA; the press release described the signing as "both previous label head Portia Sabin's last act and the first initiative of Slim Moon in his second tenure as guiding light of KRS".[8]

In February 2022, it was announced that independent music company Exceleration Music has acquired the Kill Rock Stars catalog and formed a partnership with its founder, Slim Moon. Under the deal, Moon would continue to handle A&R and would be actively signing and developing new artists.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rose, Cynthia (July 5, 1996). "The Return Of Vinyl Frenzy – Seven-Inch Singles Are The Hot New Item For Rock's Underground". Seattle Times.
  2. ^ Lord, Mary Lou (2011). "About Mary Lou Lord". Kill Rock Stars. Archived from the original on November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "Sisters Outsiders: The Oral History of the 'Bikini Kill' EP". Spin: 3. November 15, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  4. ^ "About Kill Rock Stars". Archived from the original on 2004-03-11.
  5. ^ "Interview With Slim Moon". HitQuarters. 13 April 2009. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011.
  6. ^ "Kill Rock Stars Timeline". Archived from the original on August 19, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2005.
  7. ^ Kati Llewellyn. "Slim Moon Leaves KRS to work for Warner Music Group subsidiary Nonesuch Records". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Retrieved October 6, 2006.
  8. ^ "Kill Rock Stars Signs MAITA". September 24, 2019. Archived from the original on September 26, 2019.
  9. ^ "Exceleration Music acquires catalog of US independent label Kill Rock Stars". Music Business Worldwide. 2022-02-01. Retrieved 2022-02-01.

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