Kill Rock Stars
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|Kill Rock Stars|
|Genre||Rock, indie rock, punk rock, electronic|
|Country of origin||United States|
Kill Rock Stars is an independent record label founded in 1991 by Slim Moon and Tinuviel Sampson, and based in both Olympia, Washington and Portland, Oregon. The label has released a variety of work in different genres, making it difficult to pigeonhole as having any one unified artistic mission or sound. However, the label initially showed a commitment towards underground punk bands and to representing artists in the Olympia area music scene. Overall, the political sensibilities of the label can be said to be left-wing, feminist, and anti-war.
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" records."  KRS-101 (the label's first release) was in fact a split 7" 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, The Melvins, as well as singer-songwriter Elliott Smith.
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 Lueking 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.
In 1997-98, the 5RC label was formed as a sister label to Kill Rock Stars; it released generally harsher-sounding and more challenging 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. Colin Meloy, singer for The Decemberists, also released a solo album on the label in April 2008. Other notable releases by Kill Rock Stars include albums by bands such as The Paper Chase, Jeff Hanson, Unwound, Marnie Stern, 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. 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, Rhea Butcher, Cameron Esposito, Emily Heller, Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen, Ian Karmel, Hari Kondabolu, and Amy Miller.
- Rose, Cynthia (July 5, 1996). "The Return Of Vinyl Frenzy – Seven-Inch Singles Are The Hot New Item For Rock's Underground". Seattle Times.
- Lord, Mary Lou (2011). "About Mary Lou Lord". Kill Rock Stars. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- "Sisters Outsiders: The Oral History of the 'Bikini Kill' EP". Spin: 3. November 15, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
- About Kill Rock Stars (Retrieved Mar. 1, 2004)
- "Interview With Slim Moon", HitQuarters, 13 April 2009.
- Kill Rock Stars Timeline (Retrieved October 22, 2005)
- Slim Moon Leaves KRS to work for Warner Music Group subsidiary Nonesuch Records (Retrieved October 6, 2006)