Kill Rock Stars

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Kill Rock Stars is an independent record label founded in 1991 by Slim Moon 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 artistic mission. Overall, though, the political sensibilities of the label can be said to be leftist, feminist, and anti-war, and the label has consistently shown a commitment towards underground punk bands and to representing artists in the Olympia, Washington area.

Moon initially started the label because in his 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." [1] 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 and The Melvins.

Although the label's music has never reflected just a single 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 the aforementioned Bikini Kill, generated a good deal of press attention. Other KRS 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 KRS) Dig Me Out, which garnered national press attention in Spin and Rolling Stone magazines.

In 1997/98, the 5RC label was formed as a sister label to Kill Rock Stars; it released generally harsher-sounding and more challenging indie rock than KRS. The 5RC roster includes 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 and featured Quasi, Small Stars, Sta-Prest and Rock-A-Teens among others. Another popular band on KRS 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.

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