It’s no secret that we here at Rebellious Magazine love Minneapolis-based rockers Kitten Forever. The trio’s fast and furious brand of punk rock amplifies feminism, freedom and defiance in tasty two-minute bursts of manic musicality.
With their fourth full-length release, “Semi-Permanent,” Kitten Forever – Corrie Harrigan, Laura Larson and Liz Elton – returned to their DIY roots, self-releasing the 11-song album on their own label Rat Queen Records. The best part is they are going old-school and dropping “Semi-Permanent” as a classic cassette.
In honor of “Semi-Permanent”‘s May 4 release, we caught up with Corrie, Laura and Liz via email to ask them all about the inspiration behind the album and to share some of their go-to recommendations for cassette and mix-tapes.
Laurie Fanelli: First off, what made you want to offer fans a cassette option for “Semi-Permanent”?
Kitten Forever: We were interested with this release in returning to a more DIY feel. We came up releasing all our own stuff on cassette and burned CDs etc., and although working with a label obviously has its many upsides (mainly money, lol), we really wanted to take ownership of this album and do the whole process ourselves.
What do you enjoy about cassettes as a format?
Kitten Forever: Cassettes are great because it does the same thing as vinyl, which is that it forces the listener to really get a full album experience from start to finish, no skipping around or listening to just the single, etc. They fit in the palm of your hand and are a mobile experience, take them in the car (if your car still has cassette ability that is…) bring it on a road trip, listen in your bedroom. They feel sort of romantic, and being ’80s babies, a lot of those first musical memories took place on cassettes for us.
What was the first cassette tape you ever bought? (Mine was New Kids on the Block, by the way.)
Corrie Harrigan: Mine wasn’t something I bought, but it was a couple tapes that belonged to my dad that I loved to listen to. One was Bryan Adams’ “So Far So Good,” and the other was Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks.” I was a pretty brooding child.
Laura Larson: The first tape I owned was this really weird Disney-branded tape put out in 1990 called “Minnie ‘N Me: Songs Just For Girls” that was marketed to pre-teen girls. I listened to it recently, and it still completely rips. It’s full of super catchy pop melodies and cheerleader chants, the all-girl slumber party/big-dreams-big-plans narrative for sure planted a proto-riot girl seed in my brain.
Corrie: OMG WAIT “Minnie ‘N Me” was actually my FIRST cassette, too!! I LOVED that tape, wow, it really does RIP!!!
Laura: Let’s start a “Minnie ‘N Me” cover band.
Liz Elton: The first tape I ever bought with my own money was Hanson’s “Middle of Nowhere,” which I was and still am pretty into.
Cassettes automatically make me think of mixtapes. Do you have any go-to songs that you would add to every mixtape you ever made?
Laura: I think every mixtape I made in my late teens through mid-20s included “Hot Chocolate Boy” by Beat Happening, “Hamster Baby” by Bikini Kill, and “Harvest Spoon” by Free Kitten.
Corrie: “No Sleep” or “HerJazz” by Huggy Bear are both for sure in my top 10. “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel, “Lost in the Supermarket” by The Clash, “Kids Don’t Follow” or “F*ck School” by The Replacements.
Liz: I used to add “The Book of Love” by Magnetic Fields to everything, but then I put it on a mixtape for an ex, and now it feels weird and ruined. “Fire/Sign” by The Gossip is on almost every mix I make for myself.
I also associate cassette tapes with driving with the windows down. What tapes are your favorite to blast on the open road?
Corrie: When I was 14, my next door neighbor gave me a cassette he had made that on one side had “Nevermind the Bollocks” by the Sex Pistols, and on the other side was “London Calling” by The Clash. Needless to say, as a young girl in the suburbs, this made quite the impact on me. As soon as I learned to drive, I would cruise around all the time with the windows down in my baby blue Oldsmobile 88 and blast that tape in the mall parking lot and feel like a real PUNK. But “Blood on the Tracks” stayed with me my whole life as the penultimate road trip album, starting with driving around northern Minnesota with my dad and stretching out through time until touring today.
Laura: Honestly, way up on my list is “Queen’s Greatest Hits” – windows down and screaming the lyrics to “Fat Bottomed Girls” (“Get on your bikes and ride!!”) – is some A+ car-blasting tape action.
Liz: “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.
There’s something romantic about making someone a tape – what do you think are some of the best songs for setting a romantic mood?
Kitten Forever: “Baby, I’m an Anarchist by Against Me!,” “Eau D’Bedroom Dancing” by Le Tigre, “New England” by Billy Bragg, “Androgynous” / “Kiss Me On the Bus” by The Replacements, “I Drove All Night” by Cyndi Lauper, “We’re In This Together Now” by Nine Inch Nails and “Brass In Pocket” by Pretenders.
Cassettes are also connected to ’80s aerobics – What tapes make you motivated?
Kitten Forever: “Jock Jams Volume 1,” for sure. Witch Hunt’s .”..As Priorities Decay” and the “Empire Records Soundtrack” pair well with coffee and getting sh*t done.
Are you heading out on tour in support of Semi-Permanent?
Kitten Forever: Yes! You can catch us in the Midwest this spring, and we will be on a full U.S. tour this fall in support of the legends Screaming Femalesl!! Catch us in Chicago May 11 at the Happy Gallery!
Check out Kitten Forever’s full tour itinerary below and head over to KittenForeverForever.com to pick up a cassette copy of “Semi-Permanent” via Rat Queen Records on May 4!
Kitten Forever Tour Dates
*w/ Royal Brat
5/03 – Minneapolis Tape Release @ The Loring*
5/04 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews*
5/05 – Omaha, NE @ Pet Shop*
5/06 – Kansas City, MO @ Kum and Go*
5/07 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Warehouse B
5/08 – Springfield, MO @ The Outlander
5/09 – Memphis, TN @ Lamplighter
5/10 – St Louis, MO @ RKDE
5/11 – Chicago, IL @ Happy Gallery
5/12 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
w/ Screaming Females!
9/28 Lancaster, PA @ American Bar & Grill
9/29 Columbus, OH @ Ace Of Cups
9/30 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
10/1 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
10/2 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
10/3 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
10/4 Boise, ID @ Neurolux
10/5 Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
10/6 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
10/7 Arcata, CA @ Outerspace
10/9 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
10/10 Albany, CA @ Ivy Room
10/11 Santa Cruz, CA @ Crepe Place
10/12 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
10/13 San Diego, CA @ Casbah
10/14 San Pedro, CA @ Recess Ops.
10/15 Pomona, CA @ TBD
10/16 Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
10/17 Las Cruces, NM @ Art Obscura
10/18 San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
10/19 Bryan, TX @ Grand Stafford Theater
10/20 Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
10/21 Hot Springs, AR @ Low Key Arts
10/23 Birmingham, AL @ Saturn Bar
10/24 Charlotte, NC @ the Milestone
10/25 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
10/26 Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw