Elevate Difference

Live Recordings, TV-clips, & Roadmovie

There is no doubting the strong influence the (mostly) female Swiss band Kleenex (later renamed Liliput) had on current feminist post-punk rock movements like Riot Grrrl. Their brief period of activity was between 1979-1983, (in which they went through many line-up changes), but the band’s music is anything but dated, standing the test of time and a testament to their innovative and influential sound.

Live recordings aren’t always the best representation of a band’s sound—especially when it comes to avant-garde punk music—when even studio recordings can be a bit grainy and under-produced and aurally challenging (rightly so, as it is punk rock!). What live recordings often capture is the spirit of a particular time serving as documentation and historical reference. This is important for all music, yet especially so for obscure, underground bands that helped shaped musical history but have the potential to fall through the cracks. This is why the Kill Rock Stars CD/DVD release of Kleenex/Liliput’s Live Recordings, TV-Clips, & Roadmovie is an important one.

Compared heavily with The Slits, Kleenex/Liliput have a similar tribal/mid-paced punk sound, with funky bass lines, trebled slightly out of tune guitars, sometimes saxophone, and layered female vocals ranging from the nonsensical baby gibberish to the strong, shrill, and assertive (think Kathleen Hanna of Le Tigre and Bikini Kill). If you have not heard their music before, then a better introduction would be the Kill Rock Stars 2001 re-issue of a double CD containing all of the band’s studio recorded songs.

This current release, which contains two live shows, one recorded in Biel in 1979 (when the band was Kleenex) and one, as Liliput, recorded in Zurich in 1983, has that grainy archival quality best reserved for established fans and music history buffs. Not that the sound is terrible; I was actually surprised at the quality, which is another testament to the band’s awesomeness—sloppy enough to be punk rock, but still bearing the hallmarks of good musicianship, and what would have been an awesome live show. The accompanying DVD contains three songs from when the band was Kleenex in 1978 and three from when they were Liliput. It is again interesting to watch as historical documentation, but to be fair, some of it can be found on YouTube.

Overall, this is an excellent and important release from Kill Rock Stars. You will definitely gain feminist punk points having it in your CD collection, but you probably won’t bust it out as often as the aforementioned discography.

Written by: Jyoti Roy, June 4th 2010