The genre I like to refer to as “brat punk” started ages ago. You know what it is: simple chord progressions smothered in snarly vocals and snarky, confrontational quips. A handful of years before the Riot Grrrls ripped a hole through the Portland and DC underground — but almost a decade after waves of women forged new paths in punk– Barbie Army patrolled the streets of Chicago.
Formed at the University of Chicago, the all-girl crew The Barbie Army billed themselves as a “Blues Freak Show” to get some of their earliest gigs in the Stinky Onion. Just read this punk database wikipedia page for more “details” — like the fact that Barbie Army went on tour with Sponge and Burning Rain– and others that I don’t want to regurgitate, ok?
Their sweet, sassy ditties drench fuzz guitars and poppin’ chord progressions with cool little bass and lead-guitar solos. Word has it, their shows bewitched audiences, as they lit Barbie doll heads on fire on stage and, politically, self-identified as tampon tax abolitionists. The Barbie Army also wrote some really great songs, like Don’t Wait and Oliver.
But “Take Down the Flag” is particularly subversive, and I like that.
The description under the You Tube video is from a write-up in the Chicago Reader by Franklin Soults: