Kat Bjelland fronted Babes In Toyland, one of the most significant rock bands to¬†come out of the American underground in the past two decades. Having formed in Minneapolis in 1987 and debuted for Sub Pop, Babes In Toyland, with the likes of Nirvana, Mudhoney and The Pixies, made groundbreaking, empowering music on their terms. Indeed, one of Kat’s brief pre-Babes bands Sugar Babylon featured Courtney Love and Jennifer Finch, later of Hole and L7 respectively.
Katastrophy Wife debuted in 2002 with the critically acclaimed “Amusia” which also saw a welcome return for Bjelland to the Reading Festival. An early line up change saw Brits bassist Andrew Parker, drummer Darren Donovan, formerly of doom merchants Sally and grind core mob Mistress (Bjelland had previously worked with both on noise project Lash Frenzy) and Vanessa White, former guitarist of Twist, all join up.
The result of this new union was the second Katastrophy Wife album and their first for Integrity. “All Kneel” was recorded fast and raw, just what the songs demanded. This was fuzzed-up, highly-strung rock that careered like a juggernaut, each lyric barbed and venom-tipped. In Kat’s own words, “the first half is full of the rocking singles-type songs, the second half for the weirdo stoner rock people.”
The album also included “Layne to Rest,” Kat’s tribute to late Alice In Chains frontman and former Lollapalooza party partner Layne Staley, and lead single “Liberty Belle” that clocked up a KKKK review from Kerrang! and heavy play on Radio 1, MTV2, etc.
Upon its June 2004 release, the album received a ton of great press, including 4/5 in Kerrang!, 4/5 in Q, 7/10 in Rock Sound, 7/10 in NME & 4/5 in Big Cheese, prompting Kat and the boys to return to the UK for further live shows, including a Leftfield Stage headline slot at the Glastonbury Festival.
“Intense, fuzzed-up grunge” – Time Out
“A storming and gritty rock anthem” – The Metro
“Liberty Belle does not disappoint. If the rest of the album is anything like this, then it should be a good one” – Organ
“This is what rock music should sound like” – Play louder
“Like a female fronted Datsuns. Nice one” – Fake DIYback to bands
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You – MALMØ - Solo live performance of the single