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Le Tigre Burns Bright—and Blows Up

Kathleen Hanna, JD Samson, and Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre, photographed in Brooklyn.  

There aren’t too many breakout opportunities for a thirtysomething radical-feminist electro-punk trio, but for New York’s Le Tigre, this could be the year. Their new album, This Island—the long-awaited follow-up to 2001’s Feminist Sweepstakes—is their first on a major record label. The five-year-old band is also releasing much of its indie back catalogue for additional exposure. But is there room in the mainstream for This Island’s first single, “New Kicks,” a dance anthem that mixes Scorpions-like guitar riffs with antiwar rallying cries? “I don’t know,” says founding member and former Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna. “Unless you’re Evanescence or No Doubt, radio and MTV don’t play bands with female singers. And, I mean, we are freaks.”

Switching to a major doesn’t mean Le Tigre has abandoned its outsider fans, though. It’s just that instead of traveling to a studio in North Carolina and sleeping on the floor at a Motel 6, the band recorded in New York for the first time, and had enough money to play songs twice if they messed up. “It’s the record we always dreamed of making,” says Hanna.

This Island. Strummer Universal; October 19.