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Huggy Bear

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While groups like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile were leading the riot grrrl charge in America, across the Atlantic, Huggy Bear were spearheading their own revolution, girl-style. A multi-gender unit comprised of vocalist Chris, vocalist/bassist Niki, guitarists Jo and Jon, and drummer Karen — in addition to their refusal to reveal their full names, they also rejected all requests for interviews and photographs — the group debuted in late 1991 opening for Heavenly, and soon began recording their first demos. After the British indie Wiiija issued a collection of their demos, Huggy Bear became the subject of a major label bidding war, but the quintet steadfastly rejected all offers to remain with Wiiija — they did, however, agree to an offer from the Nude label on the condition that the company drop its flagship act, Suede. (Nude declined the offer.)

In 1992, Huggy Bear released their debut EP Rubbing the Impossible to Burst, a blistering collection of musical rants and tape pastiches issued in a sleeve adorned with political manifestos. Two similar 7" releases, Kiss Curl for the Kid's Lib Guerrillas and Her Jazz, followed before Huggy Bear teamed with Bikini Kill for a British tour and a joint 12", Our Troubled Youth/Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, released as the riot grrrl movement was reaching its media fever pitch both in the U.S. and the U.K. In late 1993, Huggy Bear compiled their early material on the collection Taking the Rough with the Smooch before disappearing for a year, resurfacing in late 1994 with a pair of EPs, Long Distance Lovers and Main Squeeze. After finally releasing a proper LP, Weaponry Listens to Love, Huggy Bear disbanded; Niki and Jo later joined Wiiija labelmates the Blood Sausages, Karen signed on with the Phantom Pregnancies, Chris performed with Skinned Teen, and Jon enlisted with I'm Being Good.