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Riot Grrrl Rock


Lipstick Homicide plays Gas Lamp on Thursday, May 8.

Lipstick Homicide plays Gas Lamp on Thursday, May 8.

People like to play the “Next Big Thing” game. Ask folks who the next Iowa act to strike it big on the national stage will be, and you’ll get a myriad of answers.

The cynic will tell you that Iowa music is flat. Don’t listen. Some people are still waiting for Envy Corp to take the next big step, and it might happen. The trendy pick is to go with Des Moines songwriter Max Jury, because he’s less a matter of “if” and more of “when.”

But, if you look outside the golden circle for the next big act, you wouldn’t be throwing your money away if you bet on Lipstick Homicide.

Hailing from Coralville, Lipstick Homicide is a throwback to good, solid, three-piece-pop punk. Reminiscent of 1990s riot grrrl acts like Bikini Kill and The Little Ugly Girls, the trio is loud, fast and hard. Though extremely small in stature (often mistaken for teenagers), the band makes an oversized impression on virtually everyone. The band opened a Gas Lamp show for legendary New York punk act, The Queers, last year, and, gigging to an over-capacity crowd, Lipstick Homicide — none of whose members are over the age of 25 — rocked the crowd hard enough that even Queers frontman Joe Queer came away impressed.


“They started when they were like16 years old,” said Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC) Administrator Chris Ford. “Not a lot of people in Des Moines know about them, but they’re one of the most active and popular bands in Iowa.”

Ford’s DMMC recently picked Lipstick Homicide as one of the acts featured in this year’s Gross Domestic Product music festival, and the band’s set was one of the most anticipated — and heavily attended — of the night. And the group has not attained its following or success through gimmicks or a stage show that’s more style over substance. Rather, they’ve gone about things the old fashioned way.

“They’ve done a lot more work than a lot of bands in the state,” Ford stated. “They tour around the country regularly, and they’re just a really good pop-punk band.”

All that work has its dividends. While Lipstick Homicide tours the Midwest every chance it gets, the last year has seen the band’s profile skyrocket. In 2013, the band headed east to play Baltimore’s Insubordination Fest — its second year at the 40-band blowout — released its own LP, “Out Utero,” and was asked to be a part of producer Larry Livermore’s compilation album, “The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore.”

Livermore, who’s been friends with pop-punk icons Green Day since the ‘80s, wound up showing the CD to Billy Joe Armstrong. Armstrong loved it, hitting Twitter to tell his 700,000 followers : “Check out this compilation. Lipstick Homicide kicks booty!” A few months later, Green Day needed an opening act in New York City and asked Livermore for a suggestion.

“I wasn’t totally sure if it was for real,” Lipstick Homicide guitarist Kate Kane said in a previous interview regarding Livermore’s Sept. 12 phone call. “(I didn’t know) if he had talked to Green Day about it. I ended up talking to Green Day’s manager later that night. Then I was like, ‘All right, I guess this is real.’ ”

Three days and one long drive later, Lipstick Homicide opened a show at Irving Plaza in New York City in front of 1,000 screaming Green Day fans.

If the last 12 months are any kind of indicator, 2014 could very well be Lipstick Homicide’s year. CV

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