After the release of their record 7 Hearts in March, local punk trio Kitten Forever were planning where to sell their record locally when they realized the absence of feminist, women, and/or queer run shops in the Twin Cities. The band’s ideologies of self-love, inclusivity, and representation are just as important to them as their music, making this observation something they couldn’t ignore.
“All of our record stores are fucking cool, but there’s nowhere that’s like a cool, feminist-run record store. And that sucks,” Liz Elton of Kitten Forever says. “We were like, ‘What else is like that?’”
That’s when Corrie Harrigan of the band had an epiphany — selling 7 Hearts at local, progressive sex shop the Smitten Kitten in Uptown.
“I certainly didn’t expect [the Smitten Kitten] to be immediately excited about doing anything with a band, but from the beginning, they were like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this, we’re jazzed,’” Harrigan says.
The store is proudly feminist owned and operated since its opening in 2003, according to Smitten Kitten sex educator and project manager Hannah Jorden.
“Kitten Forever does so much to represent sex-positive culture in Minneapolis, and we’re really excited to sell their album,” Jorden says. Starting today, the Smitten Kitten will have 7 Hearts on display and for sale throughout the summer.
Not only were Kitten Forever eager to break out of traditional music industry norms of where to purchase records, support bands, and consume music, but the Smitten Kitten happens to be a shop near and dear to each member’s heart.
“The Smitten Kitten never feels exclusive,” member Laura Larson says. She notes that record stores can sometimes feel alienating to minority groups, but the mission of Smitten Kitten is to make it so all are welcome and made to feel comfortable, regardless of the taboo nature of sex shops.
“It’s also an extremely body positive space,” Elton says. “That’s really important to us.”
On top of the excitement surrounding a new venue to sell records, Kitten Forever are celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band this summer. Their very first show was in July 2006.
“We were trying to think of something else exciting to do for our birthday, and that’s when we thought of a limited-edition tank top,” Elton says.
Only 50 red and gold tank tops are available at the Smitten Kitten, along with a custom collaboration pin designed by Elton. The store also features a bundle deal with the record, tank, pins, and a 15 percent off future purchase coupon.
As if this all wasn’t enough, the band are playing their first headlining First Avenue Mainroom show on July 23. Between the new record and touring with local legends Babes in Toyland, Kitten Forever have already had a hell of a year, and there’s no signs of slowing yet.