Most of Mexico is consumed by murder and mayhem. As more police quit to save their hides, drug lords are taking over the streets. And as more immigrants passing through Mexico to the U.S. are slaughtered, soldiers are losing ground to organized crime outfits. Through all the death and destruction, there holds steady a bright and shining light swinging from an open garage door in Guadalajara. The soundtrack for Mexico’s chaos reverberates between every note and chord of Le Butcherettes’ music. They are a four-piece punk ensemble fronted by a hot keyboardist-slash-vocal siren by the name of Teri Gender Bender.
Acts such as The Dead Weather and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were using them as opening acts as they passed through Mexico on recent tours. In a time of utter disarray south of the border, Le Butcherettes grabbed its gear and headed to L.A. in ’09 to get their music out to the teeming masses in the good ol’ U.S. of A. This kick-ass quartet played the recent SXSW festival as well, receiving accolades for a job well done. Pats on the back and “atta boys” pale in comparison if one has never partaken in Le Butcherettes’ live music and stage presence.
The band released Kiss & Kill in 2008 with all the EP trimmings of a garage album. With basic guitar, keyboard, drum and gnarly lyrics it was the catalyst for upward momentum. The EP contained a multitude of fast and loose sub-two-minute songs like “Six More” and “I’m Queen.” With this on the books and Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López in their corner, Le Butcherettes recorded and brought out their first full-length album titled Sin Sin Sin.
Their latest accomplishment is a progressive step in the right direction. Picking up Gabe Serbian of the Locust as a drummer and setting its sights on America, Le Butcherettes has a rugged collection of fist-pounding garage tunes. There is an air of excitement in the album compared to the dredging sound from their EP.
Record opener “Tonight” touts a massive keyboard part strangely reminiscent of Devo’s “Jerkin’ Back ‘n’ Forth.” As bound and beautiful as its latest efforts are on Sin Sin Sin, Le Butcherettes kept its garage flair by Bush and McCain-bashing on “Bang!” This the group does also by keeping it simple and delicious on “Riko’s Smooth Talking Mothers,” a low-fi instrumental walk through modern obscurity.
The band varies the sound with slightly longer and more psychedelic tunes like “The Actress That Ate Rousseau” and their first single “Henry Don’t Got Love.” Both songs exploit Gender Bender’s mastery of the keyboard and vocal range. As garage bands come, Le Butcherettes manages something that most cannot in this genre— variety. “Tainted in Sin” is a simple bass-driven ditty that is wrapped in soaring vocals and heavy (coincidentally subtle) guitar riffs meshed together with a tambourine clanging in the background.
These guys aren’t slouches on the stage either. Gender Bender and crew use “Dress Off” as a transition piece in their live set. “Dress Off” is an uncomplicated drum and vocal number that showcases Gender Bender while on stage wearing a trench coat in the beginning and dropping that façade for a maid’s uniform complete with a bloody apron.
As the world of garage music begins to acquire more popularity on the festival circuit, bands will be more apt to progress. Habitual line-steppers like the Black Lips, Nobunny or now, Le Butcherettes, will evolve into more obscure acts to take it to the next level. The weak-hearted will be lying by the wayside grasping at straws trying to hitch a ride. Bands like Le Butcherettes will be driving full-bore up the middle of it all with sheep’s skulls and bloody aprons abound. Viva La Garage Music!
Le Butcherettes – Sin Sin Sin Tracklist:
- “New York”
- “Henry Don’t Got Love”
- “The Leibniz Language”
- “All You See In Me Is Death”
- “I’m Getting Sick of You”
- “Riko’s Smooth Talking Mothers”
- “The Actress That Ate Rousseau”
- “Tainted In Sin”
- “Dress Off”
- “Empty Dimes”
- “Mr. Tolstoi”