I have to be honest, when I first read about Le Butcherettes last summer I was pretty skeptical. Mostly because I’m not been a fan of lady singers whose oeuvre mostly consist of songs about love – the jilted and unrequited variety – which is boring. And when they’re trying to avoid that trap they cop the “feminist” shtick and end up espousing hackneyed dogma through unimaginative, illiterate lyrics. I could give any number of examples but I’ll leave that for another time.
But I decided to give Le Butcherettes a chance when I downloaded their first EP, Kiss & Kill and heard the words “Fuck me as hard as you possibly can.” This put a smile on my face as I immediately recognized its clever (smart ass) double entendre, which is at once obvious, and duplicitous. I am a lover of double edge witticisms. (I also enjoy the word “Fuck”) It also didn’t hurt that the band was from Mexico – once my second home, and that they sang in English about things no “self-respecting” (read: obedient) Mexican woman would ever sing about. That EP was quite amusing, if not entirely listenable, the production quality left something to be desired but I supposed that was intentional.
A bitterly cold and foggy night in Sacramento ended in the inviting embrace of crunching guitars and the playful bashing of drums. Deerhoof was in town to promote their latest release, Deerhoof vs Evil (Polyvinyl Records) – a quirky album with a discernible pop twist.
Truth be told, before Thursday (Jan 27th) night’s show at Harlow’s I’d never paid attention to the band – not for any particular reason; I just never got around to checking them out. But something about their latest effort, which I find endearing, grabbed my attention and I’m glad it did.
The band took over the tiny stage at a leisurely pace, setting up their equipment in no particular hurry. Drummer, Greg Saunier, adjusted his Remo kit while chatting amiably with what seemed to be more than an acquaintance. He’d take a few moments throughout the show to either adjust his cymbals or tighten his snare and bass, such was the extreme bashing they were taking. He would also take over the microphone informing the audience that we were about to witness a “first ever” for the band: singer/bass player, Satomi Matsuzaki, and guitarist/singer, John Deitrich, would use their respective microphones to sing together. Evidently this is not normally done so it required some crowd preparation.
Fang Island began as an art school project. Seriously, it was a class you could take at the Rhode Island School of Design (widely considered the MIT of art-schools, it’s that difficult to get into, and supposedly the very best graphic designers and design oriented engineers come out of that school) where all of the members of F.I. were printmaking majors. Founding member, and lead guitarist, Jason Bartell says it’s o.k. if you laugh at the printmaking thing because they’re full-fledged music dudes now. Anyway, yeah, that’s how Fang Island got started. It was a bunch of dudes taking a class together on the makings of a rock band. The criteria required they complete an entire CD or something like that, so they did. A few years later and many miles traveled to meet up for rehearsals and they’re releasing their first full-length disc via Sargent House, also home to Omar Rodriguez Lopez, that’s some shit right there, and they’re heading out on a cross country tour that began Friday night.
The album is everything they say it is: anthem-ic, euphoric, awesome, totally rad, but only if you like Boston, Queen, Weezer, and esoteric and arty intentions. If you do, you’re going to love Fang Island.
Visit Fang Island on the Interwebs:
Official | Myspace | Facebook