The Butchies – 3 (2001)


I had heard about the Butchies long before I actually heard them and didn’t really get around to buying an album because I was in college and not spending a whole bunch of money on albums at the time. Anyway, this worked out in my favor because a friend invited me to go to their show at the Ottobar and I got a totally amazing live performance as my first exposure to The Butchies and I’ve been totally enamored of them since.

So let’s get this out of the way – yes, they are a band of butch lesbians. And that’s not schtick or something they can rest on in lieu of musical talent. Because these are about the most talented musicians I’ve seen. And their sound is in no way genre-cast of other gay chicks. Compare them to Indigo Girls and KD Lang at your own risk. I call them punk, but others have disagreed with me. Maybe mellow punk?

As I said, my first exposure was live, and to this day it was the most crowded I have ever seen Ottobar, and the best part was almost the entire place was bad-ass women being cool to each other the whole time. The band had an incredible energy and interacted with the crowd the whole time. And while all members totally rocked out, the drummer, Melissa York was freaking phenomenal. I sort of fell in love with her when she jumped on top of her stool, did some cool drum stick trick and then jumped back down and kicked right into a song. I later found out that she was the drummer behind the album version of Le Tigre’s Keep On Living and the drums made that song the best on the album.

As for the album I’m reviewing – 3 – I think it’s my favorite Butchies. It’s a little bit more mature than Are We Not Femme, but it’s still punky and fun. Anything Anthology is a great intro, but is nothing compared to Forget Your Calculus which comes next. Forget Your Calculus starts pretty and sweet and then rocks harder. And I think it has the best rendition of a “yeah yeah yeah” type moment. Huh Huh Hear is almost a couple songs in one with a lot of interesting style changes. Not Like Mine is more ballad-y with crazy lyrics like “her jawline is not like mine” and really beautiful harmonies. The Wedding Disaster is sad, but lovely – cathartic if you’re in the mood to cry. As is Junior High Lament, which has a really cool baseline and throaty lyrics.

In spite of its controversial gay association that bugs so many intolerant assholes, the music itself is generally so pretty and non-threatening that everyone who has heard it in my car has mentioned that they like it and asked about it. I could imagine it being a good album for when a party is winding-down. But I of course love it most alone in my car – especially late at night driving home from b-more.

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