Le Butcherettes: Teri’s Garden

By: Marcelo Báez

“You know Teri? She’s also from Guadalajara,” said Juan Son in early 2010.

We were in the middle of planning his first solo tour through Mexico, and he wanted Teri to be a guest performer at the final concert in Mexico City.

“I... don’t think I do,” I replied.

“Oh, you’ll love her! She’s, like, a crazy punk rocker. The kind who douses herself in pig blood before performing,” Juan pointed out, knowing me so well. And then he proceeded to stream songs off Le Butcherettes’ Myspace account.

Months later, Teri showed up for sound check. I was expecting her to be just as intense as Juan had described her—and she was. But she was also friendly, silly and playful. Sadly, I didn’t get the full Teri gender-bender experience that night because she only sang one song, and my face (I was playing keyboards and running the sequencer) was buried behind a wall of music gear. I would have to wait until later that year to finally see Le Butcherettes—a duo completed by drummer Lia Braswell—perform. They were opening for the Omar Rodríguez-López Group (The Mars Volta, At the Drive-In) in Manhattan with songs off Sin Sin Sin (her first LP, produced by Rodríguez-López) and the performance was nothing but absorbing.

Earlier this month Le Butcherettes released Cry Is for the Flies, their second full-length album (also produced by Rodríguez-López), and because Teri didn’t tone down the dark and twisted themes, it seems like their best record yet. Songs like “Burn the Scab” will make former listeners feel at home, with their slightly distorted organ and aggressive drum treatment. But “Demon Stuck in Your Eye” and “Your Weakness Gives Me Life” veer closer to well-done Karen O territory, while “Boulders Love Over Layers of Rock” offers something else: it makes her resemble a maniacal, less operatic Nina Hagen.

Oh, and the record comes with some fun collaborations: Shirley Manson (Garbage) can be heard singing on “Shame, You’re All I’ve Got” while Henry Rollins does his spoken word thing on “Moment of Guilt.”

As NPR points out (“Latin rock remains largely the domain of men willing to rebel against everything except machismo”), it’s hard to be a girl in a boys music club—unless, of course, you’re playing the role of cute, pretty, indie chick *cough* Hello Seahorse! *cough*. More than that: even when it is also easier for Teri to sidestep Latinoland since she only sings in English, she does a good job at challenging the macho establishment by being grittier, angrier, almost savage.

So the next time the boys club holds its annual meeting, they should cut to the chase and do it in Terri’s garden—even if she tosses a lunch tray at their face.

LOGISTICS: Cry Is for the Flies by Le Butcherettes, available now

Marcelo Baéz is a writer, DJ, and musician based in NYC. When he's not producing "Rico Suave" parties, he releases music under P3CULIAR.