The Butchies Biography
The Butchies’ fourth record is like alpenglow (a reddish glow seen near sunset or sunrise of the summits of mountains) absorbing into your pores – it simply commands a high-energy, emotionally-stuffed response. Make Yr Life is a colossal, intimate connection between the unrivalled punk-rock trio and their audience. It’s like waking from a coma, or like having your dog lick away your tears, or like the first kiss with that sexy girl with moonlight splashed on her face. But it’s also true that Kaia, Melissa and Alison’s intent with this record is simple: World Domination. If after listening to this 10-track cream dream you don’t feel like you just had one of the biggest epiphanies of your life, you clearly voted for Bush, and are immune to evolution. Make Yr Life is undoubtedly the record that will facilely evolve the music world as we know it (Mothership not included.)
Make Yr Life is technically produced more “professionally” than the previous records, but nothing about it is polished in a plastic, stiff way. The Butchies’ latest cd lives in the same world as 3 (2001), Population 1975 (1999) and Are We Not Femme (1998), but it oozes with more maturity, focus and self-reflection/connection. The trio ritualistically stripped down to the buff and finished recording in 10 days – it wouldn’t have even taken that long, but Melissa was appointed Thermostat Butchie, and therefore had to stop drumming in 20-minute intervals to stave off the cold. (It takes this kind of dedication to achieve world domination.)
As in her Team Dresch days, Kaia squeezes and molds words into an atomic release of emotions that most of us keep darkly lacquered. Her vocals are somewhere between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the suspended time right before your head spins off into orgasm.
Her pipes, combined with nectar-sweet basslines, and thick, thumping drums immediately pull in the listener with the opening track, “Send Me You”: “She says I’m crazy, I said oh, really? I’m going to jump on you on the bed/Make me a monkey, make me fall over, make me a cradle, hold me instead/I’m not going to say it, OK, I’ll say it…”
Soaring, mammoth guitars wash over you like a tidal wave in “Lydia,” which repeatedly asks the question, “Did you get what you’re asking for?”
“17,” which previously has only been recorded on a KRS comp, is included. And since it’s one of their all-time best songs, it’s sure to quench even the most insatiable Butchies fan.
The closing track is a remake of the 80s band The Outfield’s “Your Love.” Live, The Butchies perform this one at a faster tempo than the original. But for this record, producer Greg Griffith urged the band to slow the tempo down, transforming it into a sad a beautiful ballad. The result is divine, as Kaia practically whispers the first few lines: “Josie’s on a vacation far away, come around and talk it over…There’s so many things I want to say…you know I like my girls a little bit older…I just want to use your love tonight…I don’t want to lose your love tonight…”
The title track encompasses all of what this record is about: “Make your life, souls and stars, swimming with dogs and fish and sharks, fake your fear, fake face, face your fear…” The song is a Stewart Smalley kind of affirmation. It urges the listener to create their own happiness, to grab it and hold on to it. This song is also the one that has a super-secret embedded message, but you have to find your way into the mood of the entire cd before hearing this message, which is simple: We are The Butchies. We will not forcefully overtake the world, but cleverly win it over with raw, honest songstressing – making the kind of music that sticks, that matters, that truly reaches into the listener’s chest and makes them feel again. Amen. All hail The Butchies!
The Make Yr Life tour kicks off SXSW in mid-march. The nationwide tour will begin in mid-April. And it’s no coincidence that this tour takes place in the election year 2004.
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