The Butchies

3 (Mr. Lady)

True to their name, the Butchies are queer punk from North Carolina by way of the Pacific Northwest (where the whole movement started anyway). Butch bandleader Kaia Wilson was part of Team Dresch, but something happened in between the time that band, along with Bikini Kill, helped spearhead queercore activism and the Butchies. Thanks to the way Sleater-Kinney introduced more musical breadth to the sound of Riot Grrrl, the Butchies now find themselves trying to keep up instead of blazing new trails. Like Sleater-Kinney, the Butchies are a three-piece all-female aggregation that combines crashing rhythms with piercing vocals and personal lyrics about the travails of personal relationships.

It's not all "butch," though: These guys -- and in their case, these three women are really honorary "guys" -- are crystalline purveyors of an almost ethereal vibe. A promotion of diversity in both a political and musical sense, this album varies between slamming neohardcore rhythms and Sonic Youth-like hypno-guitars (check out the build at the end of "Huh Huh Hear," which contains "punk" stylings as well). The fast/slow textures ("Mandy 1985-2000") and liquid-like guitar fingerdips ("Not Like Mine") recall the golden era of indie experimentation. If you can get past the obvious political posturing (even their record label, Mr. Lady, has gender-fuck implications), you'll realize how eclectic the Butchies are. But if you doubt the Sleater-Kinney comparisons, check out the Corin Tucker-like vocals at the tail end of "The Wedding Disaster" (which even has a Sleater-Kinney-like title) or "I," which is as good as anything on SK's All Hands on the Bad One.