Le Butcherettes, bi/MENTAL (Rise Records) –
Le Butcherettes, bi/MENTAL
Teri Gender Bender has so many metal and hard-rock side projects, it’s refreshing when she returns to her original U.S./Mexican punk project Le Butcherettes. She connects with punk roots by offering guest appearances to Jello Biafra and Alice Bag, with production coming from Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison. But the 13 tracks here are more complex than simple punk, melding feminism and indigenous spirituality and border politics in a stew much richer than the band’s earlier albums.
Bob Mould, Sunshine Rock (Merge) –
The founder of Hüsker Dü and Sugar has spent the last decade in a funk, as he confronts his coming out and the world’s demise with consistently bleak tunes. It’s therefore good to hear Mould opt for joy and free-form silliness in the new album, his most exuberant since Hüsker Dü’s New Day Rising
. In most of the songs within, none of the laughter seems forced.
Jessica Pratt, Quiet Signs (Mexican Summer) –
Jessica Pratt, Quiet Signs
Like her first two albums, the new LP from Los Angeles folkie Jessica Pratt is a brief and understated affair, but her stylings are more striking in this outing. After a Satie-style opening piano solo, Pratt offers pointed but empathetic observations in a childlike voice midway between Édith Piaf and Blossom Dearie. Songs like “Fare Thee Well” use plenty of minor-sixth chords, which means that even at a volume level at the edge of hearing, she may bring a listener to tears.