Queer youth rocks! And Population 1975, The Butchies’ follow up record to their poignant and empowering debut release Are We Not Femme, does its punk part to keep that in people’s faces. The Butchies are Alison Martlew, Kaia Wilson, and Melissa York. Population 1975 is out on the Durham, North Carolina label Mr. Lady, which is owned and operated by Kaia Wilson and Tammy Rae Carland and features other bands such as The Haggard, Le Tigre, and Tami Hart. Wilson and Carland started the label because they felt like there weren’t enough women- and/or dyke-run record labels out there. How true!
I caught The Butchies at Modified, a punk club that supports independent music and art in Phoenix, Arizona. On tour to support Population 1975, Martlew, Wilson, and York chatted with various folks in the club, donned sweet garage style jump suits, and took the stage with humor and energy to give the audience an appetizing taste of Population 1975 live.
The new album features York’s sticks of fury, Wilson’s tough and glistening guitar riffs, and Martlew’s bass, which rip and flow in waves of punk throughout Wilson and Martlew’s smooth harmonies. The third track “More Rock More Talk” is a great queer youth punk anthem. It calls attention to prada-wearing straight folks oblivious to their privilege and yells out what The Butchies are all about: “more rock more talk we’ve got sly moves baby…we’re for QUEER YOUTH we’re GO UNION we are PRO CHOICE we are not scared by you.” The 7th track “Love in the Hour” also rocks with stuttered bass lines, fluid, confrontational guitar chords, and York’s fast and furious beats. Tracks like “Insult to Injury” and the title track are more melodic and swaying, examining issues of queer youth and identity through a past filled with small towns, left hearts, and the struggles found there. Yes, I used the word “hearts,” but don’t worry. This CD is all good punk and no sap.
Tracks on Population 1975 also deal with issues that all folks grapple with, like desiring movie scenes in life, dealing with rejection from the mainstream, and bartering for the ownership of spaces and places. It’s a solid and smart punk rock CD.