Archive for the ‘Teri Gender Bender’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 27, 2022] The Mars Volta

Back in 2000, I loved At the Drive In.  I was bummed when they broke up.  However, they split into two bands: Sparta (the more streamlined guys) and The Mars Volta (the wacky prog rockers).  I was pretty psyched to hear TMV and their debut album De‐Loused in the Comatorium was amazingly weird and cool.  I also really liked the follow up Frances the Mute, but kind of lost track of them after that.

They broke up at some point and that was that.  Guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López went on to do a million projects (like playing with Teri Gender Bender) and singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala has appeared all over the place in bands and as a guest.  i didn’t really give them much thought until they announced a new song and tour.  So I pulled out De-Loused and remembered how much I liked them.

This tour was apparently designed just for me, since most of the songs were from De-Loused and Frances, with one song from the other albums and two from the new one.

The light show was pretty great.  They had squares of light bulbs that illuminated shapes and showed various LED colors.  Not to mention super bright strobes and lots of searching beams of colors.

More impressively, Omar Rodríguez-López’s guitar was even better than I had remembered.  He did a few segments were he just soloed for two or three minutes that never felt showoffy.  And, actually, even more impressive than that was Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s voice.  He can still hit those incredible high notes.

They opened with a song that has a lengthy moody opening.  Omar played soundscapes and solos and then Cedric started singing the slow trippy opening.   And after about ten minutes of that and me thinking…huh, is this the kind of stuff they are gonna play, they shifted gears and launched into the ferocious 7 minute “Roulette Dares” from De-Loused.  This song has more shifts and turns than you can count.  As well as the super catchy “Exoskeletal junction at the railroad delayed” impenetrable lyric.

They jumped to later in the album for “Eriatarka” a slower (at first) song that jumps and pounds with frenetic energy. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 27, 2022] Teri Gender Bender

Teri Gender Bender is the lead singer for the band Le Butcherettes who I know from an amazing Tiny Desk Concert nearly a decade ago.

I was supposed to see Le Butcherettes a few times.  They were supposed to open for Chicano Batman, but had to change as each show was rescheduled.

So I was pretty excited to see Teri Gender Bender who has put out a lot of music in addition to Le Butcherettes.  I wondered exactly how she got involved with The Mars Volta for this tour, then I found out that she was in a band with Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-López, called Bosnian Rainbows.   Indeed, he was also in Le Butcherettes.

As the set wore on and she introduced the band, it turned out that he was on stage with her during her set as well!  (In a pink suite with his hair in a wild pompadour).

Her band was set up in a kind of old school trio–bass and guitar behind little podiums with shiny fabric on them and a drummer behind her.  She introduced the other two musicians, but I didn’t catch their names.

The band came out and started jamming and after a minute or two Teri Gender Bender came out on stage.  She is a true performer, standing in fascinating poses, screaming intently her passionate lyrics and stalking around the stage.

The music was kind of dancey but with flairs of anarchy.  But it was all in support of Teri.  She was focused and intense as she got on the floor, contorting he body while she sang.

Between songs, she addressed the audience in Spanish (she was born in Denver, but her family moved to Mexico when her father died).

Her energy was unmatched and I wnjoyed the show.  Although I would have enjoyed it more if I knew the songs better.

  1. córtate el pelo
  3. action
  4. talking about you
  5. ya no soy
  6. MJ Ø

Ø olivia, she wanted me to leave her alone (2022)
∏ madre would not allow it though (2022)
∞ you were truly the one that made us laugh (2022)
⊗ leaving her to be was just not an option (2022)
¶ pestering became a virtue (2022)
⇑ The Get Up (2022)

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CV1_TNY_06_10_13Schossow.inddSOUNDTRACKBOSNIAN RAINBOWS-“Turtle Neck” (2013).

bosnian rainbows_cvr-a5c79faedffc0dc27b9e81b5eb566b7c02c426e9-s1I had listened to most of the preview of this album, and I was mixed about it.  But I have to say that of all the songs “Turtle Neck” is my favorite.  It begins as most of these songs do with a very simple melody.  There’s an easy vocal melody, accompanying guitars and interesting keyboard notes dropped in.  As with most of these songs it has a very 80s feel to it.  The big difference with this song is that it is 6 minutes longs and allows Omar Rodriguez-Lopez some wiggle room to goof off.  Like the weird little noises (effects, guitars what have you) that sprinkle the ends of the verses.

 But it’s at the 3 minute mark that Omar really takes over—the song turns kind of sinister with a  great dark bassline.  And then comes the guitar solo—screaming, noisy, more or less out of control, while wailing notes and off-kilter scales litter the one-minute instrumental section.  Then Teri joins the tone with a wholly new vocal section that compliments what Omar is doing.  The wildness kind of wears itself out until the end of the song recreates the beginning sweetness.

It’s probably the best encapsulation of the combination of pretty and wild that Bosnian Rainbows put together.

[READ: June 18, 2013] “Pedigree”

This is a Personal History, so I assume it is true.  I don’t know Walter Kirn at all, and really I only read this because the main person he talks about is named Clark.  Of course, the Clark in this story, Clark Rockefeller, is an unmitigated fraud.

It turns out that the story of Clark Rockefeller, and his real name Christian Gerhartsreiter, is fairly well-known  in popular culture (there was even a Lifetime movie made about him.  Of course, I don’t watch movies on that network, so this whole story passed me by.  I wonder if this narrative is more or less interesting if you already know the truth.

This narrative begins with Walter explaining how he got to know Clark.  Clark had signed up to take a dog who had been injured and rehabilitated (it was a Gordon setter who had been hit by a car and now used a wheelchair for its back legs).  Clark had been vetted and talked to Walter, who was supposed to transport the animal.  Things were complicated and the trip from Montana to Manhattan was more difficult and costly than Walter imagined.  But Clark was there with an envelope and an offer of a place to stay and fabulous people to meet and a tour of all of Rockefeller Center.  When asked about his source of income, Clark explained his job as “a freelance central banker for Thailand.”  And Walter accepted it all.

Later, the envelope proved to hold a check for $500 (not even half of what Walter spent).  None of the famous people showed and the tour didn’t materialize.  Nevertheless, the ruse was surprisingly complex–like the man who claimed to be from MOMA authenticating the Mondrians and Rothkos that Rockefeller had on his wall.  (more…)

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CV1_TNY_06_10_13Schossow.inddSOUNDTRACK: BOSNIAN RAINBOWS-“Torn Maps” (2013).

bosnianBosnian Rainbows are the collaboration of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (At The Drive In, Mars Volta) and Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes).  Interestingly, I normally think of Omar as being the dominant force in the music he makes, but for this song, it seems to be all Teri.  Teri is a Latina singer who takes no shit.  In her Tiny Desk concert, she is fierce and intense, and that comes across here as well.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is how synthy this song is.  It has a very retro feel–like a lot of 80’s bands (Missing Persons and ’til Tuesday’s darker moments and of course, there’s an element of Siouxsie in her voice as well).  But there is something especially intense that Teri brings to this song that takes it out of the realm of safe synth pop (perhaps it the dark bridge).  Omar peeks through a bit during the instrumental break which has a pretty wild guitar solo and some intriguing effects that I wish were more prevalent.

I’m fascinated by this song (although I wish I could hear the vocals more).

NPR is streaming this whole album as I write this, although I’m not sure if it will still be available as of this posting.

[READ: June 17, 2013] “The Ripper”

The second in the “True Crimes” series is from David Peace (an interesting name, hmmmm).  In this one, the year is 1977 and young David is obsessed with Sherlock Holmes (and I would assume Encyclopedia Brown, but he doesn’t mention the boy detective).  Peace was ten years old and set up his own detective agency, intent on solving all local small crimes.

And then he learned of the Yorkshire Ripper.  In the piece he says “I was a lonely ten-year-old boy who found the Yorkshire Ripper” which proves to be untrue.  That was a real bummer because that would have made a great story.  As it turns out, he thinks he has found the Yorkshire Ripper, but he hasn’t.

For those of us not following English serial killers, the Yorkshire Ripper was a man who killed dozens of women from 1977 to 1979.  Peace spent his time poring over clues, certain that he could find what the police could not.  And then came the breakthrough—a tape sent in to the local police station stating “I’m Jack.  I see you are still having no luck catching me.”  Peace listened to that tape (which was available at the local police station for the public to see if they could identify the voice) dozens of times.  And his prime suspect became his science teacher “Jock” Carter.  (more…)

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