Guilt and self-reflection in Le Butcherettes’ latest, ‘Cry is for the Flies’

Listening to the discography of an artist in chronological order is an interesting way of tracking that artist’s growth. “Cry is for the Flies” by…

Teri Gender Bender, a.k.a. Teresa Suarez, of Le Butcherettes. (Kyle De Lotto)

Listening to the discography of an artist in chronological order is an interesting way of tracking that artist’s growth. “Cry is for the Flies” by Le Butcherettes is the latest pop-culture case study to land in my speakers that follows founder Teri Gender Bender’s (Teresa Suarez) life out of Mexico and back to the USA. The journey was far from easy for her and the album grew from the burden of guilt she felt following many of her decisions.

“I keep things in a lot,” she explains in an interview alongside her drummer Lia Braswell. “Most of the time, I hide when things aren’t going well. A simple situation like dealing with family members. Something is going down and I try to avoid it so I’ve always had that guilt with me.”

That guilt manifested itself musically in 10 songs that are darker than anything from the band’s debut album Sin Sin Sin. The tunes are darker and Suarez’s vocal work has matured into PJ Harvey/Karen O territory. Le Butcherettes sound like an entirely different band now than when it did three years ago.

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Suarez founded Le Butcherettes with drummer “she-who-must-not-be-named” (as Suarez refers to her nowadays) in Guadalajara where her family moved to from Denver, CO after her father passed away. Producer/musician Omar Rodriguez-Lopez signed the band to his label, Rodriguez-Lopez Productions (now Nadie Sound), and she toured the US in 2010 in support of her debut album with new bandmates.

Then came 2011 and the life changes that led to “Cry is for the Flies.” Suarez moved to Los Angeles where she recruited bassist Jonathan Hitschke and drummer Gabe Serbian. She felt guilty for leaving her friends and for abandoning her family so she could pursue her musical career, a move that, at times, she felt was too selfish.

Suarez met Braswell at SXSW in Austin that same year and the two hit if off immediately. After months of touring the US together, Suarez split with Hitsckhe and Serbia, recruited Braswell and got to work on the new album, which was actually completed that year. Unfortunately, a number of factors delayed the release of the album until now.

“It was the weirdest series of events,” recalls Suarez listing every setback from 2012 onward: working on other projects such as Bosnian Rainbows, producer Rodriguez-Lopez’s duties with two other bands at the time and his mother’s passing. She and Braswell even reached a point where they considered abandoning the album and starting over.

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“Releasing it now is ideal,” says Braswell. “It feels like now was the perfect time to release all of that past and let the new beginnings flow.”

“It’s a closure of the guilt,” adds Suarez who now lives in El Paso, TX with her family.

“Cry is for the Flies” is available now via Nadie Sound.