Some band names seem to be made specifically to piss off parents. If it were a category at the Grammy awards, Lesbians on Ecstasy could probably give the Circle Jerks a run for its money. But if the name alone isn’t guaranteed to send your mom through the roof, lyrics such as “With my tits of rock/ and a twat of roll/ I will go down on you/ and you will loose control/ Put your fist in me/ I’ll smash your face/ I’ll kill you bitch/ / Because I am the queen of noise” and an album cover that features a drawing of people’s heads being ripped off in a bar will have her wondering where she went wrong.
Hypothetically un-hip parents aside, the best thing about Lesbians on Ecstasy is that it’s not a bunch of greasy guys trying to drum up controversy with a name that could have Bill O’Reilly ranting about eminent danger to America’s youth. In fact, the name is quite literal: The band is composed of four lesbians from Montreal who play instrumental four-to-the-floor dance music with an industrial edge. They put their sexuality front and center, but it’s not an effort to be controversial — they’re just being themselves. And because they’re from Canada, they can do that. Although they have a raucous, sometimes sloppy sound that would have had them ostracized at the Lilith Fair, they only aim to play music about lesbians for lesbians. Does that mean that people of other sexual preferences can’t listen to Lesbians on Ecstasy? Of course not, but they’re not vying for the attention of the masses.
On Giggles in the Dark, Le Tigre (who the Lesbians opened for on their recent tour), Tracy and the Plastics, Katastrophe, and seven other artists largely related to queer music are brought in to retool previously released work, electro-ing them up in styles from house to trip-hop. As musicians who draw lines and ideas from lesbian staples such as K.D. Lang and the Indigo Girls, a collaborated remix album makes sense for them. But Lesbians on Ecstasy has only produced one LP prior to this (a twelve-track, self-titled album released in October 2004) the pool that contributors had to draw from was small, and a couple of songs show up under different guises on this album. This isn’t by nature a negative thing, but it makes it less of a work that can be listened to straight through and more of a resource for deejays.
This being the case, it’s a little unfair to the other original songs that “Summer Luv” is treated to not one but two fancy all-day spa treatments, leaving it all sparkly and fresh, while several of the others settled for makeovers at Macy’s. Maybe it’s just because I’m so happy for spring to be here, but Tracy & the Plastics (with Walt) and Jody “The Warlock” Bleyle (a member of the band Team Dresch and founder of the label Chainsaw Records) really make “Summer Luv” stand out. Tracy et al mix up a poppy, slow-burning groove with some fancy drum-machine action, and Bleyle looped the original chorus into a 130 BPM dance tune that has great texturing that makes me wish it were longer.
In many ways, this band is about as fringe as you can get — all female, queer, French Canadian. But the fringe is social rather than sonic the band’s sound doesn’t quite push the envelope. So far as I can tell, they really are in it for the music, and I doubt they could give a shit about what I or my mom might think of their band.
Alien8 Web site (includes streaming music)