I don’t remember where I first heard about The Jazz Butcher, but I know I was fairly young, was enticed by the name alone, and was very excited to find this used compilation for cheap at the Record Collector. I listened to it a bit but mostly dismissed it, it never clicked for me, but upon revisiting it recently I discovered a phenomenally catchy and sublimely askew record. It feels like the Velvet Underground kept playing well into the eighty’s, mellowed out, and started hanging out with Echo and the Bunnymen listening to the Clash until the wee hours, pondering Morrisey’s sexuality. Maybe Daniel Johnston was there talking about animals. At that point they probably stopped doing hard drugs and sat around drinking weird beers made out of red rice, which are surprisingly mellow but complex, just a bit bitter but with an aftertaste not entirely different from a good abbey ale.
The opening track especially reminds me of Lou Reeds poppier side, and now you can listen to Yo La Tengo and say “A Ha!” as those elder statesmen of “college rock” draw heavily on Jazz Butcher and peers.
I also like cover art with high contrast pictures of smoke (see PDJB #5.) It makes me nostalgic for when people could smoke in movie theaters, which I have never experienced but would love to. Alas, even France has banned the practice. Even so, I’d like to attend one screening where it was allowed, purely for aesthetic purposes.* The Jazz Butcher might provide a great score for such a screening. Especially if said film opened with a scene of a hitchhiking modern punk rock cowboy set to the closing track The Devil Is My Friend.
Unrelated: Hitschino’s labels are adorable.
*British artist Anthony McCall made a series of installations with a projected dot of light and encouraged smoking to create a visible physical connection between the projector and screen. After smoking was banned in gallery spaces (with good reason, admittedly) I believe he resorted to incense and fog machines.