The Buttertones @ Crystal Ballroom, Portland [15 August]

The Buttertones

20:00 - 23:00

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Crystal Ballroom
1332 W Burnside St, Portland, Oregon 97209
The Buttertones’ Gravedigging is more a movie waiting to
happen than an album—or a soundtrack just waiting to inspire a
movie, with scene after scene of action, tension and release set
to a sound that takes everything good and true about American
music before the Beatles prettied it up (surf, sweet soul, the boss
saxophone-overdrive garage of the Northwest wailers like the
Sonics) and matches it to punk energy, post-punk precision and
the kind of personality that blows the circuit-breakers at a
backyard party.

The Buttertones started their own journey in 2011 as three music
school misfits (or drinking buddies, they say) in the heart of
Hollywood, happy to learn how to to play, produce and perform
but less excited about frequent go-nowhere conversations with
classmates who had little interest in either the past or the future
of music. So that’s why bassist Sean Redman (also a former
member of Cherry Glazerr) felt like he’d lucked out when he
found guitarist/singer Richard Araiza and
drummer/polyinstrumentalist Modesto ‘Cobi’ Cobiån: “Cobi and
Richard were the first guys I met where I thought they knew
what they were talking about,” he says. “They had good
influences—they weren’t just trying to pander.

Their first rehearsals were in a Hollywood bedroom where
Redman was living on an air mattress, then Araiza finally locked
down Boettcher—who he’d often see responding to the same
casting calls as he did—to replace another guitarist who was
transitioning back to family life even as the Buttertones prepared
their debut release, a self-titled cassette on L.A.’s garage-pop
Lolipop label. Then they absorbed sax player London Guzmån
(formerly in Long Beach’s Wild Pack of Canaries with breakout
local Rudy De Anda) after spotting him at a local DJ night,
recruiting him for their sophomore album American Brunch—and
discovering the kind chemistry they didn't know they were
missing. Says Araiza: “We’re proud to be a legit band. It’s a very
collaborative process—we rely on each other. I feel that’s rare
nowadays, especially with rock bands.”

When it came time to make Gravedigging—the follow-up to a special
issue 8” for Innovative, which ended up pulling them aboard the
label full-time—they knew it was time to go deeper and get dirtier.
Recorded at Jazzcats studio in LongBeach—home-away-from-home
to fellow Innovative Leisure artists Hanni El Khatib, Tijuana Panthers,
Wall of Death and more—in the spring of 2016, the sessions were
supercharged with hard-won live experience from endless
street-level shows and relentless midnight-to-six rehearsals at the
Buttertones lock-out, then focused even further by the insight and
vision of producer Jonny Bell. (“Jonny pushed us like crazy,” says
Boettcher. “He had so many ideas all he time.”)

Think of it this way: you might not yet know how the band that made
Gravedigging is going to land—but you know it’s going to hit hard.
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