They have created a contagious commotion worthy of note, splicing the ruckus orchestra and highlighting the bands' many strong suites, one of which is James Harvey's vocal gifts. Ben Money and Farzad Houshianejad harmonize beyond perfection, and Mike Cammarata lays down unpredictable drumming. The sound they create using drums, bass, guitar, keyboard, and melodica with a host of bells and shakers can be categorized with the following descriptors; Psyche pop, Crash and Burn Pop, Hardcore Pop, Barbershop Vibrato, Campfire metal, and Psychedelic Mayhem. I can go on.This release proves their musical inventiveness by revisiting beloved genres like the Beatles and Beach Boys to splice, dice, and re-mash into a schizophrenic whirlwind. While all the songs create an uplifting levity, there is a darker, almost tragic subtext. This is just one of the many dichotomies of Drink Up's broad-stroke style. Slower numbers are delightfully beautiful, forgoing the loud and chaotic for harmonic delight. "The Lovers Play Dead" gives the tired genre "Barbershop" a vibrato edge going full tilt acoustic with some shakers, kick drum, and the bang of a cymbal. "Young Ladies" is Drink Up Buttercup Light, airy, bouncy, and sweet with lots of bells, shakers, and melodica. And "Pink Sunshine" weighs in on the light side, showing off Harvey's Angelic vocals, rippling keys with a contrasting slaphappy beat.
They save the full assault for "Mr. Pie Eyes," "Heavy Hand," and "Gods and Gentleman" and end with their most inventive, "Maestro Monsignor." These tracks escalate off the rafters with a delirious juxtaposition of instruments and vocals.
This is the EPK for Drink Up Buttercup's full-length debut, Born and Thrown on a Hook. The album was recorded in Philadelphia in the summer of 2008 / 2009 and was mixed by Rusty Santos Band: James Harvey, Farzad Houshiarnejad, Ben Money, and Mike Cammarata.
Drink Up Buttercup stopped by Band In Boston Podcast (The Flophouse Sessions) and recorded: Gods and Gentlemen, Lovers Play Dead, Doggy Head, Sosey and Dosey and Young Ladies. Listen or download all here.
Emanuel and the Fear @ The Delancy rooftop, Afternoon Scores
Emanuel Ayvas’ brought an ensemble of four and delivered lush scores with tabulators, and music stands in place. His poetic writing and emotionally delivered vocals, accompanied by violin, cello, and guitar, created a toned-down but perfect acoustic orchestral pop and afternoon score for a roof garden space. Their set was a smaller representation of a group.
Listening to Emanuel and the Fear recordings exemplifies the lush, ambitious arrangements full of complexities and swelling of orchestral passages with smart, lyrically emotionally delivered vocals.
Bryan Vaughan, founder of their label Paper Garden Records has a passion for music he loves and believes in, so I should have followed through and heard them sooner.
Drink Up Buttercup @ The Delancey rooftop, Acoustic Muscle
Drink Up Buttercup is a very different band in the early afternoon. But this is not Drink Up Buttercup Lite, anything but. Although they abandoned their drums, amps, garbage cans, and kinesthetic body contortions, they highlighted the muscle of their vocal muscle. They stretched their harmonic layering of show-stopping standards, adding detailed appendages. Showing off their incredible versatility and giving the tired genre "Barbershop" a vibrato edge.
Cale Parks brings warmth to Techno, blending cascading dance beats and looping of original music with synth and drum machine. Live Cale Parks drumsticks twirl through the air and hit his mark. The baton twirler, soft crooner, and synth composer do it with precision and finesse. Adding two new players on guitar, bass, and keys to his live line-up. Performing as a one-man band is hard, he said as he introduced his new bandmates, saying, “how nice it was not do this alone.” The packed, dank basement at the Delancey was the perfect setting to be transformed into another place. Cale Parks and Company took me there.
Santos Party House has a nice vibe, and I love the space. The stage is wide and deep, which offers a lot of room for the performers. It has just enough space for the audience, not too big or small. Its square shape appeals to my feng shui sensibilities.
It was a fun, relaxed atmosphere at The Santos Party House, presented by Adult Swim. Our two hosts, Dave Willis (voice of Carl and Meatwad) and Dana Snyder (voice of master shake and Granny on squidbillies) had a prime-time audience familiar with the shtick and inside jokes ready to dive to pick up random objects being thrown from the stage. The early bird crowd was feisty for 7:30 so when Drink Up Buttercup was introduced, I was surprised that they seemed unfamiliar with what they were about to experience.
7. Drink Up Buttercup Sick Night of Catchiness 12 / 15 / 08 They are eye and ear candy mixed with the roaring crash of metal and sweet swell of harmony. Moving about the stage, falling to the ground, operatic vibrato, and tambourine in-mouth theatrics abound, but the music is the essential ingredient of Drink Up Buttercup. 8. Kidrockers Don’t Kid Down Jeffrey Lewis / Drink Up Buttercup 02 /09 Drink up thought for their next song, the kids would follow them to the center of the venue for a stomp and clap sing-along. Watching the faces of the band turning toward their abandoned instruments to sing to their little comrades of music who stayed firmly on the stage was a riot. When the set was finally over, our MCs referred to it as the best trash can-related Jam ever! 9. Shilpa Ray Drink Up Buttercup Piano’s 5/ 23 / 09 As audacious as their shows are, the band members are unassuming and unpretentious. They are happy to perform and welcoming. That enthusiasm translates. Most bands profess a style and do variations on it. Not DUB. They change styles and genres within songs, making variety part of the mix. Last night only exemplified that which sets them apart. 10. Drink Up Buttercup Full Tilt Acoustic @ Northside Fest 06 / 2009 The drunken barbershop quartet proceeded with full-tilt acoustic gusto. The diaphragms of all three vocalists were in working order, enough to project across the packed bar space. UNTIL THE NEXT TIME................................................................................................................
Guilty as charged, I contributed to the first round of drinks, and too many followed within the set. But the band put on a spectacular show and somehow had enough energy to be whisked away in their van to do a video for L magazine. When I asked Simon, their manager, where they were going, he said, "to North Sex" in his thick Irish brogue. At the time, it all made good sense. I was just too aroused to realize they were off to North Sixth Street.
Drink Up Buttercup never disappoints. In Late April, they opened a two-night stint for Dr. Dog in front of an 800-capacity crowd. Tonight they came with the five remaining copies of their beautifully packaged 7" release on Kanine Records.
DUB live set had new intensity. Their movements on stage were faster and harder to capture on film without proper speed adjustments. They were quite adventurous, transitioning from one song into another, adding some edgy, unexpected noise, featuring a new rollicking rock song, and morphing song standards. Most bands profess a style and do variations on it. Not DUB. They change styles and genres within songs, making variety part of the mix. Last night only exemplified that which sets them apart.
Listen @ Muxtape
DUB Flickr Set
There are not too many female-fronted bands that I feel strongly about. Feeling privileged to have seen Tina Turner with Ike, Janis Joplin, Patty Smith, and Tracy Nelson reminded me of how much I miss hearing female vocalists with deep powerful effects.
Shilpa Ray has the WOW FACTOR. Her raw, gritty sincerity can be felt. It isn’t just about wow she can belt, it is the authenticity of lyrics mixed with sincerity of delivery. I love her foal-mouth lyrics and how she unabashedly owns them.
Shilpa Ray was center stage directly behind her Harmonium and flanked on either side by the solid tight band of four male Happy Hookers. The band can deliver a punch, and their thriving presence was heightened by Shilpa’s vocal acuity. And it was loud, hard, and strong.
Watching Shilpa play the Harmonium and sing was fascinating to witness. Leaning forward, she undulated above and below the instrument. At times she laid her head below that, affording her pacing and build-up between wails into the mic. The drumming was powerful and masculine. The small Casio, guitar, and bass created orchestrated pop of magnitude and awesome noise. The only subtlety was the occasional vocal harmonies and shaker.
Shilpa Ray can Rant!
It was an unusual night for my first introduction. Upfront with all the other Photographers / Bloggers, I took shots (Photos) while listening to the music. We were many, lining the entire width of the stage. In a larger venue, our numbers wouldn’t look so imposing, but at Piano’s, it felt wrong. After the first song, she went into a rant, starting with “Fuck all you Bloggers.” At that, I immediately put my camera down. She said, “I’m drunk and probably will forget all the words, I don’t give a shit what you think.” To that effect. I felt pangs of guilt and self-doubt, thinking, who am I anyway. And she was right. I stopped to live for the moment and to feel the music along with the enthusiastic fans. The uninhibited rants of truth continued for the rest of the set, but the music is what penetrated and sustained a lasting impression. Catch them for their last residency show at Piano's on May 27th!
I purchased eight songs self-released EP, A Fish Hook An Open Eye, and listened for the late ride home. Still listening! Review soon
Apologies to Wild Yaks. They opened, and I heard great things about their set.
Shilpa Ray Flickr Set
Drink Up Buttercup brings out the kid in me. I assumed they would play an acoustic set, but I was so wrong! Not at Kidrockers! The sound was loud but not nearly at the intensity of a typical Drink Up show. They do protect the little ears. The carnival-like atmosphere was toned down. They started with "Sozy and Dozy" a hard rocking zany children’s rhyme in a two-step rock polka. A treat was a great new song that repeated the word, honey. The kids politely took it all in not knowing exactly what to do, but when asked to join the group on stage, they eagerly marched up. The bombardment of little feet forged toward the stage, leaving only the timid behind. The Ramshackle miniature orchestra of percussionists accompanied Drink up for “Gods and Gentlemen." Drink up thought for their next song, the kids would follow them to the center of the venue for a stomp and clap sing-along. Watching the faces of the band turning toward their abandoned instruments to sing to their little comrades of music who stayed firmly on the stage was a riot. When the set was finally over, our MCs referred to it as the best trash can related Jam ever!
Whether they were sick or recovering, nobody would have guessed. They were their lively selves and, regardless of how they felt, put on a spectacle as if it was the most important show of their lives. What an awesome treat. They are eye and ear candy mixed with the roaring crash of metal and sweet swell of harmony. Moving about the stage, falling to the ground, operatic vibrato, tambourine in mouth, and theatrics abound, but the music is the essential ingredient of Drink Up Buttercup. I rarely go to shows and play a key role. Usually, I listen, observe, and take pictures. Tonight was different.