with Jac Sound + Spiritual Warfare and the Greasy Shadows

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. (Which actually happened, of course.) They’ve even got casting suggestions if anyone
wants to start filming—like Willem DeFoe, Winona Ryder, Lucy Liu, and Tommy Wiseau in as many
roles as possible. Says guitarist Dakota Boettcher: “We all love movies so much. When you listen to a
soundtrack, it has peaks and it has lows, but it’s a whole journey. That’s what we want to do. We want
you to go on a journey.”

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 Long Beach—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.”)

It kicks off with “Pistol Whip” and “Sadie’s A Sadist,” twin tales of love and crime that match
outré Dangerhouse Records punk (the dirty surf of the Alleycats, the slash-and- burn sax of the
Deadbeats) to an urgent rock ‘n’ roll rhythm section and lyrics about what happens when you get into
something you can’t get out of. “Neon Cowboy” is a weird-Western Wall of Voodoo take on that
expansive Ennio Morricone soundtrack sound, then “I Ran Away” is heartbroken East Side Story sweet
soul and “Geisha’s Gaze” is a sleazy popcorn-style R&B slow burner. It’s zig-zag through the wild parts
of music—the kind of road trip that Iggy Pop was on in Repo Man or the kind where Lux Interior picked
up Poison Ivy hitchhiking—and it ends with a climax and a cliffhanger both. That’s the nervous-but-
nasty title track “Gravediggin’,” a pedal-to- the-metal instrumental that goes blasting over the edge of
the world into a dazed slow-mo fade, with just enough time between freefall and impact for Araiza to
sing, “I’ve been treading my way through another haze / Tossed my heart to the wind …” Think of it
this way: you might not yet know how the band that made Gravediggin’ is going to land—but you know
it’s going to hit hard.

Hello, my name is Jeff Cochran. I am a product of the late 80’s and early 90’s, a nameless generation of Nintendo worshipping, AIMing, post-anything cool newschoolers. I loved punk rawk music and gangster rap in my adolescent years which influenced me to rebel against anything, even dessert. I picked up a guitar when I was 12 and never put it down. I’m 24 now. And half my life I’ve been honing my craft, listening to amazing music, playing with other talented musicians, and finding my sound. This is the product of my journey and the documentation of whatever I want. Thanks Facebook.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE is Joel Marquard. A Scott Walker-wanna-be singing over Indian/Hindi percussion and old Bollywood samples/re-workings. American Pop songs. I found a disc on the bottom of the protool 9 box that said loops. When I put it in the computer, I discovered thousands of actual instruments/percussion recorded and cut so you could loop them in protools. There were also about 50 loops of Indian percussion. Thus began the obsession. I found my new sound. American pop and no typical standard drum kits. In some cases sitar was added. There’s mostly piano, strings, surf guitar and swamp bass. Some of the songs are actual 50s and 60s bollywood songs chopped up and reworked and sung over. I think I’ll do it live with a cassette blasting and me singing over it. wish me luck. I also do the bands Gospel Claws, The Through and Through Gospel Review, and Samuel L Cool J.

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