Live in the Atrium
1011 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 16 and over
Last year the Buttertones put out Gravedigging, but on their newest Midnight In A Moonless Dream, they’re digging deeper and discovering something dark. If Gravedigging felt like an oversaturated spaghetti-western desertscape, Midnight is much more biting—music made for the swampland that spit out Australia’s mad Scientists, or for the Mickey Spillane night city where the Cramps met all those garbagemen and werewolves. Or maybe the Buttertones are heading for an even more primal place: “Show more teeth / Bite your way in,” sings guitarist Richard Araiza. “You’re back in the jungle again!”
They’d started in 2011 as a trio of music-school misfits. Araiza, bassist Sean Redman and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Modesto ‘Cobi’ Cobiån all wanted to pursue something more than boring industry adequacy, and soon locked together their current five-piece line-up with sax player London Guzman and guitarist Dakota Boettcher. With Gravedigging, they leapt from backyard parties to back-to-back tours, including their first trip to Europe, and scored a Coachella slot for 2018. It was a year that made them sharper, stronger, even more sophisticated. And when they were ready to record, they were ready to do things differently.
Midnight was made in two flash sessions at Long Beach’s Jazzcats studio with Gravedigging producer Jonny Bell, whose genre-smashing record collection and appetite for experimentation made for a perfect match. (He’s really a guru, they say.) What was supposed to be a six song EP during the summer of 2017 bloomed into a full-length by the end of that December. Midnight was like a trust fall, the band says—leap of faith after leap of faith, cut to tape as it happened by a tight and tour-tested band. On this album, they’d decided, everything would be new—not just new sounds, like their first-ever string section, but new ways of working together and writing together. They worked on trust and instinct, by feeling instead of thinking. If it worked, they’d keep it, and if it didn’t, they’d burn it and move on. Gravedigging played like the soundtrack to a good heist movie, but Midnight was like the true story itself—a perfect and intricate crime, executed by a crew of professionals under cover of night.
On the vicious “Winks and Smiles,” the spirit of sax and violence that powered cult-classic L.A. punkers the Deadbeats suddenly comes to life; on the starked-out “You and Your Knife” and fog-and-smoke follow-up “Brickhead,” you’ll hear the cryptic echoes of Suicide or Bauhaus. It’s music made for dancers but also for doomed romancers, and you’ll hear it best on the pocket symphony “Eros,” which closes the album with Lynch-ian vision and power—here Araiza sings with almost startling passion, and if you don’t linger on the idea of graveyard angels in perpetual embrace, it’s a love song for the ages. This is the strong stuff, the kind that comes in an unmarked bottle and burns when it hits.
“It’s the darkness that brings us together,” laughs Guzman—in person, this is a band who prefer comedy to tragedy, even if they do claim to spend hours listening to Smiths records all day. But there’s still a tension and even a sinister new dimension on Midnight that the Buttertones never quite had before. Like lead single “C4,” which ignites like something from a New York no-wave song, with slashing sax and ferocious drums and a piano riff falling of a cliff before Araiza fights through the noise and gunsmoke, and what’s the very first word on the whole album? “Bang!” he shouts—and that says it all.
Los Angeles based musician Tracy Bryant, as a one of a kind solo artist, is speaking out as an outstanding singer/songwriter who isn’t afraid to dig below the surface. With his work he is filling the gap between lush pop-arrangements and a genuine, distinctive sound. One not hard to enter, but no way to just pass by. While Tracy Bryant’s music may call out as a memento from the lonely highway, we can’t help but wish to join him on his journey.
As the frontman and founder of post-punk experimentalists Corners, he recorded the group’s first album, Beyond Way, in his Echo Park apartment in 2012 with just a four-track tape recorder. While the follow-up LP, Maxed out on Distractions, was very much a group effort, Bryant has continued to cultivate the haunted, solitary sounds that permeate through Beyond Way on his own. Corners toured the U.S. and Europe extensively before Bryant decided to end the band in early 2016 to fully focus on his solo endeavors.
His first full length solo album “Subterranean” was released February 19th, 2016 on Burger Records. Imbued with the studied swagger of Lou Reed and the emotionally damaged earnestness of Johnny Thunders, the 12 songs are a logical extension of Beyond Way’s dark Americana, with layered acoustic guitars, hypnotic electric leads and hushed vocals setting an eerily inviting tone. Recorded in the Arizona desert by Matt Rendon of The Resonars, it was tracked mostly live with the help of friends Joo-Joo Ashworth, Jeremy Katz (Froth) and Cameron Gartung (Mystic Braves). The album garnered positive reviews worldwide and peaked at #43 on the CMJ radio 200 chart.
Upon its release, Bryant embarked on a full band European tour supporting King Khan And The Shrines which culminated with a sold-out show at the 800 capacity Columbia Theater in Berlin, Germany. The band followed the tour with a successful debut at 2016’s SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas.
The song “Subterranean” is featured in the Volcom surf film "Psychic Migrations" which also includes songs by Thee Oh Sees, White Fence & more. The film premiered in theaters all over the globe and was distributed worldwide on DVD. The soundtrack was released on limited 12” vinyl by Light In The Attic Records for Record Store Day 2017. “Subterranean” was also featured in the 2016 Transworld Skateboarding film “Substance”. Another track of the album, “17,000 Miles”, appeared on the soundtrack of the film “South To Sian”. The song “Hey Spaceman!” off of the Subterranean album was featured in the season finale of the TBS show “People of Earth”.
Bryant and his band were invited to the North Shore of Hawaii in December of 2016 to the WSL surf competition where they played at The Billabong House during the contest. The following fall, the group spent August touring the west coast up to Vancouver Island, Canada to play Otalith Festival in preperation of the release of Bryant’s second album.
“A Place for Nothing And Everything in its Place” was released on Burger Records, October 20th, 2017. Bryant and his band set off for a month long tour of successful headlining shows in Europe and the UK following the release, as well as playing the second album throughout the american southwest and in Austin for 2018’s SXSW music conference.
“A Place for Nothing And Everything In Its Place” was recorded in early 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Originally conceived to be an introspective acoustic album, the written songs, once in the studio, developed into a fully arranged, conceptual work. With the help of producer Leonard Kaage, the acoustic intention became the red line that guides the nine songs through their variety. Bryant’s lyrics go a more personal way and follow inner and outer conflicts captured through the words of a restless outsider who ends up finding the company of love. The album is filled with dreamy footnotes of piano, 60‘s percussion and a more than once appearance of edgy guitars. Imagine a classic singer/songwriter record loaded with the intimacy and grit reminiscent of Alex Chilton or Nikki Sudden. A true milestone that marks an important progression in Bryant’s career as a solo artist. The album got its finishing touch by the mastering of Los Angeles pioneer Dave Cooley (Ariel Pink, The Black Angels, M83).