Celebrate the first day of spring with the Go-Betweens’ classic “Spring Rain.”
Today is the day for Whiskerman’s fascinating fourth full-length. The prolific Oakland quintet has self-released the grand Kingdom Illusion, a psychedelic spin with all the right artsy accoutrements. If the eight-track LP doesn’t blow your mind by itself, we have a little (well, a lot of) something extra to finish the job: an epic, seven-minute video for album centerpiece “Be Real.”
“‘Be Real’ is a rock ‘n’ roll odyssey,” says Whiskerman frontman Graham Patzner. “A sacred jester drags a priest out from a church to take him on a psychedelic journey, revealing to him his hypocrisy and lack of separation to the rest of this world of clowns.”
We’re proud to premiere the Alexa Melo-directed video for “Be Real” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now. Yes, kids, this is your brain on drugs.
3/7 – The Grove House, Mariposa, CA
3/18 – Satellite, Los Angeles
3/19 – Last Exit Live, Phoenix
3/22 – Lost Lake, Denver
3/25 – Rye, Salt Lake City
3/26-3/28 – Treefort Fest, Boise
The Buttertones return with Jazzhound on April 10 via Innovative Leisure. The L.A. quartet kicks off a month-and-a-half North American tour the next day in Bernieton—sorry, Burlington—Vermont. (See dates below.) The 10-song LP’s first single is the album-ending title track, proving this band likes to save the best for last. A reverb-soaked post-punk gem, “Jazzhound” is dark but full of energy and will appeal to fans of Joy Division and Interpol.
The Buttertones have a cool new video for the song, directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick (Weyes Blood, Districts, Day Wave). Says Petrick of the clip, “‘Jazzhound’ is a corrupt dream of all things showbiz. It’s busy, automotive and bizarre. Like a lazy Lynchian-esque nightmare. It puts you in a trance.”
We’re proud to premiere the video today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, get your trance on, and read a bonus Q&A below..
Q&A With The Buttertones
Both in sound and now through this visual, it’s clear you have a knack for blending retro themes and putting modern twists among them. Which aspects of the past do you resonate with, and are inspired by and what current sounds and visuals have inspired you?
It’s probably safe to say that our music wouldn’t exist had it not been for the counter culture of the mid-20th century. Whether it’s the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll or the jazz legends of the age, we’re drawn to an outsider mentality. Artists who rejected popular formulas and refused to compromise their artistic intentions. This track specifically was an experiment in style. Heavily influenced by the proto-punk drum machine sounds of the ’70s and early ’80s.
Going off of that, the visual is a subversive take on old Hollywood and show business. What elements of that time period did you want to defy? What aspects of the current entertainment industry do you work to subvert through your art?
Perhaps this music video wasn’t aimed at defying show business, but rather an opportunity to bask in the spotlight and embrace the absurdity of what Hollywood stands for. We’re not interested in an experience that leaves the viewer in their comfort zone. It was important to highlight the tension in the music with dark and unnerving lyrical scenes while simultaneously introducing borderline ostentatious dance sequences.
How did the collaboration with Laura-Lynn Petrick come about? How was working with one another? What new ideas did she bring into the visual that you hadn’t thought of?
Laura-Lynn became a clear first pick when it was time to relegate album singles and videos. Her work with artists like Weyes Blood, Tops and Allah Las speaks for itself. The exclusive use of the 16mm camera provided, quite literally, a new lens for which to peer into our imaginations. The quality of work oozes nostalgia and helps to momentarily snap the viewer out of the digital maelstrom. She works fast and commits herself to the shots.
What part of “Jazzhound” inspired you to name the album after it?
It was obvious to us from the moment the song “Jazzhound” was conceived that it would be the title of the album. The cadence and temperament of the music provided a pillar for us as musicians to reflect upon and gave us a new perspective on what a Buttertones’ song is capable of being.
4/11 – Higher Ground, Burlington, VT
4/12 – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia
4/13 – Sonia, Boston
4/16 – Vinyl Center Stage, Atlanta
4/17 – Mercy Lounge, Nashville
4/19 – Grog Shop, Cleveland
4/20 – Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
4/22 – Velvet Underground, Toronto
4/23 – Pike Room, Pontiac, MI
04/24 – X-Ray Arcade, Milwaukee
04/25 – Subterranean, Chicago
04/26 – The Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis
04/27 – Slowdown, Omaha
04/29 – Kilby Court, Salt Lake City
5/2 – Columbia City Theatre, Seattle
5/3 – Hawthorne Theatre, Portland
5/5 – Holy Diver, Sacramento
5/6 – Slim’s, San Francisco
5/8 – The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA
5/9 – Observatory North Park, San Diego
5/10 – Bunkhouse, Las Vegas
5/12 – Longbrow Palace, El Paso, TX
5/13 – Meow Wolf, Sante Fe
5/15 – Stubb’s, Austin
5/17 – Paper Tiger, San Antonio
5/18 – Dada, Dallas
5/21 – Larimer Lounge, Denver
5/27 – Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix
5/28 – The Fonda, Los Angeles
5/29 – Observatory, Santa Ana, CA
5/30 – Alex’s Bar, Long Beach, CA
Drive-By Truckers’ American Band arrived at the perfect time in the fall of 2016. A celebration of the actual core values that define this country and a brutally honest depiction of our flawed humanity, the acclaimed release was just the salve to soothe inflamed psyches during a tumultuous election season.
So here we are in another election year, and DBT’s Patterson Hood isn’t wasting an opportunity to vent on The Unraveling (ATO). That anger colors his storytelling in the best sense, from the inexplicable despair of mass-shooting opus “Thoughts And Prayers” to the futile small-town narrative of “21st Century USA” to the anti-immigration horror show of “Babies In Cages.” For ominous eight-minute parting shot “Awaiting Resurrection,” Hood stages an intervention of sorts, getting in our faces with the realization that it’s up to us to turn this thing around. Supplemented by two more great tracks from DBT co-founder Mike Cooley, The Unraveling might’ve worked as a second disc to American Band, if it were conceived as a four-sided concept album along the lines of 2001’s Southern Rock Opera. At the very least, it’s a fitting sequel.
In a recent chat, Hood explains the origins of the angst that informs The Unraveling,while insisting that there’s still hope to be had. But the clock is ticking.
The Unraveling feels like the ultimate gut check. It’s angry, it’s blunt, and it’s also really sad.
This was a hard record to write. It was kind of a challenge trying to figure out how to achieve what we wanted to achieve and have it still be a record somebody would want to listen to. Leading up to it coming out, I didn’t really know whether it was going to be received well or not. The fact that it seems to have hit a nerve with so many people has been gratifying, but I wasn’t really expecting it this time.
You could argue that this album and American Band are two sides of the same coin, so to speak.
Before American Band, we’d write about something in the form of a story or something set in another time. With Southern Rock Opera, even though it was set in the ’70s, to me it was still relevant when we made it. With American Band, the songs were set in the right now, and they seemed to become even more timely over the next two or three years. This record is sort of an extension of that one, except with a more personal slant to it. It’s about trying to raise your family in the midst of all this madness—trying to explain the lockdown drill to your kids and all that shit. I have 15-year-old and a 10-year-old. It’s fucked up.
I’ve always equated your storytelling to that moment at a bar when interests and intellects collide, the beer buzz is just kicking in and the discussion turns to the stuff we all have in common—some of it profound, the rest life’s seemingly mundane little details. I think that’s especially true on The Unraveling.
All of our records are personal to me, but this one seemed to take on a different level. It’s been a rough few years on just about every level but a professional one. We moved cross-country (to Oregon), and there were a lot of hardships associated with that. I keep up with current affairs and the political climate, and there’s been a lot of turmoil associated with that. There are some pre-existing conditions in my family that would make health insurance precarious if they’re ever able to undo the Affordable Care Act. So I’m not sure I was in the best mental and emotional state—and getting old is a bitch. All of that played into the way this record came out.
Drive-By Truckers have had a long and fruitful relationship with producer David Barbe. What role did he play in making these last two albums so lean and mean?
It’s not a typical producer/band relationship. He’s very much part of the band. We challenge each other; we push each other not to repeat ourselves—and the last two records have been engineered by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price), who’s amazing. We all wanted this record to sound really different from the last one. With American Band, we mixed it almost mono. On this one, we kind of went the opposite way: wide-screen and cinematic. Matt had some really great ideas about that when he came in to mix it with David. As hard as this record was to write, it was fun to record.
Many of songs on The Unraveling are fairly direct in their sentiments. One that’s a bit more mysterious is “Armageddon’s Back In Town.” What was the inspiration behind that?
I’m honestly not sure. [Laughs] That and “Rosemary With A Bible And A Gun” are different types of songwriting for me. “Armageddon’s Back In Town” implies a story that it really doesn’t bother to tell. There’s a lot of imagery and a lot of moving from town to town … That might be one that I figure out a year or two from now.
And then there’s the finale, “Awaiting Resurrection.”
That one revisits all the other ideas on the record—ties all the loose ends together and leaves you standing on that beach watching the sunset. The album cover we chose was inspired by the end of that song. It’s my son and one of his best friends, whose dad actually took the picture, which is fucking beautiful. We’d cut about 18 songs, so there were a lot of different ideas about what this record was going to be before we honed in on what we wanted. I didn’t want a cover that looked like any of our other covers, and I wanted it to be photo based. I stumbled on that picture, and it immediately spoke to me. You’re standing there, the sun’s going down, and it’s kind of beautiful—but it’s also kind of eerie.
How’s life in Oregon?
I love it. It’s made me enjoy the South more. Now I don’t have to deal with the day-to-day things that were pissing me off; I can go back home and enjoy the people I love, the restaurants I love. And I hate summers. The summers in Oregon are pretty fucking amazing.
3/12 – The Vogue, Indianapolis
3/13 – Metro, Chicago
3/14 – Palace Theatre, St. Paul, MN
3/17 – Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver
3/18 – The Showbox, Seattle
3/20-21 – Wonder Ballroom, Portland
3/22 – Van Duzer Theatre, Arcata, CA
3/24 – Mystic Theatre, Petaluma, CA
3/26 – The Fillmore, San Francisco
3/27 – The Regent Theater, Los Angeles
3/28 – The Van Buren, Phoenix
3/31 – El Rey Theater, Albuquerque
4/2 – Granada Theater, Dallas
4/3-4 – Scoot Inn, Austin
4/16-17 – The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
4/18 – High Water Festival, Charleston, SC
4/21 – The Ramkat, Winston-Salem, NC
4/23 – Manchester Music Hall, Lexington, KY
4/24 – The Pageant, St Louis, MO
4/25 – Ryman Auditorium, Nashville
4/27 – Vinyl Music Hall, Pensacola, FL
4/28 – The Plaza Live, Orlando
4/29 – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
5/1 – Iron City, Birmingham, AL
5/21 – Shaky Knees, Atlanta
In June, London Plane will release sophomore album Bright Black, whose title is a good description of the Brooklyn band’s music. It’s dark and goth-y, but it’s also firmly rooted in pop. One of the standout tracks on the upcoming LP is “Francesco,” which was written last year after the band was to see Peter Murphy perform in NYC, but the Bauhaus frontman’s show was canceled after he had a heart attack. London Plane took it upon itself to pen a shadowy dance song inspired by Murphy.
“When stepping back and looking at a near-complete group of songs, we saw that Bright Black tended toward the subjects of political villains, cultural isolation and ecological devastation,” says songwriter/guitarist David Mosey. “So we felt it necessary to lighten it up a bit with a dance song about a levitating priest who displays the wounds of Christ. We’ve never had so much fun onstage as we do when performing Francesco. We may even switch to Italian for a verse or two, a nod to Padre Pio himself.”
We’re proud to premiere the video for the Mosey-directed “Francesco” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now.