Jangly Pop for the Left Side of the Brain
by David Brown
NPR.org, June 13, 2006 – The label “art rock” means a lot of things, but thanks to the music of the ’70s, few of them are good. Consequently, when fans refer to the innovative San Antonio band Buttercup, they often avoid using words like “smart” and “sophisticated,” lest people get the wrong idea. But, really, there’s no getting around it: Buttercup is out to tickle the left side of listeners’ brains.
The group grew out of singer/guitarist Erik Sanden’s “Dial-a-Song” project: a telephone line, (210) PET-ABLE, launched in 1999 to showcase a new song every week. Sanden’s ongoing songwriting experiment generated enough good material for nearly a hundred releasable tracks, some of which appear on the new album Hot Love.
Even apart from the story behind the music, the songs on Hot Love — and the title track in particular — stand on their own as eccentric pop gems. With a ’60s-style AM-radio beat and Sanden’s airy delivery, the track conjures an alternate universe where Ray Davies and David Byrne collaborate on jangly pop songs with unexpected twists in the shade of the Alamo.
Texas Platters – Revord review
Buttercup – Hot Love(Bedlamb)
by Darcie Stevens
Austin Chronicle, June 9, 2006 – Let summer begin. Let the sweat drip from your face, the Popsicles melt in your hands, and the grass grow brown and brittle. Buttercup’s sophomore LP, Hot Love, is the mood swing of a Central Texas heat wave: patient, longing, bouncy. The San Antonio quartet is more art than pop – as heard on debut Sick Yellow Flower – but this is a tighter, brighter effort. Singer Erik Sanden’s opening Elliott Smith homage, “Hello, Goodbye,” is sad yet hopeful, but guitarist Joe Reyes’ “You and You Alone” is the strength of Buttercup. Its soft and lovely Beatles-like vocals swim under the current of melodic strength. Combining the titular track with “Cool Kids” pulls the Buttercup rock card, but the blended edges of “Egypt” paint a more delicate picture. Buttercup has become a puddle-jumper, leaping from pop to rock to Caribbean, but the irresistibly catchy “Johnny Appleseed” proves that everything comes home – everyone loves an oh-ah chorus. While closer “Unlevel” is exactly that, it exemplifies Buttercup’s harmonizing abilities and musical strength. This is a band that grows more inventive by the week, and if Hot Love is any indication, it’s gonna be a great summer.
Buttecup Hot in the Summer
by Darcie Stevens
Austin Chronicle, June 1, 2006 – San Antonio might be better known for Tex-Mex music, food, and heavy metal, but Buttercup brings it back to sunny summer days and breezy melodies. The light-hearted fourpiece formed in 2002 when guitarist Joe Reyes joined friends and bandmates Erik Sanden (vocals and guitar), the singularly named Odie (bass and vocals), and Jamie Roadman (drums). Buttercup began enticing audiences with shows leaning toward performance art deemed Grackle Mundy: with the hidden band performing via televisions set in oil drums; with the band taking members one by one to back rooms and writing spontaneous, individual songs; with the band mounting a parade float in a sketchy San Antone corner accompanied by a complete audience. The incongruous combination of pop and art struck a chord in Austin, which immediately adapted to Buttercup’s weird sensibilities. Low-key debut Sick Yellow Fever introduced Buttercup in 2005, but Hot Love found its real home in 2006, with infectious odes to life. Their plan for 2007-08? A four-disc set of self-recorded EPs and one LP released throughout the year, showcasing Buttercup’s many personalities: Captains of Industry (May), Living Again (August), The Head Sits Upside Down on the Top of the Head (scheduled for release Feb. 2008), and the final LP to be released (and named) later. – Darcie Stevens
Buttercup – Hot Love
by Lee Zimmerman
amplifiermagazine.com, May 28, 2006 – The San Antonio-based band Buttercup doesn’t confine their music to the tried and true. On their new, brashly-dubbed album Hot Love, they flex their musical muscle, making their songs ebb and flow with ever-persistent rhythms and arrangements that can incorporate breezy bossa-nova, an acoustic strum or a straight-forward rush of adrenalin. In fact, their reputation for eccentric, off-kilter live performances allows for a seamless transition in a studio setting, from the chorus of flutes piping the riff that underscores “We’re Easy,” to the transition from melancholia to over-the-top grandeur on “Shiyoganai” and the jaunty, jubilant strut of the title tune. Like the Kinks and Barenaked Ladies, two bands from whom Buttercup borrow their template, the songs provide a perspective that’s somewhat askew – playful, irreverent and oftentimes well left of center. It’s an attitude manifest in their buoyant choruses, infectious romps, and an attitude that’s more breezy than blustery. Not that Hot Love doesn’t sometimes overheat; “Contagious” has a strident edge and relentless refrain that brings it closer to Clash territory while “You’ll Just Have To Wait” is delineated by an arched, angular pacing that’s taut and tightly-wound. Still, Buttercup, as their name suggests, provides a rich and tasteful bouquet… and that makes Hot Love one cool catch.
(Release date: May 28, 2006)