Drink Up Buttercup

The twisted pop fracas that is Drink Up Buttercup, born in a barn and revealed to the public at a cigar parlor in rural Buck’s County, Pa in late 2007, coalesced when all four members turned their backs on their respective careers: James Harvey dropped a promising opera career to front the band, Mike Cammarata quit hustling 15 year olds out of their allowance in video arcades to get behind the drum kit, Farzad Houshiarnejad traded Persian rug sales for keyboards (sneaking out the back door of his fathers business with keys to the rug van they’ve traveled the length of the country in ever since), and Ben Money laid down his tools and union local membership to pound the bass & distorted organs. Their songs are hyperbolic, folkloric metaphors with demented and neurotic central characters. Musically applying the aggressively weird attitude of bands like Of Montreal and Super Furry Animals to songwriting worthy of “the canon”, they’ve created a distinct sound that has been described: “as if a Clockwork Orange's Alex DeLarge had been the fifth member of The Beatles.”

Within a year of the band’s inception, their first 7 inch “Mr. Pie Eyes” saw a release on UK tastemaker label Make Mine, creating a trans-Atlantic buzz. The blogs raved.  Show-stealing sets at CMJ and South by Southwest boosted their ever-expanding notoriety. Ear Farm wrote, “Arms-folded New Yorkers, you've been warned twice: this band rules.” The Deli Magazine named them Philly’s best band of 2008. In April 2009 they released their second single “Farewell Captain” on Kanine Records (The label credited with discovering Grizzly Bear & Chairlift) ushering in more love from the likes of Stereogum and Pitchfork who said “They have a spinning circus vibe and shout out loud tendency a la Arcade Fire” and “Lumbering drums, jangling shakers, electronic squiggles and ragged shouts accompany the strutting bass line and stomping guitar in a way that’s all just loose and playful enough to avoid coming across as overly nostalgic” and more opportunity to spread the word live, sharing the stage with the likes of Dr. Dog, Bishop Allen, The Fiery Furnaces, Tune-Yards, Clues, Marnie Stern & Free Energy.

A Drink Up Buttercup performance is really the story of survival: fretboards, drumsticks, elbows and trashcan lids thrash through the air and somehow the band narrowly avoids serious injury, the audience is left panting while newly converted journalists race to spread the good word. The Tripwire wrote during the CMJ 08 “Kicking off with my new favorite band, Drink Up Buttercup. They were so hard to categorize that I decided coin a term called carnival junkyard pop.” The New York Times called their music “material that doesn’t strive for radio-style catchiness but mesmerizes and clobbers live audiences instead….”  Elsewhere they have been called “a conglomeration of everything that is right with music." An accumulation of the last 18 months blood sweat and tears is expected in the coming weeks as they release their new single “Even Think” on October 13th, followed by their debut LP in early 2010, both through Yep Roc Records (Home to The Apples In Stereo & The Go-Betweens).

Even Think, a fast-paced fist-pumper driven by frenzied organ arpeggios and swelling vocal harmonies reminiscent of the sound of Brian Wilson re-imagining The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat was recorded and mixed in less than 24 hours, in a basement under the influence of carbohydrates. Their first full-length Born and Thrown on a Hook was recorded by Philly’s veritable go-to guy, Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man)  and mixed by Rusty Santos (the man responsible for the sound of Panda Bears “album of the year” Person Pitch) From the manic carnival oom-pahs of “Sosie and Dosie” to the haunted ululations on “Maestro Monsignor,” the album is a psychological journey from the pleasantly quirky to the deeply perverse and back again.  As their name would suggest, Drink Up Buttercup is really about good times with bad intentions.


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