Battle of Flowers - April 2017
Buttercup, a life-affirming band from Texas, has written hundreds of songs that NPR calls “jangly art-rock for the left side of the brain.”
Buttercup is a trio of distinct personalities: singer Erik Sanden, guitarist Joe Reyes and bassist odie. The three joined forces in 2003 and have remained the best of friends. In this way, Buttercup is a real band, like U2 or the Osmonds, with long term membership (original members) and a large body of work. Erik Sanden functions largely as a frontman: he is terribly handsome, nigh-literate and his humor tends towards the absurd. Joe Reyes is famous for his unwavering smile, generous nature and, oh yeah, for his Grammy. Odie, a Texas treasure, brings unconventional voicings, deep sartorial sense, and rock-and-roll-animal power both to the bass and to his cooking (he has been known to craft high quality sandwiches on stage).
Their newest recording Battle of Flowers was mixed by Larry Crane (Elliott Smith, Death Cab for Cutie, Sleater-Kinney) in Portland, Oregon. The cover art, inspired by the Beatles’ Revolver, is a 6ft x 6ft line drawing on cloth by international artist Chris Sauter.
“STING STOLE OUR RHYTHM SECTION”
This is not hyperbole. Buttercup’s lead vocalist, Erik Sanden, was simply stating a fact. Brothers Emilio and Diego Navaira played drums and guitar on Battle of Flowers, but just as the record was finished, the Navairas’ other music project, The Last Bandoleros, was chosen not only to perform on Sting’s latest recording, but they were also asked to provide direct support for Sting’s spring 2017 US/European tour. The sons of Tejano music legend Emilio Navaira Sr., the brothers added some South Texas muscle and musicality to the Buttercup sound. Sting just wanted a little bit of that too, and the band is okay with it.
THEN THERE WERE THREE
Erik Sanden, bassist odie, and Grammy award winning guitarist/producer Joe Reyes have spent over 15 years as members of Buttercup, at once a full-on rock machine and a performance art collective. Over the course of 6 albums, a documentary DVD, and countless genre-bending live shows, they’ve remained current and vital despite shifts in music tastes and technology. Battle of Flowers is their first recording to consist totally of live takes recorded in the band’s rehearsal studio. Guitarist Joe Reyes says “with the extra guitar, keys and vocals, expertly played and sung by Diego and Emilio, this was the first time we could actually perform and record all of the parts of a song live. And then, like The Beatles, I’d turn one of the monitor speakers towards us and we’d sing all our parts together on one mic. We worked fast and had fun and you can hear that on the record. Larry Crane did a great job mixing what is essentially a live record.”
Bassist odie adds “It’s how recording should be done. Just push record and go. For us it’s the most organic thing.” Sanden agrees wholeheartedly, “Headphones are like condoms: it feels so much better when you take them off. A band that is free from care is the best possible band it can be.”
Already, folks are saying this is Buttercup’s best album to date.
In the last year, Buttercup has played buzz-creating shows that are not the typical club or tour experience. The band recently played an unorthodox conceptual art-rock show at the historic Majestic Theatre and have collaborated with a classical orchestra (twice), played a packed day-breaker show at 7am, and collaborated with multi media artist Chris Sauter on two award-winning pieces for Luminaria and museums in Berlin and Budapest.
“ Simply perfect pop… Buttercup have delivered a total package. Highly recommended” – Popdose
“like Lou Reed fronting a great Psych Band…. may be their best ever ” – I Don’t Hear a Single
“Satisfying our urges, Buttercup spares nothing, and allows us a look at everything.” – Impose
“the best thing Buttercup has ever put out, dynamic and bursting at the seams with pure rock and roll bliss.” – San Antonio Current
“bawdy but beautiful, reverent but rambunctious, savvy yet saccharine, knowing yet naive…. full of off-kilter pop splendor” – San Antonio Current
“pops and crackles with wit” – A Pessimist is Never Disappointed
“Battle of Flowers takes the listener on an open-ended eargasmic adventure” – SATX
“Texas pop-rock vets return with sharp riffs & sharper wits” – Darryl Sterden
“every song has a strong hook” – Colorado Springs Independent
“Buttercups Battle of Flowers isn’t what you think it is…” – Bill Kopp (click to read full review)