Monday, May 9, 2011

The Builders and The Butchers--The Builders and The Butchers

This is the first (and my favorite) from the dark folk group from Portland, The Builders and The Butchers. There's a lot of really catchy stuff on here that's been running through my head while studying all week and it was the first record I put on after I finished taking my last exam today. The sound they get from what they call "deconstructed drumming" in which they split one drum kit between two drummers (one on snare the other on bass drum) makes their first name The Funeral Band seem especially appropriate. This record sounds like a parade band just kicked in your door and started wailing. There's only 5 guys in this band, but the sound is really big with lots of big choral numbers with the whole group responding to the singer, Ryan Solle's calls. All the guys are originally from Alaska and you can smell the camp smoke in their songs. I used to live up there myself and this is exactly the kind of music I used to hear up there drinking around bonfires under the northern lights and that I haven't heard much of since. There's definitely a certain sound that hasn't been tapped in to too much down here in the lower 48. One day some record producer's gonna go up there and sign a whole of bonfire tribes and start some whole new grunge scene. You can tell they're living in Portland now and can hear a bit of the Decembrists in the instrumentation and their penchant for narrative songs about murder and betrayal. But The Builders and The Butchers seem much more authentic to me than that band and a lot more ballsy. Stand outs include "Spanish Death Song," "Black Dresses," "The Gallows," "Slowed Down Trip to Hell," and "Find Me in the Air."

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