Round about 2000, I sold off my Butterglory "collection" of a couple CDs in a motley pile of 90s indie rock (including, if I remember correctly, music from bands like Creeper Lagoon and Lotion). Compared to the dense, intricate, multi-multi-tracked stuff I was listening to at the time like the Beta Band, Butterglory's low-fi indie pop sounded limp and played-out. Even as I return to Butterglory with renewed interest, my exhaustion then seems excusable. Naive pop depends on a kind of suspended disbelief: That surely this is the first time it occurred to anyone to "make it real," to sing off-key into a boombox recorder, use whatever hollow object comes to hand as a percussion instrument or let the feedback wail unchecked.
I was thinking about this as I was listening to Figurines' album Skeleton (US, UK) this week. Because even as I'm pressing repeat on songs like "The Wonder" and "Rivalry," and enjoying the band for its infectious enthusiasm, undeniable hooks and surprising polish, the music's borders bleed with the sounds of thousands of similar-minded predecessors. And I can't help think that eventually I'm gonna get bored with this. If the songs are really as good as they seem, I'll come back. If they aren't, well...
Butterglory's songs, I've decided, are that good. They hold up. The band was guitarist Matt Suggs and drummer Debby Vander Wall, first from Visalia, California, then from Lawrence, Kansas. They lasted from approximately 1992, when they released the Alexander Bends EP, to about 1997. They were fortunate to find a home on Merge Records because the label has kept their albums in print and now also offers them on iTunes and eMusic. Six years after selling them off, I'm buying Butterglory back.
Tip: If you download nothing else, make it "Alexander Bends." One of the finest under-two-minute songs I've ever known.
Alexander Bends - Butterglory
Waiting On The Guns - Butterglory
Better Gardens, Better Homes - Butterglory
She's Got The Aksun! - Butterglory
For Figurines, try Hype Machine--there's no need for me to post the stuff.
And just to show "old" indie rockers never die, Matt Suggs is back with a new band, White Whale. Their album isn't due for release until August, but you can stream some extremely promising tracks on the band's MySpace.