Last year the Buttertones put out Gravedigging, but on their newest Midnight In A Moonless Dream, they’re digging deeper and discovering something dark. If Gravedigging felt like an oversaturated spaghetti-western desertscape, Midnight is much more biting—music made for the swampland that spit out Australia’s mad Scientists, or for the Mickey Spillane night city where the Cramps met all those garbagemen and werewolves. Or maybe the Buttertones are heading for an even more primal place: “Show more teeth / Bite your way in,” sings guitarist Richard Araiza. “You’re back in the jungle again!”
They’d started in 2011 as a trio of music-school misfits. Araiza, bassist Sean Redman and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Modesto ‘Cobi’ Cobiån all wanted to pursue something more than boring industry adequacy, and soon locked together their current five-piece line-up with sax player London Guzman and guitarist Dakota Boettcher. With Gravedigging, they leapt from backyard parties to back-to-back tours, including their first trip to Europe, and scored a Coachella slot for 2018. It was a year that made them sharper, stronger, even more sophisticated. And when they were ready to record, they were ready to do things differently.