One of my favorite things to do when the current state of music is as devoid of personality and talent as it is now, is to go record shopping. I don’t go to a store to do it…I start digging through my own musical archive looking for things that I have forgotten about for one reason or another. Usually this results in a gem or two resurfacing and getting some play for a few months.
This next artist up for discussion is exactly one of those. I heard of this group from a friend at work who gave me a copy of the album that followed me around on my iPod for a couple of years. At the beginning of summer, I looked around for a copy online and I was surprised to see that it had at one point been available on vinyl! Time passed and I forgot about them again, until Christmas time when my girlfriend surprised me a with a mint condition vinyl copy under the tree! How freaking cool is that? The band in question…Butter 08.
Butter 08 are a one album side project from Miho Hattori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto. Joining together with Russell Simins of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Rick Lee of the band Skeleton Key and director Mike Mills, the band churns out 13 tracks of pure fun that absolutely defy category. Psychedelic synthesizers combine with thick bass lines, crunchy guitar riffs and hip-hop flavored drums to fuel this project from beginning to end. Standout tracks 9MM, Shut Up and Sex Symbol leave the listener wishing there was more material available from this band. Guest keyboardist and fellow Cibo Matto band mates Sean Lennon and Timo Ellis add a super, post punk vibe to the first side closer It’s the rage. Surprisingly that while the full Cibo Matto lineup is together on this track, Butter 08 sounds nothing like the sum of their parts. This is good time music and fun to play at a party or just sit back and groove to.
In 1996, this album was pressed by the Beastie Boys’ now defunct Grand Royale label. Pressed on standard weight vinyl, it was never produced in a limited edition or any type of collectors format that would make any one version more valuable than the next, but to simply find a copy now days is a feat that is superhero-like in the sheer task of it. The music is incredibly detailed on the vinyl copy with incredibly crisp highs. The overall project is beautifully balanced and presented on the vinyl as neutral as possible. This changes greatly with the cd and ultimately the digital files that originated from those cd’s. Sadly the increased low end causes loss of much of the detail so carefully added to the mix. Overall it is best to listen to this album on vinyl if possible, however, with the vinyl and the cd being so hard to come by, the mp3 files that are still available in most online music stores at least allow the album to be heard instead of lost among all the other musical ventures that just didn’t cut it.
However you get to listen to this album, plug it in, turn it up….waaaaayyyyyy up and just enjoy a rocking good time from start to finish.