Sick Yellow Flower

by buttercup

/
1.
How will we recover from the bombs in the war As they tore the city apart? I need a lover, not a killer’s smile As she pushed the knife up higher Of course you live with fear Walking down the street Shirt sleeves in the heat Sickness in the alert The rich pay to stay clear From the rocket’s smear If this new beauty has a mark It’s grown ugly like our hearts It had a lover On channel three But they kissed so hard, more like enemies do when they kiss each other This lunar scene Has no history Is more like a dream If the crater’s curve Gives ya what you need Watch the children bleed Ahh, Ooooh oh oh oh (2x) Bah Bah Bah Bah Bah
2.
Twin Cities 03:57
Mary touched the hand of her best friend on TV they didn’t start out that way, you know, but they grew close twin cities filmed live Minneapolis lies under the moon shining lakes like the window’s spill of lamplight across the snow it’s as cold as the moon tonight in this world without men Mary held the pen shaping all of the news in her leather boots girls everywhere sit and stare like into the sun to she her do all the shapely things they haven’t done love is all around she turns the world on with her smiling self-love shove push then pull I’m in love with the world tonight
3.
Epithalamium 04:12
“easy to find, in your face a silence or a tower of grace”* tiny fingers upon the cake I denied my franchise in a gazebo for love’s sake if you had to arrange it again would you elect this name, this day? if you’re feeling blue under the veil? satin rustles like snow on aspens near Grand Marais near the lake a bride at the turn of the century “so crooked to move as a capitalist a cancer, or a fresh young flower”* as you sashay down the aisle I know you, you know me if you had to arrange it again would you? would you? Mary Beth the treeline swells with the wedding bells Mary Beth the treeline swells with the wedding bells Mary Beth in America but it’s so far north Mary Beth the treeline swells but you feel like hell marry us in America, almost Canada Mary Beth, marry us, Mary * from the poem “A Bride in the 30’s” by W.H. Auden
4.
In Spain 05:08
You got off that train You packed way too much luggage I felt my back strain I waited there for you We went straight downtown, the hotelier smiled You replied with a frown I waited there for you In spain the pain you felt will melt away Just twist your arms and dance my love It’s only lovers leavin’, a young breast is heavin’ Tears like the flood, tears that just come I want to go dance But not in English So I can romance and gypsy twist the air You know what it means to lose your mind Escape everything, everything that is you In Spain the summer night could ease the pain Just close your eyes and feel the loss It’s only castles burning, a new path unfurling Straight to the heart In Spain the summer sun won’t fade away Just stop your thoughts and feel the glow It’s only lifetimes crumbling away The venus hum inside your head It’s only cities sinking Under your endless thinking That the pain bears no love
5.
Instant Coffee (pt. 1) you’re there in your room dispelling the gloom L.A. haze like lake effect snow the new police, you know they know that you’re making coffee it smells so good now on a train you’re moving away to New York for an undetermined stay what do you do? who do you see? when you’re speaking you’re speaking shaky Arabic or is it Farsi? take some more sour cold instant coffee so it’s eight weeks in a New York cell your wife don’t know if you’re doing well only that you’ve gone and that the men were cold intractable late in the night roll back, way back roll back, way back roll back, way back roll back, way back
6.
John Glenn 07:50
John Glenn tight white flight suit will cover me like a pall i breathe with a mask and a golden mirror bubble will spin it’s reflection back down to the ground the reflection of me me i’ve got my thigh-high fly by boots i smile while i play the camera’s goof spinning so free oh my sweet wife half asleep circumspect in the way i orbit you with the lightest touch a touch of me me zero g and i feel fine oh lord zero g and i feel fine just afraid i’m afraid that i’ll come down i’ll come down the soft padding sound of my slippered feet in my batman suit the crack of dawn on a december day mother mommy ma daddy came here for me mother mommy mommy ma santa’s spinning spinning me me zero g and i feel fine oh lord zero g and i feel fine just afraid just afraid that i’ll come down i’ll come down
7.
“Parallax View” (Sanden) Parallax view My sight was not quite right I moved to see you But something shifted slightly Something inside of you Further up hill Now you’re riding higher The lift’s schreech shrill Your skis pokin’ sky I follow you still Long shadows cast oe’r the snow plow Your smile maybe we’ll try it now A pair of cats mewl I saw that look of longing Scratch a cat a place for two But the pair was fightin’ How I long for you Parallax View Squinting against the glare so loud You eyes just make me fall apart
8.
Cold to Me 03:29
Cold To Me (Sanden) in the city it’s so hot and the summer air when I’m trying to sleep up and over out to the balcony wet a towel in the hotel sink and stare at the lights below you’re so cold baby so cold to me I wore my whitest I wore my tightest shirt I polished up my shiny new shoes I imagined Neil Young much younger his music in my head where I could almost dance impossible moves across the frozen food section you’re so cold baby from my home fires burning down to your Alaskan palace your Alaskan palace you cold white goddess so cruel you’re so cold baby you’re so cold baby you’re so cold baby so cold to me so cold to me so cold to me so cold to me
9.
Nov. 1 05:51
Nov. 1 (Sanden) I make an altar to my dead and I sit longing but I’m not giving up yet all these friends have gone so I’m partially cracked and hapless, oh lord if I ask you I ask you I’m begging you to please show me how to make sense of the way that you love out by the entrance a photo of Tom Smith on the pool’s edge ready to drop in are you so lonely so that you can’t really give? but darling you gave, I know I ask you I ask you I’m begging you to please show me how it would feel there’s so much more than this how the night and the half-light flows the day recedes but you won’t the old heart begins the old heart begins the old heart begins waking, shaking with love! with a new love grown out of the half-light of us!
10.
Confirmation 03:27
Confirmation (odie.) when you descended down those stairs in the way no one ever should you were good breathing the way of Syd completely opposite, amazed at the would engraved within the truth with every hit that is it that is when you became God this isn’t accidental though to forget to remember those in greedy times what he really thinks of that is this: of those days that may exist may they pucker up their lips lean over and then kiss your every incidental instances I know you think this is my confirmation but this isn’t over yet it’s a trilogy of vignettes and so the sooner that it gets said the sooner it will flow in your body and your head the sooner it will grow in the caverns of your mind the sooner it well fester embracing discord and rhyme I pray that my god likes me now he seems to forgive me and he converging we’re in the dark now I and I turn on the light to see the dawn with us writhing and enthralled at the writing that is scrawled on the proverbi-able three walled plastic curtained stall I think that my god likes me now he seems to forgive me somehow he likes me now and then, now and then he forgives me now and then, now and then he digs me now and then, now and then he likes us now and then, now and then he likes me now and then now and then and now
11.
Sick Yellow Flower (Sanden) here’s a sad story about sick yellow Tina she used to work with Joe she’d follow him around to the storage closet and she'd start to breathe like this you meet me early and direct you smile slightly and stand so erect yellow flowers in a vase cotton blouse slipping down to show too much lace this lovely fantasy turned sick on me and I was snared with my hand unwittingly touching you push against me I try to escape yellow hair upon me no incidental rape you, I hear you breathing why are you and I alone here in this filthy, dirty little room? this lovely fantasy turned sick on me and I was snared with my heart unwillingly wanting you you you you it was you, long ago breathing, heavenly on the phone, long ago breathing, heavenly breathing, feeling some kind of sick yellow crush you you you you uh-huh yellow yellow yellow yellow uh-huh
12.
Downslide 04:45
Downslide (Joe Reyes) you’re looking away I’m looking at the worst drought in years you’re feeling the strain I’m feeling my own stare in every mirror downslide, caught you on my downslide I’m doing the math you’re doing your best Enola Gay I’m putting things off you’re putting your bags right in the way downslide, caught you on my downslide downslide, caught you on my downslide and we won’t name any names you drink the remedy and I take the blame you’re right where I stood I’m right in the path that you have carved you’re so resolute and I’m so emotionally starved downslide, caught you on my downslide downslide, caught you on my downslide downslide, caught you on my downslide downslide, caught you on my downslide downslide, caught you on my downslide downslide, caught you on my downslide

about

Priced low, but you can pay more if you want to share your largess with Buttercup. Buttercup priced this record so low, so that poverty or dire financial situations will not be an impediment to you enjoying this music. Buttercup simply wants you to have this record, long now out of print!

March 03, 2005
by Gilbert Garcia

Buttercup debuts with 'Sick Yellow Flower'

To get the sound Buttercup wants for a song, they will bang on cookie cans, play broken ukuleles, or scrape car keys against piano strings. When these myriad noises are stirred, boiled down, and garnished by the attentive hands of the band and producer Mark Rubenstein, the result is Buttercup's disc, Sick Yellow Flower, an ambitious and eccentric, but never self-indulgent, debut.


Quintessentially a San Antonio band, the members of Buttercup have roots in the local scene and perform in other groups. Bass guitarist Odie Cole and drummer James Roadman are in the blues-rock outfit Los Mescaleros, guitarist and lead singer Erik Sanden plays in The Mechanical Walking Robot Boy, and guitarist Joe Reyes was nominated for a Latin Grammy for his work with duo Lara and Reyes. Yet, Buttercup is the culmination of their shared talents: a San Antonio supergroup. Their music is experimental indie-pop, catchy but challenging, and performed with a remarkable degree of musical skill.

In its current lineup since 2002, Buttercup hadn't recorded anything but home demos until 2003. James Wilton, a friend of the band, provided the impetus - and the funds - to begin making an album; he dumped $100 in change on the stage at one of their performances, and announced it was the beginning of their recording fund. "When Wilton dropped the money, and said you guys should record, then we started taking it seriously, and started doing preproduction work for the record." says Reyes.

The band went to work with Rubenstein, a musical veteran who guided Buttercup through the recording and production process. Sanden is quick to credit Rubenstein for his contributions, especially for the overall feel of the album. "It's a document of how we sound."

Yet, the band encountered several setbacks in making that definitive record. Originally, the band holed up in a San Antonio studio to make the album, but the experience was nearly fruitless. "We went to a fancy studio, at $85 an hour. We got there and found out that the studio was in a state of disrepair," says Sanden. "We were led to believe that the system we were going to use was ProTools, this fancy cutting-edge program, but the version they had there was ProTools Jr., the free version that you get off the Internet. And Mark came, and he was aghast".
Nonetheless, the band recorded 22 songs, many of which were unusable. Salvaging what they could from the studio sessions, Buttercup started from scratch to make their first album at Reyes' home studio.

"In essence, I think we really wanted to come out with a bang and have like a really bold statement record ... but those turned out to be the ones that weren't recorded as well," says Reyes.

The result of their home recordings, Sick Yellow Flower, contains songs their website describes as "quite thick, including string arrangements, horns, and lots of piano" and others characterized as "virtually live takes, the only overdubs being percussion and backup singing."

"Cutting Daisies," Sick Yellow Flower's opening track, shines with grand arrangements, while the following cut, "Twin Cities," sounds muted and intimate by comparison. Some songs are precise in their composition, and others leave much more to chance. "Epithalamium" is a sweet, straightforward pop ballad, whereas a disjointed and loose feel pervades "Parallax View," a song Sanden describes as "swimming through black Vaseline."

To unite potentially incongruent songs into a cohesive whole, Rubenstein and the band used the less-is-more approach. If a song needed a string arrangement, it was added, but if the song sounded powerful enough without tons of overdubbing, synthesizers, or multiple guitar parts, it was left alone. The best way to hear this aesthetic at work is to listen to the eight-minute "John Glenn," Sick Yellow Flower's opus. A song that potentially could have been drenched in layers of instrumentation was recorded with just guitars, drums, and vocals. "It would have been so easy to cop the whole space thing, and do like the filters on the voice, and get a Moog and make all the spacey sounds, but 'John Glenn' was perfect; it didn't need it" Reyes says.

To record Sick Yellow Flower, the band had to choose 12 songs from Buttercup's repertoire of about 60. "The wealth of material wasn't a problem, it was just kind of like editing it down to the best stuff" said Reyes. While recording, the band was surprised that they preferred the feel of such quieter songs as "Nov. 1" to louder, more up-tempo songs like "Johnny Appleseed."

"I think ultimately it worked out best," says Sanden, "because I think the record is really moody in a way that reflects better what we do and what we are." •

credits

released March 4, 2005

Produced by Mark Rubinstein. Buttercup is: Joe Reyes, Erik Sanden, odie., Jamie Roadman. Bedlamb Records BL-002 copyright 2005.

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