Self Released (download from Bandcamp)
So, this is a blog. This is a blog to accompany a zine. A zine that no one reads that comes out so infrequently that even its creator (me) has no idea when it’s going to appear in the wilderness again. This blog is intended to serve the purpose of providing good, insightful writings on music and occasionally other things. In truth, like any an all blogs it really just serves as a vessel for me to feel cool. The inherit geekery of this of course completely nullifies all goals, both intended and subconscious. It’s a very strange practice. But the good things is, sometimes you ask the universe for something and the universe provides. Dear Peanut Butter, thank you. This one is for you.
So, my mighty, early morning, not very thorough research indicates that Peanut Butter is from my old stomping grounds of Washington DC. The pop rock duo hails in the unfortunate corpo-government, uber capitalist hell where it’s really hard to be a fucking band and finding that niche is a bit difficult. There is no damn unity in that town anymore, and as awesome and progressive as the music in that town is right now, it’s not gonna regain it’s glory without a little cross genre love. However, it was rad to see that Peanut Butter had played with some bands I had heard of, because they are some pretty wild shit.
Produced by the ever-loving and talented Devin Ocampo, the choice was a wise one because Peanut Butter shares a common musical language with Ocampo’s current project, Medications. However, where Medications can get harsh and angular, sometimes utilizing power to overstate the finesse, Peanut Butter lets the subtlety of the melodies be the strong point of the song. They rock, for sure, but rather than shove things down your throat with unnecessary distortion, the chimes of the gangly guitars steers the music. Their epic track “Breathe” is the best example. Washed in a chorus pedal, the band swings into the jam and fades out with a pleasant melodic intricacy. The musicianship is their but there is no unneeded flashiness to it.
Having said all this, the band could use a little more dynamic power from time to time. “Mothers and Daughters” is a rocker to my ears, but the band pulls back when perhaps the album could do with a bit more grit and power. They come out pretty strong with “Hey Kids” which sounds like a Dan Electro through a lite(TM) bit of fuzz box. And while the album is palpable, they could use a few more scratches across the melodies. Even “Francis Xavier” which is pretty upbeat and drenched in a bit of overdrive still feels slightly restrained. Further, the low-end is a bit understated as well, perhaps owning to the fact that generally, the band is a duo. But Bass is important, especially when the guitar so tastefully takes up a nice mid-range tone. So any poppy bass players out in DC should contact these dudes pronto. Such an addition might just be the punch this band needs to fuck up lives.
Peanut Butter puts a gorgeous addition together no matter. They have aspects of DC bands of past, not unlike contemporaries Imperial China. But rather than go in direction of experimentation, Peanut Butter is focused on good, solid song writing. Additional vocal melodies through out(see “Hearts”, the little “who you gonna believe” is awesome) coupled with interesting guitar play leading into chord progressions keeps the listener on their toes. Peanut Butter smartly utilizes Band Camp (I am a huge fan of this site bands, take note) making sure they are approachable and accessible. For the nice price of $5 you’d be pretty damn foolish not to check this out.