There are a lot of bands out there these days. And a lot of ways to hear ‘em on the Internet. And a lot of opportunities to see ‘em on stage, given that bands tend to stay out on the road more than they used to.
It’s a crowded musical world, which forces artists to do whatever they feel comfortable with — showy music, boorish behavior, wild shows, NSFW videos and/or band names — to get attention.
So let’s take a minute and laud a band like Terrible Buttons, a seven-piece from Spokane, Wash., that seems to move at a different pace than the world around it. They call their music “horror-folk/blues” or “spooky blues-rock,” and those are both fair descriptions. Certainly, this stuff is deeply rooted in folk, blues and rock traditions.
Where the “horror” and the “spooky” comes in is more nebulous. It’s definitely there in the netherworldly howl of frontman Kent Ueland and echo and distortion often applied to his voice. It’s there in Terrible Buttons’ instrumental arrangements: brassy and brokedown, a clatter of folk-rock noisemakers that, together, have a mussed up and mournful quality similar to Tom Waits.
But perhaps most of all, Terrible Buttons’ spookiness is conveyed in the lurching creep of its songs. To hear what I mean, visit www.terriblebuttons.com, click on “Runt” and let the band’s excellent 2013 album ooze ever-so-slowly over you.
Terrible Buttons is a band that seems to be in no hurry whatsoever to get where it’s going, and these days, that’s a good thing. It’s all about the journey, not the destination, right?
Terrible Buttons, with Wilderness and Peter Rodocker; 9 tonight; $5; Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 S.W. Century Drive, Bend; www.volcanictheatrepub.com or 541-323-1881.
— Ben Salmon