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14 March 2008

SXSW Revelation: F*ck Buttons

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By local Texas lore, a “button” is a baby rattlesnake, more ornery and poisonous than the elderly reptiles. The music of F*ck Buttons, a noisy duo from Bristol, U.K., bears the same nature. On Thursday night, that nature was one long 40-minute coil of sound, an abrasive mixture of digital and analog noise pumped out by machines complicated and crude (voice effects courtesy of a Fischer-Price My First Tape Recorder), driven by a lone drum, and crushing the relatively puny confines of Red Eyed Fly.

At times coarse (think: punk DIY beatitudes) and at others precise (bookish, even), F*ck Buttons rarely lacked ideas. The twenty-something pair of Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power veered from unfolding industrial psychedelia, to primitive minimalist slithers, to straight-up techno bangers, mixing them together when necessary. By the end, the room was full and vibed-up, with a core groove of feverish believers whooping and hollering like the bar was a rave. And hipster electro mega-parties aside, this may have been the closest that a SXSW showcase came to creating an organic moment of electronic bacchanalia, while still keeping its rockist upper fang stiff.  Further proof that, in one ’08 underground, Black Dice and the Boredoms have a lot to answer for.

Further Listening:
F*ck Buttons on Myspace

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