Artist of the Week: Buxton

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to introducingliston@gmail.com.

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Every once in a while, after the Artist of the Week feature is posted each Wednesday, we'll receive a few emails from territorial fans informing us that our selection should have gone to a different band. Most of the time they'll start with something classy like "What a dumb shit you are..."

Now, given the intimate nature that involves following/championing a local band, this is a totally reasonable response, but that doesn't mean it's any less hurtful. So, in an effort to spare our sensitive, sensitive feelings, this week we got with one of Houston's most undeniably talented bands, Buxton.

We suspect one of the things that make Buxton so enjoyable is its blending a congenial, almost surreal folk-indie sound with some very sturdy lyricism. It's not quite peanut butter and chocolate, but it's an exceptionally formidable duo. Also, vocalist Sergio Trevino's wobbly sing-song voice is completely hip.

Read on to see what's what with Buxton's forthcoming vinyl release, whether or not that new drummer has worked out for them and whether or not one needs to be blasted on Lone Star to write a good Southern blues song.

Rocks Off: Okay, so you guys have been around for a good little bit. And it seems like just about everything we've ever seen written about you guys has been positive. So let us flip it on you: We think you guys suck. And your scraggily hair is only slightly endearing. Response?

Buxton: ...

RO: Actually, we're kidding. The reason most everyone seems to enjoy what you guys do is because, frankly, you all are very, very good. And not "good for a local band" good, we mean "good without regional qualifiers" good. We guess what we mean to say is, will you go out on a date with us?

B: Well how else do you think we got good press? I've been on more dates with John Nova Lomax [Houston Press], Ramon Medina [Free Press Houston] and Sara Cress [Houston Chronicle/29.95.com] than I can count. It's expensive, but I'm sure we could arrange something elegant. Little Big's?

RO: Perfect. Tell us a bit about how you all came to be the 2009 version of Buxton.

B: Buxton in 2009 is definitely a result of our drummer, Justin Terrell. He joined just before A Family Light was released. The three of us have great chemistry, so we were speculative of how we would do with another person in the writing process. Fortunately, that has resulted in what we feel is definitely the best music we've written. I also think it's a result of being pickier about shows and promoting the ones we play to the best of our ability.

RO: "Blood On The Streets" is something we wanted to ask about. A lot of times you'll see a band get an idea in their head for a quirky little concept song that they want to try and, at best, it comes out not horrible. But with "Blood On The Streets," we felt like you guys stretched pretty far outside of y'all's wheelhouse while maintaining that identifiable Buxton ease. What's the story with that song?

B: About four years ago, Sergio and Jason bought one of those old junky organs you find at pawn shops for like $150. And I think we actually wanted it for a sort of churchy sound to go with our borderline Dashboard Confessional/Orgy covers.

At the same time, Jason had bought a mandolin for the reasons most people buy a mandolin. Then somehow we woke up from a night of debauchery and had this gypsy-tinged folk song where the mandolin really matched up. It took Chris about 2 months to get the simplest organ part down, and drums were written when we were out on tour with O Pioneers!!!.

I'm pretty sure we added drums as a joke because the song was already kinda goofy to us and it was hard for us to take the song seriously. It definitely taught us that sometimes making your songs goofy can be beneficial.

RO: What's the word on the new 7" coming out this summer? From what we can gather, it's already building a nice little buzz.

B: Word. July 11 at Mango's wth Wild Moccasins and Ghost Mountain. It's a limited pressing of 500 on yellow vinyl. We just got the jackets in and we couldn't be more excited about selling people vinyl that they don't have record players for.

RO: [laughs] Is it absolutely necessary to be completely trashed on Lone Star when one is trying to write a song like "Noncommittal Blues"?

B: We actually wrote that long before our discovery of the greatest cheap beer of all time. It seems what propelled that song was the fact that we had just gotten out of high school and didn't know what to do since we weren't old enough to drink. So we wrote an homage to "Folsom Prison Blues," which put people under the impression we were deceitfully stealing from "Folsom Prison Blues."

RO: Seriously, how much do you want just kick Kobe Bryant right in his head every time he talks? He's got to be the smuggest sports figure in the world. He's like that guy from Oasis, except he can jump higher.

B: When that asshole bad-mouthed Battier, saying "You can't cover me" - in Game 5, I believe - I really did want to kick his veneers loose. As for Oasis, we'd care if they wrote good music. Not to say we write good music, but I just don't get it.

RO: With regards to lyrical content, it seemed like a significant portion of y'all's previous stuff was kind of dark at heart. That song "Living Room" comes to mind. But "Feathers," which does sound menacing at the start, evolves into a catchy, almost tropical track that feels considerably positive. Will the newer stuff follow that trajectory?

B: It's a little early to tell. But I think our darker lyrics are starting to be accompanied by darker music, or at least thematically that's the direction its heading in. That's why 'Feathers' is on a 7" vinyl; we just didn't feel we could build a full-length around it.

RO: When, where, and for how much can people see you all live next?

B: Our next show will be June 19 at The Mink with Papermoons and Airon Paul Dugas. It should be a really great show.

Buxton urges you to check out sIngs at www.myspace.com/ssiinnggss, Ghost Mountain at www.myspace.com/ghostmountainmusic, and Mooyah Burger. See Buxton at www.myspace.com/buxtonband.

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