How’d They Miss THAT?: The Builders and the Butchers construct, slaughter folk-rock at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill

It’s perfectly understandable. There’s so much music happening in the Bay Area in any given week that there’s bound to be at least one concert that deserves a shout-out but failed to get any press. This humble blog feature is the consolation prize. This is … How’d They Miss THAT?

The Builders and the Butchers
The Builders and the Butchers' Ryan Sollee. (by Alegre Ponioros via thebuildersandthebutchers.com)

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the constant stream of Decemberists updates on this blog that I’d be all about a folk-rock band from Portland that makes full use of a assortment of strange and wonderful acoustic instruments (mandolin, banjo, trumpet, melodica, bullhorn) and embraces some of the more ghoulish tendencies of folk music. But while Colin Meloy & Co. tend to do jaunty little ghost tales, The Builders and The Butchers‘ songs are more like gothic wailing from the bottom of some deep, dark well.

The Portland (by way of Anchorage) band’s most salient feature is the jittery voice of frontman Ryan Sollee. I also can’t help but respect the way the group got its start: playing totally unplugged on Portland street corners. Within three years, it had been named Portland’s Best New Band by one of its two established alt-weeklies.

The group is currently touring with fellow macabre-peddlers Murder By Death, including a show Saturday at Bottom of the Hill. The Indiana rock band got a write-up from the Sacramento News & Review, but I failed to find any mention beyond a calendar listing in the Bay Area press. Not that they needed it; the show is sold out. If you don’t have a ticket yet, you’ll have to console yourself with a few free mp3s until they return.

[download “Golden and Green” and “Barcelona” from Salvation is a Deep Dark Well]
[download “Bottom of the Lake” and “Bringin’ Home the Rain” from The Builders and the Butchers]
[download “When it Rains” from Loch Lomond/The Builders and the Butchers split 12-inch]

A new album, Dead Reckoning, is due Feb. 22.

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