Review: Butterglory - "Our Heads"

Butterglory - Our Heads
(Merge 1993)

While scanning the selection of used seven-inch records behind the wooden stage in the back of Black Plastic Records, I unearthed a nugget of DIY gold, namely, Butterglory's 1993 Our Heads EP. If it weren't for a book about Merge Records I had checked out from the library over the winter, I probably would have flipped past it immediately, but I remembered from my reading that this was one of Merge's earliest and most underrated releases. Before gaining mass notoriety from Arcade Fire's towering indie epics, Merge released overpoweringly charming lo-fi pop gems such as this one. The sleeve of Our Heads is made out of a textured material that feels like old, wrinkled money that you forgot you left in your pocket, or a floppy napkin housed in a tableside dispenser at Applebee's or some place like that. In fact, I'll go with the latter analogy because the back of the record is actually doodled on with crayons, just like those given out alongside kids' menus. The record has accumulated some surface noise over the years, but that sorta adds to its crackling lo-fi texture. The 5 songs sound like a twee Dinosaur Jr, if they got rid of their distortion, and it feels like it could fit into the soundtrack of Nickelodeon's Pete and Pete. Overtly simplistic guitar lines, mechanically stiff rhythms and monotone vocals all fit together to create an effort that's somehow both bleak and innocent. An absolutely brilliant slab of wax well worth the three dollar price tag.