The three years that separate Oh! Calcutta!, the 2006 Lawrence Arms full-length, and Buttsweat and Tears, the band’s recent seven-inch, shouldn’t feel like a huge gap. First of all, it has only been three got-dammed years. Plus, fans were treated to side projects the Falcon and Sundowner during the interim. And yet…and yet…the last time we heard from this
But nostalgia only goes so far. So yeah, it’s cool to hear Buttsweat pick right up where
See, the Larry Arms write fast songs about getting drunk, juxtaposing high concepts (sadness, the changing of the seasons, existentialism) with low art (Saturday Night Live, Half Baked). They’ve been doing it well for 10 years now, and they do it well here. “Spit Shining Shit” kicks off the vinyl, and it’s clear that the Larry Arms are still one of the best punk bands around. It’s a thrilling three-minute burst about small-minded people and the need to get away from them, opening with guitar and vox before drummer Neil “
“Them Angels Been Talkin’” hits on the flipside and it’s another rocker. Those who buy the digital version are then treated to a bonus track, “Demons,” although everyone and their mommas can get up ons this beauty via Spin.com. The fact that it’s free makes it even more of a must-hear – and makes me wonder how many more songs TLA has in storage. Can we score a full-length, please? But first I need to talk up “The Redness in the West.” It starts out somber, with Kelly talking again about feeling worn down and wasted before turning into a self-help mantra: “We’re gonna fuck ’em all when we get there.”
If there’s a complaint to be had with Buttsweat and Tears, it’s that it’s over too soon. It’s been three years and I could use 10, 20, even 30 new tunes. But that’s the beauty of the seven-inch; it’s a perfect salvo. Besides, it makes it easier to back up and put on “Slowest Drink” again. Welcome back boys. It’s been a while.