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The Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

The Lawrence Arms

The Lawrence Arms: Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch] (2009)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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The three years that separate Oh! Calcutta!, the 2006 Lawrence Arms full-length, and Buttsweat and Tears, the band's new 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 int.
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The three years that separate Oh! Calcutta!, the 2006 Lawrence Arms full-length, and Buttsweat and Tears, the band's new 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 Chicago three-piece, George W. Bush was president. The housing market hadn't gone to crap. The seminal film The Marine starring John Cena was still months away from hitting theaters. The world as I understand it now did not exist. That lends a slight air of nostalgia in spinning this, a five-song EP whose name and cover are perfectly matched.

But nostalgia only goes so far. So yeah, it's cool to hear Buttsweat pick right up where Calcutta left off. Fans still get Chicago punk at its best. Co-vocalists Brendan Kelly and Chris McCaughan are trading the mic a little more this time around (although still not as much as on The Greatest Story Ever Told, a record that lives up to its title). The guitars are crunchy, although the band does incorporate the occasional country/folk influence, like on the comparatively soft closer "The Redness in the West." Oh yeah, and every song is totally awesome.

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 "Tennessee" Hennessey brings the rock. Improbably, followup "The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City" is even better. This time the guitar intro is snarling. The topic is in the title, and McCaughin's lyrics effortlessly flow from him, bouncing off rhymes and scene description like it's the easiest thing in the world. Lines like "I walk through the snow to a bar where there's no one I know / Drink slow, drink slow with nowhere to go / And when I leave I'll be singing this song / Summer's gone / Carry on / I'm a ghost in the dawn" astound time and again.

"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.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
hbwlons (October 7, 2012)

These are great LA songs, some of thier best, buy it

pauliepunkrawk (September 4, 2011)

new record....please

arejaypunx (October 22, 2010)

still, it gets a four, because lacklustre LA is still better than most things ;)

arejaypunx (October 22, 2010)

Same deal as the last poster. I think this record could have used more Chris.

withoutbellson (July 15, 2010)

probably the funniest title for a record i've ever heard. the music is...ok. not as good as usual in my opinion. they hit their peak with the greatest story ever told

Ramone (April 23, 2010)

Great EP can't wait for more. And to anyone who thinks these guys aren't amazing live you are nuts. I saw their 10 year show(I am actually in one of the videos going nuts) and it was incredible. Brendon is awesome and you should feel bad if you don' t think so.

Paolo_Uccello (December 28, 2009)

Best album of 2009

ericwilcom (December 23, 2009)

redness in the west is fucking awesome. the slowest drink is right next to it. got this at the anniversary show, definitely one of my most played releases.

makeshifty (November 18, 2009)

So this is like 3 Falcon songs and 2 Larry Arms. It's about time they stopped drawing a distinction and put it all together, i guess.

nameless (November 14, 2009)

"Brendan seemed to literally sneer down at the crowd with such contempt, like he hates his audience and has no respect for them."

I saw them in Anaheim and, personally, especially during some of it, I'm not sure I'd blame him too much for sneering. I thought that show was kind of weird... not to mention that Brendan was pretty far gone too.

It was still good though. Cobra Skulls were great and TBR put on a fun set. And I got to hear my favorite TLA songs live. And this is a good 7". Score's for that.

balaka2 (November 13, 2009)

can someone explain why no one cheered for an encore at the casbah show in SD? cobra skulls were fun, TBR reminded me of MxPx, and LA put on a great show, but the crowd didnt seem to give a crap at the end. maybe i just got elbowed in the head too hard...

slymer (November 12, 2009)

The San Diego show was phenomenal! Brendan was pretty hammered, but the band played great.

colin (November 12, 2009)

first sf show was pretty great, but i've heard mixed reviews of the LA show as well.

Kickaha (November 12, 2009)

"Brendan seemed to literally sneer down at the crowd with such contempt, like he hates his audience and has no respect for them."

-He was probably still hung over from the night before in San Diego, where he tied one on pretty good. Even one of the bartender's commented to me that he thought Brendan was pretty drunk.

Then again, you did say you saw them in Hollywood, so I can understand the contempt for the audience..

Kickaha (November 12, 2009)

Like this a lot, butt, "why, why, why, why, why" only 1 Chris Song? The Slowest Drink is for sure the stand out track.

telegraphrocks (November 12, 2009)

"seemed to literally sneer down at the crowd with such contempt, like he hates his audience and has no respect for them."

I think you all suck too. Fuck y'all.

cheesetits (November 12, 2009)

Yup it's pretty fucking sweet.

Fresnoska (November 11, 2009)

I thought they were alright in Hollywood, I saw them again last night in Stockton, and they kicked ass

LeightonESmith (November 11, 2009)

I'd have to say that he Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City is one of the songs of the year.

thewayitshouldbe (November 11, 2009)

This shit is amazing. I was actually pretty bummed that they didn't play anything off it when I saw them.

skyroach (November 11, 2009)

Lawrence Arms is probably my favorite punk band ever. Seriously, I cannot emphasize enough how much I love the music this band makes. However, I just saw them with Teenage Bottlerocket in Hollywood last Saturday night, and Teenage Bottlerocket stole the show! TB made LA look pathetic. Brendan and Chris looked so bored up there, like yeah, we haven't toured in a while, so we're doing this for the extra cash. And Brendan seemed to literally sneer down at the crowd with such contempt, like he hates his audience and has no respect for them.

The Lawrence Arms are now officially a studio band IMHO. The show totally lacked the emotional punch I was expecting.

woodprop (November 11, 2009)

Love it, such a tease though

skaboom (November 10, 2009)

This is a very good EP. I don't think I have any insightful commentary of constructive criticism. It's 5 good songs, I hope the Larry Limbs don't take another 3 years for the next 5 songs.

Hubitcherkokov (November 10, 2009)

Every song on "Oh, Calcutta" had a sense of urgency to it, like you were listening to 12 closing tracks. The music and vocals also had a certain raw quality to them. I feel like that record is more akin to "Ghost Stories" (and "A Guided Tour of Chicago") and the splits in those ways. I'm nearly offended by The Falcon/"Oh, Calcutta" comparison, because I think The Falcon is just about unlistenable.

I'm curious as to why you say this release goes back to "Apathy and Exhaustion" and The Chinkees split, though. And, after a half dozen spins, I'm still not that impressed with "Buttsweat and Tears."

R3vengeTherapy (November 10, 2009)

Classic Lawrence Arms, to me, is "Ghost Stories" and the splits, and "Oh, Calcutta" echoes the feel of those releases. I love "Apathy and Exhaustion" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" is a solid record too, but the fucking auto-tuning on Chris' vocals are pretty grating sometimes.

Nothing on Calcutta reminds me of Ghost Stories or the splits. It just feels like the Lawrence Arms doing their own version of The Falcon. Maybe the general looseness of Calcutta is like old LA, but I don't see much else. In certain ways, this EP goes back to stuff they did on Present Day Memories and Apathy and Exhaustion, though.

lawnday (November 10, 2009)

Pretty let down. It's solid, but nothing's grabbed me so far. I honestly don't think it stands up to the majority of the Arms material. Sounds like Falcon b-sides. I also thought Civil War sucked though, so maybe I'm alone on this one.

ashtraymonument (November 10, 2009)

10-4 Eleanor is stoked

crankwilldestroy (November 10, 2009)

My friend just emailed me this and it doesn't disappoint at all. It makes my head spin that Oh Calcutta came out 3 years ago...
The slowest drink is probably one of my favorite LA songs now and I'll be sure to buy this when I see them in the next couple days.

Thepopeofchili-town (November 10, 2009)

4 great songs and one good song (Them Angels Been Talking) Didn't quite live up to my expectations, but realistically, probably nothing could. Still the best EP released this year. Also, Demons shouldn't be the bonus track, it's the best one.

saint_jake (November 10, 2009)

Fuck you, you're cool, fuck you too

Hubitcherkokov (November 10, 2009)

I've listened to it once so far, but it didn't initially do a lot for me. I'm looking forward to getting better acquainted with it.

"It has more of that classic Lawrence Arms feel that Calcutta lacked."

Classic Lawrence Arms, to me, is "Ghost Stories" and the splits, and "Oh, Calcutta" echoes the feel of those releases. I love "Apathy and Exhaustion" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" is a solid record too, but the fucking autotuning on Chris' vocals are pretty grating sometimes.

Alien (November 10, 2009)

This is an awesome ep first of all.
but I just don't think the songs are as good as greates stories and oh calcutta,
But it's still awesome. worth hearing.

slymer (November 10, 2009)

Awesome EP. I don't think they played any of these songs Friday night however. My memory is a little foggy. First time seeing Teenage Bottlerocket and they were fucking great. All in all, last week was a kick ass week of shows. Lucero on Wednesday, Larry Arms, TBR, and Cobra Skulls on Friday, and the Revival Tour Sunday. Fun times

TheViz (November 10, 2009)

Chris, Brendan, and Neil are a bunch of fucking cockteases. I agree with this review completely that it's over too soon.

I kind of wish there was more Chris on this one, "Slowest Drink" is one of my favorite Larry Arms tracks to date, and easily my favorite on the album. The only track that really doesn't totally grab me is "Angels", which is a good song, it just doesn't pack the punch that the other four do. Regardless, Buttsweat and Tears was well worth the wait.

R3vengeTherapy (November 10, 2009)

This is much better than I expected. I love this band, however I'm not a fan of Oh Calcutta. That record didn't quite work the way it should have.

I listened to Calcutta and Buttsweat back to back a couple weeks ago and while there are some similarities, Buttsweat doesn't sound like a continuation of Calcutta that some people seem to be saying it is. It has more of that classic Lawrence Arms feel that Calcutta lacked. Calcutta sounded waaaay too much like the Falcon, which makes sense for the time. A three year break is what this band needed. Now gimme a new LP.

hello-rockview (November 10, 2009)

Redness In The West is in my top 5 favorite Larry Arms songs
The Revisionist
Ramblin' Boys Of Pleasure
100 Resolutions
Drunk Mouth Kitchen Smile
Redness In The West

paulrulzdood (November 10, 2009)

"slowest drink" is the best song on here. Sounds like it could have come from the same sessions as "100 resolutions". Chris at his absolute best.

The Brendan songs are pretty typical. Not feeling "redness in the west".

Bryne (November 10, 2009)

Nailed it.

Tom_Delonge (November 10, 2009)

It's a circular narrative in many ways where it kind of sums up the human race in a time capsule.

mike_killroad (November 10, 2009)

I like this EP. My gripes with it though is that this could of easily been a 5 song bonus to "Oh! Calcutta!" which is why I am not a huge fan of it. I was expecting something fresh and even though I'm a huge Larry Arms fan, I am not really digging this like an Larry Arms EP should be dug. At least in my opinion.

Babrook (November 10, 2009)

One of the best releases all year.

half_head (November 10, 2009)

i think this record is good classic lawrence arms but it's just not that memorable to me.

Oh calcutta! and The Falcon LP are all you need.

exitenglish1208 (November 10, 2009)

this is the best ep i've ever heard, and it's some of my favorite larry arms stuff hands down. the slowest drink is absolutely killer. love it.

chadreligion (November 10, 2009)

Lots of elements on this ep that are taken from their older stuff... good arrangements too, however, I think they could have done better with some of the vocal phrasing, especially on "Spit Shining Shit".... that whole "Why Why Why Cry Cry Cry" shit is so bad, in a bad way.... a bad opener for a record, and probably the worst of the ep.
The rest, not so bad, and still has the catchiness like always.
Slowest Drink in the Saddest Bar is the best one on here.
score is for the ep on a whole

BluthCo (November 10, 2009)

Really good EP.

Also, The Marine is a bad movie, but it's the kind of "80s" bad action movie that's fun to watch with a few friends at midnight on a Saturday.

souls21 (November 10, 2009)

This is really good stuff here, EP's are just such a tease! While I eagerly anticipate a new full length from these guys, I suppose songs like "Slowest Drink" and "Them Angels Been Talkin" will hold me over just fine

ddb43 (November 10, 2009)

Scored perfectly! This review is spot on. Love this EP. I just need more or it...a lot more!

jumptheshark (November 10, 2009)

Awesome EP...I want a full length goddamnit!

damnitsderek (November 10, 2009)

Getting this album was like jerking off for the longest time but not quite being able to release, so you're jerking off for what feels like a lifetime, and then the second "Spit Shining Shit" kicks in, you blow a load of unprecedented, epic proportions, making that time or arduous self-pleasuring completely worth it.

nocigar (November 10, 2009)

oh so fucking beautiful.

salvation (November 10, 2009)

this rules. this band needs to get a new full length out, immediately.

keithybobeefy (November 10, 2009)

'The slowest drink...' is really a great song.

mattramone (November 10, 2009)

So fucking good.

mikexdude (November 10, 2009)

Jelone. Woah. Jelone. You need to relax.

Blackjaw_ (November 10, 2009)

I think I made it through it entirely the first time I listened. Meaning I should try it again.

telegraphrocks (November 10, 2009)

Solid 8.

"The Slowest Drink..." is one of Chris's best songs. "Them Angels Been Talkin" and "Spit Shining Shit" are pretty solid, but "Demons" and "The Redness In The West" are just fucking phenomenal.

Yeah, an 8.

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