SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

News: For more than a year now gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have dominated airwaves and secured way... By Mark Reagan 10/22/2014
‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

Screens: In the Middle Ages, pilgrims walked the 500-mile El Camino de Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrimage to the tomb of Apostle St. James. It was an... By Stephen James Ross 10/22/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Aural Pleasure Review

Cryin' D.T. Buffkin & the Bad Breath: 'Tattooed Rose'

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Photo: Venessa Hill Shahan, License: N/A

Venessa Hill Shahan

When I first caught Cryin’ D.T. Buffkin and the Bad Breath a year ago at the Esquire, I made the mistake of thinking them some sort of permanent fixture in the space. The sound seemed carefully calculated to fill the venue’s speakeasy vibe, the whole old-fashioned act mixing equal parts Tin Pan Alley songcraft and juke-joint blues, with a splash of New Orleans Dixieland to make it all go down easy. The band was at least novel in its novelty, and as they branched out into original material and more intricate arrangements and gigs, it was striking to watch the Bad Breath morph from enthusiastic revivalists into one of SA’s most intriguing up-and-coming acts.

Tattooed Rose, Buffkin and crew’s first release, feels like the summation of this growth. Dispensing of the Great American Songbook material that’s long been its bread-and-butter, the band sheds the borrowed nostalgia of those classic tunes in favor of a set of 12 originals. Roland De La Cruz’s ghostly guitar, Mason Macías’ sparse, shuffling drums, Andrew Maley’s anchoring bass, and Ricardo Martínez’ ethereal clarinet provide fine backing as Buffkin howls and pounds away on a piano that sounds like it hasn’t been played (or at least tuned) since Prohibition. Everything on Tattooed Rose seems geared towards recalling that unremembered era, including its vinyl-only release. Taken with its rustic production touch, it’s a move that more than succeeds in making the album feel like something discovered in a dusty bin of your grandfather’s attic.

Of course, the borrowed nostalgia wouldn’t amount to much if the songs didn’t hold up, and it’s here that Tattooed Rose really impresses. The title track seems to reach some hellish crossroads between Tom Waits’ “Singapore” and Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row,” with beheaded Huns, raving whores’ daughters, and Hitler all jockeying for a seat at the Ms. Tattooed Rose floor show. Meanwhile, lead-off single “Mt. Cigar Blues” stakes itself in juke-joint blues, providing a fine vehicle for Buffkin’s sly turns of phrase (“mount my head on a pretty girl’s rack.”)

It’s when Rose moves into torch song territory that it really soars. “Wasted Pennies” commits so fully to its era of parlor Victrolas and sharecroppers, it feels like it has to exist on some lost Billie Holiday session. But nothing captures the wounded beauty of the band’s sound quite like “Salvation Army,” a heart-wrenching tale of a man selling everything he has for some unspoken form of “relief,” the band burning along with him until erupting into a rollicking last gasp.

If Rose’s remaining tracks don’t quite hit these highs, they certainly reinforce the vintage cohesiveness of the record. For such ardent students of antique American sounds, it’s high praise that Buffkin and the Bad Breath have managed to offer something new within that tradition.

Recently in Music
  • The Otherworldly Appeal of Pure X’s ‘Angel’ Before we treat the music of Pure X’s third LP Angel, let’s take a moment to appreciate the airbrushed brilliance of its album art. On a... | 10/22/2014
  • The Infinite Blues of Woodstock Alums Canned Heat Thirty-two bands played the original Woodstock back in 1969. Of those 32, two are still at it today. And if you discount Santana on the grounds that he’s really more a guy than a band at this point, well, that just leaves Canned Heat. Half a century is a | 10/22/2014
  • Step Off: How Kacey Musgraves won Nashville Though she was born in 1988 and released her first recordings at the age of 14, Texas native Kacey Musgraves has always... | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus