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Music

Demitasse’s ‘Blue Medicine’ is a Cathartic Debut from Buttercup Spinoff

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Erik Sanden and Joe Reyes of Demitasse

Photo: , License: N/A

The cover of Blue Medicine, a photo taken by Sanden’s father


As songwriters, Reyes and Sanden lay it all out on Blue Medicine. “The songwriting circumstances were a little different,” Sanden said. “All the songs were in the exploratory phase, writing lyrics in the car outside Joe’s house. We were writing those pieces on the spot so there wasn’t too much time to overthink. It comes out very unconscious.”

Under Reyes’ direction as a producer, the duo kept their hands off Blue Medicine, editing and augmenting only when necessary. “We’d run it through twice and then press ‘record,’” Reyes said. “Erik would say, ‘We need to fix that part,’ but I was very strict about what we would leave in there.” Described by Sanden as a “snapshot version of recording,” Blue Medicine is a defiant stance against perfectionism. Still, Reyes’ occasional garnish, like the life-affirming handclaps and driving bass on “Comfy Coffins,” adds some color to the dominantly acoustic record.

Because of its intimacy, Sanden calls Blue Medicine their “strongest recording, but it might not be palatable to people used to well-executed, edited music.” Unguarded by the touches of reverb and delay, the vocals on Blue Medicine are as bare as the record’s language. Without makeup, it’s still a beautiful piece of work. “There are Maximizers and there are Satisfizers.” Sanden theorized. “We were Satisfizers on this. Our motto was, ‘Good enough.’” 

It might be Sanden and Reyes’ most serious output to date, but immaturity still reigns supreme for the pair. On the sex-stifling “I Remove My Penis,” Reyes said, “[I] was excited about that song because I got to sing a harmony on the word ‘penis’.” One evening at their month-long Liberty Bar residency in February, rather than play “Comfy Coffins,” Demitasse spun an early vinyl pressing, miming the images for the audience. Expect similar behavioral issues at the various album release concerts occuring this week and next.

With Blue Medicine’s material weighing heavily, Reyes and Sanden still relish their opportunities to dick around. “This new music is mature, but we’re willing to do completely goofy stuff and commit fully to it,” Sanden said. “There’s something about music, being playful, that’ll keep you young.”

Though Demitasse began as a necessity, the name suits the pair’s intentions quite well. “It means half a cup,” Joe said. “It’s half the band. The cup might be half empty, even with a hole in the bottom. But we’re willing to share it.” With a hole at the base of the cup, Demitasse becomes a koan, a Buddhist paradox and Zen reflection. With Blue Medicine, Reyes and Sanden share loss and love, maturity and hot air, pulled always in opposite directions.

Demitasse Home Concert

$15
8pm Thu, April 17
Wolverton Home Concerts
(Call for address)
(210) 473-9062
facebook.com/WolvertonHomeConcerts

Demitasse Record Release Party

Free
9pm Fri, April 18
Tucker’s Kozy Korner
1338 E Houston
(210) 320-2192
tuckerskozykorner.com

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