As far as Jeffrey Bützer’s musical projects go, the Compartmentalizationalists has generally played third fiddle to both his solo work and his project of choice, the Bicycle Eaters. So perhaps it’s not surprising that it’s been over two years since the noise-surf rockers have been on the scene, lingering in an extended hiatus that has seen the departure of original drummer Nico Giarrano and bassist William J. Brisby.
Before the members parted ways, however, they did manage to enter the studio and track an entire album’s worth of material live in May of 2013. But rather than complete the record, Bützer chose to shelve it and walk away. “There was no break up or anything,” he explains over email. “Nico was finishing college, Brisby wanted to focus on golf, and I was ready to write a Bicycle Eaters record. After that, I just stepped away from the material and worked on other projects. I am never in a huge hurry to finish anything.”
It wasn’t until local surf guitarist Chad Shivers (The Squares, Moonbase, Mystery Men, the Bicycle Eaters) began to urge Bützer to reunite the project earlier this year that he decided to revisit the record. It wasn’t an easy sell. “I told him it was impossible,” Bützer confesses. “He offered to play bass and get a drummer (Sean Zearfoss of Small Reactions and Gold-Bears) and promised it wouldn’t be much work on my end. So after one show I decided it was time to release the album.”
With his longtime songwriting partner Claire Lodge assisting, the two worked with producer and engineer Matt Steadman to record a few hours of overdubs, choosing eight of the session’s strongest tracks to mix and cut. The final result is Sutures, a debut record that Bützer describes as “visceral and energetic, loose and noisy.”
Those descriptors are certainly true of the album’s first single, “Katherine,” which we are excited to premiere for you today. The track is a relentlessly driving, surf-infused jam with strong hints of Spaghetti Western if Ennio Morricone was heavy into Wire. It sounds raw and remarkably immediate, perfectly capturing the intensity and adventurous spirit that defined the band’s performances. Despite the two-year gap between recording and release, Bützer insists this is the closest he’s ever come to emulating the live sound of one of his projects.
“I wouldn’t change a thing. We recorded loud and live in a room for two hours like a jazz band. No punch-ins. I really enjoy making music like that. There is a note Claire just flat out misses and I love it. It sounds nutty and fun.”
Although the band’s new lineup has sown the seeds for new material, they have yet to formally complete any new songs. For now, the group is focusing their attention on their record release show this Saturday night at Kavarna; what comes next is anyone’s guess. When asked how far he plans to take the Compartmentalizationalists, Bützer is both noncommittal and direct.
“I plan on doing shows until we get tired of playing these songs or Bicycle Eaters start working on our record, whichever happens first.”
The Compartmentalizationalists will celebrate the release of Sutures this Saturday night, September 19 at Kavarna. Supporting them will be Band. James Band. and Gemini XIII. Doors open at 8 p.m. $5 gets you in.