The Kickstarter backlash is in full effect among folks I know if my Facebook feed is anything to go on. Apparently there are bands trying to use it to do things that some people don’t think they deserve to do. Maybe I’m missing these things because I make a concerted effort not to pay attention to bands that suck. But it’s a fair question, why exactly does your pissant little band that’s barely even played out of your hometown think it has any business asking people — friends and family for the most part, probably — to fund the luxury of your getting the first thing you’ve ever recorded pressed on vinyl?
My defense has always been that the undeserving bands are much less likely to meet the goal anyway and their project won’t happen and that’s exactly how Kickstarter should work, it’s sort of a crowdsourcing of whether people think you’ve got something good to offer. I’ve contributed to a couple kickstarter campaigns for artists who I knew well of, had been around the block a while, and that I knew kicked ass. One of those campaigns began with the announcement by Dan Butler that he was retiring his musical persona The Bassturd forever. The campaign was to get the final Bassturd album released on CD. I knew that if such a CD were to exist I would want it, so I figured I’d help make its existence happen.
If you’re not familiar with The Bassturd, well I’ve written about him on this site before. He started out as a kid from Belmond, Iowa that took up residence in Iowa City and started making homemade cassette albums of funny off-the-cuff songs accompanying himself on cheap keyboards. Pretty soon he was showing up at house parties with his accordion entertaining partygoers with thoroughly improvised songs on topics suggested by said partygoers. Then he developed a musical style crossbreeding hip-hop with Devo and all sorts of other random shit to his uproarious lyrics, and built a one-man show around these songs, his keyboard, and a dizzying array of Christmas lights. Eventually he was touring his show around the country whenever he could get someone to drive him, releasing an astounding amount of recordings, writing probably thousands of songs, while constantly upgrading his keyboards and lighting over the next several years during which he moved around quite a bit then eventually landed in Austin, Texas where he resides to this day.
But what was to become of Dan’s music when he decided to hang up The Bassturd? Eventually he started letting out news of having formed a band called The Bumping Uglies. And now, wouldn’t you know it, he’s back on Kickstarter looking to get some Bumping Uglies stuff done up on vinyl. So even with a guy like Dan on board, one has to ask, this being yet another Kickstarter band by some new band out of nowhere, and one that’s currently kinda limping along in comparison to how startlingly quick Dan’s last Kickstarter project funded: should you care?
Well they were kind enough to give me a sneak peek of the album, or at least some 14 songs, on Soundcloud and this much I can tell you: if you’ve ever been a Bassturd fan, you have probably wondered to yourself at some point what he would be like with a band. Not necessarily a typical rock band lineup, but you know, a few extra instruments and a couple regular full-time collaborators to bounce shit off of. What would the result be like? The Bumping Uglies definitely answer that question, and it turns out that what you would get is plenty good, and evidences more than enough of Dan’s trademark grandiose synthesizers, and wacked sense of humor, that there is basically no reason for any Bassturd fan not to get behind this venture and get excited about the prospect of it getting an album out.
It’s not simply a carbon copy of what The Bassturd did either, though. Co-lead vocalist Mary has a strong presence in this set of tunes. Dan and Mary complement each other very well vocally, especially when they sing together, such as on “More War, Less Taxes” and the a capella gospel-folk tune “I Will Stand Here My Lord”. Her presence makes for some of the most interesting moments; a bit of toilet humor like “The Poops” might be pretty standard fare for The Bassturd but hearing a female voice engage in it with him gives it an added bit of shock and absurdity. There are fun self-referential or “theme” songs like “Uglier Than You” and “U R Ugly” and the show-closer “Packin’ Up”, a handful of energetic instrumentals, and several really funny concepts like “Brain Shop” and “Shitty Cowboy”. Somebody is playing a ukelele and a mandolin quite a bit too. I kind of wish they’d put more of the tunes up for streaming to give folks more idea what they’d be in for if they get these records, because there’s nary a dull moment in the whole set.
Get in on this thing: