This is your brain on Philadelphia's Drink Up Buttercup | Pittsburgh City Paper

This is your brain on Philadelphia's Drink Up Buttercup

This is your brain on Philadelphia's Drink Up Buttercup
Heads: Drink Up Buttercup

"Remember your seasickness pills!"

So says Philadelphia quartet Drink Up Buttercup, and it's sound rock 'n' roll advice for listening to the band's debut, Born and Thrown on a Hook: These guys take the gently lapping waves of the Beach Boys' endless summer and rile them into a strange, demented and stormy sea of psychedelia. Hold on tight.

Like fellow Philly natives Dr. Dog or Man Man, Drink Up Buttercup plays on classic psychedelic rock -- the playful harmonies and cartoonish lyrics of late-era Beatles and Beach Boys, the mysterious swagger of Jefferson Airplane -- but adds its own twist. While Dr. Dog plays with a smile and Man Man just gets weird, Drink Up Buttercup shoots for a colorful yet much darker, more sinister trip.

Buttercup has been impressing and surprising crowds since 2008 with a live show that's equal parts rock concert, gospel church service, three-ring circus and junkyard adventure (trashcans are involved). The band's 2009 stop at Mr. Small's Theatre (with Dr. Dog, no less) brought Buttercup to the center of the crowd, inspiring a spastic dance party.

The band has since released Born and Thrown on a Hook, a 17-track opus of your-brain-on-drugs carnival rock. Each time Thrown on a Hook seems to peak -- the twisted, sea-chantey harmonies of "Seasickness Pills," the Zombies-esque baroque rock of "Lovers Play Dead," the barroom piano nightmare "Sosey and Dosey" -- another moment takes the craziness one step further.

Forget the seasickness pills. Feel lucky if you remember your first name.


Drink Up Buttercup. 9 p.m. Thu., Sept. 23. Thunderbird Café, 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $10 ($12 at the door). 412-682-0177 or