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"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 www.thunderbirdcafe.net