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The Buttless Chaps - Cartography (2008)

Since their inception in 1998, The Buttless Chaps have played for audiences across the continent and have created six studio albums demonstrating increased breadth and artistry every time. The band places absolutely no limits on their musical wanderings and the result is an imaginative and seamless journey from traditional country to new wave to punk, performed without irony or pretense.

Cartography is The Buttless Chaps’ fourth release on Mint Records and was recorded at the Hive Studios by Jesse Gander (Pride Tiger, The Pack A.D., Bison). Combining many elements of The Buttless Chaps’ ever changing sound, Cartography is packed with acoustic rural and cold war electronic influences blended together in carefully orchestrated songs. Lyrical imagery encapsulates the isolation of the modern world, and the quest to find a little patch of green for oneself. The band has always been muscially torn between the country and glittering lights of a human metropolis.

In preparation for the band’s earlier releases much time was spent in a small studio tucked away in the pine beetle infested forests of northern British Columbia. Cartography is the first release since their self-titled debut to be written exclusively in the city, but the seeds still remain that conjure up those feelings of a yearning for visual expansiveness. Joining the band this time is new drummer Dan Gaucher (Fond Of Tigers, Rabnett 5), his spontaneus energy and creativity is apparent throughout the recording, bringing the band together with a more aggressive sound on such tracks as “Coal Grey Sky”. Ida Nilsen (vocals, keyboards) rounds out the cast of long time regulars Morgan McDonald (Keyboards) Lasse Lutick (electric guitars) and Dave Gowans (Lead Vocals, Guitar and Banjo). Special guest Tim Vesely of Rheostatics fame makes also an appearance on several tracks.

The Buttless Chaps recently celebrated their tenth anniversary as a band with a concert recorded and broadcast nationally in Canada on CBC Concerts on Demand.

Purchase Cartography on Cd, LP or itunes!

Purchase From Itunes.

Purchase the vinyl here from Maple Music.

Get a copy of the cd from Maple Music.

Some Reviews of Cartography

"one hell of a new album... The gorgeous artwork accentuates the excellent album to a T. Both are exploratory things of beauty, well worth the investment of your time." - Monday Magazine

"...this is a band at its peak and Cartography is a work of art." - Discorder Magazine

"It's an album that makes you close your eyes and listen, which is always a good sign." - Edmonton Sun

Gowans ability to pen a sci-fi ballads and rural anthems (and tracks like Coal Grey Sky will satisfy any classic Chaps fan), but with beautiful harmonies, static electro currents and terrific percussion the Chaps are able to replicate lonely nights in dark cities (the energy that crackles throughout the desolate title track is incredible). - HeroHill

Blending folk-country with a bit of atmospheric new wave sentimentality, Cartography takes you on a soft, dream-like journey that you won't want to wake up from. - Discorder

Sombre country rock underpins world-weary vocals, and while the guitars may twang, the effect is closer to a musical meditation than a whiskey-soaked hoedown. This basic foundation allows for some interesting side trips -- such as the vocoder-filled gravitas of The Opera, which wouldn't sound out of place on an Air album-- while still providing an ideal soundtrack for a late-autumn solitary trek through fallen leaves. Suitable for a cool, Canadian October. - The National Post

From the dead-souls darkwave of "Broken Transit, Broken Soil" to the campfire twang of "Water by the Wayside", the group's latest album, Cartography, maps out terrain where others would fear to tread. It's a good indication that, 10 years into their career, the Chaps are just getting started. - Georgia Straight

Cartography is an ideal name for an album that reveals itself as an expedition across unknown landscapes, matching in name the record's sense of discovery, of twists and turns, of behemoth rocks rising suddenly out of the ground where just moments ago there was plains and rolling hills. - Vue Weekly

Cartography is a mesmerizing, virtual magnum opus from Vancouver's The Buttless Chaps. While previous Chaps albums have always tested the boundaries between organic folk and synthetic electronica, Cartography is an even more aggressive exploration of this binary, resulting in a beautifully wrought, complex and cohesive outing. - Chart Magazine

What with GPS gizmos and Internet pathfinders, the art of cartography is probably now archaic. And yet, with its latest release, British Columbia's the Buttless Chaps sounds nothing like dated. Cartography is panoramic and often futuristic, expansive in its arrangements and lyrical imagery. The band and leader Dave Gowans specialize in juxtaposing old sounds with new wave. The title track updates Doorsian psychedelia with a spacier direction, and a funny thing happens on the way to The Opera, a sublime track with a classic piano motif and a robotic vocoder. Water by the Wayside forebodes gently; Cool Grey Sky has a folk-rock strum. If it sounds like the Chaps are all over the map, that just isn't the case. Rather, its course is absolutely chosen. - The Globe and Mail

it combines strummy folk songs with vaguely futuristic synths and effects-laden guitars into a serene chamber-pop hybrid. - Ubyssey

Updated by unknown at 23:58:45 12/11/08

Where Night Holds Light (2006)

Where Night Holds Light CD Cover

  • Caboose
  • Blanket of Pain
  • Cornered and Jaded
  • Master and Commander
  • Movements
  • Migratory Birds
  • Insects
  • The Poacher
  • Where Night Holds Light
  • Occupations of Freedom

Purchase a physical copy from Maple Music here!

Listen to clips and download Where Night Holds Light at here!

Listen to clips and download Where Night Holds Light at i-Tunes here!

Where Night Holds Light was released February 21, 2006, after having been in the works for a year and a half. Recorded at Profile Studios by Chôn and at The Hive by Jesse Gander.

One week before its release, the album broke previous Chaps records by going to #5 overall on !earshot Online.

'It's almost scary how good these guys are getting.'
'. . .[the Chaps] have completely subsumed the disparate new wave/electro and country influences that sometimes caused jarring instrumental pile-ups on past recordings. That takes some of the gleeful anarchy out of the sound (something I always liked) but it also forces you to consider the songs rather than the schtick, and the songs are damn good.'
-- unknown author, SEE Magazine, Edmonton, February 23 2006 (Full review)
'The novelty band name does great disservice to a band that seamlessly blends multi-layered instrumentation with verbose lyrics and wraps it all up in countrified simplicity. With banjoes, trumpets and synthesizer in the Vancouver band’s arsenal, Where Night Holds Light is an experiment of understated excess.'
-- Tara McEwen, Dose, Vancouver, February 20 2006 (Full review)
'. . .there's good stuff here: Caboose imagines 54-40 lost in the alt-country backwoods; the title track is grand, hopeful and orchestral. . .'
'And Occupations of Freedom, about regret and those on the lone, is something Johnny Cash might have liked.'
-- (3 stars) Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, February 17, 2006 (Full review)
'Layered with banjo, piano, horns, jangly guitars, accordion, autoharp, and rolling vocals, this is a splendid, velvety addition to the Buttless Chaps’ expanding oeuvre.'
'The time to avail oneself of Where Night Holds Light is at or around hour two of a road trip. . .buy it and get out of town.'
-- Emma Sasse, Vue Weekly, Edmonton, February 2006 (Full review)

Updated by unknown at 11:52:27 01/14/08

Love This Time (2003)

Love This Time CD Cover

  • 18 Rabbits
  • Love This Time
  • Babbles
  • Lonely Hearts
  • Fresh Horses
  • Shuttle Systems
  • Banjee
  • Plain Wrench
  • Numan
  • Kinda Empty
  • Brotherhood

Love This Time was released September 16, 2003. With the engineering skill of Chôn at Profile Studios, the patience of Randy Iwata at Mint Records, and the help and input of several amazing Vancouver artists, this new release sounds unlike anything we've accomplished to date. It's also our first release with the aforementioned Mint Records.

Even before its release, the title track had already made the Anti-Hit List in Toronto's eye Weekly.

Purchase a physical copy from Maple Music here!

Listen to clips and download Love This TIme i-tunes here!

Listen to clips and download Love This TIme at here!

'Once again, the Chaps pull off the extraordinary task of blending country crooning with Kraftwerkian futurism. . . '
'Here I was thinking 2001's Death Scenes I II III was just a fluke. Behold -- the brave new future of country music has arrived.'
(5 stars) -- Chris Rolfe, eye Magazine, Toronto, October 2 2003 (Full review)
'. . . Shuttle Systems for example is frankly far too close to early Depeche Mode for comfort. Then again, Ford Pier, one of several guests, has a lot of fun on the electro-new wave blast of Numan. Good fun.'
'The Buttless Chaps’ best material though, some of it truly exceptional, hints at bands like Lambchop as much as anyone else - from their ability to layer and overlap the instrumentation so deftly to the subtle absorption of country and other musical influences to ultimately create, at their most successful, something quite distinctly their own.'
-- Geraint Jones, Comes With a Smile, London, March-April 2004 (Full review)
'My dad thinks they're a gay band. My girlfriend thinks they have beautiful album artwork. I just think they're brilliant.'
'A truly cohesive album, this is a record worth picking up for any fan of country, alternative, electro-pop, or any genre in between.'
(9/10) -- S. Sutherland, My Sweater (Full review)
"And speaking of grotesque, Love This Time sounds like it would best fit in a VH1 classic '80s special, with way-too-bouncy pop songs backed with zingy synths. Some of the synth-less instrumentals are almost pretty, but Dave Gowans' vocals -- which often border on the spoken-word -- are too serious, too toneless and too melodramatic. Those who adore jangly, overeager pop songs may find a home for this record, but otherwise, these songs are about as desirable as, say, a pair of pants with no seat." -Catherine P. Lewis Tablet Magazine (Full review)
"Love This Time is their best yet, with the deadpan baritone of vocalist-guitarist-banjoist Dave Gowans at perfect ease in the band’s slow, cabaret-style western shuffles (think more pop-oriented Calexico, especially with the inclusion of horns) and at odds, but interestingly so, when the keyboards come marching in." - 8.4/10 Ron Jacobs San Diego Citybeat (Full review)

Updated by unknown at 13:13:16 01/13/08

Experiments (2002)

Experiments is the CD we put together for our 2002 summer tour. We included some of the songs from the Death Country Live disc, and added a pile of new stuff--from studio outtakes from the Death Scenes I II III sessions and some unreleased demos.

Purchase a physical copy from Red Cat Records here! Experiments Album Cover

  • Outlaw
  • Devil's Club
  • Carry me Home Punk
  • Vegas
  • Rave
  • Outlaw
  • Desert Song
  • Trek Wars
  • Six Strong Men
  • Finnish Revolutionary Song
  • Bonesaw Jim
  • Urban Fear
  • Experiments
  • Take
  • Fresh Horses
"If you've ever witnessed Vancouver's Buttless Chaps live, you'll know that they have a fearless love of the absurd, which makes its way into plenty of material that doesn't make it onto their somewhat normal albums. All of that can be found on this compilation of live tracks and odds and ends, which includes some of their most ridiculous moments - the techno send-up "Rave," the sci-fi "Trek Wars" and the inevitable non-ironic new wave hit "Fresh Horses." It's not all fun and games though, with "Urban Fear" and "Desert Song" standing out among new live cuts. Definitely for fans only, but further proof that the Buttless Chaps are one of the most unpredictable bands working in Canada." - Micheal Barclay, Exclaim! Nov. 19, 2002

Updated by unknown at 13:16:53 01/13/08

Death Scenes I II III (2001)

Death Scenes I II III CD Cover
  • Midnite Cowpoke
  • Death Scenes I II III
  • Six Strong Men
  • Death on the Plain
  • Tracks Tonight
  • Malone
  • In My Fingertips
  • Elevator
  • Hired Hand
  • Fastest Gun
  • Disco Dancer

Recorded in a legendary sea of shit by Scott Henderson, this album contains a lot of the energy and music we've been accumulating since our last studio disc two years ago.

Released on August 14, Death Scenes I II III is distributed by Sonic Unyon and Scratch Records, and you should be able to get it or order it from most music stores across Canada. You can also buy it online from CD Baby.

Listen to clips and download Death Scenes I II III at I-tunes here!

Download Death Scenes I II III at E-Music here!

'If you're a fan of vintage country music, or you just really enjoyed David Byrne's movie True Stories, be sure check these dudes out. The Buttless Chaps may not be the fastest guns in the West, but they sure do sit tall in the saddle.' --Christine Leonard, !earshot Online [Full Review]
'. . .this is a record which just demands that you persevere, as you know it's gonna take you somewhere interesting before sundown.'
'If you like your Americana challenging and a little demanding, then you could have a good time with this record, especially if you're prepared to put time into getting to know its twists and deviations, which will largely bring pleasurable surprise.' --MP, Americana UK
'. . .a country rock record in the best sense of the word. . .'
'. . .as great as Death Scenes is, it only reflects a few sides of a band that likes to show off its diverse musical tastes. . .'
--James Keast, Exclaim! (Full review)
'Like their previous album, the equally brilliant Tumblewire, The Buttless Chaps madly embrace synthpop and rockabilly on Death Scenes, coming across like the Clash if Joe Strummer decided that Hank Williams was the way to go instead of Lee Perry.'
'So be warned--your favourite song may change hourly.'
'If Canada is going to have a group for all people, for all occasions, The Buttless Chaps handily deserve that mantle.'
--Vue Weekly, Edmonton (Online review not yet available)
'Third and definitely best album from this Victoria/Vancouver down home ensemble . . . '
'. . . singing and songwriting have taken a dramatic upward turn in the maturity and comfort quotient, alt-country folks who didn?t like the first two Chaps albums will find plenty to latch onto here as everything good about the first two is infinitely better here.'
--Scratch Records (Full review)
'Who says country-rock has to be all dreary, melancholy and filled with endless odes to Neil Young? These West Coast Chaps do indeed take things a few steps farther . . . '
'. . . Death Scenes I II III is a genre-bending, multi-instrumental disc -- one that would look quite fine wedged between your copies of Deserter's Songs and Power, Corruption & Lies. No, really.'
(4 stars) -- Chris Rolfe, eye Weekly (Full review)

More reviews:

Review on

A review in No Depression magazine.

Updated by unknown at 11:53:35 01/14/08

Death Country Live (2000)

This disc pulls together 16 songs recorded over the first two years of the band's existence. Six of these had never been released before.

Purchase a physical copy from Red Cat Records here!

Death Country Live Album Cover
  • Six Strong Men
  • Tom Byrne
  • Polecat
  • Pop Song
  • Devil's Club
  • Outlaw
  • Disco Maniac
  • The Finnish Revolutionary Song
  • Travellin' Life
  • Basement Suite (featuring David P. Smith)
  • Tracks Tonight
  • Vegas
  • Elevator
  • Rave
  • Take These Tears and wipe them on your sleeve
  • Carry me Home, Punk

Updated by unknown at 13:17:16 01/13/08

Tumblewire (1999)


Tumblewire Album Cover (900 x 900 JPEG; 127KB)
  • Devil's Club
  • The Trailer Life Two-step
  • Pullman
  • Vegas
  • Indecision
  • Polecat
  • Pop Song
  • The Finnish Revolutionary Song
  • Occupations of Freedom
  • Take these tears and wipe them on your sleeve

Recorded and mixed in Burns Lake, B.C. at Ronin Digital Works and mastered in Victoria by Tolan McNeil at Media Magic. The front and back cover paintings were done by Victoria artist David P. Smith, and the interior artwork was created by the band.

You can see a scan of the original painting here.

You can also buy it online from CD Baby.

Listen to clips and download Tumblewire at I-tunes here!

Download Tumblewire at E-Music here!

'Possibly the hardest working Canadian band to surface in the past few years, Victoria's Buttless Chaps follow up their splendid debut. . . on a wild musical expedition that takes us all over the map.'
'And you thought all West Coasters were lazy stoners.'
--Jon Bartlett, Exclaim! (Full review)
'. . .the Chaps have put out a second album of toe-tappin' versatility. I recommend this album. . .'
--Patrick Beattie, The Martlet

Updated by unknown at 13:22:50 01/13/08

The Buttess Chaps (1998)

The Buttless Chaps Album Cover

  • Atlantic City
  • Long Road Home
  • Tom Byrne
  • Wasted
  • Travellin' Life
  • Visions from the Haze
  • Carry Me Home
  • Outlaw
  • Trailer Life
  • Radiator

In 1998, Outlaw was chosen for the acclaimed Scott Smith film rollercoaster The song is played over the opening scene and the closing credits.

Recorded in Victoria by Nick Blasko. Cover design & artwork by the band. originally released as 500 handmade stamped and stickered copies only. Now available as a CDR with original sticker & stamp in a cardboard digipack.

Purchase a physical copy from Red Cat Records here!

Listen to clips and download The Buttless Chaps S/T at I-tunes here!

Download The Buttless Chaps S/T at E-Music here!

'The band's superb musicianship absolutely shines on this intimate recording. And while a little production would have gone a long way this is a fine piece of work.'
--David Hayden, The Coast, Halifax
'. . . captures emotion not often heard. . . and showcases some fine musicianship from a new band.'
'A great album for those bleak winter nights, and summer ones too. . . '
--Jon Bartlett, Exclaim! (Full review)
'Quite possibly one of the finest records to come out of Victoria in years. . . it will simply shake your foundations. . . breathes sentiment and atmosphere. . . '
--Victoria Times Colonist
'What the Buttless Chaps do know a lot about, however, is dusty guitars, wandering souls, and truck-loads of heartache. They know the line between folk and country is a blurry one.'
'[The Buttless Chaps] transform road-weary stories into liquor-induced lullabies and western travelogues.'
--Michael Kissinger, Monday Magazine

Updated by unknown at 11:54:35 01/14/08

Buy online

Mail Order

Here are some links on how to order Buttless Chaps cds. Scratch records ships in Canada, to The USA and to International customers. They also provide good packaging and a fast turnaround for your order.

You can also buy our first three CDs online at CD Baby.

Sites with Chaps music

Updated by unknown at 01:12:46 10/23/08

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