When the Red Button burst upon the indie music scene in 2007, there was a palpable tidal wave of euphoria felt in the souls of powerpop and garage/psych fans. With their impressive debut album “She’s About To Cross My Mind”, the duo of Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg masterfully delivered a manifesto proclaiming their passion for classic pop. Keeping their keen retro-tinged passions tuned to ’60s and ’70s AM radio, the Red Button’s sound left mouths agape with Beatlemaniacs the world over. That same year, they found themselves receiving airplay on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, thus securing a spot on the fourth volume of “The Coolest Songs In the World” comp series. Winning accolades in “Best Of” and “Year End” polls with critics, these crowned “Power Pop Princes” kept themselves busy with side projects, then released their sophomore effort “As Far As Yesterday Goes” in 2011 to even more acclaim.
Now, for those that don’t know, the Red Button wasn’t some mere “shits ‘n’ giggles” weekend hobby concocted by amateurs consuming too many Blue Kamikazes. Seth had been writing pop songs for a bevy of vocalists dating back to the ’80s, including Al Green, Tina Turner, Olivia Newton-John, Eric Carmen, Taylor Dayne, and numerous others. Having spent many years as a staff songwriter with Chappell Music and EMI, he gathered his experience and took the plunge to release his first solo album “Instant Pleasure” in 2004. Proof that Seth could pen a whole record’s worth of appealing music, the LP won Best Pop Album at the 2005 Los Angeles Music Awards. That same year, he met Mike, who himself had an exceptional background in the ’90s with Minneapolis-based pop rockers Rex Daisy. After a move to L.A. in 2002, Mike became involved with writing music for the film industry, most notably the 2003 indie cult flick “Dummy” starring Adrien Brody and Milla Jovovich. With their meeting, Seth and Mike combined their talents and mutual love for vintage ditties (especially those of the Beatles) and formed the Red Button. After their aforementioned debut, Seth released his second solo LP “Watercolor Day” in 2010, and the title track won Best Pop Song at the Hollywood Music and Media Awards that same year. Meanwhile, Mike put together a career retrospective of his work titled “Acrimony and Cheese: A Mike Ruekberg Crash Course” which included songs from his Rex Daisy days, as well as his contributions to “Dummy” and assorted other solo tunes.
On October 20th, JEM Records will release the Red Button’s third collection of excellent powerpop titled “Now It’s All This!” If you’ve never had the chance to pick up anything in the duo’s discography, now’s your chance with this must-have. As a 2-CD set, becoming a Red Button completist can be achieved in this one purchase. Disc 1 includes their first two albums, which have been fully remastered. Disc 2 features four rarities that get the “Unplugged” treatment. These tracks (“Genevieve”, “Picture”, “As Far As Yesterday Goes”, and “It’s No Secret”) appeared in their original incarnations on the Red Button’s previous two albums. Also on this disc are six brand new songs, starting with “Can’t Let Candy Go”, a rockin’ popper that’ll have you singing along by minute number two. “Behind A Rainbow” is a feel-good anthem that could very well have you doing hopscotch-style dance moves down your sidewalk (I have). “Tell Me It’s Over” slows things down a bit (not a bad thing here) with its Bread-meets-Cheap Trick balladry. This could very easily make you wonder what Robin Z. and his Tricksters would sound like if they were performing David Gates-produced singles circa ’73-’74. “Tracy’s Party” is pure Beatles at their most rambunctious fashion; “Solitude Saturday” is a piano-driven psych-pop gem, bringing to mind the Wondermints; and “Now It’s All This” is a wonderful encapsulation of what the Red Button stands for. Hooks, harmonies, and catchy melodies are all addictive mind candy for those with that sweet tooth for pop, and it’s all found right here. I like to call it “Buttonmania”, and with this collection from the Red Button, it’s going to spread.
“Cruel Girl” (from their debut album):
For information on purchasing “Now It’s All This!”, tour information, and the latest news, “like” the Red Button page on Facebook.
For additional news and links for the solo work from Seth and Mike, visit the official Red Button website.