The Builders and the Butchers

Whether the Builders and the Butchers are regaling their audiences

with eerie tales of the gallows, coal-mining accidents, or the various

other methods by which people have expired, the macabre pop-gospel

balladeers’ energetic, upbeat melodies defy the sorrowful tales of

general bloodshed that accompany them. Between the cheery banjo

stylings, vocalist Ryan Sollee’s twangy warblings, and the gritty

lo-fi recording quality that pervades most of their tracks, the

Portland band’s bluegrass inclinations dominate. At times, Sollee

sounds like he could be Colin Meloy’s little brother, with accordion

and mandolin to drive home the sea-chantey effect that earned the

Decemberists their popularity; at other moments, the music swells with

a psychedelic riff, and you could swear you were listening to one of

Led Zeppelin’s lesser-known blues tracks. Don’t be surprised if the

band hops off stage and leads a raucous musical procession around the

venue. With guests. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9

p.m. $7.

Listen to a sample of The Builders and the Butchers’ “Vampire Lake.”

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Tue., March 4, 9 p.m., 2008