“Psych-Soul Soup”: Sydney’s Butter Bath Radiates Heat on ‘Kurrajong Hotel’, a Groovy & Sun-Soaked Reverie

Butter Bath © 2022
Butter Bath © 2022
Butter Bath’s Toby Anagnostis takes us track-by-track through his soulful and sun-soaked sophomore EP ‘Kurrajong Hotel,’ a moody, woozy, groovy, and glistening reverie.
for fans of Harry Styles, Ruel, HONNE, NoMBe
Stream: “Anchor in the Clouds” – Butter Bath

Moody, woozy, groovy, and glistening, Butter Bath’s sophomore EP is a soulful and sun-soaked reverie: A mouth-watering indulgence of intimate reflection and spiritual connection filtered through buoyant, sweaty sonics that prove as captivating as they are cathartic. A stunning psych-soul soup for the ears and heart alike, Kurrajong Hotel is the perfect soundtrack to our summer haze and winter blues: It’s a record whose heat and passion are readily accessible at all times, here for whoever needs a little more light in their lives.

Kurrajong Hotel - Butter Bath
Kurrajong Hotel – Butter Bath
I crawled to my room
Finally made it through the door
Smiled at the roof
Spent hours falling through the floor
Where do I end? Where do you begin?
There’s a shared center to our shared pleasure
I think I’m gonna fall right through
All my limbs are lying on the ground
And I’ll plug them back in if I ever come ’round
I like the way you weigh me down
The anchor that I dropped got stuck in the clouds

Released May 27, 2022 via Nice Guys Records, Kurrajong Hotel is the sweltering second EP from Sydney’s Butter Bath. The artist project of singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Toby Anagnostis, Butter Bath debuted in late 2019 and has since been treating the world to a steady stream of intoxicating music straddling the indie rock and soul worlds. 2021’s debut EP Spectator laid a firm foundation for the artist’s sound and style, but it’s on this sophomore follow-up that Anagnostis’ talents as a songwriter, a vocalist, and a producer all shine their brightest. Fans of everyone from global superstar Harry Styles and Aussie pop sensation Ruel to UK electronic music duo HONNE, to California psych-soul artist NoMBe are sure to fall head over heels for Kurrajong Hotel‘s hypnotic warmth, aching honesty, unfiltered charm, and sweet polish.

Butter Bath © 2022
Butter Bath © 2022

“Most of this EP was written during lockdown and because there was so little happening in my life, when I would sit down to write I would find myself sifting through the archives of memories in search for inspiration,” Toby Anagnostis tells Atwood Magazine. “It became an intentional exercise and after a while it was like the floodgates opened and I remembered moments from my childhood and teenage years that I hadn’t thought of since they happened. Moments that had seemed benign and insignificant at the time, but in retrospect I realise how they had impacted me. Once I got started down this path I really leaned into it and wrote about 20 or 30 songs – the five songs on this EP were the ones that felt right to release at the moment.”

“I didn’t really set out with a clear vision or intent to create a cohesive record,” he continues. “I think what makes this record feel cohesive is that I wrote the songs within the space of about 6 months, during which my personal circumstances, writing processes and musical influences were more-or-less the same. I guess my vision did change in that I didn’t initially have a vision for the record, but it became thematically intertwined through the practice of focusing on childhood memories and analysing the parallels and disconnects between my younger self and my current self.”

“It’s important for me that my lyrics are vague enough for listeners to feel like they can come to their own conclusions about the meaning behind the songs, without being told directly what it’s about. The same goes for the music – I want it to feel simultaneously alien and familiar. This EP feels more succinct to me than my last one because I’m able to produce the sounds that I’m hearing in my head a little bit easier. When I was making my first EP, Spectator, I was very much still figuring out what I wanted to make, whereas I think I understand the sounds and textures that I’m trying to achieve with Butter Bath now.”

Got every reason to sport blues
But it’s not the colour that I bruise
Flip to win, make it count
Dock your mind to the full amount
Noted duly, dial it down
You’re keeling over from how tight your wound
Show me that you care
Enough to pull my hair
Light so stark and then it gets dark
See the exit through
Lots more work to do
It’s sublime for such a short time
– “Show Me That You Care,” Butter Bath

There is an actual Kurrajong Hotel in Sydney, Australia, but Anagnnostis says he’s only been there once. “I’ll be going again,” he laughs. “When I had the original bass guitar and drums idea for the song, I happened to be walking past the Kurrajong Hotel pub… When I recorded the voice memo, it saved in my phone as Kurrajong Hotel, and I kept it as the working title… which became the song title… which became the EP title.”

Butter Bath © 2022
Butter Bath © 2022

Anagnostis considers “Kurrajong Hotel” as something of a turning point for him, artistically. It remains one of his personal favorites off the EP. “Writing ‘Kurrajong Hotel’ was particularly cathartic for me,” he notes. “I’d wanted to write a song about those experiences of growing up in conservative churches, because I often think about how it molded me. I wrote the first couple of lines of the chorus and immediately knew what the song was about.”

“I also had a wonderful time working on ‘You’ll Find Me, Beija Flor’ with Hector Gachan. I regularly collaborate on other artists’ projects, but this was the first time I’d collaborated on the writing and production for a Butter Bath song.”

From start to finish, Kurrajong Hotel proves an irresistibly radiant listening experience. Opener “Anchor in the Clouds” sets the tone with smoldering, soulful, and full-bodied harmonies that accentuate lyrical memories of escape and physical release. “All my limbs are lying on the ground, and I’ll plug them back in if I ever come ’round,” Anagnostis sings, his golden voice soaring sweetly over a tapestry of bold synths and effected guitars. “I like the way you weigh me down. The anchor that I dropped got stuck in the clouds.” So begins eighteen minutes of pure, unadulterated sun-kissed bliss. “Show Me That You Care” is a hot n’ heavy slow-burner, whilst the title track “Kurrajong Hotel” is an utterly enchanting immersion of multi-part harmony and cool R&B seduction; a particularly strong moment of catchy pop, the tune is reminiscent of some of Troye Sivan and Harry Styles’ latest works, and is a definitive highlight on a set of five undeniable standout tracks.

You said it’s no fun
To walk around thinking you’re the only one
To push through with blind faith
You’re gliding down the steps of all the tracks you take
I’ve been acting earnest
So why’re you always preaching
You put me through the furnace
Your eyes are so beseeching
Surely I have earned it
The right to tell you keep it to yourself
I don’t want your help

Butter Bath © 2022
Butter Bath © 2022

As a lyricist, Butter Bath cites one of the verses from “Please Don’t Be Mad” as a moment of pride and personal delight. “‘I came to put some colour in the pantry, love, playing catch with nettles in your baseball gloves, nothing comes to intervene from above, guess our last insurance prayer must have bounced.’ This verse summarises the themes on the EP – the transition from adolescence to young adulthood and what that meant for the way I saw myself fitting into the world.”

The beauty of Butter Bath’s music is that it works on multiple levels. You can relax and slip away from your body for a while (just like he reminisces about in the EP’s first song), or you can stick around and dwell in the artist’s intimate reveries and reckonings. Either way, by the time this record comes to its close with the colorful and charismatic “You’ll Find Me, Beija Flor,” the natural instinct is to go back to the top and start again. Like the Hotel California, Kurrajong Hotel is one place we seemingly never want to leave – and this time, we’re making that decision for ourselves.

Mistakes in the windows of decisions on bad days
The great lakes make no mention of the ground that slips away
I waded through your stream
Your current muscles me
It takes time to both agree
You’ll find me Beija Flor
Where the river meets the shore
It cannot be ignored
You’ll find me Beija Flor
You’ll find me Beija Flor
Where the river meets the shore
It cannot be ignored
You’ll find me Beija Flor
– “You’ll Find Me, Beija Flor,” Butter Bath & Hector Gachan

“I find that the records that I connect most deeply with are the ones that I am able to interpret loosely and overlay onto the template of my own experiences,” Anagnostis shares. “I hope that people have that experience with Kurrajong Hotel. Being able to work on these songs was a bit of a saving grace during lockdown.” Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Butter Bath’s Kurrajong Hotel with Atwood Magazine as Toby Anagnostis goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his sophomore EP!

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:: stream/purchase Kurrajong Hotel here ::
Stream: ‘Kurrajong Hotel’ – Butter Bath

:: Inside Kurrajong Hotel ::

Kurrajong Hotel - Butter Bath

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Anchor in the Clouds 

I wrote “Anchor in the Clouds” about memories of being at festivals with friends and the feeling of being unencumbered and escaping the regular day-to-day for a while. “Anchor in the Clouds” is about disconnecting from reality and plugging into a seemingly alternate world in far away places.

Show Me That You Care 

Show Me That You Care is about coming to terms with significant changes in my life and the way that people process these changes in different ways. As I have gotten older I have learned that my tendency is to become reclusive and suppress these stressors rather than giving myself the time to process them. This was the first song that I wrote for the EP and I think it set the tone for the songs that came after it. I had a lot of fun writing it.

Kurrajong Hotel 

As a child, you wonder around with a wax-like impressionability and don’t question anything that adults tell you about the world – it’s hard to think critically about a world that you’re new to. Kurrajong Hotel is about unpacking belief systems that characterised the formative years of my life. Growing up in conservative Christian circles left me with a lot of unlearning to do when I reached my late teens and decided to distance myself from it.

Please Don’t Be Mad 

Please Don’t Be Mad is about trying to reconnect with the childhood version of myself and realising that there is a chasm between that kid and the person I am now. Like many of the songs on this EP, it was written during lockdown at a time when I felt physically removed from my family and friends. One way to combat the loneliness was to was dive into fond childhood memories and embellish them in song form at a time when there was little external input in my life.

You’ll Find Me, Beija Flor

In our first session together, Hector Gachan and I spent most of our time together chatting about everything from our respective heritages and politics to the music industry landscape. When it came time to write, the lyrics for “You’ll Find Me, Beija Flor” that we started to come up with were were vague and in some ways impersonal but also, thematically, I think it made complete sense to us because we’d covered so much in conversation. At the time there was a lot of overlap in our lives and I think that translates in the song.

— —

:: stream/purchase Kurrajong Hotel here ::

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Kurrajong Hotel - Butter Bath

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