Bueno lead man Luke Chiaruttini first met Mikey Gagliardi, who plays guitar and sax, on a bus ride home from Catholic school. Mikey threw his shoe at Luke’s head, and then kindly asked for Luke to give it back. It was one of the many quiet rebellions that Mikey, Luke, Joe Imburgio (bass), AJ Pantaleo (drums), and Mike DiBenedetto (guitar) would engage in throughout their adolescent years growing up and fucking up in Staten Island. Whether sneaking in underage for rock shows at the nowdefunct Martini Red, or journeying to the middle of nowhere Staten Island to play packed shows, the guys of Bueno know music at their home base can be an uneven struggle. Yet the borough holds a quiet abundance of creative energy that has pushed Bueno to be as enterprising as any other act throughout the five boroughs.
The band may be done with throwing shoes, but Bueno’s 2015 full length debut, Guilt (out now on Babe City Records), is infused with that same sort of controlled mutiny. The songs are tugged in all manner of direction by the disparate influences that the band mates collected between the high jinks of their Richmond County adolescence. A funky bass line turns on a dime to give hints of postpunk; breakneck guitar riffs journey into fuzzed out distortion only to be abruptly replaced by a jazz sax solo on the following track. Each track bubbles with unpredictability, which might be expected when some songs were devised mere minutes before Bueno hit record. It’s a wellknown secret that Bueno has a penchant for improvisation, and would rather play covers of their own songs than put on an airtight live show. But the frenzy is always anchored by the understated spokenword vocals of Chiaruttini, who writes songs of the guilt, misdirection, and yearning that come from an Italian-American Catholic upbringing such as theirs. Sounding as assed out as the best of them on the Island, Chiaruttini rattles off a wandering array of matteroffact goings on – the local Burger King opening and closing, driving in circles and going nowhere, plodding through just another night on the town. No matter the subject, Bueno resists the pull of their neighboring and more populous boroughs to create rock that could only come from the shores of Staten Island.