Monday, July 9th, 2007
Three Easy Pieces
Having already seen the resurrected Buffalo Tom twice this year – once at SxSW and again at NxNE, there wasn’t the sort of trepidation you might normally have when approaching a beloved band’s comeback album – in this case, Three Easy Pieces, out tomorrow. Those performances proved that they still had the fire and energy of a much younger band and the new material didn’t sound out of place alongside the classics but still – I didn’t expect the album as a whole to impress as much as it does.
Unlike other more high-profile reunions making the rounds this Summer, the Buffalo Tom story doesn’t come with a lot of excess baggage or drama. The band never officially disbanded – they just set about getting jobs and starting families when they reached the age where people do such things. They continued to play one-off shows here and there, but eventually decided that without new material it was starting to feel a little too much like a nostalgia act, hence the new record. And it really does sound like they picked up where they left off – there’s no indication that the boys have mellowed with age or that they’ve even been away for as long as they have.
The recipe doesn’t stray far from that which made Let Me Come Over and Big Red Letter Day staples of college radio in the 90s. Bill Janovitz’s rasp trades off with Chris Colbourn’s boyish vocals overtop strummy ballads and barn-burning rockers and while there might be a little less angst in the brew, the anthemic earnestness and yearning remain. But excepting maybe the first two records, and even that’s not necessary if you strip away some of J Mascis’ white noise production, Buffalo Tom have always been incredibly consistent from record to record in sound, style and songwriting and even a nine-year layover hasn’t disrupted that streak. Anyone who has any interest in the existence of this album, and based on the enthusiasm of the crowd at that SxSW show there’s still a lot of them, should find nothing whatsoever to be disappointed in here and anyone who isn’t interested, well it’s their loss.
Naturally, their return has piqued the interest of their hometown media – The Boston Globe and The Phoenix talk to band about the end of the first phase of their career, their time off and their return.
Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips gives The AV Club a survival guide for Summer concert festivals. The outhouse tips are all well and good but he neglects to mention the benefits of giant plastic bubbles for maintaining personal space and UFOs for quick arrivals and departures from the festival grounds.
Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino took some time to talk to JAM! about Our Love To Admire during their recent Canadian tour while The Sun scores face time with Paul Banks and Daniel Kessler. The album is out tomorrow.
Austin’s Peter & the Wolf are at the Music Gallery on August 10.
The Guardian goes on a quest for the lost soul of the UK indie scene and coming up with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Art Brut. I have to think they can do a little better than that…? Tangentially, Art Brut’s Eddie Argos contributed a piece to Filter, also pondering the state of the UK indie scene and dividing it into two camps he calls “Crackheads” and “Gang Of Fours”.
And congrats to recent contest winners – Hijab gets the Ryan Adams lithograph, Derek and Ginette are going to see Cat Power and a different Tom won each night of the Built To Spill giveaways.