Quiet & Peace CD € 14.90 Info
Quiet & Peace LP € 21.90 Info

Reunion? Comeback? In jedem Fall das Ende einer sehr, sehr langen Auszeit! BUFFALO TOM sind wieder da - mit ihrem brandaktuellen Album Three Easy Pieces, das die ersten neuen Studioaufnahmen seit 1998 präsentiert und mit einem Schlag all die alten Fans begeistern wird, die die Hoffnung während der großen Kreativpause nie wirklich aufgegeben hatten. Grund genug gab es ja auch, so hat das Trio aus Boston nie eine offizielle Auflösung bekannt gegeben, im Gegenteil: Gerüchte wurden latent geschürt, auch begeisternde Liveauftritte in unregelmäßigen Abständen fanden immer wieder statt.

Buffalo Tom, das waren und das sind Bill Janovitz (Guitars, Vocals), Chris Colbourn (Bass, Vocals) und Tom Maginnis (Drums). Nie hat es in der über 20-jährigen Bandgeschichte auch nur eine einzige Umbesetzung gegeben! Ende der 80er starteten Buffalo Tom als angesagte Insider/Indietruppe mit den beiden Alben Buffalo Tom (88) und Birdbrain (90), galten anfangs noch wegen des ungehobelten, abrupten Stils in typischer SST Records-Ästhetik und der J Mascis-Connection als "kleiner Bruder" von Dinosaur Jr. Später entwickelten sie einen melodischeren Gitarrenrock zwischen Neil Young & Crazy Horse und Lemonheads, gut nachzuempfinden auf den Alben Let Me Come Over (92) und Big Red Letter Day (93). Ihre musikalische Reise endete dann vorerst im massentauglicheren, dennoch jederzeit niveauvollen Rock/Pop solcher Kapellen wie Semisonic und Marcy Playground. In diese Phase gehören Sleepy Eyed (95) und das bis gestern letzte reguläre Album Smitten (98). Einige Sampler mit mehr oder weniger bekanntem Material hielten die Marke Buffalo Tom auch im neuen Jahrtausend am Leben, Bandleader Bill Janovitz überzeugte mit etlichen Soloprojekten und jüngst mit seiner Gruppe Crown Victoria, Bassist Chris Colbourn nahm eine exquisite Duo/Popscheibe mit seiner Fuzzy-Freundin Hilken Mancini auf, aber ab heute beginnt die wahre neue Zeitrechnung mit Three Easy Pieces!

Independent, Alternative und Guitar Rock... Auch 2007 behalten diese Genrebegriffe ihre unbedingte Gültigkeit, führt ihre Kombination geradewegs zur ungeschminkten, handgemachten Musik von Buffalo Tom. Bereits "Bad Phone Call" als Opener mit seinem typisch schleppenden Rhythmus und dem leicht angesägten, mehrschichtig überlagerten Gitarrensound beweist, dass das Trio nichts verlernt hat, der Titelsong begeistert danach mit einem dieser edlen Refrains, deren Genialität sich selbst dem aufmerksamen Hörer erst nach mehreren Durchgängen vollständig erschließt - das ist subtile Americana Rockmusik mit gesunder Power wie frisch aus dem Fitness-Studio. Das semiakustische "You'll Never Catch Him" sorgt für klangliche Abwechslung, bevor "Bottom Of The Rain" wieder elektrische Fahrt aufnimmt. Und das waren erst 4 von insgesamt 13 erstklassigen Songs - allesamt bandinterne Teamergebnisse, wobei es auffällt, dass Bassist Chris Colbourn erheblich mehr Anteile am Geschehen hat als jemals zuvor. Seine helle Stimme kommt auf der vom Piano bestimmten Ballade "Pendleton", dem Power Pop-Rocker "Renovating", bei "Three Easy Pieces" und "CC And Callas" hervorragend zur Geltung und steht damit im klaren Kontrast zum gewohnt rauen, attraktiv-kratzigen, leicht angedüsterten Organ des Bandchefs. Bill Janovitz nimmt diese neue Herausforderung natürlich dankend an und besticht nicht nur mit seinem charakterstarken Gesang, sondern durch diese enorm versierte, vielschichtige, intelligente Gitarrenarbeit durchweg, insbesondere auf den wenigen langen, über-fünf-minütigen Tracks wie "Hearts Of Palm" und "Thrown". Die stehen mit ihrer sämigen, balladesken Gitarrenrock-Atmosphäre wie Felsen inmitten der Brandung der meist schnellen, dynamischen, kürzeren Nummern. Von denen so einige das Zeug zu echten Hits besitzen!

The kids today, they've got it easy. With all this webernet and porta-twitter happiness happening today, the serious music fans have access to mind blowing amounts of downloadable shit, lp blogs, streaming customized radio - a miasma of cross linked and referenced music geek splendor.
Growing up on the mean streets of upper middle class suburbia, the once skinny white boys of BUFFALO TOM had no such advantage. These boys were faced with the dark reality of checking out laminate-bagged records from the town library and making regular trips to the town dump to look for music scraps in the swap shack. They'd beg their moms to leave them in the city for the day so they could stand in record stores all day reading the backs of LPs, 45s and the insides of fanzines to glean any bit of info about any and every rock band.

And so it was at Buffalo Tom's inception, the trio attempted to put the aggregate heap of their collected knowledge and experience into something cool and maybe even meaningful. They mounted their first (non)legendary college house party gigs - the young, nervous and sweaty former soccer players and stage band vets valiantly performed their rock numbers displaying not fine chops, but certainly impeccable influences(this is excepting perhaps the rumored infatuation by Tom the drummer with the English band Fad Gadget.) Stones, VU, The Clash, Husker Du, Sonic Youth, you know.

Initially, Buffalo Tom appealed mostly to the local pimply rock boys with a lust for fuzz, volume and a show of rock power. But in short time, they were finding some mass success. They quickly found a European audience and record label and their long stints at Hamburg's fabled Kino Disco Strasse marked a scandalous end of innocence for the boys. But in the face of all this, um personal growth, the band was showing a serious talent for melody and pop smarts. Within two years all members were professional enough to face the audience during concerts, Chris and Bill were getting confident enough to sing and not scream for entire god-damn shows and broken guitar strings were peppered, not ladled throughout their sets. Books, movies and poetry were always in the songs somewhere, but by now, the depth that you always suspected was there, you could actually be certain was, in fact, there.

Buffalo Tom songs work because of their tendency to disarm you with their hot bloodedness and then surprise you with some very smart, sharp lyrics. Not sure about this, but they seem to be singing about eyesockets, clobbered mountains, a Ford Pinto, soiled laundry, ghosts, demons, drugs, and a mass of bloody heartbreak.
The band followed the indie-cool SST records days with bigger deals with Beggars Banquet and various stateside labels including RCA, Elektra and Polydor.

Flash way forward past a stack of great records and eventually a nine year break from record making, Buffalo Tom is back with the new CD, Three Easy Pieces. This new one marks a return to a ramshackle, piecemeal style of record making that the band started with. Middle to later period Buffalo Tom records were done with band members meeting up to exchange personally recorded demos, weeding them out, writing and rehearsing for six months or a year and booking a studio to record and mix the whole record over a month or so, all in one fell swoop. But on this new one, the band went into the rehearsal studio and threw hooks and melodies at each other in real time, rarely analyzing or even talking about the music. The music was allowed to sprout organically or die in the same way. Recording mostly live in one room at at Q Division Studios in Boston, the songs keep a spontaneous feel.

The records starts with a steady amble in "Bad Phone Call", with Chris and Bill trading vocals parts that touch on guilt, longing, sadness and redemption. Any ordinary bloke will relate to the song and Buffalo Tom all told, because while the band invites you to feel the pain, they never deliver it in a big sad-sack. In "You'll Never Catch Him", Bill could be singing about confronting a friend; "I went to face him, You know I almost hurt him, I had so many questions but he had to leave." In fact the song grew out of an exchange Bill had with his daughter in his backyard. As she was chasing a chipmunk, he told her, "you'll never catch him," Her response; "that's what everybody says to me."
The track "Three Easy Pieces" describes starting your own family, blindly trying to keep everything in order, then seeing the only thing you can rely on in the end is chaos - you can't really control anything. The song wisely embraces the chaos with guitars and drums that spit at each other one moment but find a nice flow and harmony the next. And just like the folks in the song, Buffalo Tom has learned some lessons about control. Bill says, when talking about making records, "I think the band started to get too controlling of variables that we assumed we knew how to control, like songwriting and recording. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing." So while the more tightly controlled records wrought great results, getting back to something more improvisational was the perfect spark.

This is all classic BT, full of soaring vocals, sometimes punky, warm, occasionally weird, with cinematic sweep and real beauty all in there. There is a miracle in the hooking up of these guys - the good fortune of a few pals finding each other and bringing exactly the right combustive, combative elements to make a great band.

One Response to “Artists”

  • Paul Lacques sagt:

    Yo, Edgar, what’s going on with „Live And Never Learn?“ Why aren’t you returning our emails? Are you manufacturing? Should we re-press our own CD? We’re planning on getting CDs from you, but if that’s not happening give us some notice so we don’t show up in UK with no CDs.

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