Friday, April 30, 2010

2010 Progress Report: Avi Buffalo record release

For the past year or so I've given a good deal of love to LA's (well, technically Long Beach's) favorite youngsters, quirky pop quartet Avi Buffalo. So I was way excited when they got signed to SubPop and finally recorded a solid album's worth of songs.

I remember seeing them at the Echo in July 2009 and being floored at how much they'd improved from just a few months previous. I took a friend from out of town to that show and was a little concerned about how she'd enjoy it, but once they took the stage I knew that was obviously not going to be an issue. They were so poised and awesome, and as I darted back and forth trying to get some good shots in I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

The long-awaited Avi Buffalo dropped this week and it's grown on me to the point where I'll have "Summer Cum" or "Remember Last Time" stuck in my head after the morning commute, and then it'll play on KCRW in my boss's office and I can't escape it (nor do I want to, though). These are songs that sit on the front porch with you with a glass of lemonade or a beer in the afternoon; late spring/early summer was the perfect time for this album to come out. They're unassuming and a little sweet, but intricate when you listen for all the details -- especially the words. When I first heard the opening lines to "Where's Your Dirty Mind" I knew this was a band to take seriously. And then in the chorus they were talking about wanting to die, and not wanting to die, but not in the really-bad-poetry way you'd expect from high schoolers. But I may've found a new favorite line in the ballad/borderline classic rock tune "Jessica": "I can't tell when something's real/nobody tells me how they feel/it's always right beneath my nose/and if that's just the way it goes/someone won't be there when you fall."

Avi's plaintive falsetto brings the charm and quirk quotient, and vocalist/keyboardist Rebecca Coleman steps to the forefront for the first time in "one last," a folky ditty that takes the band out of their comfort zone. other highlights include the whimsical "Summer Cum,'' (probably the best example of the lemonade-on-the-porch-in-summer aesthetic) and my absolute old favorite "What's In It For."

I love that there's no lead/rhythm guitar dynamic, and that Avi never just strums his way through a song. Almost everything he plays is a lead line to complement the vocals, and Coleman, bassist Arin Fazio and drummer Sheridan Riley round out the tunes without ever stepping on each other's parts. Check out the end of "Remember Last Time" to hear a band that knows how to work together, not to mention write a killer outro.

I'm going to insist you head to the not yet sold out album release party at the Troubadour this Saturday if you're in Los Angeles. It's a great venue, and this event is a long time coming! (if you couldn't already tell by now) I'm sure there'll be lots of locals who are stoked on this band's big day. Not to mention all 4 are just super sweet people who've paid their dues and deserve every bit of what's coming their way -- which actually includes some European tour dates in May and then summer dates with Modest Mouse and Blitzen Trapper.

Though this won't be the last you hear from me on Avi Buffalo, for now I leave you with a couple tunes from the new album:

"Remember Last Time"
"What's In It For"

Avi Buffalo on the road:

May 01 Troubadour, Hollywood, CA (record release show)
May 30 Sasquatch! Festival, Gorge, WA
Jul 01 Royal Oak Theater (MI), Royal Oak, MI *
Jul 02 Royal Oak Theater (MI), Royal Oak, MI *
Jul 03 Summerfest (WI), Milwaukee, WI *
Jul 06 Crossroads, Kansas City, MO *
Jul 08 Twlight Concert Series, Salt Lake City, UT *
Jul 23 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR $
Jul 27 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN $
Jul 28 Turner Hall, Milwaukee, WI $
Jul 30 Pier 17 / South Street Seaport (NY), New York, NY ^
Aug 04 Majestic Theater (MI), Detroit, MI $
Aug 05 Vogue, The, Indianapolis, IN $
Sep 04 All Tomorrows Parties - NY, Monticello, NY

* w/ Modest Mouse
$ w/ Blitzen Trapper
^ w/ Neon Indian

1 comment:

Robin Danar said...

I am totally addicted to this disk. great call, great review.