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Buffalo Tom
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
 
   
 
BUFFALO TOM
::: LIVE ::: Tripod, Dublin - Friday May 30th
SOUNDTRACK 08 - The Soundtrack to the summer

"Three Easy Pieces" ~ Out Now on Ammal Records / New West Records
www.buffalotom.com / www.myspace.com/buffalotom2007

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Back in July 2007 , Buffalo Tom returned after a nine-year absence of recorded material with their much anticipated seventh studio effort Three Easy Pieces. The album was the first release from Danny Goldberg’s newly formed Ammal Records, an imprint through New West Records.

Goldberg says, “Buffalo Tom has long been one of my favorite bands. I’m so happy that this brilliant new collection will be the first release on Ammal.”

Buffalo Tom are original members Bill Janovitz (guitar, vocals), Chris Colbourn (bass, vocals) and Tom Maginnis (drums). Recorded and produced by the band in their hometown of Boston, Three Easy Pieces marks a celebratory return to form. The album is 13 original guitar-driven pop songs and includes the infectious opening track “Bad Phone Call” and standouts “Pendleton” and “You’ll Never Catch Him”. Colbourn says, “We didn't talk a lot in rehearsals writing Three Easy Pieces—we just watched each other and improvised chords, lyrics and jokes. That’s something we learned to do after playing together for 20 years.”

Formed in 1986 in Boston at the University of Massachusetts, Buffalo Tom gained a following among the burgeoning local scene. In 1989, they released their eponymous debut on SST Records and went on to release four albums for Beggars Banquet including their break-through Let Me Come Over (1992), which features the power ballad and fan favorite “Taillights Fade.” In 2000 they released the compilation Asides from Buffalo Tom, followed by its companion piece Besides: A Collection of B-Sides and Rarities in 2002. Since the release of Buffalo Tom’s last album of new material, Smitten (1998), the band has continued to play shows. After a brief hiatus, they began writing and recording again in 2003. A national tour in support of Three Easy Pieces will be announced shortly.


 
 
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Buffalo Tom is back with a much-anticipated seventh studio effort, Three Easy Pieces. The album is the first release from Danny Goldberg’s newly formed Ammal Records, an imprint through New West Records.

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.

Discography:

Self-titled LP (SST/ Megadisc)
Birdbrain (Beggars Banquet/RCA)
Let Me Come Over (Beggars Banquet/RCA)
Big Red Letter Day (Beggars Banquet/ Elektra)
Sleepy Eyed (Beggars Banquet/ Elektra)
Smitten (Beggars Banquet/ Polydor)
Compilations :
Asides (Beggars Banquet)

 
 
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