Buffalo Tom – redux

Some people do not know when to stop. Endowed with a seemingly endless reserve of shamelessness, they trudge out the same crap year in year out, saggy asses in tow and a truckload of botox to show for their efforts. Yes. Rolling Stones, I am talking about you. Give it up Dinosaurs!

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Formed in the mid 80’s Bostonians melodic rockers, Buffalo Tom, made 6 critically acclaimed albums before putting the band into cold storage. There was never any official word on the fate of the band and the name slipped through the cracks of our collective musical memory. At the tail end of their tenure 2 compilations of A-sides and B-sides respectively served as footnotes to a career marred by lukewarm public interest.

But the general music-appreciating public is moronic. How do you explain the exorbitant price of a Rolling Stones concert ticket and their fans’ willingness to part with hard-earned cash for said ticket? The same people also exalt the vocal capabilities of Mariah Carey who, to these ears, sounds like a banshee slowly being strangled.

Being revered by a small group of pop-geeks have never translated into any sustainable income for anybody no matter how great they are. And Buffalo Tom is great. Bringing together raunchy, guitar-propelled rock with an uncanny ear for sumptuously skeletal melodic hooks, they are a cross between the Replacements and Husker Du, the veritable twin prongs of 80’s American indie rock. In Bill Janovitz, the band has a hopeless romantic of a song writer who never shies away from wearing his fragile heart on his sleeves.

I’ve hit the wall
I’m about to fall
But I’m closing in on it
I feel so weak
On a losing streak
Watch my taillights fade to black

In lesser hands all this crying-into-beer stuff would sound stupid but with Janovitz’s cracking voice, the words take on an added dimension of pathos. Ably supported by bassist Chris Colbourn and drummer Tom Maginnis, they created some heart-felt and ultimately life-reaffirming power rock in their heydays.

After 9 years, they are back and the world is a better place for it. l_c552b03bb2baf60744d880347f22aaf7“Three Easy Pieces” is the name of a collection of 13 new Buffalo Tom songs and more often than not, they hit the spot and then some. I would hazard a guess that they have finally created their masterpiece and you can sing and play air guitar to it too. I guess they had all the time on their hands to write these gems and that’s just what they are, no more no less. In a few tracks they have anthems fit for some smallish nations (take a bow, ‘Three Easy Pieces’, ‘CC & Callas’, and ‘September Shirt’). The sound has not dated an iota and in the current atmosphere of A & R-manufactured pap panned off as alternative music, a much needed breathe of fresh air akin to opening a window in a roomful of rotting vegetables.

Rolling Stones could learn a thing or two from these guys.

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