Wednesday, August 8, 2012
REVIEW: Buffalo Killers - Dig. Sow. Love. Grow.
Blues-rock purveyors Alive/Naturalsound Records have done it again - they've brought you another act that, while hitting all kinds of pleasurable retro touchpoints, is playing its own take on all that old stuff. Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers combine influences like the organic guitar work of Crazy Horse and the earthy rock rhythm work of The James Gang into a whole that, if not greater, certainly honors the sum of its parts.
Lead track "Get It" (available for free download here, from relix.com) is a straight-ahead heavy blues rocker, well-played, with a heavy guitar base over some rocking piano work and some twangy, psychedelic vocals. It's a very engaging combination, but it's far from the only trick in their bag. Next one, "Hey Girl", is more melodic and slower-paced, building over an extremely simple vocal line with some engaging guitar effects (and a couple of well-placed solos). The third song, "Blood On Your Hands", and especially "Those Days", bring back wonderful memories of James Gang Rides Again, but again, they're their own band. The slide guitar in "Rollin Wheel" - well, I'm channelling Duane Allman. Not sure if that's what they intended, but it's a good thing either way, especially when paired up with some of those psychedelic vocals. Brothers Zachary and Andrew Gabbard share vocal duties and play the guitar and bass.
Here's a good video of them performing "I Am Always Here", a good example of their style and evidence that they can deliver in a live setting:
And special mention is warranted by the excellent drummer Joseph Sebaali. At every turn, while the vocals, guitars and piano are moving here and there, he forms a rock-solid and rocking base. Songs like "Those Days" especially benefit from his skill. There are quick changes and hairpin turns, and it all comes together organically, in large part to Sebaali's work on the bottom.
We first heard these guys on the wonderful Alive/Naturalsound compilation Where Is Parker Griggs?, and while that means we are perhaps late to the game on Buffalo Killers, we are happily working our way through the back catalog. For me, this stands as their apex.
This is a terrific, and very welcome, record. You can listen, for now, at Relix.
It's available to buy at Alive/Naturalsound and Bomp!
They'll be on tour, too (with more dates promised soon):
08.10 Louisville Glassworks - Louisville, KY
08.11 Canal Street Tavern - Dayton, OH (Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. Record Release Show!)
08.16 The Glasslands - Brooklyn, NY
08.17 Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar - Buffalo, NY
08.18 Happy Dog - Cleveland, OH
08.23 UltraSession - Cincinnati, OH
10.02 20th Century Theatre - Cincinnati, OH w/ The Sheepdogs
10.04 Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH w/ The Sheepdogs
10.05 The Shelter - Detroit, MI w/ The Sheepdogs
10.07 7th St. Entry - Minneapolis, MN w/ The Sheepdogs