Long Beach’s Avi Buffalo comes back after four years with a great new album, At Best Cuckold. Opening track “So What” reveals gleaming guitars and casually brattiness that shows Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg and his band cleaning up some of the psych clutter from their still excellent debut in favor of a streamlined sound, but they’re still weirdos at heart. Serpentine lullaby “Memories of You” softly jangles with country-rock guitars, proggy touches and funny lyrics like “bitch I’m on fire…I’m a cheeseball on fire.” It speaks to the band’s ability to reference classic bands while putting out their own vibe. It’s hard to pull off a “Here Comes a Regular”-style vulnerable acoustic-guitar song like “Two Cherished Understand,” and Avi Buffalo does it by keeping it short, sweet and ultimately unique. Part of that uniqueness comes from Zahner-Isenberg’s way with a non sequitur—“I ran over two dogs, then I ate them after,” he admits amid a fizzy Western backdrop on “Think It’s Gonna Happen Again.” And he gives the best breakup line of the year on “Oxygen Tank,” singing, “A man carrying an oxygen tank is gonna come kill me and my family too if I don’t stop seeing you.” The Flaming Lips comparison still haunts them a bit, yet these songs still have personality for days, so who cares, ultimately. “These birds seem so fucking free/they're nothing compared to me” Zahner-Isenberg sings faux-sweetly on “Overwhelmed With Pride,” and it’s tough not to believe him. Avi Buffalo will be at Amoeba SF Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. and Amoeba Hollywood Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.
FYF Fest is this weekend — tickets are still available here — at the LA Historic State Park Saturday. The lineup features Descendents, Death From Above 1979, Explosions in the Sky, Broken Social Scene, Guided By Voices, the Dead Milkmen, Girls, No Age and more. Check back here later this weekend for my review of the event, including a preview show at Los Globos (!) tonight with Chromatics and Glass Candy. F yeah, indeed. (BT dubs, I'll always link to a record first, then a CD if I can't find it on record.)
In preparation, I made a list of 10 great records from the lineup of the show. Check it out.
Lots of people know Alien Lanes and Bee Thousand (get them now if you don't!) but Propeller is another solid-to-great GBV album with great shoutalong chorus four-track gems like “Exit Flagger.” They'd release stronger material later on, but this charmingly lo-fi album was self-released at the same time Nirvana's Nevermind and a bunch of grunge albums would change the alternative landscape forever. While out of step then, it sounds positively prescient now.
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.
"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."
-By Scott Butterworth
There comes a time in every boy’s life when he spreads his wings and becomes a man. For me it was moving from Northern California (Modesto) to San Diego to attend San Diego State University in the Fall of 2002. Moving away from home for college is a coming of age ritual that many in this country are familiar with. But as soon as you get to San Diego State, you realize there is a more highly celebrated coming of age ritual looming ahead of you: the fifteen minute drive south across the border (often by party bus) to Tijuana, Mexico, to take part in whatever it is that you’re not old enough to do in the U.S. But for me, my first trip to “TJ” wasn’t the usual first weekend of Freshmen year as a reaction to newfound freedom away from the parents. My first venture across the border was toward the end of college (late 2006, I think?) when my friends and I were hungry for some legendary TJ tacos and heard about a few local San Diego bands and DJs doing a show in TJ one weekend, headlined by something or someone called MSTRKRFT. I was a little nervous heading across the border for the first time, but my friends were self proclaimed “regulars,” so they promised “everything will be just fine."