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Buffalo Tom

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Album Review

Asides From Buffalo Tom was a superb de facto "Buffalo Tom's Greatest Hits" album, which compiled 18 turntable hits and audience favorites from the group's six albums. The flip side of their story is told, quite literally, on Besides: A Collection of B-Sides and Rarities, which brings together 19 songs from singles, EPs, and compilation albums, all of which never made it onto a proper Buffalo Tom album. While Asides From Buffalo Tom painted a vivid portrait of the evolution of this band's sound, Besides is an equally compelling look into the nooks, crannies, and less-obvious details of their music — their occasional bursts of sloppy enthusiasm, their frequent playfulness, their willingness to follow an idea into the unknown and come back again, and their genuine affection for other people's work (seven of the 19 songs are covers). Hearing Buffalo Tom tear into Bob Dylan's "She Belongs to Me" and George Harrison's "Wah Wah" with the gritty enthusiasm of a garage band is almost reason enough itself to buy this disc, but Besides also finds them paying homage to contemporaries Teenage Fanclub and the Spinanes, and on their own material they display a willingness to push harder, laugh louder, and walk the ledge from a higher level than they would on their "real" material. Where Asides From Buffalo Tom is a great introduction to the band for beginners, Besides: A Collection of B-Sides and Rarities is in the best sense a loving gesture for the fans — the loud stuff is louder and the quiet stuff is quieter than what this band usually had to offer, but every cut here rings clear with heart and soul and offers a splendid reminder of why this band matters. In short, not for everyone, but if you're any kind of a fan, you'll find plenty here to love.


Formed: 1986 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When they released their first album in 1989, the Boston-based trio Buffalo Tom were written off as Dinosaur Jr. junior. Admittedly, their debut was in debt to J Mascis' thundering guitar and folk-tinged songs and it didn't help that Mascis produced the record, either. Over time, Buffalo Tom stripped away their grungier influences and developed into a straight-ahead rock group of the early '90s, capable of throttling rockers and beautiful ballads. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Bill Janovitz, bassist/vocalist...
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Besides, Buffalo Tom
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