14 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Buffalo Tom has always been an unassuming band with great talents. Singer Bill Janovitz, with his solo work and with Buffalo Tom, has proven to be one of the music’s best kept secrets. What the group’s cult has always enjoyed is accessible to everyone. “She’s Not Your Thing” is classic rock by sound and alternative rock by name, since the band emerged between 1989-1998 when that was what music with distorted guitars and ‘60s-pop like melodies got called. There’s no reason for fans of Elvis Costello, Squeeze and R.E.M not be to completely charmed by the unpretentious tunes found here in abundance. “Down” sounds like a great interior monologue. “Don’t Forget Me” and “Paper Knife” are the kind of Paul Westerberg ballads that always won over serious hearts. “Miss Barren Brooks” adds an electric piano tune to the mix. “Guilty Girls,” “Here I Come” and “Lost Weekend” are Midwestern rockers, while “Out of the Dark” is an organ-driven piece of dramatic songplay that’s as close to the arena as these clubland boys are likely to get, through no fault of their own.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Buffalo Tom has always been an unassuming band with great talents. Singer Bill Janovitz, with his solo work and with Buffalo Tom, has proven to be one of the music’s best kept secrets. What the group’s cult has always enjoyed is accessible to everyone. “She’s Not Your Thing” is classic rock by sound and alternative rock by name, since the band emerged between 1989-1998 when that was what music with distorted guitars and ‘60s-pop like melodies got called. There’s no reason for fans of Elvis Costello, Squeeze and R.E.M not be to completely charmed by the unpretentious tunes found here in abundance. “Down” sounds like a great interior monologue. “Don’t Forget Me” and “Paper Knife” are the kind of Paul Westerberg ballads that always won over serious hearts. “Miss Barren Brooks” adds an electric piano tune to the mix. “Guilty Girls,” “Here I Come” and “Lost Weekend” are Midwestern rockers, while “Out of the Dark” is an organ-driven piece of dramatic songplay that’s as close to the arena as these clubland boys are likely to get, through no fault of their own.

TITLE TIME

About Buffalo Tom

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. Comprising guitarist/vocalist Bill Janovitz, bassist/vocalist Chris Colbourn, and drummer Tom Maginnis, Buffalo Tom began to develop their own style with their second album, 1990's Birdbrain, which featured a noticeable improvement in songwriting.

In 1992, Buffalo Tom released Let Me Come Over, a gritty set of driving rock and achingly melancholy ballads; several of its tracks became alternative radio staples, including the gorgeous ballad "Taillights Fade." Despite an increased amount of critical praise and some radio airplay, the album didn't sell. The follow-up, 1993's Big Red Letter Day, featured a more polished, radio-ready production, but the album received only a small push from radio and MTV. "Soda Jerk," the first single from the album, became a minor alternative radio and MTV hit. After a yearlong tour, the group returned in the summer of 1995 with Sleepy Eyed, a return to the more direct sound of Let Me Come Over. Smitten followed in 1998, and two years later a best-of, Asides from Buffalo Tom, arrived.

Almost a decade of inactivity followed, but things weren't over for Buffalo Tom; they returned in 2007 with an appearance at SXSW and a new full-length album on the New West label, Three Easy Pieces. Skins, the band's eighth studio album, arrived in early 2011 through their own Scrawny Records label. From this point onward, Buffalo Tom were for the most part retired, but the band periodically reunited for live shows. In 2017, after Beggars Banquet released an expanded 25th anniversary edition of Let Me Come Over, the trio reconvened for a short run of dates in the United States and Europe. Following the tour, Buffalo Tom went into the studio, returning to material they began recording in 2016. March 2018 saw the release of their ninth album, Quiet and Peace, which included ten original songs as well as a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy in New York." ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

ORIGIN
Boston, MA
FORMED
1986

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