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Buffalo Tom

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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 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. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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