avi buffalo: the best emo is going to get

May 7, 2010

Just a quick note on Long Beach infant terribles Avi Buffalo, whose self-titled debut album came out on SubPop last week: it’s fucking good. All the taunting I’ve received about my high school musical tastes has gone out the window and the album’s whimsical strums and high-pitched innocence full of Long-Beach-summer-vibes reverts me back to when I taped papers scrawled with heartfelt Saves the Day lyrics on my bedroom wall. Maybe it’s because I live in the band’s hometown (and watched them play school-night house shows when they were still attending Millikan High) that I actually get the city/experiences that have made the mostly-18 year-olds musically wise beyond their years, but the band’s grasp on converting what could easily be whiny teenage notebook scrawl into mature, universal tunes is one that could only be possessed by members of this young urban-ish tribe.

Emo might have turned into under-attended Warped Tours full of black-decked My Chemical Romance wannabes, but band namesake and singer/songwriter/guitarist Avi Zahner-Isenberg brings it back to the heart-on-the-sleeve, foul-mouthed earnestness of late 90s emotional rock while infusing it with the Facebook-gen’s love of vintage folk sounds.

Ironically giving overly emotional singers more shit to cry about, this debut album (from a band whose members–and I know they hate harping on the age factor–were all born in the 90s) goes where many bands have attempted to go before (see Limbeck’s folk phase), but with innocent romance and cum references that Bamboozle bands can only dream of.

Where was Avi Buffalo when I was in high school? Oh, yeah. elementary school.

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