Buffalo Killers return with new album, 3
By Kyle MeltonIn the current musical climate, much of the current crop of indie talents perpetually invent yet new sub-genres on a near-weekly basis, further severing ties to rock ‘n’ roll’s fertile roots. Cincinnati trio Buffalo Killers, however, find that drawing from ‘60s and ‘70s rock icons continues to provide fresh ideas filled with a tunefulness and musical vocabulary that is indebted to rock’s golden era with a refreshing vibrancy. Buffalo Killers will celebrate the release of their latest album, 3, with a show at Canal Street Tavern on Friday.
Formed in 2006 out of the ashes of garage favorites Thee Shams, brothers Zac and Andy Gabbard [bass and guitar, respectively] teamed up with drummer Joey Sebaali to create a unique sound rooted in the likes of Neil Young, Cream, James Gang and late-period Beatles. On the strength of their first two releases, 2008’s Let It Ride and 2006’s eponymous album, Buffalo Killers found themselves rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Black Crowes, with whom they spent extended periods on the road supporting. Earlier this year, the band teamed up with Daytonian Kelley Deal of the Breeders to cover a Guided By Voices song for the Sing For Your Meat tribute.
“The Deal sisters invited us to play the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival that they were curating – which was a really great experience for us,” Zac recalled. “Later the GBV opportunity came about and Kelley got in touch with us to record the song. We recorded it, with [recording engineer] Mike [Montgomery], in one night.”
Teaming up with fellow Cincinnatian Mike Montgomery to work at his Candyland Studios, the Buffalo Killers continue to evolve their sound, working diligently on songcraft.
“Andy and I went in and starting recording acoustic demos of the songs with Mike just to get them down and have something to build off of,” said Zac. “We did that over the course of a few months and then started playing the songs out live. When we were finally happy with the arrangements, we went back to Mike and recorded them live over a few weekends. We figured out along the way that we work really well with Mike. He has a great ear and really understands the band.”
The results of their collaboration shine throughout the new record, 3. As the previously released “Huma Bird” opens the disc and is immediately followed by the propulsive “Circle Day,” the disc is sprinkled alternately with ethereal psychedelia of “Lily of the Valley” and “All Turn to Cloud” and the hypnotic rock grooves of “Mountain Sally” and “Time Was Shaping,” with brothers Gabbard delivering soaring vocal melodies with a timeless appeal. As the trio continues to hone their own dynamics, they invited several guests to contribute to the new record, adding additional sonic textures that further enhance the band’s inviting presentation.
“We asked Kelley [Deal] if she would like to sit in on one of our songs and she came in and did her own thing just like everyone who contributed to the album,” explained Zac. “We really wanted to have this organic experience and create together instead of driving someone to do something specific. All of these people are professionals and we really love the end result of these sessions.”
Although the Buffalo Killers’ sound may sound like a retro endeavor for some, the band stands defiant against the whims of current trends, resorting instead to seeking musical solace in the streams that have run deep and wide throughout American musical traditions.
“People love to label people. We play straight-forward rock ‘n’ roll – for some that reads as throwback music, for others it is a welcome respite from the current direction of music. I think there is more than enough room for everyone who wants to play the type of music that appeals to them and more than enough ears to enjoy each type of music.”
Buffalo Killers will celebrate the release of ‘3’ with a show on Friday, July 15 at Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First St. Also on the bill is R. Ring. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $7 for 18 & up. For more information, visit buffalokillers.com.
Reach DCP Music Editor Kyle Melton at MusicEditor@DaytonCityPaper.com and read his blog at thebuddhaden.net.