Band of The Week: Long Beach Folk Pop Band Avi Buffalo

avi buffalo mp3sEighteen-year-old Long Beach, Calif., guitarist and singer/songwriter Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, and his band, Avi Buffalo, have created quite a buzz within the indie music circles during the past year with their impressive folky pop hooks, intriguing lyrics and live shows. So it was no surprise to some when Seattle‘s legendary Sub Pop Records – home of popular indie artists like Band of Horses, The Shins, Iron and Wine, Grand Archives and Blitzen Trapper – signed Avi Buffalo to a record deal last month.

With Isenberg at the helm, Avi Buffalo, consisting of Sheridan Riley (drums), Arin Fazio (bass) and Rebecca Coleman (keyboards and vocals), are now under the wings of one of the finest indie record labels in the business.

Tonight, Nov. 2nd, Avi Buffalo will open for the wildly popular Vampire Weekend in a sold out show at the Art Theatre in Long Beach – clearly an indication of Avi’s rising star status within the indie music scene.

Things started to roll for the band after a couple of well received live performances in 2007 and 2008 led to a meeting with musician and producer Aaron Embry. Before long, Embry – who has worked with musicians like Elliott Smith, Daniel Lanois and Emmylou Harris – was recording Avi Buffalo’s material.

The result of this collaboration is evident on the band’s label debut 7″, due out next month via Sub Pop. The A-side track, “What’s In It For?”, is a jangly guitar driven song with a southern rock twang, and rounded out with well crafted, melodic hooks, Isenberg’s high pitched and quirky vocals (think Wayne Coyne meets Daniel Johnston), and uplifting back-up choruses.

“What’s In It For?”Avi Buffalo from What’s in It For? 7″ (2009)

Isenberg begin recording home demos in 2006 when he was just a sophomore in high school (most of the band members recently graduated from high school; Riley is still a senior), and as recently as this past spring, he was mixing the demos using Macbook Pro Tools and SM58/57. In August, the band independently released five songs via their Bandcamp page, allowing fans to decide how much they would pay for each track.

One of those tracks, “We Can’t Try This Again,” is a lazy, lo-fi acoustic strummer, featuring the following lyrics: no one ever said we can’t try this again/brought it so high, brought me so high/spent too much time in there/don’t know just what you saw. The translation is, perhaps, typical teenage disillusionment with the highs and lows of young love. Near the end of the song, a brief, but edgy, guitar riff shatters the dreamy soundscape, and closes with a chorus of whistling.

“We Can’t Try This Again”Avi Buffalo

If you like what you hear, you can purchase ($1 minimum) more tracks from the band, including “Distaste and Interest”, Avi Buffalo’s first song – written and recorded by Isenberg (when his moniker was Avi Buffalo before it became the band name) when he was only in the 10th grade.

It’s possible that some of these songs will make it on the track listing for the band’s debut full-length album, planned for release in spring of 2010. Avi Buffalo lists musical influences such as Simon and Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, Wilco, Panda Bear and Grizzly Bear. Isenberg recently told BeatCrave: “As much as I’d love to say we’re not pop, we’ve got some poppy stuff going on. I like the way hooks sound, and I like the idea of infiltrating minds with catchy stuff.”

We are looking forward to seeing Avi Buffalo open for the Grand Archives on Nov. 12th in Santa Cruz, Calif. In our review of the show, we will published more tracks from Avi Buffalo, including a couple of hard-to-find songs. In the meantime, listen to more songs on the band’s MySpace page.

Check out a HD quality video of Isenberg discussing his music, with studio out-takes, plus a video of the 7″ B-side track, “Jessica” and a live recording of the song “Remember Last Time”.

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