Only one member of Avi Buffalo -- playing Fri/23 at the Independent and Wed/28 at Amoeba-- has reached drinking age, but the SoCal band's sound is drenched in aged whisky and cheap beer. A shot of their genuinely '70s rock burns in your chest but tastes smooth on your tongue, making it hard to believe such a vintage sound can come from a group with fresh ink on their high school diplomas.
Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, who goes by Avi, grew up skateboarding around his hometown, but never seemed to calm his shaky knees. Looking for a hobby that didn't threaten cuts and bruises, Avi picked up the guitar and started taking lessons from the local blues guy in town. That bluesy attitude stuck to his strings and is still rooted beneath the band's psychedelic guitar groves today, along with the sounds of his fellow schoolmates, now bandmates, on drums, keys and bass.
The self-titled debut release [SubPop, 2010] came out earlier this month; a clover-sweet collection of ten tracks that sound like somewhere between a chill version of MGMT's first record and a more intimate version of Band of Horses. I'm in love with "What's in It For?", a mellow, mock-epic number that's simple lyrics contain just enough self-absorbed wisdom to make me tick. I'm completely in love with the simple innocence of this band. "What's in in for someone with nothing to do? What's in it for me?" Avi sneers on the track with his scratchy young voice, frustrated over a worthless love. But my ultimate favorite line: "Your lips are tiny and look like little pieces of bacon."
Check this uber intimate version of the song-- I smile every time his little voice squeaks on the high notes and even more so when he giggles awkwardly at the end.
Avi Buffalo w/The Japandroids
Fri/23, 9pm, $15
628 Divisadero, SF
or check out their in-store performance:
Wed/28, 6pm, Free
1855 Haight, SF