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Friday, October 1 • 8:15pm - 8:45pm
Young Buffalo

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"In wilder times, man hunted for survival or to prove his worthiness to
pass along his DNA. This modern life requires no such effort. But the
compulsive nature of man leads us to search none-the-less, scouring
the city for the best taco or the perfect lamp. Obsession is a modern
man’s hunger, and no variation of man knows this deep-pitted yearning
more than the music fanatic. We track our prey on the interwebz and
through the record stores, flipping through racks of records and
reading tomes of reviews with a junkie-like fever, searching for the
next morsel to sate our urges. We have a yearning in the pits of our
soul that is as real as any physical craving.

In truth, we can never get enough. It is as if our record collections
are somehow the measure by which our worthiness is now measured, and
we consume as if our genes depended on it. But sometimes in our
journeys, we can stumble into something so satisfying that we can just
kick back in our caves and give our restless search a respite.

In late February of 2010, me and a group of like-minded brothers
rambled into Jackson’s Ole Tavern on George Street. We were coming
from a banquet in our suits and ties, hoping to find a drink and not
much more. But for creatures such as we, the hunger is always boiling
below the surface. As we entered the building and made our way up the
stairs, a soaring sound echoed off the walls and into our minds. With
intricate harmonies that recalled the playfulness of Feels-era Animal
Collective and a crisply fast-tempo guitar that was equal parts Surf
and Graceland-era Paul Simon, our interests were piqued. What we found
was a band of young men on stage whose youthful appearance belied the
maturity and complexity of what we were hearing.
Our eyes narrowed as we drew a bead on them, stalking quietly from the
shadows. Who were these guys with their fancy tunes and their modern
pants? Our inquiries would be answered by the barkeep, with
uncertainty: “Young Buffalo?” I would find out who this Young Buffalo
was, as I approached their singer/guitarist, Jim Barrett, for the real
word {and later the rest of the band through the miracle of the

Young Buffalo, as it turns out, was a newly-formed band from Oxford
that had only been playing together a few months at the time. Despite
the brevity of their union, Barrett had formed a tight and dynamic
sound with keyboardist Alex Von Hardberger and bassist Ben Yarbrough.
“We played together some in high school {in rural Taylor, MS}, and
then they {Barrett and Von Hardberger} asked if I wanted to join this
new band…” Yarbrough recalls. “We all wrote our own songs, and we just
kind of play through them and add our own parts” Barrett adds. That
dynamic of individual creativity and freedom has served the band well,
as they’ve managed to forge a cohesively complex sound out of the

They sound familiar, but in a way that makes their music instantly
accessible while not being derivative. “We drew a lot of inspiration
from The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Neutral Milk Hotel, and some indie
groups like Animal Collective…” Barrett stated. Amazingly, as I
listened to a demo recording of their songs, it wasn’t exaggeration to
say that Young Buffalo, at moments, held their own with the bands that
have influenced them. Could they build on these moments of brilliance?
It may be unfair to ask that much of such a young band, but their
first recorded efforts confirm the high promise of their live

On “New Beat” and “Speak EZ,” the band channel’s Fleet Foxes’
harmonies and song structure while adding a more modern flavor, via
their instrumentation, that is far more clean-shaven than mountain
man. Snow Angels, in addition to a wonderfully melodic chorus,
features a killer guitar solo that reveals not only good songwriting
and vocalization, but surprising musicianship. But it is on
“Catapilah,” that the band’s potential is truly revealed. Barrett’s
crisp guitar playing creates an energetic pace while Von Hardberger’s
keys subtly add textures as the song builds to a memorable crescendo
in the chorus where harmonies soar higher and higher. Barrett sings
“…you get what you put into it” before the rest of the band breaks in
with a playful and creative vocal breakdown that recall’s Feels-era
Animal Collective in both structure and tone. The imagination and
musicianship on this song, more so than any of their others, leads you
to believe that Young Buffalo’s first record could be something that
garners national attention, should they be able to sustain it over a
full-length release. But these recordings confirmed what we suspected
the moment we heard them that night in the stairwell - these guys were
something special.

As we left that night, our unexpected hunt successful, our hungers had
been satisfied completely. Young Buffalo was exactly what we went out
into the city nights looking for, a band so new that no one had heard
of them, yet so good that everyone you know would very soon know them
well. We had found the white buffalo in Young Buffalo, a sight so rare
and special that you take it back to your homes and tell others about
it in words that would seem like hyperbole had you not been there to
witness it yourself.

----Chris Nolen, Hymnalzine"

Friday October 1, 2010 8:15pm - 8:45pm
The END 2219 Elliston Place, Nashville, TN, 37203

Attendees (10)

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