Nothing if not a model of consistency, Buffalo Tom has been making the same decent-to-great music since 1992’s Let Me Come Over. Actually the Massachusetts trio’s third album, Let Me Come Over feels more like a debut, as it zeroed in brilliantly on the group’s strengths, namely the earnest, imagery-laden, acoustic-gone-electric songwriting of guitarist Bill Janovitz and bassist Chris Colbourn and the propulsive punk undercurrents supplied by drummer Tom Maginnis. Judging by the band’s latest, Skins (Scrawny), it’s a formula that still has legs. Skins is the group’s eighth album and second since reuniting after a 10-year (sort-of) break, and its world-weary lilt and been-there/done-that themes make it the perfect grown-up companion piece to Let Me Come Over’s reluctant coming-of-age angst. It may be the best thing the band has done since that LP. Buffalo Tom will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Q&A with Janovitz and Colbourn.
Maginnis: As I get older (and hopefully wiser), I start to realize that it takes a lot to really be impressed or truly moved. This is natural, I suppose, as you become more experienced and have the perspective to trace influences and connect the lines of music history. When I was 16, I got into my first rock club to see Gang Of Four with a fake ID that said I was 26! The energy in that room was like nothing I’d ever imagined. I will never forget Jon King dancing and sweating like a madman in a grey suit and singing with his eyes rolled back in his head. This show literally changed my life. And oh, the opening band was some college guys called R.E.M. who nobody really paid any attention to. I guess my point is that even though there are and will be great artist to come, they just can’t have the same impact on me. It makes me sad, but I also now realize what gold those early shows were.