MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Buffalo Tom’s “Autumn Letter”

Ready to feel old? Buffalo Tom is just two years shy of 40. Bill Janovitz, Chris Colbourn and Tom Maginnis were barely out the door at the University of Massachusetts when they recorded their murky, half-formed 1989 debut with Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, but things would get much better from there. The one-two punch of 1992’s Let Me Come Over and 1993’s Big Red Letter Day officially kicked off a respectable ’90s run as one of the more well-regarded bands of the college-rock area. The trio shut it down in 1998, only to return nine years later sounding rejuvenated on 2007’s Three Easy Pieces.

Out May 31 on the band’s own Scrawny Records, Jump Rope is Buffalo Tom’s third album since the reboot—and it’s a vibrant, intermittently playful and somber testament to maturity and resilience. Janovitz and Colbourn continue to challenge themselves as songwriters, and the band has never sounded more, well, groovy. Thirty-eight years on, the ’90s are a distant memory, and Buffalo Tom isn’t just a great alt-rock band—they’re a great rock band.

For Jump Rope, they returned to Woolly Mammoth Sound in Waltham, Mass., to work with Dave Minehan (Neighborhoods, Replacements), who also engineered 2018’s Quite And Peace. “Autumn Letter” was the first song the group tackled fresh out pandemic quarantine.

“It reminds me of a certain kind of classic Buffalo Tom song from our Let Me Come Over era,” says Janovitz. “It’s big, open chords are strummed way up high on the capo’d guitar neck, with a little Van Morrison Celtic melodic tinge.”

We’re proud to premiere Buffalo Tom’s “Autumn Letter.”

—Hobart Rowland