Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 2:45 AM
Avi Buffalo was once just the kid named Avi (short for Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg). Years of 12-hour days attacking the guitar (plus lessons-to-mentoring with seriously iconoclastic local blues guys) revealed a pretty preternatural talent for making a very special kind of bent but lovely pop song.
He spent the mid-2000s singing quiet yet resolutely sophisticated songs into whatever free programs he could put on his PC. And they were about as lovely and scruffy as the songs analog guys like Pollard, Barlow, and Fox would sing into tape decks during their own long late nights.
A solo show at a much-loved vegan restaurant magnetized Avi Buffalo into a full band; full-band Avi Buffalo magnetized L.A’s Eastside musicians (plus they hit all the major press in the city before they had ANY kind of record out at all); and engineer Aaron Embry (Elliott Smith and Emmylou Harris sideman, among others) invited Avi Buffalo to help him test out the new studio he’d built in his house. This was the big leap—except for some after-class time at a local recording school, Avi Buffalo had never existed anywhere but a laptop or a really good house party. One of the first songs recorded just for fun was “What’s In It For?”; it was also one of the first songs Avi put up on MySpace (“Because that’s all it takes,” says Avi, still a tiny bit shocked). And once Sub Pop came inquiring, What’s In It For? became the first single from the album (which hadn’t even been thought of as a possible album until all this). This all happened within a few months. And then, says Avi, everything got kind of freaky!
Avi Buffalo is: