Rock and roll band from Delaware. Toured the North East region of the country focusing on NYC and the Philadelphia area several times. Our loud and intense live show sets us apart from other bands.
Zach Thomas - Vocals and Guitar
Andrew Price - Guitar
Brett Askin - Bass
Pete Daly - Drums
Self-releasing our first full length entitled "Western Approaches"
We will be uploading a few new tracks from this album onto our myspace (myspace.com/buffalode) before it is released.
Wherever They May Roam
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At a show at The Spot on May 1, the crowd grew in small waves during American Buffalo’s set, startin...At a show at The Spot on May 1, the crowd grew in small waves during American Buffalo’s set, starting with about a dozen bystanders and trickling in by five or so at a time, until there were maybe 40 or 50 people packed in front of the band. The Spot is the adopted name of the volunteer-driven concert hall located in the co-op building at 1908 Market St. in downtown Wilmington; it serves as a lobby and an art gallery when shows aren’t booked. American Buffalo were the first of several bands scheduled to play that night, although being the opener or headliner at these events doesn’t really matter. What happened over the next 45 minutes, however, did: A humble, low-key gig where Delaware’s most promising and talked-about band played well beyond their surroundings, their audience, and their own sound. Something transcendent took place that night that has come to define the American Buffalo experience, and it wasn’t the first, or last, time it’s happened.
American Buffalo operate like a lot of rock bands making music today. They have four members. Each of these members employs one or more standard rock instruments—guitars (Andrew Price and Zach Thomas), bass (Brett Askin), drums (Pete Daly), and vocals (Thomas). They value tradition but are restless to be heard. Their influences, or, at least, the points of reference you might use to describe their sound, are ancient and proven (Creedence Clearwater, Neil Young), and the contemporary bands they most closely resemble, sonically, draw from rock’s dusty past (Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes). If they look like the hairy 20-somethings who make your coffee and serve your food, it’s because they are: Price works at the Brew Ha Ha! shops in downtown Wilmington and Thomas is a waiter at Home Grown Café in Newark.
From here, though, things get tricky. Because on paper, American Buffalo might seem like a four-piece rock band playing music you’ve heard before. Yet they’ve exposed something within their dynamic that makes what they do so much bigger than what they are.
The band formed almost three years ago. Price, Askin, and Daly have known each other since childhood; they bonded over neo-punk acts like Millencolin in high school and went to see bands together. The three stayed in touch through college, where they would “jam and f—k around,” as Askin puts it. Through circles of friends they discovered Thomas, a former DCAD student and musician who joined them at practice and reworked one of their early recordings, adding vocals. Everyone liked it, and they felt they could do more together.
“If we weren’t in a band right now,” Askin says, “we’d be getting drunk and going to shows.” That’s easy enough. Such a tossed-off comment, so matter-of-fact—it’s something most friends would say about one another. But here, in the context of music, it leads to more. It illustrates what happens when four distinct personalities are brought together by a single artistic purpose, and how the bends and twists and smirks of those personalities shape, in the most mysterious of ways, the art that’s shared with the outside world.
The four origianlly called themselves Buffalo. “One word that conveyed something powerful and historical,” Thomas says. They added “American” as a way to be sarcastically patriotic, and Price admits being stuck in a screamo phase. “We were pretty angry back then,” he says. Thomas, too. As the band’s songwriter, he leaned toward political and social commentary. (One early song, “King of Waste,” was dedicated entirely to George W. Bush.) Eventually, he mellowed out, and his nationalistic lyrics gave way to more naturalistic poetry. “Zach became OK with saying, ‘You know what, the river’s quiet and the sun’s shining on me, and it’s really peaceful right now,’” Askin says, a reference to “The River Quiet,” a live favorite and the band’s best song.
It’s in “The River Quiet” that Thomas’ gifts as a vocalist are most apparent, and where the American Buffalo sound is most recognizable. In person, Thomas speaks heavily and carefully and with a slight nasal inflection. You can hear these qualities, and the way his speaking voice makes an easy transition to his singing voice, in “Brandywine,” another standout that relies on dark guitar textures and extensive breakdowns.But “The River Quiet” is built around Thomas’ repeat ability to hit a note, hold it, move up or down, and start over. It’s his showcase. Live, this is incredible to witness, because it requires an unenviable bravery—near the middle of the song and again at the end, Thomas goes naked to sing the refrain, his voice all alone until the rhythm section throws him a towel.
There's a reason it hits so hard; why most of the band’s songs sound so advanced. Thomas can belt, but that’s not it. And he might be in his own world or really out there, but that’s not it, either. The secret is in what can’t be heard at all—air. It creates the clarity that heightens each member’s contributions, the spaciousness that comes into view only after watching everything around it. Four distinct personalities, bending, twisting, and smirking.
That’s how it looked when they stole the show back in mid-March at WVUD’s Radiothon concert, headlined by Philly indie-rock heroes Dr. Dog. There, the band closed its set with a pitch-perfect version of “The River Quiet,” once again fully emotive. A month and a half later, American Buffalo were at The Spot, giving several dozen fans something otherworldly. The night wasn’t without problems. The sound was too loud. Bass tones shot straight to the ceiling and stayed there, creating a sort of force field around the band that prevented anyone from getting too close. Four sweaty heads swung back and forth and up and down, hair and instruments a blur. During some songs, Thomas seemed as if he couldn’t hear himself. He sang anyway, lost in the moment. Or, perhaps, already in the next one.
Dewey Beach Festival Preview
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THE NEWARK ACT, RECENTLY NAMED THE NEXT BIG LOCAL BAND BY SPARK MAGAZINE, HAS BEEN SLOWLY GAINING A ...THE NEWARK ACT, RECENTLY NAMED THE NEXT BIG LOCAL BAND BY SPARK MAGAZINE, HAS BEEN SLOWLY GAINING A FOLLOWING THANKS TO THEIR MATURE ATMOSPHERIC ROCK SOUND THAT FANS OF NEIL YOUNG, MY MORNING JACKET OR FLEET FOXES WILL GOBBLE UP.....IN SHORT, THEY ARE MAKING MUSIC UNLIKE ANY OTHER DELAWARE BAND THESE DAYS, AND THEY'RE BUILDING A REPUTATION BOTH IN DELAWARE AND OUTSIDE OF THEIR HOME STATE.
Music Review: American Buffalo
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Meet Peter Daly, Andrew Price, Zach Thomas, and Brett Askin, of the Delaware-based band American Buf...Meet Peter Daly, Andrew Price, Zach Thomas, and Brett Askin, of the Delaware-based band American Buffalo. Not to be confused with last month's awesome Philly band, An American Chinese (Coincidence or local trend?), this outfit's folk/rock aesthetic is setting it apart in the area, and people are beginning to take notice.
Chances are, if you have spent any amount of time dipping into the music scene in Newark or Wilmington, you're probably already familiar with American Buffalo. Those who have been fortunate enough to see these guys play live will also know that they wield an uncanny ability to rock the venue as a tight live act. Several early numbers, such as Train Tracks, exemplify the band's heavier side.
In more recent cuts, the group demonstrates its musical breadth. In Lake Shore Song, lofty vocal harmonization and a steady crescendo of instrumentation characterize this more developed sound. In the sonic build-up of Lillian Conversation, Askin and Daly lead the way with a mellow downtempo bass line, which is complimented well by Price's excellent guitar work and Thomas' atmospheric vocals. As the band prepares to release its first full-length album, Western Approaches, the collective's compositional and songwriting talent is becoming more evident. "We've finished all of the recording, and it's being mastered now. It should be ready in late July," says Thomas.
Due to its proximity to more densely populated urban areas such as Philly, Baltimore, and NYC, Delaware has historically fallen under the radar from a music standpoint (with the two notable exceptions of George Thorogood and the more recent Spinto Band). Bands like American Buffalo are few and far between. Fellow musically-minded Delawareans have come to terms with the fact that that the local music scene is (for the most part) pretty uninspired. "It's hard to not think that we are getting good reception locally because we're one of the only bands in town, you know?" says Askin. However, the band's modesty is far outweighed by its musical talent.
Amongst the exhaustive plethora of cover bands and top-40 DJs-so-and-so, it's a breath of fresh air to see and hear creative work being put together in Delaware. Let's hope they stick around.
Spin some tunes at American Buffalo's MySpace. Updates on their upcoming debut album will also be posted here.
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AS AMERICAN BUFFALO SOUND-CHECKED ITS MICROPHONES AND CRANKED ITS AMPS, EVERYONE STANDING ON THE DEC...AS AMERICAN BUFFALO SOUND-CHECKED ITS MICROPHONES AND CRANKED ITS AMPS, EVERYONE STANDING ON THE DECK OF THE RUSTY RUDDER EXCHANGED A LOOK THAT SAID: THIS IS GOING TO BE LOUD. THEN THE NEWARK QUARTET CRUNCHED INTO THEIR FIRST NUMBER, STRUTTING ACROSS THE STAGE AND HOWLING INTO THE MIC LIKE MEN ON FIRE.
OF ALL THE BANDS PLAYING ORIGINAL MUSIC, AMERICAN BUFFALO DELIVERED THE MOST KINETIC SET. SPARK MAGAZINE LABELED THE GROUP THE “NEXT BIG THING,” AND IT ISN’T HARD TO SEE WHY – THE BAND’S EXPLOSIVE ENERGY COMPELLED EVEN WALLFLOWERS TO STOMP A FOOT. WHILE ANYONE CAN SCREAM AND JUMP AROUND, AMERICAN BUFFALO’S SONGS ARE BARBED WITH INTRICATE MELODY. ZACHARY THOMAS’ HOWL IS BONE-RATTLING NOT BECAUSE OF ITS DECIBELS, BUT RATHER ITS HAUNTING, SOUTHERN-GOTHIC TINGE OF DOOM AND FOREBODING.
THE TWO TRACKS SHOWCASED ON THE BAND’S MYSPACE PAGE REVEAL THE BAND’S LANGUOROUS, PSYCHEDELIC SIDE. THEIR FORTHCOMING ALBUM “WESTERN APPROACHES” IS BOUND TO DRAW COMPARISONS TO MY MORNING JACKET, A CRITICALLY-LAUDED ALT-ROCK OUTFIT THAT CHANNELS THE SAME HAUNTED SOUTHERN VIBE.
45 minute sets. 6-8 songs
There are no upcoming dates at this time.