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06 September 2009) From Tel Aviv, Israel, Buffalos is an alternative rock band that was formed originally as Buffalo Boots by Omer Hershman and Sivan Bella Leshed in October 2007. The band changed their name earlier this year. They combine varied influences in their music and have refined them into a unique sound. The band's debut self-titled album (Thor Records (Israel) OH002, 2009) is an eleven track collection. It follows a 2008 six-track demo EP including earlier versions of material that appears on the album. Those that buy the album physically will be given instructions how to download a twelfth non-album bonus track.

In Buffalos, Bella and Omer are joined by Ran Jacobovitz (drums), Eyal Dayan (guitar) and Yair Yona (bass). Additional musicians appearing on the album include Yehu Yaron (double bass), Boris Martzinovsky (accordian) and Karni Postel (cello). Some will recognize these artists as having performed with Eatliz, Rockfour, Amit Eriz and Ruth Dolores Weiss (review). Buffalos is one of several exciting female-fronted bands emerging from Israel. Align (review), Eatliz (review), and FeelAbout are certainly the ones to watch.

Buffalos say, "The album cover visually translates the cultural and personal contexts that exist in the lyrics, along with the unique melodies turn the songs into a vague and hazy picture." Omer Hershman, a well-known figure in the Israeli alternative scene, known as the guitarist and writer/composer in the bands Lady Macbeth and Jet Sam and also as a guitarist in Panic Ensemble, received a few lyrics from Bella with the intention of composing them. They say, "Our music comes from the alternative rock, folk, blues and cabaret areas." Their collaboration turned out to be extremely productive and in a short period of time they realized they have enough songs for an album. They decided to record a few sketches at home using basic equipment. What started as a project of two people became a full band with its unique and matchless sound.

Omer told us, "The album was made in a very interesting and unique way, recorded independently at home on an eight-track recording machine using basic equipment." He went on to say, "It was mixed by the legendary Mark Kramer (Butthole Surfers) that has worked with many great artists such as Daniel Johnston, Robert Wyatt, Low, and others." Musical Discoveries followed the production process earlier this spring and into the early summertime. The production gives the album a tremendous, almost analog feel. And we especially appreciated Kramer's treatment of Bella's vocal work.

Tracks on the album span a vast range of styles that will command listeners' attention. The vocal work often includes duets and harmonies from Bella and Omer with both having ample opportunity to take the lead. The recording process did not afford the opportunity to heavily multi-track the vocal layers. The live and guitar-laced rocking sound of "Stairway Lullaby" opens the album. A heavilly rythmic guitar part underscores "23 Buildings," a track Omer leads with Bella's backing.

We especially enjoyed the arrangements and style of the accordian-rich downtempo cabaret-style track "Sandglass Rivers." Crisp percussion in the instrumental breaks is especially well produced as are Bella's stunning lead vocals. We also loved the acoustic guitar solo in the bridge. Omer's backing vocal adds a great texture in the chorus. A long-standing favorite is the cinematic cabaret-style duet tune called "Who Turned Out The Light." Although the audio isn't fantastic, check out the band perfoming this live on YouTube!

Buffalos can also rock. And Bella delivers a tremendously emotional performance as the frontwoman in "As You Hang." The analog texture of this album clearly rings through in the vast electric guitar excursions that never outweight Bella's vocal delivery. The fast-paced almost metal-edged one-minute rocker "Adrenalin" further demonstrates the tremendous virtuousity of this band.

The most accessible tracks from the album include the stunning ballad "You Sink," backed with both acoustic and electric guitar. Bella's evocative vocals glide above the warm instrumental work. Listen for the warmth of her vibrato in "You Sink" and the stunning electric guitar-backed "Carrion Crow." In addition to vast guitar excursions in the instrumental breaks, vocal harmonies and power are tremendously delivered in the chorus. Bella's sensitive vocals in acoustic guitar- and cello-backed ballad "Dear Monster" are lovely. The flute is contributed by Maayan Alper. Equally stunning is Bella's delightful delivery of the vocal work in "Berlin."

"Happy With A Secret" is not only a live audience favorite, but is the album standout. An upbeat pop-oriented duet sung by Omer and Bella together, warm electric guitar, acoustic and bass are joined by crisp percussion. We love the trumpet solo by guest musician Dirk Kunesch. It is not only illustrative of the vocalists' talents but of the whole band and production process behind the band's debut album.

Buffalos has joined a growing list of artists that are making their albums available via digital download free of charge for a limited time in exchange for joining their mailing list. Visit their website for further details. Listen to streams from the album at their MySpace. And watch the band's live performances on YouTube. From their photos and video footage, Buffalos are a tremendous band to see perform live on stage. The images show that Bella delivers lots of energy and tireless emotion when performing on stage. This is a tremendous first outing by a rapidly emerging Israeli band!
http://www.musicaldiscoveries.com/digest/digest.php?a=viewr&id=891 - © 2000-2009 Musical Discoveries.

“Happy With A Secret”
Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel

The Buffalos’ alt-country stomp “Happy With a Secret” is as at home roaming the American plains as it is on the band’s home streets of Israel. The ghostly vocal harmonizing of guitarist Omer Hershman and lead singer Sivan ‘Bella’ Leshed haunt the song’s gunfight-serious sound. Drawing inspiration from PJ Harvey, Wilco, and Mark Lanegan, singer Sivian Bella and Omer Hershman formed Buffalos (formely known as Buffalo Boots) in 2007 and began recording right away. Only after their debut was nearly finished did the band begin playing live together. Quickly written and recorded, “Happy With A Secret” didn’t lose its organic, rough but pure bearing. The Buffalos play live around the Tel-Aviv area and their album Buffalos is available via their website.

Omer Hershman of The Buffalos discusses "Happy with a Secret."

"This song is an advice that is given by someone who had found the 'simple way' of dealing with life, to someone else who is still dealing with day to day issues such as uncertainty about the future – lack of confidence etc. It's a song about finding calmness, and about putting everything under proportions. There is a sentence [at] the end of the song, which repeats itself, that says 'try to count to ten and let this day go by. It's like a 'mantra' that is trying to fulfill itself. It's an optimistic song and that's one of the reasons we usually play it as the last song in our shows.
The title of the song was inspired by the movie Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, where the main character is describing the girl he fell in love with. I liked the idea of someone who's happy but still has some unsolved issues he's dealing with.
There's a trumpet solo at the song, played by a dear friend, Dirk Kunesch, and the song, like the rest of the album, was recorded on an 8-track recording machine at home and mixed by Mark Kramer (Butthole Surfers). It's a duet sang by Sivan "Bella" Leshed and myself. Eyal Dayan is playing Bass, Ran Jacobovitz on Drums and Yair Yona on Weissenborn. The song was chosen to be the first single from the band's debut album that was released in Israel this last August."
- Spin Earth Magazine

by Staff | 08.04.2009

Tel Aviv based Buffalos, formed in October 2007, are a genuine Indie rock band, combining various influences of cabaret, punk, and country-folk. The synergy between 4 great players and the haunting, unique female vocal delivery of Sivan Bella Leshed, makes them one of the most brilliant bands to emerge in the Israeli blooming alternative scene of recent years. Their debut album (due August 2009) was recorded on an 8 track recording machine in a home studio and later mixed by legendary musician and producer Mark Kramer (who worked with Low, Robert Wyatt, Butthole Surfers and others).

Official site: www.buffalosband.com

Who are your main influences?
We're mostly influenced by American alternative/underground/indie artists such as PJ harvey, Mark Lanegan, Low, Queens of the stone age, The Dresden dolls, Belle and Sebastian, Calexico etc'. We try to take all these influences and give them our personal interpretation in the music we make.

When it comes to production and the way the album was recorded (it was all recorded at home on an 8 track recording machine using a 100$ microphone and basic equipment), we were influenced by artists such as Brian Jonestown Massacre, John Frusciante and Daniel Johnston. The songs were recorded right after they were written, skipping the process of pre-producing them in a studio or by endless rehearsals, I think working this way allowed us to capture the songs in a more authentic and initial manner.

How did you meet?
Ran (drums), Yair (bass) and myself (omer-guitar and vocals) go way back, we all played in a different band a few years ago (JET-SAM) and after intensive 2 years of touring (both Israel and the U.S) we decided to take some time off.

In that time, Sivan, who is an old time friend of mine handed me a few songs she wrote and asked me if I can compose them.

I felt attached to the songs from the first time I read them. After no more than a few days I called Sivan, after composing the songs, to record some sketches on my 8- track, for the fun of it. We recorded 3-4 songs and realized that we have something good going on and decided to continue working together.

After most of the album was recorded, we decided to get an actual band together, so the obvious thing to do was to call Ran and Yair to join. Eyal and I met at his studio and he seemed like the perfect 5th person to complete us.

What is your biggest achievement as a band to date?
We managed to collect a nice crowd of fans in Israel after only one year of playing live, we also got to play some cool festivals in Israel and got very good responses both from music lovers who saw us playing and from the media.

But the biggest personal achievement for us I think is putting together an album that we are proud of.

Where did the band name originate?
Originally, the bands name was Buffalo Boots, and was inspired from the movie "Buffalo 66" that both Sivan and I love. After using that name for the last year, we changed the band's name to, simply, Buffalos.

Favorite Bands?
Each one of us has his own personal favorites, but I think we all share the love for bands such as: Queens of the Stone Age, Blonde Redhead, Calexico, Yo le tango, the Flaming Lips, Wilco, and the artists I've mentioned in the first question…

Plans to Tour?
We would love to tour the U.S and Europe and we are working hard on getting into some major festival that will help us cover the expenses. We already had the chance to tour the U.S with Jet Sam a few years ago and I've toured there a few more times with different bands and with my solo material. We love touring, it's the best experience for a band, but unfortunately, Israel is a small country which makes it harder on us. That's why we can't wait to go out on our first U.S or EU tour, to get in the van and play a show every night. I believe it's just a matter of time, we've set it as a goal and hopefully you'll be able to catch us in your home town sometime soon…

Plans for next release?
There is nothing established yet but we do have a few songs ready to be recorded. We try to keep the song-writing our first priority, always stay creative so not to find ourselves stuck in one place. - Filter Magazine

24. April 2008 – 19:54 von Sven

Just a guy n’ a girl writing some songs…

Sivan (Bella) Leshed & Omer Hershman geben sich gelegentlich, nein – nicht unbedingt die Klinke in die Hand, sondern optimalerweise gegenseitig die richtige Stimmung in ihren Liedern. Fast schon zu perfekt möchte man meinen. Buffalo Boots ist der Bandname und welche Assoziation der wehrte Leser hier bekommt, sei auch gerne weiterhin in seiner eigenen Obhut.

Aus Israel kommt dieses Duo mit ihrer vielfältigen Art und Abwechslung von Stimmungen und Musik. Wen einst, und auch immer noch, Künstler wie Patti Smith und P.J. Harvey begeistern, dem gelte dieser Zaunpfahl.

Die Geschichte von Buffalo Boots möchte ich hier mal simplerweise nur zitieren, weil es einfach so schön authentisch klingt:

She wrote some songs, then he wrote some music… then they recorded these songs at home on an 8 track machine together with some friends that came along such as Ran Jacobovits (Drums), Yehu Yaron (Double-bass), Boris Martzinovski (Accordion), Karni Postel (Cello) and Maayan Alper (Flute). they listened to what they recorded and thought “these are some fine ass songs, we should open a myspace page for this stuff” and that’s about it for now…

Sie schrieb einige Lieder, dann schrieb er dafür Musik… danach nahmen sie diese Songs zu hause mit einer 8-Spur-Maschine auf. Und das zusammen mit einigen Freunden, wie z.B. Ran Jacobovits (Drums), Yehu Yaron (Double-bass), Boris Martzinovski (Accordion), Karni Postel (Cello) und Maayan Alper (Flute). Sie hörten sich die Aufnahmen an und dachen: “das sind ein paar arschgeniale Lieder, wir sollten dafür eine myspace-seite öffnen” – und das ist es soweit…

Tja, deswegen bedanke ich mich einfach mal an dieser Stelle dafür und hoffe, dass der eine und andere auch mal bei Buffalo Boots vorbeisurft und sich ein paar Songs anhört.

Freundlicherweise spendieren sie uns komplette 6 Songs via ihrer myspace-seite zum Download. Eine EP quasi mit sechs fesselnden Tracks, die lohnender nicht sein können und zusätzlich noch sehr angenehm durchzuhören sind. Mehr davon bitte.

Reinhören bei Buffalo Boots: myspace.com/buffaloboots

http://youbloom.de/buffalo-boots.html - YouBloom Weblog

One of the great things about getting to do this job is that we have the chance to meet and learn about some amazing bands from all over the world. We recently talked to the guy/girl duet, Buffalo Boots from Tel Aviv; they're knocking down old barriers and seemingly, finding it all on their feet (no pun intended)...

RAPT- The story is that you just started writing some music, did some home recordings, and had it grow from there. What led you to Buffalo Boots (either individually or as a group)?

Omer- The whole thing started very spontaneously when Sivan gave me a few texts she wrote and asked me if I would like to try to compose them [as songs]. I read the lyrics and felt very connected to them from the first moment so I started working on it right away. After a few days I already had about 5 songs composed so I called Sivan to come to my home studio -- which is basically an 8 track recording machine and a $100 microphone -- to record some 'sketches.' Truth is I had never heard her sing before. I knew she was taking vocal lessons but that was it. The second she opened her mouth to sing the first note I knew it was going to work. We continued writing new songs and recording…ended up with our first L.P. By the time we had about 12 songs ready we decided to call some good friends to play with us and after a few weeks of rehearsals, we had our first [live] show as a full band.

RAPT- What are you currently working on? Is there an album in the works?

Omer- Nowadays we are in the last stages of mixing our first L.P. The album was recorded independently by us at home on the 8 track recording machine and mixed by Kramer (The Butthole Surfers).

RAPT- And what are your future plans with this project? Is the goal to get out and do as many live shows as possible?

Omer- We hope to find a way to play a lot of shows, not only in Israel but also in the States and in Europe. Of course it won't be easy to find a way to make that happen since we have a lot of expenses to cover. But we're working hard on this issue…hopefully you will get a chance to catch us live in your hometown some time soon…we're also writing new songs all the time so we're keeping ourselves busy and creative.

RAPT- What is it that you enjoy about the experience of performing live?

Omer- I guess it's the thrill of knowing that everything might happen. You can have a bad gig with the worst sound and the lousiest crowd, but you might also have the best time of your life with all the adrenaline running in your veins. For me it's kind of an addiction. If I don't play live for a while I [start to] feel bad, mentally and physically.

Sivan- Performing is a very new experience [for me]. The Buffalo's debut show was my first on stage so I'm getting used to the idea….trying to be less and less stressed from show to show and the most important thing for me is to really mean every word of what I sing and stay connected to the lyrics.

RAPT- The voice of Buffalo Boots is really lovely and it's a unique blues sound that comes through on several of the songs…Sivan (who also goes by 'Bella') does most of the lyrics writing? Where does the inspiration for material come from?

Sivan- Well, I started writing when I was in elementary school after my first boyfriend dumped me. ;) But the songs on the Buffalo's album were written over a period of 5 years and 90% of them are around the same issue. I don't like to talk too much about my lyrics…I think the beauty of songwriting is that anyone who reads it [or hears it] can understand it in a different way that suits them and take whatever they want from it. Someone once told me that songwriters and poets don't write because they want to, they write because they have to. I really believe that…I think that writing will always be a part of my life and my best way to deal with things I go through.

RAPT- Do you ever find yourself struggling through periods where you just aren't happy with anything you're writing or days where it just doesn't come?

Sivan- Oh definitely. I can go through months where I just can't seem to write anything. I used to be really hard on myself, just because not writing, for me, is like not being able to deal with things I'm going through and that is very a frustrating feeling to have. But now I guess I have more trust in myself and I don't take it so rough because i know I will always go back to it when I'm "good and ready" .

RAPT- Who would you say are some of your musical influences?

Omer- I try to keep my mind open for new music all the time. I listen to various styles of music…folk, alt rock, classic rock, jazz, electro….try to take the things I like the most about the music I love and give it my interpretation with the music that I write.

RAPT- Is there a particular style you aren't as big a fan of?

Omer- I think there are good songs and bad songs in every style of music. I try to find the best albums and best songs in every genre and never block myself from anything. Of course there's music I consider bad music and artists that I don't like, but it's never a whole genre. I really believe that people that block themselves from different styles of music just lose, because there are so many great records in every style. I have "top albums" in almost every musical genre in my CD collection.

Sivan- I keep my mind open to new & different things too. As a singer, I am very much inspired by Fiona Apple, even if I don't necessarily like everything she does. She is still, in my opinion, an amazing performing artist; she gives so much of herself on stage and she's so honest & humble about it. She's a great inspiration performing-wise.

RAPT- And movies…last movie you saw?

Omer- I saw a nice movie recently called The Visitor. It's about a Syrian musician living in NY and having troubles with immigration authorities. I could identify with a lot of things in that movie, as an Israeli who wants to play music around the world. The music in that movie is also really good!

Sivan- Last movie I saw was Australia. Those are 3 hours of my life I'll never get back. ;)

RAPT- But when you're not working on music, what do you like doing in your day-to-day lives?

Omer- I like spending time with my friends, my girlfriend, my dog. Listening to music, watching movies….making plans for the future.

Sivan- For me, the most important thing is surrounding myself with things that I love. I have a boring 9 to 5 job that pays the bills, but I love being at home with my boyfriend or going to see live shows. I also volunteer in the Tel Aviv city dog shelter…that's my second passion in life…

RAPT- So you are a longtime animal lover then? Any pets?

Sivan- Long time animal lover, yeah. Even as a kid I was always known as the girl who somehow always ended up finding stray dogs or cats, taking them in and [then] finding them new homes. Right now I don't have any pets…one of my dreams is actually to own a special dog shelter for dogs nobody wants…really old, sick dogs…give them a chance to have a good life. I also want an elephant but maybe that's going a bit too far...

RAPT- It's said that Tel Aviv has a kick-ass live music scene. Actually, across the board, it's been said that Tel Aviv offers a variety of straight up 'cool' within the arts. Can you add to that and do you find yourself constantly surrounded by artists pushing themselves musically or artistically?

Omer- I think that good art will always come from places where you have conflicts and dilemmas. There's a lot of this where we come from. There are a lot of things happening all the time…it's really not a boring place, for better or worse. I believe Tel Aviv has a really good music scene and a lot of good art is being made here. Making music in Israel is much more than a fun way to spend an afternoon…it's a way to deal with your life here and for some, it's a shelter from all the craziness that's going on all the time.

RAPT- Do you find that for you, personally, creating music is your shelter as well?

Omer- I try to keep myself out of all the politics and fighting that's going on here on a daily basis as much as I can. Of course it's not always possible to "hide" from it, but I try to keep myself busy with my music and that is my way of dealing with the reality here. I must say that Israel with all its troubles isn't really the ideal place for making a "career" out of music and art in general…but there are lots of things to be inspired by living in this area.

RAPT- Omer, when did you get in to music?

Omer- I started playing the piano when I was around 7 years old after my older sister played it and as a jealous little boy I had to do whatever she did. After a couple of years I figured out it wasn't for me and [I] started taking guitar lessons instead; I have been playing the guitar ever since. I think that as soon as I knew enough chords to write a song I started writing my own music. I was never too interested in playing the same old songs that all the other boys that were playing guitar were playing around me. I always wanted to come up with something new.

RAPT- So if I were to visit Tel Aviv, what city life do you recommend? ;-)

Omer- There is a slogan that says, "Tel Aviv - A city that doesn't rest" and it's really true. You can always find good things to do…in the middle of the night even…you will always find good pubs, bars, restaurants, places to dance, places to hear music, watch movies….

Sivan- It's funny 'cause I've been traveling Central America for the past 2 months and just last night I had a conversation with an American guy about how much I miss Tel Aviv. I think the best thing is just to wander the streets, get the special 'Tel Avivian' vibe. The beautiful thing about this city is that anyone can find something he loves. If you are into music, food, beaches, pubs, parties, art, fashion…you can find everything in this small city…I love it.

RAPT- Traveling for 2 months, that sounds like something we'd love. Do you enjoy getting out and seeing other places or do you prefer home?

Sivan- I really enjoyed seeing new places and different cultures; it's always fun to meet new people from all over the world and expose yourself to other ways of life. I think its very important, but I'm a very home-y person. I had a vey hard time being away from my home…from my friends. I was really homesick and being back home now and having a nice hot shower after almost 2 months in cold water is great…

RAPT- What music or artists are you currently listening to?

Omer- I've been listening to the Fleet Foxes album a lot. I think it's the best album of 2008. I also listen to the PJ Harvey album, White Chalk, a lot….very unique album. I started listening to the Silver Jews lately; they're really good. I listen to The Flaming Lips….and it's 'never enough' of Tom Waits.

Sivan- I listen to PJ Harvey a lot too, lately. Some John Frusciante…Tom Waits was always and will forever be a regular part on my playlist. A lot of Mark Lanegan. These last few months of traveling I find myself listening to a great Israeli singer named Ruth Dolores Weiss whenever I get homesick.

RAPT- So have you journeyed to the U.S. much already?

Omer- I had the chance to tour the States a few times with other bands and also got to do a solo tour last summer but we haven't played with Buffalo Boots there yet. This is something we really want to do and I hope it will happen soon…it's a pretty expansive thing but we want to find ways of making it optional for us.

Interview by V.Gonzalez and Cristina Fritz

Listen to Buffalo Boots here

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Contacting Buffalo Boots:

buffalo.boots@gmail.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots.

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11 songs LP mixed by Mr. KRAMER (the Butthole Surfers, etc.) On Stores Since Aug 2009.




Buffalos is an alternative rock band formed by Omer Hershman and Sivan Bella Leshed in October 2007.
The band combines different varied influences from cabaret, folk, blues and punk, and refines them into a unique, different and new utterance. Based in Tel Aviv, Buffalos are active in Israel and make frequent tours to Europe.

Omer Hershman, a well-known figure in the Israeli alternative scene, known as the guitarist and writer/composer in the bands Lady Macbeth and Jet Sam and also as a guitarist in Panic Ensemble, received a few lyrics from Sivan, whom it’s her first project, with the intention of composing them.

The collaboration turned out to be extremely productive and in a short period of time they realized they have enough songs for an album.
They decided to record a few sketches at home using basic equipment.
what started as a project of two people became a full band with its unique and matchless sound.

The sketches found their ways to Mark Kramer, an appreciated producer/musician in the American indie scene (worked with artists such as Robert Wyatt, Low, Daniel Johnston and many more, including the Israeli Monotonix) who decided to take on the mixing part of the album.

Kramer finally mixed the self titled debut album, and it was released in August 2009 under Tel Aviv based label Thor Records.

The other band members are Ran Jacobovitz on Drums, Yotam Schlezinger on guitar and Dan Carpman on Bass.
Simultaneously to the album release in its physical format in stores, the album is available for free download through the band’s website- www.BuffalosBand.com

Buffalos are already working on their second album and about to tour Europe for the 2nd time for 2010 this coming October.