First Look: Avi Buffalo – S/T

I wasn’t paying attention for Avi Buffalo’s early Los Angeles history — the teenage band has plenty already — but it’s clear that the band members are students of their city’s legacy. Their debut album arrives on Sub Pop, the same label as L.A. twee-psych-country heroes the Beachwood Sparks, and the Sparks’ influence and the songwriter traditions of Gram Parsons and the Byrds are felt joyfully across its 45 minutes.

Mr. Buffalo himself is a guitarist impressive enough to count Wilco’s Nels Cline as a fan, but it’s the album’s blend of technical fireworks and bleeding hearts that make it a winsome winner. The track titles leer at lust (“Summer Cum,” “Five Little Sluts”) but the songs themselves are sincere, sensitive offerings: “I’ve never written a love song / but I will for you,” Avi sings on “Remember Last Time” before the band’s guitars burst into flames. All good things come to an end. But not Los Angeles folk-rock, not just yet.

Avi Buffalo – “What’s In It For?”: mp3

(Avi Buffalo is out now on Sub Pop)