Avi Buffalo: Fresh-Faced Guitars

Preview: Avi Buffalo in Denver
by Adam Perry for Westword

Avi Buffalo singer-songwriter-guitarist Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, still under 21 for the next two weeks, looks and sings like the bastard son of Wayne Coyne and Kevin Drew. Nevertheless, his Long Beach-based band is powerful due to more than its excess of cute faces. The group’s self-titled 2009 Sub Pop debut warms up any room it’s heard in with a mixture of sunny California beauty and warped psychedelic jangle not unlike that of current acid-washed stars Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Contrasting the SoCal desert hippies, however, Zahner-Isenberg’s outfit mixes Mamas and the Papas-style wholesomeness with a brighter, slower version of Sonic Youth’s ever-epic Goo– and Washing Machine-era Rock-with-a-capital-R. And big-time guitar solos that blow the roofs off clubs like the Hi-Dive. “Remember Last Time” and “Can’t I Know,” for instance, utilize sweet co-ed harmonies and Byrdsy dual-guitar swirl to showcase both Zahner-Isenberg’s love for the most memorably musical indie-rock—dating back to Marquee Moon—and his passion for left-field guitar legends such as Wes Montgomery. Genuinely stirring stuff—especially from a bunch of kids who just finished high school.

(Avi Buffalo plays the Hi-Dive in Denver on Oct. 25 with Wye Oak)

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