By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
But Coleman stayed in the group — in fact, it’s hard to imagine it without her. She’s Zahner-Isenberg’s harmonic foil both in voice (a Joanna Newsom–like croon versus his huskier Devendra Banhart) and on keys. The two now have an uncommonly mature dynamic. Their romantic dabbling caused a rift in their intimate hometown scene (typified by restaurant gigs and house shows), which they saw as an opportunity for a clean slate. Rounded out by drummer Sheridan Riley and bassist Arin Fazio, and with the help of manager Ashley Jex (bassist in the Monolators), Avi Buffalo started looking toward Los Angeles.
The band prioritized music above all else. Grades suffered, but the songs only got better, and Sub Pop’s Kiewel, tipped off by Embry, had begun to obsessively check Avi Buffalo’s MySpace page for updates — like the rest of the growing horde of fans, journalists and potential backers. The dam broke when recording began, though for the four, it was mostly business as usual.
“Because of their youth, there’s this optimism that’s pretty rare in people who are working so hard at something,” says Embry. He also heads up the band Amnion. “There were these epic days of them doing, like, 10 takes of a song, then working on that song for a week and realizing we needed to start over. They would always bounce back with the same enthusiasm, absolutely knowing, ‘This time we’re going to get it right. ... No, sorry, we didn’t get it, but next time we’ve got it.’”
Two songs from those sessions, which included contributions from Farmer Dave Scher, will be available on Sub Pop 7-inch at Avi Buffalo’s November 5 show at the Echo, a homecoming of sorts which, like the band’s May residency, will find the 21-and-over venue opening its doors to all ages. Rules seem to bend as easily as guitar strings for Zahner-Isenberg — “What’s In It For,” b/w “Jessica,” doesn’t hit stores until December, but locals can pick up the band’s first proper release early. What’s more, Avi Buffalo recently completed their second minitour — opening for Beach House, also fresh signees to the mega-indie.
Zahner-Isenberg still lives at the same Long Beach address he’s had for going on 19 years (his birthday is also November 5). His parents, he says, have overcome most of their fears about his future. Avi Buffalo’s debut album, according to Kiewel, will be released once Riley graduates.
Avi Buffalo, Aaron Embry and the Wildbunchplay the Echo on November 5 at 8 p.m.; $8 advance, $10 day of; all ages.
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