Finally, my unique expertise has value to someone! I was recently asked to be on the Sloancast, a podcast dedicated to the band Sloan, to talk about said band and their inextricable link to the music magazine I used to manage, Chart Magazine.
Some of the topics we covered: how we’d pick the Chart Magazine cover stars, the three separate times we did the Top 50 Canadian Albums Of All Time poll, and what members of Sloan are like as hockey players.
It’s quite a romp if you care about 1990s Canadian rock music and or Sloan, specifically.
Every year for the Polaris Music Prize Long List reveal we travel somewhere in Canada to get out there and visit the people.
This year with COVID-19 shutting everything down we were unable to do that and instead had 40 past Polaris nominees graciously, and on short notice, come together to do video reveals of this year’s 40 nominated albums on the 2020 Polaris Long List.
Considering the whole country was pretty much in lockdown it turned out pretty well.
There’s some cheek to Lord Buffalo’s “About” page, a place where they alternately refer to themselves as “leguminous drone-porn,” “forêt noir,” “crappalachian butt rock” and “mud folk.” The throughline for all these being that they’re all vaguely of the earth, loamy and natural, base element-y. In truth, though, those descriptions undersell what Lord Buffalo feels like.
Tohu Wa Bohu, the second album from the Austin, Texas four-piece musically captures a gauzy between-space. Featuring members Daniel Jesse Pruitt (vocals, guitar), Garrett Hellman (guitar, organs), Patrick Patterson (violin) and Yamal Said (percussion), what Lord Buffalo creates are sonic mysteries, the heat shimmers on salt plains, elf circles around the forest trees, blood falls in glaciers…
It’s a supernatural, otherworldly sonic experience that sets the stage for Pruitt’s tales of snakecharm and Old Testament mysticism. In this it’s no accident that Lord Buffalo get cited among the likes of fellow travelers Sixteen Horsepower and Swans.
Edgy, post-apocalyptic blues number “Halle Berry” is probably the “hit” here. With its jagged guitarwork it recalls a Nick Cave spiritual which has been stripped of any notion of fan service. Best though is probably the title track, a chanting, thumping, deliberate sprawl designed specifically to pierce the veil. Whether the listener can actually reach that place is unknowable. But only repeat listens will help the find that out.