Sunday, January 16, 2005

Buffalo Music 2004 in Review

While we don’t claim to have heard every local release last year here at, we did wade through quite a few of some really good and quite frankly some really bad sounding discs over the past twelve months. There is no criteria for this list and is based solely on my opinion and what bore repeated plays in my CD player. It is completely subjective, open to debate and is in no particular order.

1- MIA04-Chameleonwest’s Music Is Art 2004 Collection- This sprawling three CD set is the definitive souvenir from last years MIA Festival and a primer of the local scene. The sound of the local music scene is that there really is no one sound that defines the area but rather a very talented group of musicians forging their own musical ideas and identities and not following the trends. Over fifty different artists ranging from The Jumpers to Blood of Jupiter to Maria Sebastian are showcased here. Kudos to Robby Takac, the esteemed Marc Hunt, Michelle Novick and the whole Chameleonwest staff for putting this together.
2- Alison Pipitone- Retrodyne- While this technically came out at the end of 2003, this spent a good portion of the year welded in my player everywhere I went. Pipitone rocks harder than anyone locally or national and if you don’t believe me than listen to “I Don’t Remember”, “Sticking Real Good”, “Dancing Girls On The Tables” or “Buzzkill” from this disc. Three blistering performances that I caught of Pipitone and her band, the MIA04 Festival, Artvoice Street Festival and the MIA04 CD Release party at The Irish Classical Theater, cemented my love of this disc.
3- Steve Roth- Beautiful Addiction- Another favorite of mine from 2004. Roth along with Armand John Petri producing released one of the most dynamic CD’s of the year. Introspective, insightful and great guitar playing to boot shows why Roth was a winner at this years Buffalo Music Awards.
4- The Neighbors- Mobile Homes- Garage rock at its finest. The Neighbors are one of Buffalo’s best bands. Now that Girlpope are no more let’s pass the torch to The Neighbors.
5- Roger Bryan and the Old Sweethearts- In Regards To Your Affairs- One of the brightest beacons on the Buffalo music horizon are The Old Sweethearts. ( they have dropped the “Roger Bryan and” part from the bands name) This band is gaining converts in mythical proportions with their live shows and this disc. Combining alt/country with rock and electronics along with Bryan plaintive vocal style they could be called Buffalo’s Wilco and he our Jeff Tweedy but they are more peers of those artists than copyists. Awesome performances at Mohawk Place and a stunning set opening for Blue Rodeo at Thursday At The Square further brightened their star.
6- Any December- Hide & Seek- I caught the last couple of songs from Any December’s set at The Artvoice Street Festival last summer and was quite impressed. The CD floored me. A beautiful sounding disc with piano mixed upfront as the lead instrument. Fresh and innovative, Any December brings a welcome relief from the drivel passing for music these days.
7- The Juliet Dagger-Turn Up The Death-
8- klear-Makin’ Noise-
9- Last Conservative- On To The Next One- This triple play from Chameleonwest shows the promise of local music. All three of these bands released major league discs last year and topped it off with great industry buzz, national radio play and incredible live shows all over the country. Keep swinging for the fences out there, you never know.
10- Seven Day Faith- self titled EP- The band scored radio play, played HSBC Arena on the Kissmass Bash bill and scored a Billboard hit with this one. Lead singer Rob Bilson picked up another Buffalo Music Award and the bands relentless drive shows them focused and ready for a breakout year in 2005.
11- Scott Celani-Saturday- Celani just gets better with each release and continues to broaden his fan base in the Mid West and all along the East Coast. His songwriting on this one shows a maturity missing before. College radio seems to be getting behind him with ample play. Check out the title track and the track “In Spite Of Me”.
12- Alyn Syms-The Lost Art- Local guitar legends Alyn Syms returned after a long hiatus and released this concept sounding CD showcasing his prowess on the frets. “Turn It Up Turn It Out” and “Welcome To Sherwood” are standouts here.

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