When Stereogum interviewed Buffalo Tom vocalist/guitarist Bill Janovitz earlier this year, he shared that the trio was in the midst of working on a new studio album with producer Dave Minehan. The resulting record, Quiet And Peace, is due in 2018, and we’re premiering the lead track from it, “All Be Gone,” today. The wistful song is quintessential Buffalo Tom, with its brisk electric guitars — including a raucous bridge nodding to earlier albums, such as the recently reissued Let Me Come Over — urgent organ and Janovitz’s yearning vocals. Thematically, the song pushes back against the passage of time, while still indulging in some vivid, touching introspection about a life well lived.
“[‘All Be Gone’ has] this blue sky, sunny day feel to it, but it’s a really melancholy lyric in a lot of ways,” Janovitz told me when we spoke over the phone yesterday. “It’s pretty self-evident about getting older, [with lyrics like] ‘My time behind is greater than my time ahead’ — that sort of stuff. But it’s kind of a blazing, Buffalo Tom ‘let’s get the guitars up’ sort of track.’
“[As] you get older, you feel like holding onto time, especially when you have kids,” he adds. “And I’m just a victim of nostalgia in any point in time — I’m so vulnerable to it. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Kids grow at such an exponential rate, it really hits home to you. A lot of [the song] is about that, certainly. But it’s also not just this sad, melancholy song — it’s really about carpe diem, seizing it all as you can, and trying to hold on.”
Quiet And Peace is Buffalo Tom’s first album since 2011’s Skins, and it features examples of the band’s familiar, keening rock-pop approach (“Freckles,” “Lonely Fast and Deep”) as well as songs with subtle, effective new flourishes (the unsettled soul groover “Cat V Mouse,” the gospel harmonies buoying “Overtime”). There’s even a lovely, hushed version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy In New York” featuring vocal contributions from Janovitz’s daughter, Lucy. Quiet And Peace is also notable for including more songs with lyrics and lead vocal turns from bassist/vocalist Chris Colbourn than any other Buffalo Tom record to date.
“This is a really dark, New England record to Chris,” Janovitz says with a laugh, recalling what came up when the band members recently discussed the album’s themes. “He thinks it’s one of our darkest yet. He kept using the words ‘weird New England.’ We’re [all] not natives, but we’ve all been here for 30-plus years — [drummer] Tom [Maginnis] is a native. There is that changing of seasons thing, how the weather affects people, and how people’s interactions affect each other. There’s something particularly New England that can be very strange, and I think that’s seeping into the lyrics as well.” Listen to “All Be Gone” below.
Buffalo Tom 2018 tour dates:
01/17 New York, NY @ Housing Works Bookstore Café (Acoustic duo feat. Bill and Chris)
03/01 Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
03/03 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
03/04 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
03/17 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
04/20 Boston, MA @ The Paradise
Quiet And Peace is out March 2 on Scrawny/Schoolkids Records. Pre-order it here.