What a difference a year makes. At 2009’s Oxford Music Festival, Young Buffalo performed an early set; this year, the band rounds out the festival ahead of headliners Blue Mountain.
“We were like the first band to play last year. We played to like 10 people,” Jim Barrett laughed. “This year will be a lot different.”
In just a year’s time, Young Buffalo – made up of Barrett, Alex von Hardberger and Ben Yarbrough – went from being a baby band in Oxford to becoming one of the most talked-about groups in the area.
Each of the band members had been in other bands before forming Young Buffalo, so their experience helped when it came time to creating new tunes.
“We all write songs, so when we started we already had a library of things we’d been working on,” von Hardberger said.
“Our first show was a few days after our first practice,” Barrett said.
Ask the band to describe its tribal, dreamy sound, and you’ll get a few different answers, like jangle rock and jungle pop.
“It’s familiar, and then it has an experimental sound,” Barrett said. “We find a middle ground.”
Young Buffalo’s sound is equal parts strong, almost-tribal drums, jangly, ‘60s-style rock guitars and airy, folky harmonies a la Fleet Foxes, all loud like pure rock ‘n’ roll.
Young Buffalo has released several demos, but a full-length record is in the works. The group hopes to release the album in early 2011.
While the album will feature previously released songs, Young Buffalo said old favorites have been reworked and sound better than ever.
“We got super-tight,” Yarbrough said about the band’s time in the studio.
The group’s newfound cohesiveness is evident in its live show.
“We played (Proud) Larry’s this past week, and a lot of people told us, ‘That’s the best I’ve ever seen y’all,’” Barrett said.
The rest of 2010 will mean finishing up the album and prepping for what the band hopes is a very busy 2011.
“Once the record drops, we hope to play as many shows as possible,” von Hardberger said.
This weekend’s show at the Oxford Music Festival will give Young Buffalo a chance to show off how much it’s grown in the last year. Barrett said he’s excited for the gig.
“We might have to do something memorable for it,” he said.
■ Thursday at Proud Larry’s
• 7 p.m. – Jimmy Phillips
• 7:25 p.m. – Chauncey & the Beast
• 7:50 p.m. – Pineross
• 8:15 p.m. – Tate Moore
• 8:55 p.m. – Minor Adjustments
• 9:50 p.m. – Eric Deaton Trio
• 10:45 p.m. – Kenny Brown
• 11:40 p.m. – George McConnell & the
■ Friday at the Lyric
• 8 p.m. – Good Paper
• 8:40 p.m. – Cadillac Funk
• 9:20 p.m. – Jay Lang & the Devil’s Due
• 10:10 p.m. – Shannon McNally & Hot Sauce
• 11 p.m. – Mayhem 88
• 11:45 p.m. – Jimbo Mathus & Tri-State
■ Saturday at the Lyric
• 8 p.m. – Gonzo & the Clean Sneak
• 8:35 p.m. – The Reviews
• 9:05 p.m. – Stork & Nick B
• 9:30 p.m. – Shooting Out the Lights
• 10:15 p.m. – Tyler Keith & the Apostles
• 10:55 p.m. – Young Buffalo
• 11:45 p.m. – Blue Mountain Oxford Music Festival
■ When: Thursday-Saturday
■ Where: Proud Larry’s/Thursday, The Lyric Oxford/Friday and Saturday
■ Cost: $10/day, $25/weekend pass
■ Info: oxfordmusicfest.com
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal