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Young Buffalo is Ready for its Album (MSM)

21 Mar 2013

written by My Spilt Milk


photo of Young Buffalo

Young Buffalo is Ready for its Album

Originally posted at My Spilt Milk

By Alex Rawls



Nothing prepares you for coming over a rise and seeing fire trucks parked sideways on the I-10, feeding four lanes down to one. That was my plight on the way to South by Southwest, and for the most part two of the four lanes stayed empty except for the dicks who sped around everybody to try to skip the line and nose in a quarter-mile in front of everybody who was waiting impatiently to merge into a single lane in a more orderly, civil way.

“Hold on, I’ve got to nose in here,” I told Jim Barrett of Oxford, Mississippi’s Young Buffalo. He was on the road as well, approaching Austin from the north to play SXSW, and he was happy to have someone to talk to while he dealt with traffic as well. He and bandmate Ben Yarbrough started hanging out in eighth grade, when the two were learning to play and write songs along with Alex Von Hardberger. In 2009, the three formed the band and started playing together. In 2011, they released an EP, Young Von Prettylips, after which Von Hardberger left. Barrett and Yarbrough continue as Young Buffalo, and late last year they released a self-titled second EP, hiring additional players for tours.

Barrett started playing drums before picking up the guitar, while Yarbrough migrated the opposite way. “I learned about one beat and played that for a year,” Barrett says. They have different styles as guitarists and drummers, which helps keep things varied, but not so much so that their EPs lack cohesion. The rush of furious guitars is measured out by drum patterns that keep songs in abeyance, building tension until they get to punky release points. Barrett and Yarbrough not only learned to play at the same time, but they learned to play with each other, which Barrett considers a strength. “You can see when you get on tour the bands that came together for the tour and those that have been together for a while.”

One of Barrett’s first songs was “Speak EZ,” an atmospheric, ringing track from Young Von Prettylips with a tumbling drum pattern that keeps the chiming guitars moving forward at a measured pace. “This last tour, we played ‘Speak EZ’ a good bit,” he says. “It’s changed, but I like the way it’s changed over the years.” The track was key-based, he explains, but it’s now guitar-driven and louder, something that’s easy to hear. “It’s not too intimate. It’s a little more obnoxious than our recorded stuff. We try to fill the space we’re playing.”

For more of the story, visit

Hey Marseilles and Young Buffalo perform at the WorkPlay Theatre in Birmingham March 21,  at Vinyl in Atlanta March 22 and The High Watt in Nashville March 23.

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