An LA trio with a stupid name is nothing unusual, but Grant Lee Buffalo–their leader/guitarist is named Grant Lee Phillips–more often than not cough up the goods to transcend their quirky, sweeping aspirations. The band’s penchant for melodrama is clearly derived from David Bowie–the quick opening of “Jupiter and Teardrop” sounds exactly like “Ziggy Stardust”–but I’ve slowly been convinced that their lush sense of atmosphere is all their own. They’re touring in support of an album, Fuzzy, that was originally released more than a year ago on Slash, and the title track is their finest example of feel-sculpting: a lazy, melancholy acoustic strum builds and builds, thickened with electric guitars, fattening rhythms, and an irresistible falsetto vocal wrapped up in an amazing, sinewy guitar line. Lyrically things are a little lite, which is especially unfortunate considering the band’s intent seems to be in the opposite direction. “Dixie Drug Store,” for example, is a voodoo New Orleans wet-dream sequence in which the narrator is seduced by tourist-trap legend Marie Laveau. Luckily Grant Lee Buffalo’s musical aura is heavy enough to make up for their subject matter. Wild Colonials open. Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jeff Bender.