Earlier this decade, bands like the White Stripes and the Strokes unleashed a garage rock revival that peaked about the time Jet queried, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?"
If any band is capable of reviving the bluesy psychedelic hard rock of the late '60s and early '70s in the same way, it's Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers, appearing Saturday at the High Noon Saloon with Old Panther and the .357 String Band.
Buffalo Killers' songs reference bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and Grand Funk Railroad. But those references are ultimately imperfect because the Buffalo Killers' sound is all their own.
The Killers are a trio composed of brothers Zachary and Andrew Gabbard on guitars and their childhood friend Joseph Sebaali on drums. They sometimes tour with their friends in another Ohio band, the Black Keys. Keys frontman Dan Auerbach produced the Buffalo Killers' latest album, Let It Ride.
The video to the title track of Let It Ride is like a trip back to a rural Midwest hippie commune, circa 1969. The long-haired, bearded Gabbard brothers stand in front of a barn with an American flag painted on it. They jam in an open field in front of a group of friends who are setting off sparklers like it's the Fourth of July. The video is filmed is vintage yellow and green hues.
Consistent with the heyday of '60s hard rock, the Buffalo Killers' narrative themes are tinged with an element of existential peace and co-existence.
My favorite song on Let It Ride isn't psychedelic at all. It's a sublimely peaceful rock ballad called "Give and Give." The track is a brave departure from the fuzz and reverb that sings loud on the rest of Let It Ride. "Give and Give" is built on an acoustic riff and restrained drums that support an altruistic message:
Don't let your time just pass you by / Each new morning let out your shine / If you can feel it, stand up and say it / It ain't living unless you give and give.