The Buffali are coming! The Buffali are coming!

As far as quirky indie pop duos are concerned, you'd be hard-pressed to find one more delightfully unpretentious -- and out-and-out fun -- than the Buffali.

As far as quirky indie pop duos are concerned, you'd be hard-pressed to find one more delightfully unpretentious -- and out-and-out fun -- than the Buffali.

The group, which hails from Madison*, is currently holed up in the studio (well, "secret basement bunker," according to the group's MySpace page) prepping a follow-up to its celebrated full-length debut, "Kerfuffle No. 10."

As a result, the group has been touring very little.

"In fact, we're only coming to three cities this fall," wrote Buffali singer/guitarist Clare Fehsenfeld in a teaser e-mail to the Budgeteer a couple weeks back, "and we're happy to say that Superior is one of them!"

That's right; the duo is making good on its recently adopted "We Heart Superior" 'tude, and will return to Duluth's southernmost suburb in one week's time!


It was truly with great pleasure that I was able to share that enthusiastic sentence with you. (Especially that "South Duluth" crack ... that one always gets me.)

Anyway, to celebrate this momentous occasion, I finagled a phone interview with Fehsenfeld.

Posing as an Amway sales rep (not true), I told her I wouldn't take up too much of her time (again, not true) and proceeded to gather all the information on the Buffali that I could.

I mean, this is the group responsible for such modern-day parables as "Ducksuck," "Awful Hot Baby," "Big Ol' Bus" and "Sh*ttrain"; I would be doing a disservice to fans of eccentric acoustic-based music everywhere if I didn't figure out why Fehsenfeld and cohort Andrew Yonda are the way they are.

Act 1: They meet

The Buffali was born in 2001 at Madison's Nottingham Co-op, where Fehsenfeld and Yonda lived in lieu of on-campus housing. (Both attended UW.)

"The co-op was an experimental, avant-garde breeding ground," Fehsenfeld recalls, casually mentioning that electronic noise and people with paint on their faces was the norm at shows put on there. "We were the only people into pop music."

Act 2: The chase


As such, this shared affinity for groups like the Beatles and the Violent Femmes quickly brought the two together. (But not like that. Fehsenfeld and Yonda have had to defend their "platonic" status from day one.)

Fehsenfeld said the Buffali's unique blend of boy/girl harmonies, anything-goes lyrics and acoustic instruments is both a blessing and a curse: On the one hand, the group stands out, but, on the other hand, it's hard for them to find a niche because there are so few similar acts in the region.

Act 3: Junior

The Buffali's first foray into recording was 2003's "Sweet Potato Pie," an "improv hip-hop tune" about the co-op's vegetarian dinner offerings.

This was quickly followed up by a self-titled EP, which was recorded live in only a matter of hours.

"Our sound has really evolved so much," Fehsenfeld said, looking back at that somewhat-hard-to-find release.

But, despite the nature in which it was produced, "a lot of people really like the sound of that EP."

However, it was the group's full-length debut, "Kerfuffle No. 10," that really got the band's name out there.


Filled to the brim with such enjoyable numbers as "Sophie," "Yer Late" and the aforementioned "Sh*ttrain," the album set a new standard for "deee-ranged" indie pop.

Act 4: Global domination

Not content to rest on their laurels, Fehsenfeld and Yonda are prepared to take the Buffali to the next level.

The group has been taking cues from Yonda's beloved Beatles, infusing their group's trademark sound with an undeniably upbeat fierceness -- as evidenced by the highly refined demos "leaked" onto the Internet.

"I Will Go Back" and "Learnin' Life Skillz," in particular, are sublime, and will hopefully be used on an EP the group is putting together with its manager to shop the Buffali to a few of the nation's "prominent" labels.

The group is also getting its name out there by treating audiences to a handful of choice covers, from the Black Eyed Peas' "Shut Up" to Guns n' Roses' "Paradise City." ("Gord" groupie alert: Fehsenfeld has been toying with the idea of the Buffali performing its rendition of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" when it comes to town next week.)

Lesson: Best get your butt down to Thirsty Pagan next Friday to see the Buffali, because this group is set to explode and/or return to its home planet.

*Translated for any frat boys in the audience: "Mad Town."



The Buffali will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at Thirsty Pagan Brewing, 1623 Broadway St. in Superior. No cost. For more information on the group, visit .

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