OUT JUNE 23RD
ON TOUR WITH JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD AND
BABY'S ALRIGHT BROOKLYN SHOW ANNOUNCED FOR APRIL 29
READ BULLY'S PITCHFORK RISING HERE
Often compared to 90's mainstay's The Breeders, Afghan Whigs or Hole, Bully is known for its grunge-rock sensibilities. The band is Stewart Copeland on drums, Clayton Parker on guitar and Reece Lazarus on bass with Bognanno's powerhouse screech up front- a "full body, throat-scraping, soul-cleansing scream," as Pitchfork describes it. Feels Like is full of uncomfortable topics relayed through Bognanno's confessional songwriting style. "With Bognanno's unflinching honesty at the forefront of her band's power pop blasts, its no wonder Bully grabbed attention," said Pitchfork. The ten tracks cover break ups, missed period's, puking in cars and most experiences quintessential to one's youth. Somehow Bognanno conveys both an irreverence and sentimentality for her history - the emotional chasm that most feel when they look back on their adolescence.
Bully released their first taste of the album a few weeks ago when they debuted the track "I Remember". Fader premiered the track saying, "like licking a battery, Bully's 'I Remember' feels good even as it hurt. It's fast and nasty-sounding, with a punkish edge that tastes a little sweet even as its serrated edges scar your skin." The track "has a warm, blownout euphoria, a song for self-medicating like staring at the sun," said Pitchfork.
LISTEN TO "I REMEMBER" HERE
Bully will be on tour all spring in the US with fellow Nashville grunge band JEFF The Brotherhood. They have also announced a string of June dates supporting Best Coast, UK headlining shows and festivals in both the US and UK including The Great Escape in Brighton, Northside in Brooklyn and Pitchfork Festival in Chicago.
BULLY - FEELS LIKE
1) I Remember
3) Too Tough
PRAISE FOR BULLY
Listen to "Bully" on
NPR's All Things Considered
"Nashville punk Alicia Bognanno's velvet hammer connects with sweet fury." - Buzzfeed
"This buzzy Nashville band has a summer-night, spinning-around-in-circles kind of energy. They'll make you wish you had a beat-up convertible you could take on an aimless drive and loudly sing the words you can understand." - NewYork Mag
"... an appealingly tuneful alt-indie outfit from Nashville. Their set had energy and charm in spades, and reminded me a bit of the Breeders in their scrappy prime." - NME
"Bully eviscerated everyone's eardums at the Third Man showcase with seriously abrasive and catchy grunge." - Nerdist
"Setting her innermost thoughts to bracing '90s-style alt-rock." - Refinery 21
*w/ JEFF The Brotherhood
#w/ Best Coast
Mar 26: Soda Bar - San Diego, CA*
Mar 27: Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA*
Mar 29: The Independent - San Francisco*
Mar 31: Bunk - Portland, OR*
Apr 01: The Crocodile - Seattle, WA*
Apr 02: Lucky Bar - Victoria, Canada*
Apr 03: Biltmore Cabaret - Vancouver, Canada*
Apr 04: The Habitat - Kelowna, Canada*
Apr 05: The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club - Calgary, Canada*
Apr 06: Starlite Room - Edmonton, Canada*
Apr 07: Amigos - Saskatoon, Canada*
Apr 09: Good Will Social House - Winnipeg, Canada*
Apr 11: Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, IA*
Apr 12: Off Broadway - St. Louis, MO*
Apr 29: Baby's Alright - Brooklyn, NY
May 02: Live At Leeds - Leeds, UK
May 07: The Lexington - London, UK
May 14-16: The Great Escape - Brighton, UK
May 28: Cactus Club - Milwaukee, WI
May 30: Lost Lake Lounge - Denver, CO
May 31: Kilby Court - Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 02: The Bartlett - Spokane, WA
Jun 09: Waiting Room - Omaha, NE#
Jun 12: Paradise - Boston, MA#
Jun 13: Northside Fest - Brooklyn, NY
Jun 14: Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA#
Jun 16: 930 Club - Washington DC#
Jun 17-19: Pitchfork Music Festival - Chicago, IL
Jun 18: Newport Music Hall - Columbus, OH#
Jun 19: Majestic - Detroit, MI#
Jun 20: The Bishop - Bloomington, IN
Jul 17-20: Pitchfork Music Festival - Chicago, IL
B U L L Y
The word "bully" has a negative connotation in 2015, one heavy with menace and violence. A bully is an instigator, an aggressor-someone who can spot your weaknesses and exploit them mercilessly. It's a curious name for a Nashville quartet that is transforming familiar '90s alt-rock (Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, Weezer) into smart, sharp-edged millennial indie rock, but "bully" is certainly an apt description for the band's churning guitars, rambunctious rhythms, and tightly coiled intensity. Their debut, Feels Like sounds alternately like a balled fist and a fresh bruise.
More crucially, the word "bully" is a perfect distillation of frontwoman Alicia Bognanno's visceral approach to songwriting. She trades in steely observations, raw-nerve confessions, and intense anger directed almost exclusively at herself-although a few bystanders and bad exes might get caught in the crossfire. Her voice rises from sugar-sweet to scratchy howl as she bares her most harrowing fears to the world. In other words, Bognanno is her own bully.
Not merely the band's vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, and all-around visionary, she is also Bully's producer and engineer. Her musical life in music is inseparable from her experiences studying audio techniques and technology. Growing up in Minnesota, Bognanno often made up her own lyrics and melodies-nothing so complete as a song-but it wasn't until her senior year of high school that she found an outlet for those creative urges. "I took an audio engineering class at this alternative school," she recalls, adding that sessions were held at the local zoo. "Suddenly, it was like, Wow! I have a way to record stuff. Now I need to figure out how to play an instrument." She learned piano quickly, but guitar was more difficult; she had more fun using Logic Pro X to loop beats for some of her friends who were aspiring rappers.
Audio engineering engaged her in ways that other subjects had not, and Bognanno credits her teacher with recommending an inexpensive four-year Bachelor of Science program at Middle Tennessee State University, about thirty miles south of Nashville. There she immersed herself in courses in recording techniques, music theory and history, even copyright law. She even took another stab at guitar, this time with better results. "I think learning just some basic theory helped a lot, but I think it was because I picked up an electric guitar instead of an acoustic," she explains. "It was a lot more fun."
While the school emphasized digital recording, Boganno became obsessed with analog equipment. Part of the attraction was the richer and roomier sound, which opens up new and livelier textures in the instruments. "It's hard to bust out of what your instructors are showing you and what all your classmates are doing," she says, "but there were two teachers who maintained the tape machines, and they gave me lessons on the mechanics and techniques."
Bognanno used that experience to pursue an internship at Electrical Audio, the Chicago studio complex owned by Steve Albini and host to legendary sessions by some of Bully's heroes and biggest influences: the Breeders, Liz Phair, Superchunk, even the Stooges. When she returned to Tennessee, she started working at a local studio (Battle Tapes), ran sound at one of the best venues in town (the Stone Fox), and formed Bully as essentially a solo project backed by a trio of friends: Stewart Copeland on drums, Clayton Parker on guitar, and Reece Lazarus on bass.
Despite Bognanno's expertise as an audio engineer, the band is less a studio entity than a stage act, one that has quickly developed a reputation for its ferocious live shows (the Nashville Scene named Bully the top local band in its 2014 Best of Nashville issue.) On record, Bognanno strives to retain the band's formidable guitar attack while highlighting her boldly candid lyrics. "At this point in my life I always want everything I make to sound like we're playing live," she explains. "That's why I didn't put any keyboards or any extra stuff on there. Some people don't like that, but I had to go with my gut."
The band recorded live at Electrical Audio, doing as few takes as possible. Once they'd gotten a good performance, the songs were mixed immediately, not merely to save time but to preserve the excitable urgency of the music. Overseeing every part of the process put extra pressure on Bognanno to deliver some truly unbridled vocal performances. She practically screams the lyrics to opener "I Remember," documenting her memories of a curdled romance as the guitars roar and tumble behind her:
I remember showing up at your house
I remember hurting you so much
And I remember the way your sheets smelled!
It made for an intense session. "Stuart was trying to get some footage while we were in the studio, and he said he couldn't be in the same room with me while I was recording those vocals. It was just too intense. I don't even know how it comes out of me."
A deeply personal album by an artist bravely mining her own life, Feels Like is all about trying to figure yourself out-about holding yourself accountable and acting like an adult in a society that doesn't offer very many good examples. It's a coming-of-age album, which only makes Bognanno more relatable. "Sometimes I wonder if people think I'm a complete mess," she says. "It's not easy to put yourself out there like, but it's true. Everyone goes through shit like that."
--- More at UnRatedMagazine.com |