Posts Tagged ‘Bodega’

The Wants describe themselves as inspired by the minimal structures of punk-punk and while that may be true Container feels more deeply indebted to the earliest threads of industrial music. This is an electronics-forward record; mechanical drum beats, retro synths, and pounding digital bass punctuated with spiky guitar riffs that cut through the noise like razors. There are other stylistic touch-points that spice up the compositions, like the early 00s DFA-lite electroclash vibes of the lead track, “Ramp,” that plays like a pared down and condensed b-side from The Rapture’s Echoes. Title track “Container” features a lyrical structure that strings together a series of urgent verbs that recalls Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Faster Stronger” but with positive productivity swapped out for an indictment of possessive consumption. “Fear My Society” is the most clearly post-punk track on the album and slinks from the speakers on a precise and minimal guitar riff backed by punchy synths reminiscent of Depeche Mode at their most radio-ready.

Some of the most interesting compositions on the album are instrumental, delicious slices of pure atmosphere that amp up the drama between the lyrical segments. This is where The Wants truly start to experiment. Mechanical menace builds over the brief 52-seconds of “Machine Room,” a clanging beat over doomsday synths bleeding directly into the opening riff of “Fear My Society.” The deeply unsettling ambiance of “Aluminum” is tangibly electric, like reaching out through ionized air to touch the glowing static-screen of an ancient tube TV in a pitch-black room. “Aluminum” showcases The Want’s mastery of John Carpenter-esque creeping dread that lurks mostly in the shadows on the rest of the album, a tone that surfaces again on “Waiting Room,” but backed with a thick dance beat and a healthy portion of sonic anxiety.

Conceptually, Container is highly focused on the individual and preserving that uniqueness in the face of external pressures to conform. There’s an inherent human drive to classify everything; man, woman, black, white, gay, straight. The convenience of organizing people and things into neat little categories often comes at the expense of other traits that make us unique and completely ignores those that by nature or choice do not fit into the generally accepted societal framework.

The Wants completely reject the idea of compartmentalized conformity, taking a strong and often aggressive stance on standing out from the pack. “I will stay a deviant or I will die of boredom” punches through on “Ape Trap” as a singular statement of intent upon which the entire album orbits, a personal ultimatum that vehemently defines individuality in a world that actively undermines those that don’t fall in line. It’s a do-or-die stance that requires Herculean levels of discipline and the construction of emotional walls to keep the outside at bay. “I have no intimacy, I’m never vulnerable” Madison Velding-VanDam sings on the standout track “Clearly A Crisis,” a battle-cry of self-preservation wrapped up in an infectious dance beat.

There are moments of levity that keep Container from getting too unwieldy. “Motor” is propelled forward with a thick bassline and contagious riff, backing vocals from Heather Elle delivering the icy-cool come-on “let’s go fast” as the music churns like a packed dancefloor under pulsing strobes. A chip-tune Gary Numan synth and swirling digital sound effects feel like the soundtrack to an anime apocalypse on “Nuclear Party;” Neo-Tokyo succumbing to atomic annihilation as Velding-VanDam sing/chants “kiss my bombs and I’ll kiss your bones.” Its heavy and destructive, but so absurdist and nonchalant that you can’t help but grin which is probably the point.

Container is out now and may be just the thing to get you up and off your couch during the challenging days ahead. Nothing like a little end of the world dance party with your significant other, roommates, or pets to beat the cataclysm blues. Stay strong, stay weird, stay true.,

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The album artwork for ‘Container’ displays cans of tinned food – stockpiling chic, if you will – while portentous song titles such as ‘Fear My Society’ and ‘Clearly A Crisis’ could hardly chime more with the doomy current climate.

Comprised of two members of New York art-punks Bodega Madison Velding-VanDam and bassist Heather Elle and completed by drummer Jason Gates, the confident self-produced debut from is riven with taut anxiety and a sense of looming dread.

Madison Velding-VanDam is one busy guy. If he’s not developing and producing the music of Brooklyn art-punkers Bodega, he is racking his brains for the right words as the primary songwriter of The Wants, his buzzy side project. Oh, and if that doesn’t sound like much, Velding-VanDam also switches between lead guitar and bass for both bands, churning out watertight, propulsive riffs while he’s at it.

Madison’s schedule might be busy, but he can’t get enough of the thrill of it. Working double duty for both Bodega and The Wants has provided him with a new creative gateway into arranging and playing guitar with different visions for each respective band. This method has paid off, too; The Wants’ forthcoming debut record, Container, is a bolshy, turbulent 30-minute trip through the darker complexities of American society. It is a whip-smart, forward-thinking body of work and essentially a product of his calculated collaborative process.

Yet it’s also a collection of razor-sharp pop songs that gleam through the gloom. They mine the sinuous basslines and euphoric bleakness of post-punk outfits such as Gang Of Four (with Velding-Van-Dam’s lyrics seemingly similarly preoccupied with stripping away the lies of capitalist and consumerist culture) and the dancefloor nous of bands from their home city (think LCD Soundsystem. So while ‘Clearly A Crisis’ apes Andy Gill’s distinctive, serrated slashes of guitar, the title track ‘Container’ takes us back to the early noughties when Mattie Safer first picked up a cowbell and James Murphy fretted about losing his edge.

The brooding Depeche Mode style existential goth-pop of ‘Fear My Society’ dealing with the post-crash economic fallout of a man pondering his place in the world – proves that Velding-VanDam is worthy of wearing the Dave Gahan-style leather chaps he regularly sports onstage. ‘Ape Trap’ and ‘Hydra’ could be cuts from Interpol totemic first record ‘Turn On the Bright Lights’ , and – inspired by the soundtrack to David Lynch’s cult movie ‘Lost Highway’  ‘The Motor’ is a frantic, pulsating rave-up. The fallout shelter funk of ‘Nuclear Party’ locks into a lolloping Talking Heads groove, with Velding-VanDam sardonically deadpanning lyrics like: Kiss my bombs and I’ll kiss your bones.

Interspersed throughout are dark, ambient instrumentals ‘Machine Room’, ‘Aluminum’, ‘Waiting Room’ and ‘Voltage’. This adds an extra layer of claustrophobia and menace, but also feels like the band are padding out a very good eight-track album into 12 songs.

Still that’s a minor quibble – as ‘Container’ is a masterful statement of intent, The Motor, Container, and Ape Trap are three tracks fromContainer that signal our path forward. These best reflect our effort to mix our influences of dance, post-punk, and pop genres we’re drawn to in exciting ways. I can see us making even more danceable and vocal melody heavy music.

I don’t feel finished engaging with the lyrical and visual themes of this record, either. The dark heart of America and the complexities of my country’s iconography still keep me searching for answers.

Container is out now on Council Records.

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“Shiny New Model,” from NYC band Bodega’s new EP of the same name, folds in quiet meditations on the sterility of late-capitalist innovations and the complicated realities of the gig economy. “Tell me don’t you relate to the state of that silver sepulchre?” frontman Ben Hozie asks in relation to ATMs. “Tell me don’t you feel used? Buttons pressed in the back of a bodega.” He’s singing over a pirouetting guitar line and an intimate bass groove. It’s not quite glam, not quite grunge, but just the right combination of both.

The mini album Shiny New Model covers various thematic ground: history alive in the present, the sadness of modern consumption, adultery via sexting, and a song set inside an actual bodega (Shiny New Model). In addition to the breezy hook-filled songs, the vinyl and CD feature an extended improvised version of the group’s staple track Truth Is Not Punishment.The band has been using this song as a vehicle for live improvisation for a year and decided to use a day of the session to experiment with capturing the song’s new, extended boundaries in the studio.

From the upcoming EP “Shiny New Model” out on What’s Your Rupture? Oct 11th.

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Brooklyn art-rock five-piece Bodega are well aware of their city’s storied underground rock traditions, but rather than pilfering that sound, they decided to add something fresh to the city’s lineage. Their debut album “Endless Scroll” was produced by Parquet Courts’ Austin Brown, and it features an experimental, fluid sound that decries technology addiction, gentrification and the mind-boggling “pizzacore” scene while mythologizing Titanic’s Jack Dawson and celebrating female masturbation. Taking cues from Gang of Four and the B-52’s, co-lead vocalists Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio possess an infectious art-punk spirit and spit out droll lines left and right while guitarist Madison Velding-VanDam plays like a chugging, post-punk version of Wilko Johnson. Throughout the album’s 14 tracks, you’re met with blaring and sharp instrumentals paired with laugh-out-loud observational quips (“Your playlist knows you better than a closest lover”) that fit the common gripes of 2018 like a glove.

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it’s itchy, scratchy perfect pop that makes you want to sing along..even without knowing the words. Bodega’s debut album was “Endless Scroll” a collective dialogue with the machine and the public. Ping-ponging vocals are set to Ben’s deconstructed guitar, Nikki’s samples of old and new technology, the driving minimalism of standing drummer Montana Simone (IDIO Gallery), the angular spasms of lead guitar Madison Velding-Vandam (The Wants) and the tight, hypnotic bass lines of Heather Elle (Please No Radio).

This NYC art-punk/new wave group is one of the most interesting new bands I’ve heard in 2018. At times I’m reminded of The B-52’s, Pylon, X, Cake and Lithics. They are an exciting live band too:

That image-heavy universe which Bodega operate in is essential to their make-up. They talk of their on-stage light boxes as “the sixth member of Bodega, while their sound – equal parts Matrix-esque futurism (they all walk on stage later this evening clad head-to-toe in black and copious amounts of leather and PVC), and dusty, New York-indebted post-punk – occupies the kind of stylistic realm that art students dribble over.

“I think we were all really excited about a kind of rock minimalism,” says Ben, “which can mean a lot of different things. For example, not having cymbals in the drum set, or doing anything frilly in the guitar parts; not repeating parts or lyrics, just in and out.”

It’s easily picked up on ‘Endless Scroll’, and its brittle, brilliant lead single ‘How Did This Happen?’, a track that’s all sharp angles and cutting pontifications on consumerism – “This machine? You know it don’t kill fascists? / This machine, it’s just a guitar,” Ben quips at one point. He calls that stark approach to music-making their “sonic mission statement”, while also referring separately to an ethical one.

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The first moment of Endless Scroll’s winkingly-titled second track, “Bodega Birth,” states the album’s thesis: “I use my computer for everything / Heaven knows I’m miserable now.” In both its content and its monotone delivery, the line addresses the ways our technological access leads to a kind of internal deadening. “Bookmarks” is even more direct: “All day at work / Stare at computer/ Come home from work / Stare at computer,” drilling down on the banality of constant access. It’s not all screens, though: On opener “How Did This Happen?!,” Bodega A lament how technology has led to political complacency and “slacktivism”; “Can’t Knock The Hustle,” with its quips about nine-dollar smoothies and hourly salaries—and a sardonic chorus that goes, “You can’t knock the hustle / When the cats are making capital”—is an anti-capitalist anthem that socialist organizations could adopt as their fight song.

Such straightforward lyricism demands music that’s equally unflashy, and Bodega’s simple, wiry arrangements rise to the occasion. The songs are built from little more than slightly overdriven guitars, simple, driving drums, and Belfiglio and Hozie’s yelped vocals. Just as Bodega’s lyrics plainly and boldly analyze our current state, so too are the songs striking in their direct, yet incisive, arrangements.

Band Members
Ben Hozie
Nikki Belfiglio
Montana Simone
Heather Elle
Madison Velding-VanDam

endless scroll

‘the best critique is self-critique’ is the mantra of Brooklyn art rock unit Bodega.

With wild minimalism and sharp wit, Bodega revitalize the rock and roll vocabulary under the influence of post punk, contemporary pop, hip-hop, kraut rock, and folk-derived narrative songwriting. Bodega’s debut lp ‘Endless Scroll’ is a collective dialogue with the machine and the public. ping-ponging vocals are set to Ben’s deconstructed guitar, Nikki’s samples of old and new technology, the driving minimalism of standing drummer Montana Simone (idio gallery), the angular spasms of lead guitar Madison Velding-Vandam (the wants) and the tight, hypnotic bass lines of Heather Elle (please no radio). “Endless Scroll” was recorded and produced by Austin Brown (parquet courts) on the same tascam 388 tape machine used for their lp “light up gold”. it was mixed and mastered by jonathan schenke (eaters) at dr. wu’s. the lp’s fourteen songs offer a high-energy, humorous but earnest thirty-four minutes.

Bodega‘s debut album is a masterpiece. Produced by by Parquet Courts’ Austin Brown, it’s rhythmic post punk with a splash of wry wit and tunes to die for. For fans of Parquet Courts, The Fall and Wire. Available on Rough Trade Exclusive clear vinyl with download and bonus CD.

Band Members
Ben Hozie,
Nikki Belfiglio,
Montana Simone,
Heather Elle,
Madison Velding-VanDam,

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Bodega’s debut single “How Did This Happen” is packed with driving guitars and droll lyricism. After appearing at SXSW in Austin this March and supporting Franz Ferdinand in the U.S., they’re set to release their debut LP, Endless Scroll, via What’s Your Rupture. (The album was produced by Parquet Courts’ Austin Brown.) The quintet’s experimental, fluid sound includes a bit of everything from post-punk and pop to hip-hop and krautrock.

Brooklyn’s finest release their fantastic debut album. With wild minimalism and sharp wit, they revitalize the rock and roll vocabulary under the influence of post punk, contemporary pop, hip-hop, kraut rock, and folk-derived narrative songwriting. it’s itchy, scratchy perfect pop that makes you want to sing along..even without knowing the words. Bodega’s debut LP Endless Scroll is a collective dialogue with the machine and the public. Ping-ponging vocals are set to Ben’s deconstructed guitar, Nikki’s samples of old and new technology, the driving minimalism of standing drummer Montana Simone (IDIO Gallery), the angular spasms of lead guitar Madison Velding-Vandam (The Wants) and the tight, hypnotic bass lines of Heather Elle (Please No Radio). The LP’s fourteen songs offer a high-energy, humorous but earnest thirty-four minutes. For fans of Parquet Courts, The Fall and Wire.

Band Members
Ben Hozie,
Nikki Belfiglio,
Montana Simone,
Heather Elle,
Madison Velding-VanDam,

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Canadian newcomers Heat’s debut EP flourishes with touches of Jesus & Mary Chain giddiness, with the whole thing underpinned by singer Susil Sharma’s weird, baritone vocals. He sounds a little like Lou Reed, which is perfectly fine with us.
The band will be headlining co supporting Spring King through May in the UK

07/05/15 – Sebright Arms, London, UK
10/05/15 – Belgrave, Leeds, UK *
11/05/15 – Start The Bus, Bristol, UK *
12/05/15 – Bodega, Nottingham, UK *
13/05/15 – Bungalows and Bears, Sheffield, UK *
16/05/15 – The Great Escape Festival, Brighton, UK
17/05/15 – London Calling Festival, AMSTERDAM, NL

Photo: Charlotte Patmore/NME

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making his TV debut on the Letterman Show the powerhouse band of Benjamin Booker, from New Orleans Benjamin and his band play flat out Rock N Blues, check out his session on Spotify. Ps Watch The Drummer….

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Bird from Liverpool, their album is available now “My Fear And Me” tales of gothic beauty,