Posts Tagged ‘Bully’

“‘Cause what I want with you is none of your business,” Alicia Bognanno sings in a soft bedroom voice, layered above a repeating and driven guitar riff in the opening verse of “Kills to Be Resistant.”

This release off of Bully’s sophomore album, Losing, is not hard to identify with. The drums in this song lay down a foundation, perfectly mirroring Bognanno as she ebbs between gentle verses tip-toeing around the topic, and choruses riddled with gravel, grit and the pain that comes with accepting circumstances as they are. With just drums and bass to hold the words, Bognanno confesses, “When I’m alone, I stare at your picture,” a habit with which most of us are all too familiar. When the guitar riff comes back in for the bridge, it’s an embodiment of that cyclical, anxious thought process that’s attached to facing an end to or a shift in a relationship.

“It won’t stop / Do you feel nothing?” she asks in the chorus leading into an outro that matches the built-up frustration in the lyrics with dissonant chords and skillfully-played drum fills.

This is all anyone could have hoped for when anticipating new music from Bully. The sound is full, but nowhere near overly-complicated. Every necessary element is there, coming together to sound so effortless and raw. The only thing more to ask for is a ticket to a live performance.

When Alicia Bognanno came forth with her debut album Feels Like under the pseudonym Bully in 2015, it was relatively easy to compare her lucid, diary-entry songwriting and throaty head-screams to dozens of 90s’ indie powerhouses.

These comparisons were appropriate at the time – Feels Like was 31 restless minutes of explosive indie guitar-rock, with a timeless appeal boasting 90s’ nostalgia and emotional self-revelations. But as time passed, Feels Like aged adequately, and each listen felt more refreshing than the last. Minute production details that were once unnoticed began to show – courtesy of Bognanno’s tenure at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studios in Chicago – and Feels Like became a vital document for heady 90s’ indie-rock revivalists.

Now two years wiser, Bognanno has returned with the follow up, and her Sub Pop debut, Losing – an album even more focused and emphatic than its predecessor.

US trio Bully like to mimic their live performance on record; a sound that’s frenetic, raw, vulnerable, and pulses with tension from start to finish. For frontwoman Alicia Bognanno, this year feels like the perfect time for the band’s return, with their sophomore record, Losing – the band’s first release with legendary label Sub Pop Records (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Sleater Kinney).

The same raw intensity that made fans fall under Bognanno’s spell in 2015 is still very much present, but this time around Bognanno sounds more self-assured. Whether it’s the muscular bass riffs on “Running,” the despairing chorus of “Feel the Same,” or the repetitive drum-rolls and cries on “Not the Way,” Bognanno is her finest and purest self on Losing.

Per usual, Bognanno’s perennial hooks and screams are felt with a stubborn sense of irritability and angst, ripping off old emotional band-aids in attempts to decipher the complexities of aging. Suffice to say, Alicia Bognanno is in her prime as a musician, songwriter, and producer, and somehow comes out of Losing better than before, proving herself as one of the most consistent and impressive artists of the decade.

‘Losing’ (Release Date: October 20, 2017) LP version of ‘Losing’ from the Sub Pop Records.

Bully is definitely not losing these days! Get it? Anyway, they are putting out a new album entitled Losing from the Sub Pop label and this is as in your face as their previous album Feels Like which was highly acclaimed. The difference between their previous album and Losing is going to be refinement and perfectionism. Their first album was gritty, angry and beautifully chaotic stemming from Alicia’s protest on the crap that is life. Losing is coming from a similar place and doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does polish it and give it new tires and such. Check out the single “Feel The Same” below and enjoy Bully. You can get the album at their Bandcamp site or from Sub Pop’s Mega Mart.

Limited edition Clear w/Black Swirl-colored vinyl LP, available while supplies last.

BULLY – ” Live On KEXP “

Posted: January 16, 2016 in MUSIC
Tags: ,

Bully were founded by Rosemount, Minnesota native Alicia Bognanno, high-powered grunge punk reminiscent of the beginnings of indie rock. Alicia is reminiscent of a young Emily Haines, with the same boundless energy as she ricochets through punk riffs and like Haines she maintains enough composure to keep a song catchy. Dynamic melodies and high-speed percussion section help Bully cut through the noise quickly and repeatedly. Tracks like ‘Brainfreeze’ are filled with scrappy energy until the last crunchy bass note fades out.

Bully performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded October 16, 2015.

Songs:
Brainfreeze
Trying
Picture
Trash

Bully Feels Like

The members of Nashville’s slacker rock group Bully could not be more emotionally detached and dismissive than they are in a new video for the song “Too Tough.” Fronted by singer Alicia Bognanno, the band members plod their way through the song in a nondescript suburban living room, completely distracted and disinterested in their own performance. Drummer Stewart Copeland intermittently grows bored and stops playing all together.

The whole scene oozes sarcasm. “Calling me but you can’t come clean,” sings Bognanno. “I had to hear it from family, hear it on the answering machine.” Not a lot happens in this world, but it’s oddly captivating to watch, in part for Bognanno’s penetrating gaze into the camera.

“Ever since the record has come out,” Bognanno tells us via email, “I am constantly being asked about the intensity and honesty of the lyrics and whether or not I regret putting them out there. This video is a friendly reminder that, yes, obviously we care, but we don’t need to be taken so seriously 100% of the time.”

“Too Tough” is from Bully’s debut full-length, Feels Like, released earlier this year on Columbia Records.

Alicia Bognanno performed the realest/rawest video of the year. “I Remember” is a blistering, intensely emotional missive, and even though Alicia’s probably performed this song 1000 times at this point, it looks like the sentiment expressed here hits a nerve every time. She holds nothing back, and by the time she’s done it feels like pure, sweet catharsis. Bully’s debut full-length “Feels Like” came out June 23rd. Of all the albums released this year, Feels Like is one of the most personal, honest and raw; it finds singer Alicia Bognanno laying herself emotionally bare in all arenas of her life, from a caustic past (or doomed present) relationship lamented on “I Remember,” the album’s lead single that hit pretty much everyone like a smack in the face when it dropped earlier this year, to reming a friend that he or she is better than their own bullies on “Six,” to pondering the possibilities of the future on “Milkman”.

The album is evidence of how strong Nashville’s oft-overlooked rock and roll scene really is, and makes a strong case for the resurgence of electric guitars in a city generally associated with pedal steel, fiddles and, more recently, the computer generated sounds that dominate modern country. Each song teems with unrestrained energy that doesn’t let up for a moment, and Bognanno’s rough-around-the-edges vocals push the tracks even further. If you’re not yet familiar with Bully, get familiar, because Bognanno and co. could be headed straight to the top.

BULLY – ” Trying “

Posted: October 22, 2015 in MUSIC
Tags: , ,

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Debut album ‘Feels Like’ out June 23rd 2015, frontperson and bandleader  Alicia Bognanno doesn’t just sing and play guitar for this Nashville band. She also writes all the songs and records and engineers them; she taped their triumphant debut Feels Like at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio, where she was once an intern. So it’s fitting that Bognanno’s voice is what defines this band. It’s a huge, ragged, vulnerable roar, the type of thing that conveys complicated things about being young and fucked-up and helps elevate her band’s revved-up fuzz-rock above just about all their ’90s-indie-rocking peers.

Bully is a young Nashville four-piece blasting out of the gates with high-powered grunge punk reminiscent of the beginnings of indie rock. The band is fronted by Alicia Bognanno, an audio engineer who has been cutting her teeth on the soundboards of indie clubs and studios in recent years. After opening for the likes of Best Coast, JEFF the Brotherhood, and Superchunk, Bully is ready to grab their own audience.
The dynamic melodies and high-speed percussion section help Bully cut through the noise quickly and repeatedly. Tracks like “Milkman” and “Brainfreeze” lay it all on the line with scrappy energy until the last crunchy bass note fades out.

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From the debut album ‘Feels Like’ 

During her internship at Electrical Audio studio, Bully lead singer Alicia Bognanno seriously impressed the oft-acerbic producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey). “She was a fucking joy,” he told NME. Her analog recording homework paid off when it came to assembling the Nashville quartet’s full-length StarTime/Columbia debut,Feels Like, a knuckle sandwich of pop-punk hooks and grunge heft. Through broken arms, poisonous memories and other lyrical baggage, Bognanno balances vocal clarity and a throat-ripping rasp. Equally potent is the tight, occasionally sludgy, frequently anthemic work of guitarist Clayton Parker and drummer Stewart Copeland — both vets of Saddle Creek garage rockers Pujol — alongside bassist Reece Lazarus. Currently on the road with fellow Music City heavies Jeff the Brotherhood, Bully shift to supporting Best Coast later this year.

They Say: “I think I did ‘I Remember’ in three takes,” says Bognanno. “I just nailed it out. A lot of that stuff is just emotional, and it’s not hard for me to replicate what I originally did live. It feels really good for me to scream about things like that. It’s like a stress reliever. There’s certain nights where I just really have an off day and we’ll play a show. It happened the other night and it was like ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so good to get up here and scream it out.'”

“I would love to meet Paul Westerberg from the Replacements. I’ve Googled interviews with him, and I really like the way he writes his lyrics. Someone should make a book of them. Just the little things that he says. ‘Skyway’ or ‘Achin’ to Be,’ they’re so sweet. If I could write a word as good as he’s written a whole song, I would be pleased. The music is awesome too, of course.”

Hear for Yourself: Bully’s new single “Trying” flips between honey-coated verses and an acid-streaked chorus.

Bully

Catch Bully with Kid Wave at the scholar Bar at the Leicester 02 Academy,
Having interned at Steve Albini’s studio, Bully frontwoman Alicia Bognanno is a musical force to be reckoned with – writing, singing, playing and recording all of Bully’s material. And yes, Albini is a fan of the Nashville-based band too. He told us he’s “rooting” for them in 2015. We can’t argue with that.
Nashville rockers Bully, who were in Austin for SXSW, are currently on a tour with JEFF the Brotherhood which wraps up mid-April. , but Bully are set to tour the UK  stopping here next month for their first UK tour, playing

After their UK tour, Bully will be back in NYC for the Northside Festival, playing the big 50 Kent show on June 13 with Best Coast, Built to Spill and Alvvays.

 


J. ERIC SMITH

Slow molasses drip under a tipped-up crescent moon.

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