Posts Tagged ‘Wharf Cat Records’

Reissue of Bambara’s “Shadow On Everything“, released in 2018 to widespread critical acclaim, the album represented a decisive step forward for twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh – frontman and drummer, respectively – and their childhood friend, bassist William Brookshire.

Bambara is a grimy noise-rock band whose release “Shadow on Everything” is a cinematic achievement. The loose concept record mashes cowboy jangle with aggressive post-punk to form a scummy, empty landscape for characters to inhabit. Laced throughout is a winding, poetic tale of relationship strife and vignettes from the character’s hometown.

While prior to its release they had always been adept students of noise rock and post-punk, mining the work of bands like Swans and The Birthday Party to construct what NPR called “beautifully dynamic nightmares,” on “Shadow On Everything”, they boldly redefined their sound to create an album that clearly transcended their early influences and dramatically quickened the pace of their ascent from the underground. Consistent with their frenetic live set, the musical centre of Shadow On Everything is Bambara’s impossibly tight rhythm section, with Blaze’s manic drumming and William’s rock-steady bass-lines serving as the perfect canvas for Reid’s wild guitar squalls and howled vocals.

But the album’s recording marked the first time that Reid’s voice was pushed to the front of the mix, highlighting the damaged characters and seedy locales that interact and overlap throughout its 12 songs. A stridently experimental record, Shadow features everything from violin to saxophone arrangements, and is meticulously interspersed with outré ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages.

Just two years after its release Shadow On Everything may seem like it was the logical next step for a band with experimental and punk origins that would go on to construct the intricate compositions displayed by its follow up Stray. In fact, Shadow On Everything  memorialises Bambara putting everything on the line, because they knew they could be more than what anyone may have seen in them up to that point in time.

Released 26th March 2021 Wharf Cat Records

On Stray, the third full-length album from the sneering post-punk trio Bambara, the band is running on a full tank of fears that live inside all of humankind, invite death into the passenger seat with a canister full of kerosene, set the world ablaze, and watch it all burn with a lust as they inch closer and closer to an inevitable end. Since uprooting themselves from Athens to Brooklyn, lead vocalist and guitarist Reid Bateh, drummer Blaze Bateh and bassist William Brookshire have discretely entwined their debonaire southern gothic of their early work under the street lamps of big city streets, but ultimately, it’s the wild and reckless nature that thrives in the Big Apple at nighttime that has truly sparked a fire to ravage through flesh and soul here on their best effort to date yet yet.

Stray is also a modern day blueprint on how to resurrect tired motifs of death into rock music through a spiritual energy that never lets on as cliche. Credit that to Reid Bateh’s wicked hand at storytelling, as he colors Bambara’s hue of darkness with figures often mysterious, dangerous, and capable of a supernatural allure. Alongside his ‘mates, they splatter the canvas of their sound with their own blood as well as those they encounter. He does this all with damaged detail, like on “Miracle” where his muse writhes around a pole between the rolling bombast of brass and white hot neon in sleazy pace that feels like One Eyed Jacks’s doppelganger. On the full throttle trinity of “Heat Lightning”, “Serafina” and “Ben & Lily”, Bambara find bad company that adds an accelerant to their mix, surfing unhinged on razorblade riffs and pressing down the gas pedal in a way that bites into vice akin to their UK peers Idles.

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When Bambara leaves nothingness to smoulder, the results can render a duality in their violent romanticism, be it heavently (”Made for Me”) or full of fire and brimstone (“Machete”.) Maybe it is the Devil who should be asking Bambara what he desires in exchange for whatever they’re harnessing, because as Stray professes, any work that finds its way through the shadows and can stare death straight in the eyes without flinching is on the level of some kind of unholy godliness.

The album, Stray (out on Feb. 14 via Wharf Cat Records),

One thing you won’t be able to avoid on Bambara’s “Stray” is death. It’s everywhere and inescapable. It would be wrong, however, to characterize the group’s fourth album as simply a dark and gloomy affair. The sonic landscape is varied, showcasing the band at both their heaviest and most nuanced, while the lyrics quickly go from the sublime to the surreal. It is undoubtedly their strongest statement yet.

Bambara released Straytheir full length fully Southern Gothic record. It’s 100% set in Georgia, which is teeming with gothic imagery according to the band. Everything from the moss to the family structures. A little before the album came out we met up to take some pictures at The Broadway, the most Brooklyn place there is. The Bateh brothers Reid and Blaze and their fellow Georgian William Brookshire blend in perfectly well here, but there’s something about them that doesn’t scream  maybe quietly creaks like floorboards warped by a humid southern summer that tells you they’re coming from somewhere else.

The album itself is intricate and precise, each song a chapter telling another character’s part in the bigger story. It could come off a little theatrical if you’re not used to it but that’s kind of the whole point. There’s nothing more dramatic than death, and this record is death-obsessed, mainly dark but never dull. The characters were created in a concentrated bout of writing, with Reid calling away from work and submerging himself in this place he was creating. That frantic energy comes out on track 2, “Heat Lightning,” after a super moody opener, “Miracle.” From there it takes you wherever the characters need to go.

“Heat Lightning” was the 3rd single released by Brooklyn-based post-punk band Bambara from their 4th LP, Stray. Formed in Georgia by brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh, Bambara trailed their southern roots to the streets of Brooklyn in 2009. The intoxicating noise of the city streets seems to feel right at home to the group as they find a certain sort of comfort in the claustrophobia of metropolitan life. A quiet city at night feels much more eerie than peaceful, and Bambara is able to capture this sort of darkness in the way they know best – noise.

Reid’s voice is almost evocative of Protomartyr’s Joe Casey and fills it with Girl Band’s anxiety, the darkness of Daughters, and the cinematic sensibilities of The Murder Capital. However, these comparisons all render meaningless because Bambara is uniquely their own in this increasingly saturated landscape of post-punk bands.

Bringing listeners to a realm of their own design, Bambara sets a listener on edge and fills them with adrenaline at the same time. Rather than being set in a New York landscape, the group distances you from reality and into a gothic western. Incredibly dark with slow, droning lyrics on top of a sinister, fast-paced guitar and a western-tinged twang makes “Heat Lightning” cinematic in a way that sends chills down your spine.

Bambara knows how to tell a story and listening becomes a fully immersive experience. The band’s lyrics are darker than they have ever been, focusing on the motif of death. In this track, Death becomes a character, spouting wisdom that rips apart the idea that everything can be explained. It becomes clear that Death is talking directly to you and dread inches through your body with every note. The consequential air of mystery and coldness leaves listeners wanting even more of the stories Bambara is telling, and to experience this haunting realm once more.

Unfold the rest of the mystery on February 14th when Stray is released on Wharf Cat Records.

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Brooklyn post-punk outfit Public Practice built up a wave of buzz with their debut EP, Distance is a Mirror, back in 2018, and for good reason—its New Wave-infused post-punk was as sharp as it was funky. The band, which features members of Wall and Beverly, recently announced their debut album Gentle Grip is out on May 15th via Wharf Cat Records, and the news arrived with one of their best tracks yet, “Compromised”—a motoring punk-pop romp.

Public Practice is band based in New York City
Members include Sam York = Vocals, Vince McClelland = Guitar, Drew Citron = Bass/Synth/Vocals, Scott Rosenthal = Drums

From the debut album Gentle Grip out 5/15 on Wharf Cat Records.

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Bambara have been around long enough that you should know by now what to expect from one of their séance-punk records, but “Miracle” is still a “Smells Like Teen Spirit”–caliber opener. If vaguely familiar VH1 talking heads ever heard this song, they’d be like, “I remember exactly where I was when I heard Bambara’s ‘Miracle,’ and I remember I just froze. I was like, ‘umm, what is this!?,’” or something to that effect. With Stray being particularly infused with themes of death, the album’s opener introduces the impending macabre with chilling gothic blues that strip Pop. 1280 of their title as best Nick Cave homage.

Band Members
Reid Bateh,
William Brookshire,
Blaze Bateh

Wharf Cat Records Released on: 2020-02-14

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The thing you won’t be able to avoid on Bambara’s latest album “Stray” is death. It’s everywhere and inescapable, abstract and personified ,perhaps the key to the whole record. Death, however, won’t be the first thing that strikes you about the group’s fourth  and greatest  album to date. That instead will be its pulverising soundscape; by turns, vast, atmospheric, cool, broiling and at times

Stand out tracks like “Sing Me To The Street” and “Serafina” simply overwhelming   Bambara are twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh, singer/guitarist and drummer respectively, and bassist William Brookshire – have been evolving their midnight-black noise into something more subtle and expansive ever since the release of their 2013 debut Dreamviolence. That process greatly accelerated on 2018’s Shadow On Everything, their first on New York’s Wharf Cat Records and  a huge stride forward for the band both lyrically and sonically.

The album was rapturously received by the press, listeners and their peers. NPR called it a “mesmerising…western, gothic opus,” Bandcamp called the “horror-house rampage” “one of the year’s most gripping listens,” Shadow also garnered much acclaim on the other side of the Atlantic. Influential British 6Music DJ Steve Lamacq, dubbed them the best band of 2019’s SXSW, and Joe Talbot of the UK band IDLES said, “The best thing I heard last year was easily Bambara and their album Shadow On Everything.”

The question was, though, how to follow it?   To start, the band did what they always do: they locked themselves in their windowless Brooklyn basement to write. Decisions were made early on to try and experiment with new instrumentation and song structures, even if the resulting compositions would force the band to adapt their storied live set, known for its tenacity and technical prowess. Throughout the songwriting process, the band pulled from their deep well of creative references, drawing on the likes of Leonard Cohen, Ennio Morricone, Sade, classic French noir L’Ascenseur Pour L’Echafraud, as well as Southern Gothic stalwarts Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews. Once the building blocks were set in place, they met with producer Drew Vandenberg, who mixed Shadow On Everything, in Athens, GA to record the foundation of Stray.

After recruiting friends Adam Markiewicz (The Dreebs) on violin, Sean Smith (Klavenauts) on trumpet and a crucial blend of backing vocals by Drew Citron (Public Practice) and Anina Ivry-Block (Palberta), Bambara convened in a remote cabin in rural Georgia, where Reid laid down his vocals.

The finished product represents both the band’s most experimental and accessible work to date. The addition of Citron and Ivory-Block’s vocals create a hauntingly beautiful contrast to Bateh’s commanding  baritone on tracks like “Sing Me to the Street”, “Death Croons” and “Stay Cruel,” while the Dick Dale inspired guitar riffs on “Serafina” and “Heat Lightning” and the call-and-response choruses throughout the album showcase Bambara’s ability to write songs that immediately demand repeat listens.   While the music itself is evocative and propulsive, a fever dream all of its own, the lyrical content pushes the record even further into its own darkly thrilling realm. If the songs on Shadow On Everything were like chapters in a novel, then this time they’re short stories. Short stories connected by death and its effect on the characters in contact with it. “Death is what you make it” runs a lyric in “Sweat,” a line which may very well be the thread  that ties these stories together.

But it would be wrong to characterize Stray as simply the sound of the graveyard. Light frequently streams through and, whether refracted through the love and longing found on songs like “Made for Me” or the fantastical nihilism on display in tracks like the anthemic “Serafina,” reveals this album to be the monumental step forward that it is. Here Bambara sound like they’ve locked into what they were always destined to achieve, and the effect is nothing short of electrifying.

Their narrative-based songs may be completely out of step with what’s happening in music right now, but that leaves plenty of room for New York City outfit Bambara to shine. Their gothic rock is gripping and shadowy, and Reid Bateh unfurls lines about characters who are much the same. Their new album, Stray, follows 2018’s Shadow on Everything.

“Heat Lightning” is from the album “Stray” out on 14th February 2020 . Order your LP/CD/Special Edition LP now.

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One thing you won’t be able to avoid on Bambara’s “Stray” is death. It’s everywhere and inescapable, abstract and personified  – perhaps the key to the whole record. Death, however, won’t be the first thing that strikes you about the group’s fourth – and greatest – album to date. That instead will be its pulverising soundscape; by turns, vast, atmospheric, cool, broiling and at times – on stand out tracks like “Sing Me To The Street” and “Serafina” – simply overwhelming

Bambara are twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh, singer/guitarist and drummer respectively, and bassist William Brookshire – have been evolving their midnight-black noise into something more subtle and expansive ever since the release of their 2013 debut Dreamviolence. That process greatly accelerated on 2018’s Shadow On Everything, their first on New York’s Wharf Cat Records and  a huge stride forward for the band both lyrically and sonically.

The album was rapturously received by the press, listeners and their peers. NPR called it a “mesmerising…western, gothic opus,” Bandcamp called the “horror-house rampage” “one of the year’s most gripping listens,” and Alexis Marshall of Daughters named it his “favorite record of 2018.”  Shadow also garnered much acclaim on the this side of the Atlantic. Influential British 6Music DJ Steve Lamacq, dubbed them the best band of 2019’s SXSW, and Joe Talbot of the UK band IDLES said, “The best thing I heard last year was easily Bambara and their album Shadow On Everything.”  The question was, though, how to follow it?

To start, the band did what they always do: they locked themselves in their windowless Brooklyn basement to write. Decisions were made early on to try and experiment with new instrumentation and song structures, even if the resulting compositions would force the band to adapt their storied live set, known for its tenacity and technical prowess. Throughout the songwriting process, the band pulled from their deep well of creative references, drawing on the likes of Leonard Cohen, Ennio Morricone, Sade, classic French noir L’Ascenseur Pour L’Echafraud, as well as Southern Gothic stalwarts Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews.

Once the building blocks were set in place, they met with producer Drew Vandenberg, who mixed Shadow On Everything, in Athens, GA to record the foundation of Stray. After recruiting friends Adam Markiewicz (The Dreebs) on violin, Sean Smith (Klavenauts) on trumpet and a crucial blend of backing vocals by Drew Citron (Public Practice) and Anina Ivry-Block (Palberta), Bambara convened in a remote cabin in rural Georgia, where Reid laid down his vocals.

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The finished product represents both the band’s most experimental and accessible work to date. The addition of Citron and Ivory-Block’s vocals create a hauntingly beautiful contrast to Bateh’s commanding  baritone on tracks like “Sing Me to the Street”, “Death Croons” and “Stay Cruel,” while the Dick Dale inspired guitar riffs on “Serafina” and “Heat Lightning” and the call-and-response choruses throughout the album showcase Bambara’s ability to write songs that immediately demand repeat listens.

While the music itself is evocative and propulsive, a fever dream all of its own, the lyrical content pushes the record even further into its own darkly thrilling realm. If the songs on Shadow On Everything were like chapters in a novel, then this time they’re short stories. Short stories connected by death and its effect on the characters in contact with it. “Death is what you make it” runs a lyric in “Sweat,” a line which may very well be the thread  that ties these stories together.

Shadow On Everything, is the third LP by Bambara and their first for Wharf Cat Records, represents a decisive step forward for the NYC-via-Georgia trio. Frontman Reid Bateh, drummer Blaze Bateh, and bassist William Brookshire have always been adept students of noise rock and post-punk, mining the work of bands like Swans and The Birthday Party to construct what NPR called their “beautifully dynamic nightmares.” Now, they’ve transcended their early influences to produce a Western Gothic concept album that sounds as big as the desert sky looming over its characters’ lives.

This is Gothic piece of Americana with many echoes of Nick Cave’s early work – seedy characters; tragic, violent tales; pulsating, writhing guitars. this is the type of rock album that comes along only once in a very long time.

As with all previous Bambara releases, the musical center of Shadow on Everything is its impossibly tight rhythm section. Blaze’s frenzied yet metronomic drumming and William’s prominent bass lines have plenty of personality on their own, but they also provide a perfect canvas for Reid’s wild guitar squalls and howled vocals. While Reid’s lyrics have always been a critical part of Bambara’s songs, his voice is pushed to the front of the mix on Shadow, placing his damaged characters and seedy locales at center stage. A stridently experimental record, Shadow features everything from violin to saxophone arrangements, and is meticulously interspersed with outré ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages that the band sifts through to find the perfect textures. 

The production by Andy Chugg (Pop. 1280, Pill) is crisp and clear, giving life to the band’s decision to foreground the vocals, but it splashes enough darkness on the songs to help them retain their pitch-black atmosphere. By far Bambara’s most ambitious album, Shadow On Everything shows a band operating at absolute peak creativity and execution. 

Bambara has performed as a five-piece since Reid broke his hand on stage in 2016. Their pummeling and unpredictable live set has made them favorites on both under- and above-ground circuits in New York City, having impressed noise-pop auteur Angus Andrew to the extent that he asked Reid and Blaze to join Liars as members on 2017’s worldwide tour. Additionally, Bambara has toured the US and Europe extensively alongside the likes of Liars, Metz, Girl Band, APTBS, Algiers and more.
Released April 6th, 2018

Eyes of Love’s debut full-length, End of the Game, is out on August. 17th via Wharf Cat Records. “Homeowners,” the record’s opening track, is a wobbly masterpiece of taut, post-punk guitars, pulsing rhythms, and earworm melody. Andrea Schiavelli says: “I wrote the song in my head at 4am walking through downtown Brooklyn on the way home from work as a sound engineer. At the time I was reading a lot of JG Ballard shorts. I was obsessed with the inner state of rocking out that can take whatever external form. Like air guitar or something doesn’t actually have to generate sound to be potent.”

“End of The Game” is the anticipated debut full length by Eyes of Love, a band helmed by Brooklyn songwriter Andrea Schiavelli. Assembling a crew of some of the most skilled musicians in New York’s underground; Lily Konigsberg (Palberta, Lily and Horn Horse), Sammy Weissberg (The Cradle, Sweet Baby Jesus), Paco Cathcart (The Cradle, Shimmer), Schiavelli has cultivated a long player that is obedient to feeling and pulsates with urgent, anxious beauty.

These 14 tracks harness the chaos of reckless abandon amid classic structures. Fans of Eyes of Love’s self titled 7” EP will recognize a mastery of breezy pop in tracks like “Homeowners” and “Players of the Field.” We see the band turn toward experimentation on tracks like “New,” which alternates between driving power pop and percussive breakdown. The lush strings, arranged by Weissberg, on tracks like “Elevator” and “End of The Game” starkly frame Shiavelli’s earnest songs while adding a depth and variation to this albums’ song-cycle, as do the solo piano instrumentals “Piano1 Final” and “New Piano.” The full band tracks on End of The Game were recorded live, have no overdubs and are mixed with little or no effects – a rare technique these days and a sign of a band devoted to the details of their arrangements.

WCR 079 - ACLU Compilation - FINAL THUMBNAIL.jpg

In this powerful benefit compilation, a range of independent artists join forces to raise funds for the American Civil Liberties Union and its heroic mission to protect the rights of all people as we head into the second year of the Trump administration and its ongoing assault on the Constitution.
The album is available in a limited run of double LPs featuring all-new material from a gamut of artists across genre. This is a boon for fans of Merchandise, Palberta, Pop 1280, Profligate, and The Men, whose track “Shimmer and Shine” is a rootsy, Mick Taylor-era Stones celebration of pain. Living legend Alice Cohen graces this album’s proceedings as well, with “Hourglass” a pop track that could be a mega-hit in a less ugly world. There’s driving, urgent postpunk with Psychic Blood, Sediment Club, and Old Maybe on the roster. And the underground offers up quieter moments for this album, such as Kate Mohanty’s moving solo sax composition “Priorities” and Horoscope’s “Bri.” We go around the world to New Zealand with Joe Troutman (Trust Punks) and his new group Cheerleader and to the western United States with Dollar Band, a new group featuring Dylan Sharpe and Dan Swire of Gun Outfit. Their “Too Sensitive” features a ripping rhythm section and some of Sharpe’s best lyrics and guitar runs to date. These are just a few examples from this diverse compilation of 22 tracks.
The packaging of this record is also stellar and features artwork by Emma Kohlmann (front cover pictured above), Nick Van Woert (center labels), Sam Falls (inside gatefold design), and V. Manuscript (back cover).

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Wharf Cat Records would like to thank the artists, manufacturers and engineers that donated their work, services and expertise to this project. This double LP would not have been possible without Brooklyn Phono, which donated the vinyl & pressing; A to Z Media, which donated the gatefold jackets; Carl Saff, who donated the mastering; Kutch 1 Studios/Look to Listen, which donated the recording time used by many of these artists; and Jason Vachula, who donated the layout and design.