Wednesday, February 28th at 12:00PM Pacific on KEXP
Last time Nashville grunge/punk band Bully came through the KEXP studio, in late 2015, they were in Seattle to play a show in a small basement bar called Barboza. It’s fitting that when they return for another live session this Wednesday, two years and one full-length record later, they’ll be there to play the substantially larger venue Neumos in the same building above that very same basement bar. Today, their trajectory is moving only upward. If you’re just joining now, here’s what you need to know about Bully:
Feels Like – Bully’s journey started in Nashville in 2013, when guitarist, singer, and professional audio engineer Alicia Bognanno teamed up with guitarist Clayton Parker and bassist Reece Lazarus. A series of self-released singles and a cassette kicked things off, and before long the band found themselves cutting a record in Chicago at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studios, where Bognanno had previously worked as an intern. The end result, Feels Like, debuted in 2015, but if you didn’t know any better, it could have been from the early 90s, right behind In Utero in Albini’s queue. The bass-heavy verses recall early Pixies records. At the choruses and crescendos, Bognanno’s loud, raspy yell is undeniably Cobain-esque. And elsewhere, her vocals are more reminiscent of earlier punk icons like Legal Weapon’s Kat Arthur. Check out “Too Tough” from the record below:
Critical Acclaim – All that said, there’s an accessibility to Bully’s songs that lets them appeal to dedicated 90s rock enthusiasts and less nostalgic fans alike, landing them somewhere in the realm of a more melodic – but also heavier – Cloud Nothings or Japandroids. Accordingly, a negative review of Feels Like is hard to find, and the band landed spots on notable festivals like Bonnaroo, Lollapallooza, Pitchfork Music Festival and ACL. To put the icing on the cake of an impressive debut-record cycle, they even made a late night appearance on Conan:
Losing – Fast forward to 2018 and after a year-plus off from touring and a lot of time spent writing and recording (Bognanno continues to at least co-engineer all of the band’s music), Bully just dropped their follow-up record, Losing. The process wasn’t always easy, but it worked: Losing is a aggressive, personal, and timely record. Also fitting is the fact that unlike their first record, which was released on the Columbia-subsidiary Star Time International, Losing came out on legendary independent Seattle label Sub Pop Records, home to so many of the bands that influenced their sound today. As Bully kicks off Losing’s tour cycle, catch their live session at KEXP next week, and check out their tour dates in the U.S. and Europe.
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