2015 is coming to a close, and another fantastic year of independent music-making is in the books. So what were some of the Beasts favorite things to have come out of it? Well, one thing for sure has been Nashville’s powerfully potent alternative rock band Bully. Though Bully formed in 2013, their first major release Feels Like was released through Startime just last june. Their music packs a punch to all the repressed heartbreak and forgotten angst in your gut, and twists it into a sort of nostalgic defeat.
Bully is the creative Brainchild of Minnesota native and studio queen Alicia Bognanno. Bognanno followed her heart to Middle Tennessee, where she spent her undergrad years studying audio engineering, despite her never having played an instrument. After college and a successful bout in renowned Pixies producer Steve Albini’s studio, Bognanno polished her skills and set out to Nashville, Tennessee. In 2013 she recruited guitarist Clayton Parker, bassist Reece Lazarus and drummer Stewart Copeland (yes, like The Police!) and so began Bully.
Their music is a raw collection of emotion. You can hear the struggle and passion for life in the at times scratchy yelling of Bognannos voice. The 25 year old has somehow found a way to recollect and include the entire spectrum of pain, joy and uncertainty that early adulthood throws at you. “I remember, I remember my old habits, I remember getting too fucked up, and I remember throwing up in your car/ And I remember, I remember showing up at your house, and I remember hurting so bad, and I remember the way your sheets smelt.”
Bully was given full creative control by Startime, under the umbrella of Columbia Records, which is partly why they decided to sign with the label. Feels Like was written, produced and engineered by Bognanno, and offers the listener a sonically candid image of what goes on inside her head and heart. It keeps a purist punk vibe, with a sensible amount of reverb, and buried but punchy drums. The album is an obvious result of passion and commitment, tempered with an impeccable taste for real.
The band is currently on tour in Australia and is booked through May, so they are definitely putting in their share of work. The BEASTS hope to hear much more coming out of Nashville in the following years, as something this genuine can only get better with time.
Make sure to tune into Bully’s new album, and catch them live in a town near you. You can find all their tour dates here.