ALBUM: Bodega – ‘Broken Equipment’

Sardonic New York art-punk collective BODEGA have an insatiable appetite for philosophy, and with their latest LP Broken Equipment, they have interrogated their own identities – and the external technological influences that shape the band – with self-aware pretentious wit, techno-scepticism and scathing social commentary. The result is a wordy concept album of sorts set in NYC; a collection of cynical anti-establishment post-punk.

Following the dissolution of their previous band Bodega Bay and BODEGA’s formation in 2016, Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio’s satirical musings – like those pondered on their 2018 debut Endless Scroll and 2019 extended play Shiny New Model – never shy away from self-critique. Opening their sophomore album with a dance-punk ode to identity, Hozie tries desperately to understand himself and the constant challenges NYC flings his way on ‘Thrown’. “My molecules change yet I remain / I weave and unweave my image.”

Atop an infectious twangy bassline courtesy of philosophy professor (and ‘de facto’ leader of BODEGA’s philosophy book club) Adam See, and Tai Lee’s percussive strikes, Hozie sneers at NYC’s culture of never-ending productivity in ‘Doer’, spitting out a Daft Punk-esque mantra that the city is maybe making him “bitter, harder, fatter, stressed out!” BODEGA’s sarcastic humour shines throughout their anthemic Beastie Boys/Run-DMC-style throwback (“Innovation waits for no man / Unless I lose my dongle!”), providing us with a New York slice of relatable satire.

Belfiglio takes on lead vocals for ‘Territorial Call of the Female’, dissecting female competition “because you know when the man is around / that’s when I’m putting you down.” Alternating between snarky and sweet with ease, Belfiglio’s expressionist vocalisation is complimented by Daniel Ryan’s angular new wave lead guitar lines and tone (referred to as the “insectoid” sound). This melodic sensibility continues on ‘NYC (disambiguation)’ with BODEGA taking a softer direction that is often at odds with their lyrical anger and disappointment; an honest look at NYC’s history.

Released in multiple languages prior to the LP’s release, ‘Statuette on the Console’ is another Belfiglio-sung highlight that ponders “anyone who puts their reality on your back and forces you to carry it around,” followed by the hip hop bounce of ‘C.I.R.P.’; Belfiglio and Hozie tag-teaming lyrics and wrestling media elitism whilst See, Lee, and Ryan provide ringside support with pulsating bass grooves, driving beats, and propulsive riffs.

The Cult-like love song ‘Pillar on the Bridge of You’ and The Velvet Underground inspired ‘All Past Lovers’ continue Hozie and Belfiglio’s journey of self-discovery in NYC, tackling relationships new and old, whilst ‘How Can I Help Ya?’, ‘No Blade of Grass’, and ‘Seneca The Stoic’ allow BODEGA to show off their rock and roll chops; Ryan shredding his way through the band’s ceaseless punk energy. But it is Broken Equipment’s closer, ‘After Jane’, that will leave a lasting impression.

Picking up the acoustic guitar, Hozie reflects honestly on his relationship with his mother for the album’s heartfelt final track; an emotionally raw realisation that after her death, her grace and pain now reside within him – “I’m channeling your hurt when I sing my songs” – It’s a sombre ending to an otherwise biting social satire, told through the ethos of punk rock.

BODEGA is a philosophical project and Broken Equipment is their latest thesis; an analysis of the changes occurring around us at an accelerated pace that directly inform our life experiences. Perhaps we’re the broken equipment.

Follow Bodega on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Track Of The Day: Momma – ‘Medicine’

A melodic reflection on the power of romantic infatuation, New York City four-piece Momma have shared their latest single ‘Medicine’. Released via Polyvinyl Record Co. & Lucky Number (Dream Wife, Sunflower Bean and Hinds), the track is an aural headrush centered around the passionate emotions that come with an all-consuming crush, full of hazy vocals and infectious guitar riffs.

Formed of Etta Friedman (guitars/vocals), Allegra Weingarten (guitars/vocals), Aron Kobayashi Ritch (bass) and Zach Capitti Fenton (drums), Momma create sounds inspired by the 90s pop and alternative scenes. Blending soft dual vocals with grunge-tinged guitars, the band seamlessly craft heady, swirling anthems focused on their observations on life and love, with new single ‘Medicine’ being a delightful combination of both.

Produced and mixed by bassist Aron Kobayashi Ritch, the single was written during a time when most of the band members were free from heartbreak. “We wanted to write about that feeling of just being addicted to someone and how someone else’s company can really feel like a drug,” the band explain, capturing this rapturous feeling via yearning lyrics and strung out riffs. The carefree accompanying visuals for the track, shot on VHS-C and directed by Hailey Heaton, reflect this heady optimism too.

Listen to ‘Medicine’ below.

Follow Momma on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Cooper Winterson

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: My Idea – ‘Stay Away Still’ / ‘That’s My Idea’

Ahead of the release of their debut EP at the end of this month, New York-based indie-pop duo Nate Amos and Lily Konigsberg – aka My Idea – have now shared the first taster of the collection in the form of two singles, ‘Stay Away Still‘ and ‘That’s My Idea‘.

Kicking off to a quick start, ‘Stay Away Still‘ launches with an upbeat drum line that lays out the rhythm ahead of a rush of guitar and vocals. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics juxtapose laughter and pain in a way that’s smart and relatable, nailing a light-hearted approach to depression and existence that fuels millennial humour.

The vocals are cleverly layered. The chirpy melody is complemented by deep, almost deadpan responses beneath. At times, the two vocal lines bounce off each other like a conversation contained within one song. At others, they conflict but in a way that feels like they come from the same place – as if one is speech while the other is echoing what you actually wanted to say. Although the words are often repeated, the way the lyrics twist around each other shapes the song with a driving momentum. The strings are lovely and light, and – with this sense of brightness particularly in the solo that continues through the following verses – a real boost is given to the music.

‘Stay Away Still’ builds gradually, with new layers being introduced throughout. Finally, it swells to a big bouncy climax that comes to an abrupt stop leaving you eager for more and grateful that this song has dropped as part of My Idea’s special two-in-one release.

The second single released as a teaser ahead of My Idea’s upcoming EP is ‘That’s My Idea‘. Shorter and softer than the accompanying ‘Stay Away Still’, it offers a clear idea of what to expect from the band in its less-than-ninety second run time.

Combining provocative lyrics – which if they were written down you might imagine were a challenge or even aggressive – with an ominously gentle delivery, the vocals are breathy, but not for lack of lung power. Instead, that softness feels like a very purposeful choice that lends a human element to the track and adds an impressive weight to the words themselves. Delivering phrases like “that’s my idea,/ talking to me like it was yours the whole time/ makes me want to fight you” with such delicacy tells an entirely different story than if they were belted out. Arguably, one that’s more powerful. The words seem to come from someone just finding the strength to stand up for themselves, not quite ready to yell but tired of being spoken over.

The light, high vocals are blended with bubbly guitar that has fun with the notes and creates a pleasantly textured foundation for the track. Fleeting with a memorably sly sweetness, ‘That’s My Idea’ makes for another fantastic appetiser before the EP brings the main course.

That’s My Idea, the debut EP from My Idea, is set for release 30th July via Hardly Art.

Kirstie Summers
@ActuallyKurt

Photo Credit: Michael Wolever

ALBUM: Palberta – ‘Palberta5000’

A cacophony of frenzied riffs, energetic beats and chant-worthy lyrics, Palberta‘s fifth album Palberta5000 buzzes with poppy enthusiasm, but remains firmly informed by DIY punk tendencies. The New York trio focused on writing catchy songs that lasted “longer than 50 seconds” for this new record, but they maintain their raw riot grrrl appeal by intricately threading their unpredictable time signatures with their habitual observations about ordinary life.

“While punk music was our first love, pop music has become our fixation,” the trio explain. “Throughout the making of Palberta5000, we were focused on making music that people could not only sing along to, but get stuck in their heads.” This evolution towards the softer side of things is best appreciated via the band’s lush, overlapping vocal harmonies. They soften more discordant tracks like ‘Something In The Way’ and make songs like ‘Red Antz’ ring with an effortless charm.

Across sixteen songs, the band flit between marching-band rhythms, buoyant guitar riffs and blasts of cathartic, joyful noise. The manic sounding ‘Eggs n’ Bac’ and ‘I’m Z’done’ – a 20 second instrumental – are examples of the latter, whilst tracks like ‘Corner Store’ and ‘Before I Got Here’ feel more considered and fleshed out. The trio have toyed with tempos too. ‘Hey!’ lives up to the punctuation in its title, whereas ‘The Cow’ soothes the ears with its strung out guitars and the reassuring lyric “I will be there with my hand on your chest / I feel your rumbling internal mess.”

Together, Nina Ryser, Ani Ivry-Block and Lily Konigsberg have crafted a record that explores the juxtaposition of anxiety and joy without diluting either emotion. Considering it’s the trio’s fifth offering, Palberta5000 packs an aural punch – but it’s one that feels more like a teasing jab on the arm from a friend when you’re hanging around outside the ‘Corner Store’.

 

Listen to Palberta500 on bandcamp or Spotify

Follow Palberta on TwitterInstagramFacebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Chloe Carrasco

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut