Albums of 2015 #25 - Bully - Feels Like

Bully
Feels Like
Release date: June 23, 2015. Columbia Records

Here we go again. The start of 'list season'. I'm a geek so love a good list and hence this is one of my most enjoyable times of year. Over the next however long it takes me I shall post my favourite 25 albums of the year (I almost called it 'Releases of 2015' because there are a few EP's in this list). This year, more than ever before, the numbering is almost meaningless. I've no fixed order at all aside from number one which is easily my most played LP of the year. Expect some obvious blog favourites and the odd curve-ball, life cannot be too predictable after-all!

My 'Albums of 2015' then starts with Bully, the Nashville quartet fronted by Alicia Bognanno and their debut full length Feels Like. "I Remember" sets the tone, a raw and ferocious slice of 90's leaning punk rock that puts itself right in your refuses to back down throughout it's entire duration. "Trying" is the most instant 'single' with obvious radio potential, a really brilliant track with a fantastic bass line that builds to a roaring chorus. It was amongst the soundtracks of the summer

One of the albums precursors' "Brainfreeze" sums the mood and enjoyment that I associate with Feels Like a fuzzy, infectious grunge revival album plump with energy, hooks and vocals that flutter between sweet and angst at the drop of a hat. "Milkman"  takes the pace up a dozen more notches, a storming, breathless shrill pop monster that is poppy yet viciously rocking at the same time and wraps up within two minutes. No track outstays its welcome and the record is ridiculously tight, throughout, adopting the philosophy 'all killer, no filler'.

I saw the band perform twice this year, their Great Escape set at Sticky Mikes one lunchtime was one of the festivals highlights and a more recent set at The Garage was equally strong, the best news however is that it feels like Bully's best could still be to come.

The Great Escape 2015 - Preview (Ten acts to see part two)

This is a continuation of the last post. Part One of my preview of The Great Escape 2015 can be found here.

6. Arctic Lake (Facebook)

Who?
A London based trio who mould minimalist instrumentation to emotive vocals with smouldering results.

Where?
THE JOKER (Alternative Escape)
THURSDAY 14th May 2015 - 1:45PM

Why?
Arctic Lake are honestly one of my favourite new acts and one whom I'm very excited about and "Only Me" is the London based trio's latest track and the follow up to the unbearable beautiful "Limits" (which got playlisted by Radio One no less) and is, there is no other way to say it, absolutely fucking gorgeous.

There's a soul-searching beauty to the restrained vocals of Emma Foster and the flickering atmospheric space of the accompanying instrumentation coexists to perfection. Perfection yes, that's the word to describe "Only Me".

7. Bully (Facebook)

Who?
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, Those Darlins, and Superchunk, Bully is ready to grab their own audience.

Where?
THE HAUNT
FRIDAY 15th May 2015 8:00pm - 8:30pm

Why?
Bully are here to take you back to the 90's (although it's close to the stage when that phrase is incorrect with Internet readership who never experienced it in the first place - argh old age!) with the guitar heavy "Brainfreeze", a fuzzy, infectious addition to the grunge revival with hooks and sugary vocals that certainly hit the sweet spots. 

The other song I came across from the Nashville quartet's self-titled EP is "Milkman", it takes the pace up a dozen more notches, a storming, breathless shrill pop monster that is poppy yet viciously rocking at the same time and wraps up within two minutes. It would be greedy to ask for more than that...

8. Adna (Facebook)

Who?
Swedish born (now Berlin based) Adna, an artist likely to cause your heart go a flutter with haunting songcraft and her beautiful, affecting vocals.

Where?
THE NORTH LAINE (Alternative Escape)
THURSDAY 14th May 2015 - Time Unknown
THE NORTH LAINE (Alternative Escape)
SATURDAY 16th May 2015 - 7:00PM

Why?
"Living" is taken from Adna's second , recently released album Run, Lucifer and immediately it hits hard with an incredible opening verse "I need to get out of my own head, to leave my whole past, get new thoughts, new feelings, a whole new life, I never wanted this one". 

The pained, emotive lyrics are accompanied by an immersive melody where a soft ringing guitar and twinkling piano is joined by a progressive drum heartbeat, already "Living" is highlighting a polished, progressive sound but just then, the chorus hits and bam. The track explodes, blowing you away for good with a soaring, kaleidoscopic power-pop surge. I simply love it.

9. No Joy (Facebook)

Who?
Montreal’s No Joy, who are currently working on material to follow their sophomore LP Wait to Pleasure, are gearing up for an upcoming European tour alongside Cheatahs, including a date at The Great Escape.

The band continues to strike a balance between the blistering walls of noise they’re renowned for, with airy, expansive atmospherics that allow the songs to breathe and the melodies to seep through.  The band, renowned for their juxtaposition of unrest and calm, beauty and chaos, truth and fantasy, in the throes of dimed amps and hair-whipping guitar goddess rock music – remain unwavering as ever.

Where?
BRIGHTHELM
SATURDAY (AM) 16th May 2015 1:30am - 2:00am

Why?
I can trace my following of No Joy right back to their beginning. A band that I've held in high regard since their debut 7" blew me away back in mid 2010. My love grew with a couple of killer UK shows and a deafening Primavera set the following spring (I've said this before but No Joy are definitely an act to see live). 

Latest track "Everything New" sees the band return in brilliant fashion, the track, the first taken from their third LP More Faithful is absolutely bloody gorgeous.

Here at least, it sees the quartet tone down the fuzz and noise (their live show, in my history, have always been a whirlwind of sonic abuse) in favour of sumptuous melody with entwined dual vocal harmonies floating amongst ringing guitars, fizzing and restrained, graceful and calming, words that are very welcome in the No Joy repertoire if you ask me.

10. Black Honey (Facebook)

Who?
After dreamy opener ‘Sleep Forever’, 60’s psychedelic ‘Teenager’ and grunge rock ‘The Taste’ the band revealed their debut EP with their final hook laden track ‘Bloodlust’ and the first photo of themselves. To celebrate the band played a packed out secret show in their hometown of Brighton. Initially only being known as ’the sweet taste of darkness’ Black Honey have gone on to become an unstoppable force.

Where?
GREEN DOOR STORE
THURSDAY 14th May 2015 9:15pm - 9:45pm

Why?
Local Brighton quartet Black Honey have rightly become UK blog darlings and with recent support shows alongside Superfood and a whole host of festivals to follow, it's seemingly only heading one way. New track "Spinning Wheel" sums up exactly why.

It sees Black Honey add spaghetti western cinematics to their pop-noir assault, from a languid, dusty beginning that recalls Lana the track suddenly bursts into life with typically scintillating energy, there's Tarantino-esque atmosphere throughout with howling vocals, psychedelic jangle guitars and some pretty awesome machine gun drumming. 

Bully - Brainfreeze

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Happy Friday kids. Time for some high-tempo pop-punk right? Well, lucky for you then that Bully are here to take you back to the 90's (although it's close to the stage when that phrase is incorrect with Internet readership who never experienced it in the first place - argh old age!) with the guitar heavy "Brainfreeze", a fuzzy, infectious addition to the grunge revival with hooks and sugary vocals that certainly hit the sweet spots. 

The other song I came across from the Nashville quartet's self-titled EP is "Milkman", it takes the pace up a dozen more notches, a storming, breathless shrill pop monster that is poppy yet viciously rocking at the same time and wraps up within two minutes. It would be greedy to ask for more than that...