I’m guessing that many of you will be familiar with a number, if not all, of the other blogs listed at the this little corner of t’internet. One of them is The Sound of Being OK (TSOBO), a development from When You Can’t Remember Anything, the brainchild of two friends/work colleagues SWC and Tim, who quickly cemented themselves as being as essential as Reeves and Mortimer, Laurel and Hardy, Pete and Dud, Morecambe and Wise, Lennon and Matthau, Fry and Laurie or Spit and Bob.
TSOBO was even more special thanks to the input from KT, a female colleague of the boys, whose inspirational postings and musings quickly became essential reading, being totally different in style and content from most other music bloggers, free from pretension and any effort to appear hip and cool (similar in many ways to Rol over at My Top Ten). KT is currently on maternity leave and rightly dealing with important things in life, but the lads came up with the great idea of putting out a ‘Situation Vacant’ ad on TSOBO, leading to Ed being recruited at the tail end of 2018.
The young man (he is a mere 40-years-old) has huge shoes to fill, but he’s certainly shown a great deal of promise if his early pieces are anything to go by. Here’s one of his as part of the rundown of best albums of 2018:-
According to the popular hairgel advertising sheet, the NME, Bodega are “the most exciting band to have come out of New York since The Strokes”. They are basing this on an appearance at the SXSW festival in Texas earlier in the year. I know what you are saying – these days the singing endorsement of the NME (sponsored by VO5) is enough to finish anyone’s careers. Bodega will be another fly by night over hyped band of nobodies who look identical to the last great hopes of the indie rock world. Yup, me too…
Hang on naysayers…Steve Lamacq the current Lord of Indie is on the radio and he has just played me ‘How Did This Happen?!’
And its bloody brilliant.
Bodega are according to him, the band that literally everyone wants to watch at The Great Escape in Brighton in early May. They are according to him a band that sound like LCD Soundsystem that never went clubbing.
Now I was at the Great Escape this year (I went with my mate Brian) and based on that glowing recommendation from Lammo I queued for an hour to get into the pub that they were playing in, missing Japanese Breakfast in doing so, because its Steve Lamacq and he is always right, right? So in I go.
It was sweaty and it was packed. Folks, I’m 40 years of age, I am probably told old and too married to be seen squashed up against girls more than half my age watching a rock band. But, for once, the NME appear to have got it right, they are the best band to come out of New York since The Strokes (including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). It is a breathless 30 minutes or so.
Their debut album ‘Endless Scroll’ was released at the start of the summer and it is packed full of punchy, sarky, bossy post punk tracks. Tracks like Gyrate which is definitely the best song you will hear all year about female master debating and tracks like Jack In Titanic, which is basically Pavement wearing pop music hats.
He also offered links to a number of songs from the debut album and I gave them a listen, never having heard of the band until that point in time. The following week, I went out and bought the album on vinyl, delighted to find it came lovingly packaged with a 28-page illustrated lyric booklet, indicating that they and What’s Your Rupture records cared about things.
I’m loving Bodega. Consisting of Ben Hozie (guitar, vocals), Nikki Belfiglio (vocals), Montana Simone (drums), Madison Velding-VanDam (guitar) and Heather Elle (bass), they make music which ticks all my boxes. It’s indie-guitar music packed with wit, energy and ridiculous hooks, delivered with just the right amount of American sassiness that we over here describe all too often call cocky when delivered by one of our own.
They even manage to sound good when they slow it down and get reflective, such as on this tribute to a late friend:-
mp3 : Bodega – Charlie
There is a touch of the DIY about Endless Scroll, not in terms of the production which is of a very high standard, but with 14 songs in under 35 minutes, it’s akin to the breathlessness of Glasgow’s very own Breakfast Muff who made one of the great albums of 2017 and who, like Bodega, shift between male and female lead vocals. Next month, I’ll be going, in the company of Aldo, to see the band play, what I think may well be their debut Scottish gig, when they headline the 700-capacity Glasgow School of Art.
There’s a lot of references specific to their own surroundings in Brooklyn and NYC, with a wry and satirical dig at the hipsters and purveyors of gentrification. There’s the occasional use of computer-voice simulations in-between songs which made me laugh out loud more than it should have, but why not when you hear “I use my computer for everything. Heaven knows I’m miserable now.” It’s pretty much a perfect summary of modern life, which can occasionally be rubbish.
It’ll be interesting to see if Bodega are any good in the live setting – Ed certainly thought they were – and if there is life beyond an exceptional debut. But for now, I’m happy in the haze of both drunken and sober hours to enjoy them