Sounds Like: Trying to squeeze a drop of blood from a sugarcube
For Fans of: Pixies, Best Coast, Weezer's Pinkerton
Why You Should Pay Attention: During her internship at Electrical Audio studio, Bully lead singer Alicia Bognanno seriously impressed the oft-acerbic producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey). "She was a fucking joy," he told NME. Her analog recording homework paid off when it came to assembling the Nashville quartet's full-length StarTime/Columbia debut, Feels Like, a knuckle sandwich of pop-punk hooks and grunge heft. Through broken arms, poisonous memories and other lyrical baggage, Bognanno balances vocal clarity and a throat-ripping rasp. Equally potent is the tight, occasionally sludgy, frequently anthemic work of guitarist Clayton Parker and drummer Stewart Copeland — both vets of Saddle Creek garage rockers Pujol — alongside bassist Reece Lazarus. Currently on the road with fellow Music City heavies Jeff the Brotherhood, Bully shift to supporting Best Coast later this year.
They Say: "I think I did 'I Remember' in three takes," says Bognanno. "I just nailed it out. A lot of that stuff is just emotional, and it's not hard for me to replicate what I originally did live. It feels really good for me to scream about things like that. It's like a stress reliever. There's certain nights where I just really have an off day and we'll play a show. It happened the other night and it was like 'Oh my gosh, it's so good to get up here and scream it out.'"
"I would love to meet Paul Westerberg from the Replacements. I've Googled interviews with him, and I really like the way he writes his lyrics. Someone should make a book of them. Just the little things that he says. 'Skyway' or 'Achin' to Be,' they're so sweet. If I could write a word as good as he's written a whole song, I would be pleased. The music is awesome too, of course."
Hear for Yourself: Bully's new single "Trying" flips between honey-coated verses and an acid-streaked chorus. Reed Fischer