CLUBKAARTSHOWThursday 24 March
Harsh, punishing postpunk
Bambara are a Brooklyn-based band who play harsh, punishing post-punk with a distinct Western Gothic bent. Their songs combine walloping drums and dark, twangy guitar riffs with unsettling noise loops and howled, ranting vocals that examine the seedy side of life. First appearing with noisy, lo-fi releases like 2013 full-length debut Dreamviolence, the group continued to make more focused efforts such as 2020’s Stray.
The band was founded in 2009 by guitarist and vocalist Reid Bateh, his twin brother Blaze Bateh, and bassist William Brookshire. Originally from Athens, Georgia, they released an EP titled Dog Ear Days on their own Emerald Weapon label before relocating to Brooklyn. Following a 2012 experimental noise EP, Rings, the group issued their home-recorded proper debut full-length, Dreamviolence, on Arrowhawk Records in 2013. Bambara then toured with the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers, METZ, and Algiers before releasing another noise EP, Night Chimes, and sophomore album Swarm, which was recorded by Ben Greenberg (the Men, Uniform). The band continued touring, both as headliners and as the support act for Girl Band and Liars, and began performing as a quintet after Reid broke his hand on-stage in late 2016. Reid and Blaze subsequently joined the touring lineup of Liars in 2017.
The following year, Bambara signed to Wharf Cat Records and released Shadow on Everything, which placed more of the spotlight on Reid’s lyrics without sacrificing the lacerating guitar noise or sheer power of the group’s prior work. After tours of the U.S. and the U.K., the band returned in 2020 with their fourth album, Stray, a refined take on their already punishing post-punk sound.
Support: Holy Motors
Though their music is often tied to traditions of Americana roots music, Holy Motors hail from Tallinn, Estonia, an incongruence that adds to this band’s endless allure. Their critically acclaimed debut album “Slow Sundown” put them on the map as an unignorable group of post-Soviet cowgirls & boys making music “that sounds like the old West” (Fader). What began as a shared infatuation with the American West evolved into a sincere embodiment of that dreamy, melancholy aura, both in their music and persona.
Their new album “Horse” acknowledges these Americana and rockabilly strands in their musical DNA without sacrificing any of the otherworldly mystique that keeps them from neatly conforming to the shoegaze and dream-pop labels often applied to their sound. Their hypnotic force paired with the ability to write music and lyrics that resonate with a deeply relatable feeling of isolation allows them to connect with all sorts of people – from the devoted Western-psychedelia fanatic to the dreamer cowboy driving under the stars through wide open country roads.