Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: BODEGA

BODEGA | Photo by Katie Tapman for XPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a band whose debut album is packed with energy, wit and irreverence. Formed out of the ashes of singer/guitarist “Bodega” Ben Hozie and singer Nikki “Icky” Belfiglio’s previous group, Bodega Bay, BODEGA‘s guiding principles are as much about stylistic exclusion as inclusion. With mantras like “No references to Glam Rock” and “No vocal effects,” BODEGA quickly rose as a fresh and exciting entity in the Brooklyn punk scene. It didn’t hurt that Austin Brown, co-leader of Parquet Courts, took notice and produced the band’s 2018 debut album, Endless Scroll, even employing the same recorder that his own band used for their 2013 breakthrough, Light Up Gold. After the dissolution of Bodega Bay, Hozie and Belfiglio teamed up with a new crew of musicians, including bassist Heather Elle, lead guitarist Madison Velding-Vandam, and drummer Montana Simone . The quintet made a special trip down to Philadelphia to record this session, which showcases a young band that’s already locked into a solid groove.

Just like the album, our session begins with the band’s first single, “How Did This Happen!?” Guided by Elle’s chugging bassline and Simone’s relentless drummer (she plays standing up, by the way), the song is an instant signature. Velding-Vandam’s searing lead conjures the spirit of Gang of Four leader Andy Gill while Hozie and Belfiglio deliver an impassioned vocal. The mood changes dramatically on the slow-burning “Boxes For The Move.” The image of scouring back alleys of liquor stores for cardboard boxes (in the rain, no less) is a heartbreaking one, and the intertwining guitars and thunderous drums create an ominous backdrop. Next is the song that highlights the band’s hyperbolic humor: “Jack In Titanic.” Implying that the only person who can empathize with your personal problems is someone who’s freezing to death in the Atlantic is patently ridiculous. But instead of a downer, ‘woe is me’ feeling, the song is addictive in its shout-along refrain. Finally, there’s “Name Escape,” which is performed in an expanded version from what appears on the record. In this death-disco screed, Hozie sheds his guitar to lash out about sponsored content, paraphrase The Smiths, and call out scenesters. See if you can decipher the automaton voices coming from Belfiglio’s sampler. I couldn’t, and I mixed the darn thing.

Listen to BODEGA’s Indie Rock Hit Parade session below, and check out some of Katie Tapman’s photos from the studio. BODEGA don’t have a return date to Philly scheduled just yet, but have a look at their just-announced European stops below…



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