March 15, 2020 | doors at 7:00pm
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Bambara's post-punk has always had a sleek sort of menace to it, a taut rhythm section wrapped in psychedelic
noise. It's mesmerizing to listen to, and seeing the band live is an experience wrought from sharp curves and
frontman Reid Bateh's rapturous baritone.
There's no end to the malevolence, from early Swans' back-basement seething to the dark triumphalism of stadiumgoth, but-- Georgia boys that [they] are-- there's a thick streak of black-of-night country swirling around in the
tempest, too.
Bambara write chaotic songs held together with formless washes of noise and anxious vocal drones, crafting pallid
but vibrant pieces that thrashed with...mutant energy.
Shadow On Everything is one of the year’s most gripping listens.
Bambara hail from Athens, Georgia, famously home to REM and The B-52’s, but what they do is far noisier, angrier,
scarier. They sound like a band always on the lookout for something bigger
The Quietus
Founded in Athens, Georgia by twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh, and bassist William Brookshire, Bambara have
been steadily attracting attention since the release of their 2013 debut. Earning praise from places
like Pitchfork, NPR, VICE, Bandcamp, Spin, DIY, BrooklynVegan and The Quietus, and touring non-stop in the
US and Europe with like-minded artists like IDLES, METZ, Girl Band and Daughters, the band released their most
celebrated album to date in 2018 with Shadow On Everything, a release that NPR dubbed a "mesmerizing western,
gothic opus." Today, Bambara are announcing their follow up Stray (due out via Wharf Cat on February 14th, 2020),
with the premiere of the album's first single "Serafina" on the FADER.
A thunderous squall of a song, "Serafina" provides an arresting introduction to the album. Channelling the anarchic
energy of The Birthday Party and Gun Club, in combination with Reid Blateh's dramatic lyrical style the track imbues
the story of a pair suburban misfits with apocalyptic weight. Bambara's rhythm section rattles and bursts behind a
frantic descending guitar lead as Reid, in a fraying baritone, weaves a tale set in his home state of Georgia that
acknowledges the history of the place with subtle Civil War allusions, while conjuring an immediate atmosphere of
backwoods unease. As Reid tells to FADER, it's a song built to communicate an unhinged energy.
"Stray is a death-obsessed album," says Reid. "Most of the songs are about different characters’ futile attempts at
living meaningful lives under the weight of imminent annihilation. I wanted "Serafina" to feel different. I wanted the
song to radiate a sort of wild-eyed hope. A youthful disregard for death itself. Serafina and Sadie live exactly how
they want to live, exploring their love for one another before a backdrop of flames. The knowledge of their own
mortality takes nothing from their enthusiasm for life. If anything, they see it as a challenge they might one day
overcome together. When they say, “We’ll never die” I want it to feel like they might actually have a shot."
Bambara are embarking on a UK tour that begins in Bristol at the Simple Things Festival on October 19th.
Additionally, they are today announcing a Brooklyn show at St. Vitus on November 8th and a full US tour in support of
the album to take place in 2020. Full details can be found below.
One thing you won’t be able to avoid on Bambara’s Stray is death. It’s everywhere and inescapable, abstract and
personified. Death, however, won’t be the first thing that strikes you about the group’s fourth album. That instead will
be its pulverising soundscape; by turns, vast, atmospheric, cool, broiling and at times – as on stand out tracks like
“Sing Me To The Street” and “Serafina” – simply overwhelming
The album began when the band locked themselves in their windowless Brooklyn basement to write. Despite the
success of their preceding full length, Shadow On Everything, Decisions were made early on to experiment with new
instrumentation and song structures, even if the resulting compositions would force the band to adapt their storied live
set, known for its tenacity and technical prowess. Throughout the songwriting process, the band pulled from their
deep well of creative references, drawing on the likes of Leonard Cohen, Ennio Morricone, Sade, classic French noir
L’Ascenseur Pour L’Echafraud, as well as Southern Gothic stalwarts Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews.
Once the building blocks were set in place, they met with producer Drew Vandenberg, who mixed Shadow On
Everything, in Athens, GA to record the foundation of Stray. After recruiting friends Adam Markiewicz (The Dreebs)
on violin, Sean Smith (Klavenauts) on trumpet and a crucial blend of backing vocals by Drew Citron (Public Practice)
and Anina Ivry-Block (Palberta) Bambara convened in a remote cabin in rural Georgia, where Reid laid down his
The finished product represents both the band's most experimental and accessible work to date. The addition of
Citron and Ivory-Block’s vocals create a hauntingly beautiful contrast to Bateh’s baritone on tracks like “Sing Me to
the Street”, “Death Croons” and “Stay Cruel," while the Dick Dale inspired guitar riffs on “Serafina” and "Heat
Lightning" and the call-and-response choruses throughout the album showcase Bambara’s ability to write songs that
immediately demand repeat listens.
While the music itself is evocative and propulsive, a fever dream all of its own, the lyrical content pushes the record
even further into its own darkly thrilling realm. If the songs on Shadow On Everything were like chapters in a novel,
then this time they’re short stories. Short stories connected by death and its effect on the characters in contact with
But it would be wrong to characterize Stray as simply the sound of the graveyard. Light frequently streams through
and, whether refracted through the love and longing found on songs like “Made for Me” or the fantastical nihilism on
display in tracks like the anthemic “Serafina,” reveals this album to be the monumental step forward that it is. Here
Bambara sound like they’ve locked into what they were always destined to achieve, and the effect is nothing short of
Stray will be released on Wharf Cat Records on February 14th, 2020.
You would think that because only about 60 miles separate the cities of Athens and Atlanta, Georgia that maybe the same sphere of influence would affect both. In the past decade, Atlanta has seen the growth of a creatively sustainable music scene, and we sort of forgot about our neighbors up the road. There is no shortage of great bars, restaurants and clubs in Athens, but it's been a little while since an Athens band made me want to jump in my car and make the trip. Vincas have given me that much needed excuse. Blood Bleeds is a monster of a record. They are playing dark and heavy songs that at once will draw Birthday Party and Gun Club comparisons. I'd bet they have some later Scientists records in their collections too as there is a discernible element of swampishness weaving itself throughout the record. It's sexy in a super-bitter dark chocolate kind of way and has a pounding cohesiveness throughout. Vincas demonstrate total control from start to finish, and it's pretty clear that they didn't just stumble onto a style of music like this. We truly hope the folks over in Athens realize what they've got on their hands.
Atlanta's heavy psych outfit Abby GoGo formed in 2005 and went on hiatus in 2014, with original members/twin brothers Bon and Jon Allinson geographically parting ways—Jon eventually moving to Pensacola and Bon making music in his spinoff A Drug Called Tradition. Abby GoGo reunited to release its long-impending sophomore album A Perfect Whatever (via Psych Army in 2018) and Jon relocated to Atlanta in April 2019. After that, it was time to put Abby GoGo to bed.

A reformed Abby GoGo, MORE emerges from the remnants of the finally defunct outfit with members Jon Allinson (guitar/vox), Bon Allinson (guitar/bass/vox), and new addition Jimmy Eastwood (drums). While it may seem like MORE is merely a slightly tweaked version of Abby GoGo (same bros, different drummer), it’s a deeper change than that. What originally began as a musical outlet for Jon during his time in Pensacola became the means for the band’s growing pains that the old formula could no longer sustain. MORE branches out in new formulas and new methods, exploring its new rendition of straight shoegaze with post-punk edge, ultimately pulling away from the wandering meanders of psych rock and the middle-of-the-road pop sensibilities of ‘60s rock that Abby GoGo became so comfortable with. MORE debuted with live shows in Atlanta in fall 2019 and is working towards recording its first release due out next year.