Bodega – Endless Scroll

They’re from Brooklyn, named after the term for a corner shop in NY, and play a frenetic stream of consciousness style racket – it’s easy to see why Parquet Courts’ guitarist, Austin Brown, has produced them, as they’re musically not a million miles away from his own band’s jagged guitar riffs and dry vocal style– and that’s no bad thing at all.

Bodega’s geographical location has played a huge role in this debut album, as they wanted the album to capture the essence of their neighbourhood, Bushwick, Brooklyn, in all its glory, combined with wry observations of online life all told with the excellently deadpan sense of humour and sarcastic wit of front duo Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio. Kicking off with the absolute stomper of ‘How Did This Happen’, Hozie observes protest parades as he strolls around town musing that they should be there voicing their concerns to whatever it is their protesting about but also thinking about the “half off sale at the Barnes & Noble” as he states “It’s the new world now, don’t discriminate, everyone is equally a master and a slave”, set against a backdrop of fine guitars and spiky rhythms.

‘Bodega Birth’ sees Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio reminiscing about the early days of their relationship and hence as the name suggests, the birth of the band “I fell in love staring at the screen, triple dots I see moving, name lights up, my heart skips a beat’. It’s a fantastic love song for the internet age, over a feisty blast of guitar riffs which weave in and out of Montana Simona’s fierce pounding drums. ‘Name Escape’ has keyboard bursts, picked guitar notes and details the regulars Hozie and Belfiglio used to see around the Brooklyn music scene, the type of people you see all the time, know the face, but know absolutely jack shit about them, as the front duo’s vocals compliment each other with Hozie’s spoken word rant leading the way and Belfiglio’s vocals adding an extra dimension to the bass driven tune. “I’ve seen him at Palisades closing out tabs, I’ve seen him outside of Metro’s flagging down cabs” whereas ‘Can’t Knock The Hustle’ details the absurdity of price rises feeding the fat cats whilst low wages are fed to the ones on the frontline “Selling gluten free eater with sugar in square of union, nine dollars an hour”.

Belfiglio takes over lead vocal duties on the powerful ‘Gyrate’ with its Gang Of Four style post punk riffs and ‘Bookmarks’ bemoans the type of day many of us have no matter where we are in the world, “Every morning when I wake up, same clicks to the same sites every day”. Perhaps the most poignant song on here is ‘Charlie’ written about Hozie’s best friend who drowned whilst they were at Uni in South Carolina, “Remember when we had an invisible band, you played invisible guitar, I clutched invisible mic stand” he reminisces, against a backdrop of beautifully melodic guitar chords.

‘Williamsburg Bridge’ focuses on the everyday struggles of city life and how a boat trip to Ellis Island helped Hozie take a different perspective “I saw the ferry we boated to Ellis, saw your heritage in stone on the shelf, they flocked to this rock for the freedom to roam, now history’s repeating itself”, channelling a sound more akin to the Velvet Underground with guitar chords underpinned by feedback. The whole album resembles The Fall, Wire, and Parquet Courts rolled into one big Brooklyn deli sandwich then sprinkled with a sound and attitude that’s distinctively NY. It’s such an honest and open account of Hozie and Belfiglios’ lives, ably backed by Montana’s pounding drums, lead guitarist Madison Velding-Vandam and bassist Heather Elle, it almost like a witty, sarcastically smart audio diary set to some damn fine tunes. It bemoans the high prices and rents, and the gentrification of various areas, whilst simultaneously celebrating the characters, cafes, bars, music venues which these areas are home to. Certain bands are forever linked to a city, and with Endless Scroll, Bodega have cemented their position as NYs finest storytellers of modern times with an amazingly astute and compelling debut album.

Release Date 6th July 2018 (What’s Your Rupture? Records)

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.