Rough Trade Albums of the Year 2018 No. 12
Bodega's Endless Scroll. Available here on Rough Trade Exclusive Clear Colored Vinyl.
All versions come with a Bonus CD of 30 minutes+ of live material. ‘The best critique is self-critique’ is the mantra of Brooklyn art rock unit Bodega. With wild minimalism and sharp wit, they revitalize the rock and roll vocabulary under the influence of post punk, contemporary pop, hip-hop, kraut rock, and folk-derived narrative songwriting. Bodega’s debut LP Endless Scroll is a collective dialogue with the machine and the public. Ping-ponging vocals are set to Ben’s deconstructed guitar, Nikki’s samples of old and new technology, the driving minimalism of standing drummer Montana Simone (IDIO Gallery), the angular spasms of lead guitar Madison Velding-Vandam (The Wants) and the tight, hypnotic bass lines of Heather Elle (Please No Radio). Endless Scroll was recorded and produced by Austin Brown (Parquet Courts) on the same Tascam 388 tape machine used for their LP Light Up Gold. It was mixed and mastered by Jonathan Schenke (Eaters) at Dr. Wu's. The LP's fourteen songs offer a high-energy, humorous but earnest thirty-four minutes. For fans of Parquet Courts, The Fall and Wire.
Track by Track
We're still spinning the new Bodega record non-stop so the band graciously sent us a track by track breakdown of how each song was made!
How Did This Happen?!
In the world of Web 2.0 we are the masters of our curated digital space but no matter how individualized we carve out our unique islands they are still islands —> specifically where the rules of the game are set by the programs with the goal of programming. The BODEGA mantra is ‘the best critique is self critique.’ If any de-programming is going to happen, it needs to happen within my own head. Here, I recall strolling past a pro-Clinton demo in Manhattan’s Union Square, blissfully and smugly in my own world. Later I felt an immense overall guilt about my role (or lack thereof) in that season of protest. Is rock and roll music liberation or distraction? What is my role as a cultural consumer?
On the surface it may seem like ENDLESS SCROLL is a screed against all the ills of modern technology but on many of the tracks we were working more as documentarians - simply recording the presence of the screen in our lives. It changes the way our brains are working, for better and worse. While making this record I fell in love and started a new band - mostly over the medium of Facebook chat.
‘There's a club if you'd like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home and you cry
And you want to die.’
‘Are you still living at that spot with that person? Are you still doing that thing with that so-and-so? Do you still feel that way about that one thing?’
Boxes for the Move
This is me telling my old best friend through song what I could not in person. This is about the moment when you realize that telling the truth to somebody would break their heart, so you lie to them (and to yourself). That’s a terrible place to be. If I could relive that rainy night of packing boxes, I’d like to think I’d have the courage to do it differently.
I Am Not a Cinephile
A bit of sacrilege from someone who is deeply committed to the dream of modern cinema (using camera and microphone to express thought). I am a cinephile (never trust a person with a microphone) but there’s much about cinephilia that disgusts me. Not all of classic Hollywood is worth revering - much of it is racist, sexist, imperialist garbage. Furthermore, the screen is not more important that the vitality happening all around us. All is documentary.
Can't Knock the Hustle
Several years ago I was working at a soft serve shoppe with a bunch of great Jamaican guys. We’d often criticize the lifestyle and management choices of our all-white supervisors, but one philosopher-in-training amongst them argued that we shouldn’t criticize them because ‘you can’t knock the hustle.’ Jay-Z’s famous argument doesn’t make much sense outside of his specific context…. my co-workers argument ran a highlighter over the insidious way pop culture appropriates and re-enforces the power of the ruling class. You can knock the hustle.
Nikki: When I was a little girl I used to masturbate in public (once at a JC Penny perfume counter), not knowing that was wrong. My parents, not wishing to shame me told me I shouldn’t ‘gyrate’ in front of other people. My song uses the language of Top 40 pop to celebrate self-sustainability and female pleasure.’
Jack in Titanic
Two years ago I re-watched Titanic with Nikki and realized that in many ways, the character of Jack personifies all of the qualities that I hope to embody. He is an artist, a rebel, a lover, a fighter, and a good friend. Later while courting Nikki, I found myself accidentally impersonating the character. People claim that the things we see on the screen don’t influence our behavior, but of course they do.
Erotic idealism and what it’s up against. When Nikki asks ‘What do you believe in? I have no idea what you still believe in’ I always wrack my brain.
At the top of my browser I click on the Bookmarks tab and go through my go-to sources of information. For all of the data out their on the web, it sure seems like a claustrophobic place. I got a tiny tattoo on my wrist several years ago to wake me up whenever stuck in the muck of repetition. The tattoo lost some of its power over time so I wrote this song as a sonic reminder - to stay focused on the mission, no matter the obstacles.
Andy Warhol would have loved Instagram. It is his greatest conceptual victory: the daily simulacrum of celebrity. BODEGA is proud to be a NYC band —> we take our biggest inspiration from the lineage that begins with the Velvets, but do not celebrate all of the values from that history.
On New Year’s Eve in 2007 my best friend Charlie drowned in the Charleston River. We had spent every day of that fall semester together; playing records and scheming plans for our great unformed rock and roll band at the University of South Carolina. He had just gotten his first bass guitar that Christmas, his mother later told me. I’ve been trying to write him a worthy song since then and only recently found a melody that felt like him. My favorite song to play.
A scene with three acts ///// Setting: the Williamsburg bridge at sunset ///// Characters: One boy and one girl ///// Themes: vertigo, memory, lust, regret, longing, clarity.
Truth Is Not Punishment
My mother passed away two weeks before we recorded ENDLESS SCROLL. This is the first time I attempted to address our relationship in music, once again saying with song what I regrettably couldn’t say to her face. I understood the self-imprisonment she imposed on herself (as we all do) because I have the key to my own different set of chains. This song is a celebration and a protest. A reminder to be open-wide and a reminder that things can change.
LP++ - Rough Trade Exclusive. Limited to 1200 Copies on Clear Vinyl with Download.
LP - Black Vinyl with Download.
CDx2- Jewel Case CD.