Bonzo photo by Nick Seyler
We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of Bonzo’s new song “Team” (listen below). The track is taken from the band’s forthcoming album With Your Belly, which is scheduled to be release on September 8th. You can pre-order the album here.
Quietly but consistently, and always shedding dead weight. This could be a motto for Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Bonzo, a two-but-formerly-four piece modulation rock outfit who are gearing up to release their fourth full-length record after putting out three albums in just under three years. With Your Belly, their newest foray in creating sonic holes offers listeners the opportunity to stare into space as means of thought. Your friends around the Midwest and East Coast DIY circuits have definitely seen Bonzo, potentially did not go to that show to see Bonzo but then definitely left that show saying, “Holy fuck. Bonzo.”
They immerse listeners with intense tempo shifts, sometimes slow, heavily distorted marauding drums among sharp flashes of dissonant guitars while at other times brilliant waves of ambience in the midst of vocals whispering far away. Their contemplative take on rock music is most evident from the first track, “U Wish”, where a cheerleader pop beat is juxtaposed against an evil, resounding bass line until measures of dissonant guitars force the foundation’s collapse. Or on the aptly titled “Belly”, where Bonzo’s use of momentum eases listeners into the stomach of their work, drawing attention to emotion through grand sonic climax. With arrangements more akin to sleep wave patterns, “Leaper” lulls in listeners with warm guitar tones that serve as backdrops to lucid dreams, with subtle tempo changes by the rhythm section realizing the reality of a dream world.
On With Your Belly, Bonzo surpasses their years of consistent material with a record that is sharply individual when not only compared to their back catalog, but also to their contemporaries. If to be compared, Bonzo are more akin to older artists who treated songwriting as an exercise in slowing down and understanding, those like Duster, Slint or Codeine. If to be compared to any medium though, Bonzo probably shares the most similarities with books like Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore or David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, philosophical works that take their time considering alternatives and reveal their comfort not always knowing the answer. Bonzo is always aiming at shedding dead weight and this has never been more true as the band plans to increase their momentum by recruiting a new live band and touring more consistently into the next calendar year in support of their new album.