Bully, Torres don’t disappoint with new albums | WBEZ
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Jim DeRogatis

Catching up on some of the best Spring releases, pt. 2

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Did you miss part 1 of the best spring releases? Find them right here.

As we hit the midway point of 2015, it’s high time to catch up on this blog with some of the finest albums of the year so far—the topic of this week’s episode of Sound Opinions—which I’ve yet to mention here, including two startlingly powerful visionaries, Alicia Bognanno of Bully and Torres, who are mining difficult upbringings to produce cathartic and brilliant music.

Bully, Feels Like (Columbia)

Rating on the 4-star scale: 3.5 stars.

One of my favorite acts at SXSW 2015, Bully has in part been unjustly pigeonholed as ’90s revivalists, despite the fact that frontwoman Bognanno only recently has become aware of many of the alternative-era heroes and heroines people keep citing in comparison. If she has anything in common with the prime era of Nirvana and Hole, it’s an ability to craft a relentlessly hard-hitting sound that is also intensely melodic; she’s a rare talent as both a top-notch songwriter and a skilled producer and audio engineer, who spent some time interning with Steve Albini at Chicago’s Electrical Audio. The perspective of many of the tunes on her band’s debut album is staunchly feminist, but it’s never preachy; in a song like “I Remember,” it’s hard to tell if she’s depicting a harrowing date rape or a sexual encounter she remembers fondly, but it’s riveting nonetheless. Listen for a performance and interview with Bully on Sound Opinions soon.

Torres, Sprinter (PTKF)

Rating on the 4-star scale: 4 stars.

Born and raised as Mackenzie Scott in Macon, Georgia, Torres has won some impressive fans since relocating to Nashville and entering the world of indie-rock, including her primary collaborators on her second album, Rob Ellis of PJ Harvey fame and Adrian Utley of Portishead. Torres is at odds with both her upbringing and the judgmental vision of God that dominated it, and these themes run throughout the album, but in a way that all of us can relate to, regardless of our own beliefs and upbringings. Her voice is an incredibly powerful instrument, she’s a hall of an inventive guitarist, and the spare but extremely dramatic soundscapes are nothing short of mind-blowing. Listen for a performance and interview with Torres on Sound Opinions soon.

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