This New Year’s Eve, raise a plastic champagne glass to Bully and the glory of guitar rock | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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This New Year’s Eve, raise a plastic champagne glass to Bully and the glory of guitar rock


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On Bully’s second full-length record, Losing (released late last year on Sub Pop), vocalist and guitarist Alicia Bognanno doesn’t fuck around. As suggested by its blunt cover art—a stark black-and-white photo of Bognanno sitting cross-legged with her hair shrouding her face—Losing is sincere but exacting, a record balanced between emotive indie-rock moments and rip cords of grungy distortion that make way for sustain-pedal superriffs. In the latter instances, Bully are at their most rock effective, and Bognanno adds further proof with her scratchy yowl. On “Kills to Be Resistant,” “Blame,” and “Focused,” she's unapologetic about every one of her judgments about those who wronged her, often using the band’s swelling crescendos to let us know what she really thinks—just in case there’s any confusion. Each track represents a power-and-glory musical moment in a cruel, cruel world where guitar rock rarely gets its due anymore, and that’s worth some appreciation. The most important things you need to know for tonight’s purposes are that Bully is very good live and on stage, and this is a New Year’s Eve show, and, well, go get loose.   v

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