The DEFiBULATORs are reinventing country music by fusing bluegrass, rockabilly, dixieland, and punk into their own eclectic sound. Emerging from the thriving roots scene in New York City, this septet wields an arsenal of instruments (upright bass, banjo, fiddle, backhills harp, Telecaster, and junkyard percussion) with relentless energy and virtuosity. AM NEW YORK describes the band as "One of the most engaging live acts on the NYC roots scene." While jumpstarting new life into vintage country and characterized by THE NEW YORKER as 'Citi-billy,' The Defibulators deliver a unique sound that is both timeless and timely, deep fried and downtown. Bug Jennings and Erin Bru's rich harmonies combined with dark, surreal lyrics illuminate songs that are gritty and witty; spinning big-rig tales of deception, debauchery, depleted bank accounts, fanaticism, vintage firearms, biological anomalies, airline intoxication and animal ennui.
Their debut album, Corn Money was released in 2010 to critical acclaim, including album of the year by the Durango Telegraph, an Honorable Mention by Robert Christgau, and 4 stars from All Music Guide.
Produced by John Hill (Santigold, Devo), mixed by D. James Goodwin (Murder by Death) and mastered by Sterling Sound's Greg Calbi, this innovative sound team captures the ferocity of The Defibulators' live show while creating its own strange sonic world.
"[Bug] and singer Erin Bru slip into harmonies that recall the storied Gram Parsons-Emmylou Harris duets...unvarnished beauty."
-NEW YORK MAGAZINE
"Roots-heavy, post-punk music that reinvents the conventions of country music with a
CBGB-meets-Grand Ole Opry feel." -CRAWDADDY
POPMATTERS writes “The debut release by the Defibulators, a low-down, junky Brooklyn septet, greases your heart valves with smooth Carter family harmonies while rousting the listener with wild rockabilly, down-home bluegrass, and soulful, dark lyrics," and DIG PHILLY confirms that, "when all the indie bands in Brooklyn decided to go roots, these guys actually got it right."
The Defibs are currently working on material for their sophomore album, scheduled for an early fall release in 2011. Until then, the band will continue to tour nationwide in support of Corn Money, icluding summer festivals and a Great Northwest Music Tour in September.
Watch The Defibulators live videos and promos at: http://www.thedefibulators.com
Publicity - ROMO PR
Contact: Roberta Moore
EVENTS and FESTIVALS:
SXSW - Austin, TX
Bele Chere - Asheville, NC
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion - Bristol, VA
Americana Music Association Festival - Nashville, TN
Blissfest - Harbor Springs, MI
Central Park SummerStage - NYC
The Big Apple BBQ Block Party - NYC
Heavy Rebel Weekender - Winston Salem, NC
Valley Stage Music Festival - Huntingdon, VT
Macy's Springtacular in Herald Square - NYC
River to River Festival - NYC
The Wave Emerging Music Festival - Asbury Park, NJ
North by Northeast Music Festival - Toronto, ON
Guinness Oyster Festival - Brooklyn, NY
The Brooklyn Country Music Festival
Many of The Defibulators' songs are being licensed for feature films and shorts, television, and online productions. Most recently they placed 2 songs in the soundtrack to the independent drama, The Dry Land, (starring America Ferrera). The band has also self-published their very own 24-page coloring book - available by request.
RECENT SONG PLACEMENT:
"Your Hearty Laugh" & "Dum-Dum"
- The Dry Land (Maya Entertainment )
- Fearless Music TV (FOX)
- All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (Weinstein Co.)
- Wild Stallions (Meathead Films)
- Roadtrip Nation (PBS)
- Goodnight, VA (w/ Cheryl Hines - Aspen Film Festival, LA Film Festival)
"Milktrain to Paydirt" & "Heavy Action Ride"
- NFL Films (NBC)
Feature Film Original Score
- Skiptracers (Possum Den Productions)
"Get What's Coming"
-Sin City Sampler Vol.9 (Sin City Social Club Compilation)
"Rejection Show Theme Song"
- The Rejection Show (Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Sirius, NPR)
- Serious Actors (peteandbrian.com)
Erin Bru - vocals, triangle, shakers
Bug Jennings - guitar, banjo, vocals
Roadblock - lead guitar, pedal steel
Metalbelly - washboard, harp, spoons, hambone
Freddy Epps - double bass, vocals
Riddleberger - drums, percussion
Justin Smitty- giant fiddlin'
2010 City Salvage Records
Get What's Coming
Honey, You Had Me Fooled
Action Ride - (NFL Films remix)
Milktrain to Paydirt (NFL Films Remix)
Your Hearty Laugh
All Music Guide
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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars The Defibulators (not defibrillators) are a rootsy country band from Bro...Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Defibulators (not defibrillators) are a rootsy country band from Brooklyn, NY with an out of control sound that blends bluegrass, country, jug band, honky tonk, rockabilly, Dixieland jazz, and folk music for a good-time sound that has a cross-generational appeal. The six-man, one-woman band -- singer/guitarist Bryan Jennings, singer/percussionist Erin Bru, mighty lead guitarist Roadblock, Justin Smitty on fiddle, standup bass man Freddy Epps, drummer Mike Riddleberger and Metalbelly on washboard, percussion, and harmonica -- calls their music whackabilly. They honed their chops at the Rodeo Bar, a New York City club that caters to young country music fans winning an audience with hootenannies that had a Carter Family-meets-Ramones vibe. Corn Money may be their debut album but it presents a band that's fully formed, with an eclectic acoustic/electric sound all their own. Corn Money was made in the studio but it's put together like a live show interspacing songs with short interludes like "Steal Harmonicas" and the tossed-off pedal steel solo "Rusty Nights" that leads into an instrumental called "The Gravy Shake" that combines swinging acoustic fiddling from Justin Smitty and Roadblock's twanging surf guitar licks. It may be the first cowboy surf tune ever waxed. The title tune delivers on its promise of debauchery: it's a jazzy celebration of teenage drinking and the troubled married life it leads to with Smitty's fiddle and Roadblock's guitar trading solos as the tempo rapidly increases until the band falls into a boozy jumble. "Ol' Winchester," is another unruly drinking song, a bluegrass/punk tune played at a galloping tempo with a searing harmonica interlude that includes a Spike Jones-like instrumental bridge. Bryan Jennings and Erin Bru show off their vocal chemistry on the playful Dixieland-meets-Texas swing tune "Honey, You Had Me Fooled" while Bru steps out on her own for "Get What's Coming" a sly blues full of double, and single, entendres that puts her purring alto to good use. They also contribute two sold highway songs: Justin Smitty's fiddle adds a vaguely Eastern European gypsy feel to "Drive You Off," the tale of a guy trying to drink and drive away his blues in a big motor home, while "Go-Go Truck" is a three-chord honky tonk rocker with a solo that careens down the track like a semi full of nitro rubbing sparks off the guard rail with its out of control energy. The Defibulators ain't gonna save you from your next heart attack, but the album's irrepressible energy will have you up and dancing around your hospital bed in no time.
review by j.poet
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Brooklyn, New York's The Defibulators aren't the type of group that can be easily pigeonholed. Their...Brooklyn, New York's The Defibulators aren't the type of group that can be easily pigeonholed. Their debut recording on City Salvage Records, Corn Money, is frenetic and varied, encompassing nearly every musical genre.
At heart, Bug Jennings and Erin Bru are roots-rocking punk iconoclasts. Buoyantly reflecting the tough, sun-soaked rhythms of the South and West, The Defibulators funnel Corn Money through a transistor radio on the opening, "WRUB." What follows is high-speed, honky-tonk anarchy defined inside the parameters of the broad, sweeping "Defibulator." Just think Old Crow Medicine Show meets Squirrel Nut Zippers. Bru's star shines brightly on the show stopping throwback number, "Get What's Coming."
A stunning group of accomplished musicians round out the The Defibultors' troupe, including Freddy Epps on upright bass, Metalbelly on washboard/harmonica, Justin Smitty on fiddle, Roadblock on guitar and Mike Riddleberger on drums. Produced by John Hill and Terence Bernardo, Corn Money is a brash, bold, trend setting accomplishment for The Defibulators.
This is exciting and original material for challenging times.
New York Magazine
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Brooklyn Twang The Defibulators make country music without irony. Or do they? Despite mainstream...Brooklyn Twang
The Defibulators make country music without irony. Or do they?
Despite mainstream country’s failed attempts at conquering Manhattan (the fabled Lone Star Café, the radio station WYNY), the incongruous subculture of indie country continues to thrive here, albeit in fits and starts. A previous heyday, in the eighties, gave way to bands like Last Roundup and the Surreal McCoys. “Things got dark and scary in the early eighties,” says former Roundup singer Amy Rigby. “Maybe we were looking for something sweet, and country was a refuge.” Sounds like right about now. And perhaps coincidentally, a new cache of bands is cropping up, this time mostly in Brooklyn, including O’Death (high-on-speed folk-country, like an American Pogues), the Dixons (steel-guitar-laced shuffles), and the intentionally misspelled Defibulators, whose debut CD, Corn Money, arrives this week.
On a recent weeknight at the bar Southpaw in Park Slope, the Defibulators’ guitarist and banjo player Bryan Jennings (who goes by the name Bug) and singer Erin Bru slip into harmonies that recall the storied Gram Parsons–Emmylou Harris duets. Barreling away behind them are a fiddler and a washboard player, and two-steppers fill the dance floor. It’s not exactly the career Jennings envisioned back when he was an alt-rock fan disdaining what he refers to as “Nashville country.” It took moving to New York (to attend NYU, where he met Bru) to appreciate the sounds of his hometown, Fort Worth, Texas. While Jennings was working at a Manhattan barbecue joint, a co-worker (now the band’s lead guitarist) introduced him to Hank Williams and other fifties icons. “It was the same kind of rush I had when I used to listen to Pearl Jam,” he says. “It was the melodies, the harmonies, the soul. These people were singing from their gut.”
In the way they re-create the barroom swing of the Hank era, the Defibulators and their fellow indie-country bands present themselves as more authentic than, say, Taylor Swift. But while Corn Money has moments of unvarnished beauty (“Your Hearty Laugh”), it also includes a degree of Hee Haw–style cornpone (note long underwear). So what is their music: paean or put-on? “It’s not ironic, what we’re doing,” insists Bru. “We’re not making fun of [country music].” Jennings arches his brow. “Or are we?” Noting Bru’s disapproval, he adds, “We’re not making fun of it. We’re having fun with it.” Sighing, Bru sums up the mystery that is their world: “It’s kind of hard to describe to people.”
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Brooklyn’s sly honky-tonkers the DEFiBULATORS create a fantastic, fantastical debut. Big-band sound,...Brooklyn’s sly honky-tonkers the DEFiBULATORS create a fantastic, fantastical debut. Big-band sound, smart-band lyrics, and artist’s-band instrumentalism conspire to twang you into 1920s Arkansas. In a good way. Pleading vocals and pleasing whackabilly rhythms complete the magnificent effort, sending you moseying (briskly) to your record store.
Reminds us of: Iron Horse | The Infamous Stringdusters | a swirly in an bourbon-filled outhouse
The New York Times
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"No yee-haws or any other hoots or yawps were held back a few nights earlier at a show by the Defibu..."No yee-haws or any other hoots or yawps were held back a few nights earlier at a show by the Defibulators.....Like a hoedown band from a Warner Brothers cartoon, they played raucous and slightly surreal 'whackabilly,' as they describe it, and featured two washboard percussionists, one in crimson long johns, the other in a Viking helmet."
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The Defibulators are part of the growing country music scene in Brooklyn, N.Y. Like other bands from...The Defibulators are part of the growing country music scene in Brooklyn, N.Y. Like other bands from the area such as O’Death, they look at country music in a unique way. But where O’Death draws from hard rock and metal, the Defibulators would rather just have fun, incorporating comedy and a colorful stage presence into their set. Swinging through the Basement in Nashville earlier this week in support of their debut album, Corn Money, the band passed their attitude on to an audience that was right with them, despite it being National Hangover Day.
Vocalist, guitarist and banjo player “Bug” Jennings explained that none of the band’s seven members are originally from Brooklyn, and when they started playing together, their diverse backgrounds led them naturally to country music, especially bluegrass. But not wanting to be limited by the sometimes rigorous nature of the genre, they opted for a more lighthearted feel with Bug, who has a background in stand-up comedy, and Californian-born singer Erin Bru at the front. When asked if he was bothered by the novelty moniker they will no doubt inherit, Bug responds, “Yeah, it does bother me … but I guess we’re asking for it.” (One of their songs explores what would happen to a group of roller skating go-go dancers in the back of a moving tractor trailer.)
But novelty act or not, the Defibultors are gifted musicians, and I never got the impression they were making fun of country music. Maybe they were making fun of artists who neglect to enjoy themselves onstage, but this band seemed genuine about their craft. Their songs were interesting and a pleasure to listen to, plus any band that can do an excellent cover of the Coasters‘ “Down in Mexico” is cool with me.
Boston Weekly Dig
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From the overalls to the sawing fiddle, the Defibulators bring a deep-fried Dixie vibe. It's a shock...From the overalls to the sawing fiddle, the Defibulators bring a deep-fried Dixie vibe. It's a shock to learn they're from hipster central: Brooklyn. It'd be gimmicky, but their tightly woven sound, strange drawl and junkyard accompaniment is used to full effect. The band shines on fast-paced tracks like "Ol' Winchester"—a sonic tornado guaranteed to cause spontaneous fits of un-ironic foot tapping. They accessorize their big city hoedown with a no-shit washboard player named Metalbelly, a '77 ambulance as tour van and a coloring book complete with a word jumble that includes "washasaurus" and "pigcow." Money is a throwback to classic country that stands on its own two red long-johns-clad feet.
"Sinister, squawking urban honky-tonk and rockabilly served hot and dirty."
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The Defibulators (not defibrillators) hail from Brooklyn, New York’s thriving indie scene and they’v...The Defibulators (not defibrillators) hail from Brooklyn, New York’s thriving indie scene and they’ve developed a funky, rootsy, out-of-control sound that’s all their own. The six-man, one-woman band blends bluegrass, country, honky tonk, rockabilly, Dixieland jazz, punk, and maybe a touch of anti-folk into an intoxicating, good-time mélange that’s guaranteed to slap a smile on your face.
The Defibulators may tour in a 1977 ambulance, but the source of the band name remains mysterious. They came together when country music-hating singer/guitarist Bryan Jennings left Fort Worth, Texas. He attended college in New York City hoping to immerse himself in Western civilization. He soon met singer, and future girlfriend, Erin Bru and a country music-loving guitarist from New Jersey named Roadblock. Roadblock gave Jennings a mixtape CD of vintage ’40s and ’50s country, swing, and bluegrass, and Jennings got hooked on pre-Nashville country. They began playing as a rockabilly trio and slowly added members until there were more people on stage than in the audience, including two washboard players supplying syncopated percussion. They soon whittled the personnel down to seven: The original trio and Justin Smitty on fiddle, Freddy Epps on bass, Mike Riddleberger on drums, and Metalbelly on harmonica, washboard, and percussion.
The Defibulators landed a residency at the Rodeo Bar, a New York City country bar, and started winning fans with uncontained shows that used both electric and acoustic instruments for roots-heavy, post-punk music that reinvents the conventions of country music with a CBGB-meets-Grand Ole Opry feel. Corn Money is their debut album.
The band comes blasting out of the gate with “Defibulator”, a bluegrass rock song with ferocious, stinging electric guitar, stomping percussion, out-of-control fiddling, and lead vocals with a high, lonesome sound. It could be about having a heart attack or it may be a protest song about the war in Iraq, but its good humor and over-the-top energy make it a winner. Other spirited entries include the bluegrass-meets-punk drinking song “Ol' Winchester.” It’s marked by a blazing country harmonica solo, uncontained vocals, and the first Spike Jones vocal and instrumental bridge I can ever recall hearing that’s not on a Spike Jones record. (Look him up if you don’t know who he is.) The tune deals with the joys of drinking yourself to death and devolves into a mindless cacophony. Instrumental “The Gravy Shake” is another unusual hybrid, a country surf tune based on a catchy, twang-heavy electric guitar lick that’s complemented by a bit of fancy country fiddlin’. “Corn Money” is an ode to underage drinking and self-destruction, a two-step honky tonk rocker with rippling, jazzy guitar work and a driving rhythm section. The tempo doubles, then quadruples before ending in a loose, boozy free-for-all.
The band goes retro on “Honey, You Had Me Fooled”, a Dixieland-meets-Texas swing tune with New Orleans-flavored clarinet and trumpet work. Bru and Jennings harmonize on the playful lead vocal. Bru’s smoky, sensual alto takes lead vocal chores on “Get What’s Coming”, a ’20s style blues with a lazy washboard rhythm and gypsy guitar and fiddle fills. On “Wandering Eye”, she’s both coy and subtly sexy as she moans the lead vocal. It’s a tale of a gal who just can’t help flirting, or maybe even going beyond flirting. The slurred guitar lead mimics the mournful sound of pedal steel and the fiddle underscores the message of longing and desire.
On the hardcore country side, the band delivers “Dum-Dum”, a swinging Bakersfield-meets-jug band tune with a surreal lyric sung and another charming duet by Jennings and Bru; “Go-Go Truck” is a (surprise) truck-drivin’ song with nasty, clanging lead guitar, a stop-and-start New Orleans-flavored rhythm, and a salacious lyric. “Drive You Off”, the second trucker song, is steeped in fatalistic humor.
“Xmas Ornament”, the oddest tune on the album, is about a mountain man having sex with a bear. Its hook-laden, descending progression recalls Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and leads to a strange, spooky, spoken word bridge and a dark punch line. The music the Defibulators make probably won’t give you a heart attack, or save you from one, but their high-energy tunes will definitely have you jumping around the room doing a pogo hoedown in no time.
Pop Culture Will Eat Itself
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New York has a long history of producing great bands. From punk pioneers like The Ramones, Televisio...New York has a long history of producing great bands. From punk pioneers like The Ramones, Television, and Blondie to glam bands like New York Dolls, the Big Apple's bands are always distinctive. The Defibulators are definitely distinctive, though if you heard them you wouldn't guess they're from New York. You just don't get too many honky-tonk bands out of New York.
You would think a rockabilly-bluegrass-country-dance band from New York would be easy to dismiss as a novelty, interesting simply because of how different they are from their contemporaries. But you can't dismiss The Defibulators for one simple reason: they're good. Really good actually. Grab your partner and swing her around good. The only real way to get a feel for how good they are is to listen to them. Their first full-length album, Corn Money isn't due out until March 3rd, but you can check out a couple tracks here, or at their MySpace page.
Get What's Coming
Had Me Fooled
The Gravy Shake
Your Hearty Laugh
Drive You Off
We also have a vast rep. of many obscure vintage country songs and can play on into extended sets if required.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.