Bumpin Uglies
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Bumpin Uglies

Annapolis, Maryland, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Annapolis, Maryland, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Reggae




""Free Candy" CD Review"

Bumpin Uglies have made a name for themselves in a relatively short period of time, touring relentlessly up and down the east coast and making Annapolis, MD proud in the process. Their blend of ska/reggae-rock is captivating at first listen, but there is often deeper meaning beneath the band’s energetic, feel-good rhythms.

Brandon Hardesty, gifted wordsmith with a knack for turning personal introspection into a universal language, is at the forefront on guitar and vocals and is backed by a smooth-as-clockwork rhythm section. With Keenan Leader on drums and Dave Wolf handling bass and vocal harmony duties, a solid platform is created in which Hardesty can move the crowd with the flow of his wordplay as it complements the band’s infectious groove.

In early 2011 Bumpin Uglies released Free Candy, their 15 song high-energy ska-rock debut, complete with a horn section and all the tales of intoxication and everyday struggle fans have come to love. The album opens with Addictive Personality, an upbeat track about indulging in vices and Hallucinations continues along with that theme, singing about whiskey-induced illusions. On Burn my Candle, the album’s most alluring ballad, Hardesty croons with quiet desperation “I don’t want to smell the roses for the first time down at the bottom of my grave.”

Woman’s Sin is a fast-paced ode to the inner-workings of a woman’s mind and Lie to Me, featuring Joey Harkum of Pasadena on vocals, shows the lyrical wit of the songwriters with metaphors like “this crutch that holds me up is really a noose.” The catchy hooks continue throughout the rest of the record with lines like “give me just Nine Words before we fall, love my faults or don’t love me at all.”

The album closes with the acoustic track They Remain, a song about being down but not out, continuing to fight and keep your dream alive no matter what crashes down around you; fitting for a band that is hell-bent on being heard and is willing to put in the work necessary to get where they want to be. Free Candy is an amazing effort by a group of dedicated and hungry musicians that seem to get better and better with time.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Bumpin Uglies: Free Candy! - Baltimore indie music | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/indie-music-in-baltimore/bumpin-uglies-free-candy#ixzz1YXGStxEm
- www.examiner.com

"Show Review"

Bumpin Uglies is an Annapolis-based reggae rock band that consists of frontman Brandon Hardesty (vocals/guitar), Dave Wolf (bass), and Keenan Leader (drums). The band is known for its smooth blend of reggae and rock with a mix of strong saxophone and bass thrown in for a unique sound. Hardesty also can be seen in many downtown bars playing his own solo stuff, acoustic versions of the band’s originals, as well as a few covers, often taking requests as well.

Born and raised in Annapolis, Hardesty has been interested in music ever since he used to listen to Ben Folds on repeat as a kid. He’s been playing guitar for seven years now, but his instrumental and vocal talents seem to come naturally and effortlessly. He writes all of the songs for Bumpin Uglies.

“I write the songs and the words, but we work on the arrangements as a group,” Hardesty said. “I have about 10 songs that I’ve written that I do by myself. I try to keep myself on my toes as a songwriter. It’s easy to slip into one style and never move past it, so if I hear a song that I really like, I’ll try to write a song that incorporates that style. I’ve never been very big on practice, so writing is the best way for me to learn something new.”

The lyrics are some of the most impressive components of this band. They are the sort that you hear once but come away remembering word for word because they just automatically resonate with you.

Hardesty writes about what most artists write about - their experiences. “I think the best song I’ve written lyrically is one called ‘They Remain.’ It’s all about the struggle of trying to make it as a musician,” he said. However, not everything is based on his own experiences. “I’m really excited about one song I’m working on in particular,” he said. “It’s a story, not a song about something I’ve been through. I’m writing from the perspective of a guy who’s been out at sea writing a letter to a girl at home. My plan is to have three verses, two of which I sing and a final one that a girl sings. The last verse will be the girl’s response to the letters. I got the idea a month ago when we were down in Florida on tour. In my mind, I see traveling as a musician to being very similar to an explorer in the 1600s.” The final verse may be sung by Cat Stratakis, of Rhythm Method.

With all of the processed music and pop on the radio today, it’s refreshing not only to hear live music but to see a good performance by musicians who are not only amazing at what they do but are obviously passionate as well. But realizing that, it’s hard not to sing along when you hear a catchy pop song on the radio, I asked Hardesty about the Justin Beiber world we live in. Although far from being a “Belieber,” he commented, “There’s a lot to be said about a good pop song. A lot of people would argue one of the hardest things to do when it comes to songwriting is to come up with a memorable hook. I’ve honestly never listened to Justin Bieber, but I can’t hate on him. Anyone who manages to make it in a field as competitive as this deserves what they get, especially if they’re not born into it. From what I understand, he did the majority of his marketing through YouTube videos, which is pretty sick in my opinion.” It’s true what John Hopper, of Blues Traveler, says: the hook brings you back.

A few favorites on the Bumpin Uglies album so far are “Nostalgia,” which features some amazing saxophone, “On the Grind,” and “The Escape.” Hardesty has also finished a new song called “Nine Words.” It’s hook is “Give me just nine words before we fall; love my faults or don’t love me at all.” The song sums up his views on love, he said. “If you’re not going to love the worst in someone, is there really a point?”

The Avett Brothers is one of the bands that he finds inspirational. “They’re not really that new, but they are wicked talented and write awesome lyrics. I’m a big fan of some older ska as well, like the Mad Caddies and the Suicide Machines. There’s also some really good reggae out of California right now - the Rebelution is killing it out there. And singer Mike Pinto is a phenomenal songwriter who has undeniably been an influence on my style.”

While I describe the Bumpin Uglies sound as reggae rock, Hardesty calls it “singer-songwriter reggae” or, laughing, “feel-good beach music. I don’t know. It’s hard sometimes because it’s so personal. I can’t really look at it with an unbiased eye.”

As far as his musical inspirations, he said, “It all comes back to Sublime for me. That’s where I started. But the more I play and write, the more I try to diversify my style.”

While he sometimes plays solo gigs, Hardesty has no intention of breaking away from the Bumpin Uglies. “Absolutely not,” he said. “This is my first band, and I don’t want another one. I would definitely consider working on some side projects. I’d love to be able to just play guitar in another band and not sing and at some point when I have more time. I want to do an aco - www.examiner.com

"Dubside Interview"

As promised we caught up with Bumpin’ Uglies on their current east coast tour. We sat down with group frontman Brandon Hardesty.

Here’s what he had to say:

TheDubSide: Who are the Uglies? And how did you get started?

Brandon: The Uglies are: Brandon Hardesty (guitar/vocals) Keenan Leader (drums) and Dave Wolf (bass/vocals). It started off a couple years ago when I was playing acoustic sets at open mics around town. Kennan and I knew each other from highschool and ended up jamming one night at an open mic. Wolfie’s girlfriend worked with Keenan, so she mentioned to him that he needed a bass player. Three years later, here we are.

TheDubSide: How would you describe your music? And how has it progressed since you first started playing together?

Brandon: We like to describe it as singer/songwriter reggae/ska. A big evolution for our sound was picking up Wolfie on bass. In addition to being a phenomenal bass player, he’s got a great ear for harmonies. It really helps fill out our sound as a three piece.

TheDubSide: Is this your first time out on the road? How stoked are you guys for this east coast tour?

Brandon: We’ve been hitting the coast pretty hard for the last year, but everytime we go out it gets better and better. We have a bunch of great shows set up for this tour including a show in myrtle beach with The Bastard Suns, a sorority party at the University of Colombia, and a show in Nashville.

TheDubSide: What was your experience like recording ‘Free Candy’? What has been the response to the album?

Brandon: Recording the album was awesome! It was our first full length project as a band, so we were obviously very excited. The coolest part was probably seeing the songs come to life with the horn section and the Hammond organ. We were working on a very limited budget and we had literally no pre-production to speak of, so we ended up making a lot of it up as we went along. We used the horn section from our friends the “8 ohms” and the keys player from our friends ‘the higher hands.’ We really only practiced with them a couple of times before we went into the studio, so having the album turn out as great as it did was an awesome feeling.

TheDubSide: Is there another album in the works?

Brandon: I’m planning on doing an acoustic album later in the year, possibly early 2012. It’s going to have a few acoustic versions of songs from ‘Free Candy’, a few from our EP, as well as 10 or so new ones. We’ve also been talking about doing a live album sometime soon.

TheDubSide: How did you decide on the name Bumpin Uglies?

Brandon: We were sitting around at one of our first band practices drinking beer and trying to think up the funniest name possible. Our theory was that funny is memorable, and memorable is what we all want as musicians, right? Our friend Zach was the one who eventually threw out the idea of Bumpin Uglies, and we immediately knew it was the right fit.

TheDubSide: Aside from TheDubSide how can fans to be access Uglies music and merchandise?

Brandon: You can check us out on facebook (facebook.com/bumpinugliesmusic) or twitter (twitter.com/bumpinuglies). You can get the album on itunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/free-candy/id445871156, and we should be on pandora in the next couple of weeks. - www.thedubside.com

""Free Candy" CD Review"

Annapolis, MD based ska/reggae band Bumpin’ Uglies (or, just Uglies) are hurriedly taking the East Coast by storm. In fact, the word storm fits perfectly, as if their storming…it…or..something. But I digress.

The Uglies create their sound from a number of influences including Reggae, Alternative Rock, and Ska; and in fact have a bit of jazzy feel, or maybe Blues. Regardless, their about as listenable as the most beautiful sound in the world.

Lead vocalist and songwriter Brandon Hardesty describes their music, or more specifically their latest album as, “..music for people with real lives and real problems. Most of the songs are based on experiences I’ve had throughout my twenties, so I think there are themes in the songs that most people can relate to.”

Who doesn’t love a relate able group of savvy musicians? That’s exactly what they are. Serioulsy. And their latest album, Free Candy, certainly proves it. Take the song “Stories” for example, a mesh of Nirvana like guitar with the type of head bobbing ska you’d here on the latest version of Tony Hawk. I mean that in a good way. Because who didn’t love cruising town ridin’ rails for hundreds of yards and jumping off building six stories high while listening to good old ska-rock n’ roll. Classic.

Band members Dave Wolf (bass), Keenan Leader (drums), and Brandon Hardesty (singer/songwriter) have made Uglies a mainstay in the Mid Atlantic region, with hopes of spreading their sound even further after the release of their first full length ablum, Free Candy. We highly recommend this album, but we must warn you it does come with a disclaimer; it contains highly addictive material. Free Candy takes you on a marvelous melodic journey as if you’re reliving the best times of your life vicariously through their music. Bumpin’ Uglies will tour new cities this year and continues to extend the reach of their music.

Below are a few songs from their latest album Free Candy. Now, we realize that we’ve enticed you with “free candy” speak throughout this article, so we won’t leave you hanging. Below are some tunes from the album, which are also available to download with a few others on our “Downloads” page. You’re welcome.. - www.thedubside.com

""Free Candy" CD Review"

Bumpin’ Uglies have just recently released their new album titled ‘Free Candy’. Having never listened to the band before, I was unsure of what to expect but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Called “The Uglies by many fans, they began playing live shows around the country in 2009. Their popularity has spread primarily throughout the east cost, but they look to tour new cities across the nation in the near future. "Free Candy" is Bumpin’ Uglies Debut LP and, I believe, one that brilliantly showcases their talent. For those like me who were blind to the talent of Bumpin’ Uglies, give ‘Free Candy’ a listen and you won’t be disappointed.

The album begins with “Addictive Personality,” which is actually one of my favorite songs on ‘Free Candy.’ The title is pretty self explanatory as to the content of the lyrics, but the sound was, to me, a bit reminiscent of Can’t Hang. I found it to be a good mix of reggae and ska that kept me interested til the end. “Hallucinations,” which I also liked in particular, was a bit faster paced than the previous two songs. The guitar was heavier too, an enjoyable alternation from before. Moving down the track list, I came to “Instead.” They switched back to the acoustic guitar here but kept the horns as well, keeping the listener on their feet as to what’s coming next. “If I can’t have love, I’ll love what I have instead,” is the chorus, and probably my favorite element of the song because it is actually an important message. What is so great about this album is that they were able to avoid the mundane sound, with each song sounding exactly the same. Recently I have found that quite often to be the case, but Bumpin’ Uglies were able to flawlessly incorporate variety.

The new release ‘Free Candy’ is one truly worthy of some positive attention. They provide a smooth blend of countless genres rolled into one, and keep their listeners on their toes with no two songs sounding the same. Being a first time listener of Bumpin’ Uglies, ‘Free Candy’ has done enough to make me a lifetime follower. This is definitely an album worth taking a look at. - www.musicbailout.net

""Free Candy" CD Review"

Since late 2008, the Bumpin’ Uglies formerly known as S.W.E.D, or Super Wet Earthly Desires have desired to inspire their fans through music. The three-piece reggae and ska group out of Annapolis, Maryland have become a local favorite and are in the midst of expanding their popularity to the depths of the mid-atlantic region and the rest of reggae fans across the nation. Bumpin’ Uglies is set to release their very first full-length album and are ready to hit the road to promote Free Candy through out multiple cities along the east coast this summer.

Album Review:
Bumpin Uglies skillfully applied elements of many genres to construct their latest release Free Candy. Their musical repertoire not only consists of lyrical themes similar to many current and 90’s punk rock groups, the upbeat strumming of the guitar is significant to a majority of reggae and ska music, and as to contemporary rock with the use of distorted power chords with wah-saturated solos that appear in many spots throughout this 15 track album.

The first song Addictive Personality is the epitome of Bumpin Uglies’ overall style and sound in this album. Some songs do not really carry a significant or meaningful message to the listener, just a story of life’s problems. There style of music consists of many personal references and first person stories. In the album opener, Brandon Hardesty sings about turning into a fiend for things that life offers. Hardesty sings, Everything I do I have to do excessively, and it took no time to realize that he could bend his voice as well as the best singers in reggae music. Musically, you will be able to define the wah-filled guitar riffs and walking bass. Then the horns follow in to further the ska effect.

At multiple moments throughout the course of this summertime release I thought I was hearing the voice of Howie Spangler, lead-singer for fellow east coast reggae rockers Ballyhoo! Bumpin Uglies’ lead singer Brandon Hardesty has excellent vocal control and can hit more notes very easily and accurately. My favorite song on Free Candy is Hallucinations for that reason. It is happy-go-lucky reggae in my eyes where the conflicting melodies of the vocals and musical progressions are very captivating.

There are also many acoustic moments throughout the album. However They Remain is one hundred percent acoustic. It is the last song on the album but one of my favorites. It is once again a personally narrated song about the struggles in life and how memories will stick with a person for the long-term. Another one of the more meaningful messages I found was in the song Mistaken. It is also one of my favorites due to its complexity. Again the vocals are spot on, but the musical atmosphere of the song is perfect for the message. A little more thought could lead to bliss is sung over partially sustained power chords of the guitar and the accompanying organs also in the mix. It is a more serious song about contemporary problems in a personal sense.

Although it is not free or edible, the album surely does draw the same if not more attention as a sign reading free candy would to me. The songs come bite size; the perfect treat to the reggae rockers’ ears! - www.thepier.org


Still working on that hot first release.



Bumpin Uglies are a polished three piece hailing from Annapolis, MD. Known for their focused approach to not taking life too seriously, Bumpin Uglies have earned a reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the land, constantly touring and perfecting their distinct sound. They also have a knack for poking fun where fun should be poked, conjoined with a musical earnestness that is clear all the way through their catalog full of honest songs that cut right to the grit, humor and reality that is life. Critics and fans agree that their special brand of East Coast White Boy Reggae is among the finest on either side of the Mississippi.

Tags aside, lead man Brandon Hardesty is known for his natural gift for crafting songs and lyrics that stand out from the pack. White boy reggae is the styling, but its only a humorous veil over the diversity of sounds and styles that makes Bumpin Uglies music utterly unique. TJs drum skills and Dave Wolfs thunderous bass round out their undeniable and original signature sound.

Band Members