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New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock


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"Ex-Ultrababyfat Singer Shonali Bhowmik Returns to the South"

Shonali Bhowmik’s current tour through the Southeast is something of a homecoming trip.

Bhowmik grew up in Nashville and attended law school in Atlanta, where she fronted the regionally popular Ultrababyfat. Back then, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, she and her band played in Knoxville every few months. Now, since she moved to New York in 2003, appearances back down South are less and less frequent. Bhowmik splits her time between a law practice and her new band, Tigers and Monkeys, but road trips just don’t figure in her life the way they did a decade ago.

“It’s been awesome,” she says of her first tour down this way since 2007. “It’s crazy. After you play music for a while you really have a network—it’s almost like family—in the music world. So every town we’ve been in, I’ve seen musicians I’ve known in the past.... I’m psyched about the Longbranch still being alive and willing to host bands. That’s a blast from the past! I’m happy to be in an old club I’ve known for a while.”

Part of the reason for this tour is to reintroduce Bhowmik as a solo performer. Though she’s still working with Tigers and Monkeys, she has just released her first solo album, and it’s been a perfect excuse to hit the road again.

“I miss rock ’n’ roll tours,” she says. “This is a gift to myself.”

The new album, 100 Oaks Revival, is also a gift. After more than 20 years of playing music in bands—she and Ultrababyfat partner Michelle Dubois started writing songs together when they were 8—the new disc is her first solo project, and she says it has been an important step in her creative development.

“I connect so much to the rock ’n’ roll band force,” she says. “I wasn’t ready to reveal that side of me. But I have this backlog of songs that I kept writing.

“Also, there’s a part of it that had to do with being a woman. I had this attitude—‘I’m a ferocious rock ’n’ roll chick and I can’t let this protective shield down.’ Even as a kid I was like, ‘I like blue! I don’t like pink!’ There was a part of me that was like, ‘I don’t think anybody wants to hear me write a love song.’ There was part of me that didn’t want to be cliche. And I think that finally I matured enough where I could be like, ‘This is who I am and this is what I’m thinking, and who gives a shit?’ I can share it.”

On first listen, 100 Oaks Revival isn’t a significant departure from Bhowmik’s rock songs with Ultrababyfat or Tigers and Monkeys. Songs like “What’s the Standstill” feature fuzzy ’90s guitar and a chorus borrowed from the Shangri-Las. Only one of the disc’s nine songs is truly solo—the disc features a full studio band and contributions from producer Paul Burch, whose Nashville studio was used for the sessions. But there is a cryptic intimacy to the lyrics (“You had to share your sense of sweat and smell/In order for the demons to subside,” from “Shake It Rock-N-Roller”) that sounds new.

“I‘ve never had stage fright,” Bhowmik says. “I’m pretty fearless in a rock ’n’ roll band setting, and in this lineup now I have four people who are playing with me. But it’s still feels like I’m so much more naked. It’s strange. It’s therapeutic, but it also feels like I’m teetering on this whole other place. It’s strange to me. I’ve said it before, but it’s good for the soul. You’ve got to face those hurdles.”

As for Ultrababyfat, the band has been on hiatus since Bhowmik moved to New York, though they did reunite for a tour and new album, No Ringo No, in 2006.

“It still seems like it was so recent,” Bhowmik says of the band. “Michelle and I are very close. Our dream was to put out a record together at age 80. We talked about that when we were 13. ‘Wouldn’t that be rad?’ It would be so hilarious. Even if nobody else liked it, it would just be these old ladies who just rocked. So anytime anyone asks if that band still exists, I say, ‘Oh, yeah. It’s going to exist until we’re dead. We’re just doing other things now.”


Shonali Bhowmik’s 100 Oaks Revival
This former Atlanta musician lives in New York where she leads a band called Tigers & Monkeys, and works with comedy collective Variety Shac. The rock crunch of her bands, including Atlanta favorites Ultrababyfat, takes a back seat to her songwriting prowess and pop smarts on her solo debut “100 Oaks Revival.” Recorded in her childhood hometown of Nashville, the album is full of deft instrumental touches, especially the piano figures that dangle from “Shake It Rock ’n’ Roller” lending the song a sinister edge. The jaunty bounce of “Star Treatment” contrasts with the song’s mysterious monsters, scars and broken people. It’s a remarkable balancing act that makes for one of the album’s memorable highlights, but there’s a lot to love on “100 Oaks Revival.” - THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION

"Unfairly Talented Entertainer Shonali Bhowmik Goes Solo"

Shonali Bhowmik is, at the very least, a double threat: part of the fierce female comedy troupe Variety Shac, and leader of the Brooklyn band Tigers and Monkeys. (The fact that she's also a lawyer is just plain unfair.) Her new solo album, 100 Oaks Revival, is a bit different from the hard-rocking work she has done with her band: as she describes it, it's mellower and spookier. The show promises surprise guests, but one of those cats is already out of the bag: Janeane Garofalo. I won't be too surprised if she spends her between-song lulls explaining Fermat's last theorem while performing emergency appendectomies.

—Brett Ackerman - BEACON PASS NYC

"Shonali Bhowmik creates atmospheric pop The New York-based songwriter is in a new blue mood"

If songwriter Shonali Bhowmik's long-running career in pop-rock demonstrated giddy and raw tension, her solo album detours into a new mood altogether. A native of Nashville, she spent years singing and playing guitar in melodic indie-rock bands in Atlanta before relocating to New York City. Bhowmik's newly released solo album 100 Oaks Revival, a bare-bones collection, aims for something much more melancholic."

"Morose, dissonant, and eerie, 100 Oaks Revival's opening track "All Her Things Come Easily" is a startling surprise to those familiar with Bhowmik's pop-rock past. "Star Treatment" is a drowsy gem with a swingin' beat that may remind listeners of the more festive offerings of the Elephant 6 collective. "Alligator's Tale," one of the upbeat songs of the set, bounces with a gritty heaviness. Even in a straight-ahead rocker like "Hold My Place," there's an airy, chilled-out sparseness. The strummy "What's Inside of Your Heart," a snappy ballad with Bhowmik handling acoustic guitar and vocals, closes the album with beautiful harmonies."

-- T. Ballard Lesemann


100 OAKS REVIVAL (2011)

as singer of Tigers and Monkeys

as singer of Ultrababyfat



“Awkward and uncomfortable are good places to be sometimes” says musician Shonali Bhowmik, concerning her first solo release, 100 Oaks Revival, partially recorded in her childhood home of Nashville, Tennessee. Until now, Shonali had never recorded an album in Nashville, nor had she ever felt comfortable releasing a collection of songs under her name alone. After releasing 5 albums with her rock n roll bands, she decided to make a change and do things she had not done in a recording setting. She scooped up a backlog of songs sitting on her 4 track machine which she had written over the years and headed off to Nashville to do a stripped down recording with the prolific songwriter, performer, and producer Paul Burch. In Burch’s home studio, she set down nine personal songs and recorded live to 8 track tape with just minimal guitar, vocals and drums. While listening to those tracks back in New York where she now resides, she started hearing additional instrumental and vocal parts in her head. This led her to invite a handful of talented musicians (including her former UltraBabyFat partner Michelle DuBois and notable illustrator /musician Marcellus Hall) to join her for recording sessions in producer Matt Gill’s studio, where they added lush and textured layers to the album.

Beyond the musicianship, both Nashville and New York heavily influenced the songwriting and tone of this album, from the name of the Nashville mall referenced in the album title to the daily grind of working and paying bills in New York City. The end result is an album that offers listeners another side of Shonali, one that hasn’t really been shown in her other musical outfits. These songs are personal. Some of them remind us of the playful and catchy music we are used to from her (listen to “Alligator’s Tale”), but others are more intimate, dark and earnest (be sure to spin “ All Her Things Come Easily” and “Sorceror of Kalamazoo”). It is simply a great showcase of Shonali’s clever lyric-writing style and broad musical talent. 100 Oaks Revival is an eclectic and hearty collection of music from a woman who has proven over and over that she has got what it takes to write and perform a song. That means this release deserves at least one mulling over….right?

Shonali Bhowmik is the leader of the indie rock band Tigers and Monkeys for which she is the songwriter, singer, and guitar player. She is also a member of the popular comedy collective and live comedy show Variety Shac which also makes film shorts with the likes of Fred Armisen and Ed Helms. She was one of the leaders of Atlanta’s Ultrababyfat which was featured on tour with David Cross in the DVD “Let America Laugh.” In the past, her bands have shared the stage with PJ Harvey, Ted Leo, Pavement, The Shins, and Sleater Kinney. Shonali was the composer for original music for the MTV television series “How’s Your News.” She recently started her own independent record label called Little Lamb Recordings.