Venus Bogardus
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Venus Bogardus

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""If you haven't seen Venus Bogardus, you haven't really lived.""

If you haven't seen Venus Bogardus, you haven't really lived.
-Alex DeVore - Santa Fe Reporter


""The eloquence and snotty playfulness is a real joy throughout...""

"It's easy to praise Venus Bogardus for being choc-a-bloc of Beat spirit and No Wave winks, but Tourist will happily wipe the floor with the overwhelming majority of bands on anyone's terms." ...(extracts from the album review by Colin Clements)...

"The eloquence and snotty playfulness is a real joy throughout...heightened by abstract descriptions alongside stark and realistic imagery. The result is simultaneously familiar and surreal, an new slant on the known, in short, the way art works.

"The unyeilding confidence and positivity of the musicianship proves delightfully treacherous to the idea that this band doesn't know what they're doing. Venus Bogardus have an abundance of intent and the ability to articulate this faultlessly though pen or plectrum. James Reich's guitar playing is awkward to hum but dextrously seductive...Hannah Levbarg's bass offers sanctuary and torment for multiple layers of defined and demented guitar ooze...this is fantasy and kitchen sink road music, this is optimism, and this is real charm.

"There is liberated brio adorning every riff and melody. 'Tourist' drives faster and looser...away from feelings of attachment and responsibility wherever it decides to go, defiant like Bonnie and Clyde.

"It's easy to praise Venus Bogardus for being choc-a-bloc of Beat spirit and No Wave winks, but Tourist will happily wipe the floor with the overwhelming majority of bands on anyone's terms. Not to acknowledge just how thrilling these songs are on an instant, primal, nod-your-head-and-shake-your-hips level is to do great disservice to what is infinitely more than a Trojan horse." - Drunken Werewolf Fanzine


""Compelling and primal...""

"Many bands claim to be “art rock,” but bristling British trio Venus Bogardus has the breadth to back it up: It derives its name from an obscure piece of ’50s lesbian pulp fiction, claims “experimental literature” as a major influence, and even penned an ode to Dadaist author Jacques Rigaut. It would be easy to dismiss it as pretentious if the group’s acid-washed post-punk shards weren’t so compelling and primal. That two of its members met on a Richard Hell fan site isn’t surprising considering the band’s razored guitar shapes and romantically louche, Rimbaud-in-the-alleyway lyricism. What is remarkable is how effortlessly, even indifferently, Venus Bogardus conjures its timeless cool, which for once seems tailored to thinkers rather than dancers—although you’ll see plenty of those too." - The Onion - Recommended Show


""Skillful, interesting and ambitious""

"The band is skillful, interesting, and ambitious. Check them out." - Richard Hell (Neon Boys, Television, The Voidoids)


""One of the most original British indie bands I've heard in years.""

"I was thrilled to learn that art-punk trio Venus Bogardus were kicking off tonight's billing. I've written about Venus Bogardus before, simply because they're one of the most original British indie bands I've heard in years. At a time when many of today's UK indie wannabes struggle to venture beyond the lyrical confines of loutish laddishness, Venus Bogardus are busy writing songs about people such as Jacques Rigaut. For anyone whose knowledge of French Dadaism is a little rusty (and that probably accounts for most of us), Jacques Rigaut was a surrealist poet until his death in 1929. Venus Bogardus offer a refreshing change from today's over-hyped crop of tracksuit wielding art-punk copyists...

"Indeed, the Bath based three-piece are one band who can truly claim to sound like no-one but themselves - and after all, Dear Reader, isn't that exactly what 'art' should be about? The band's warm, fuzzy carpet-of-noise floats on a subtle gothic underbelly, neatly joining the dots between Pre-Creation My Bloody Valentine and Yo La Tengo. To date, the band have a couple of CDs on their own Patchoque Records imprint. However, my attention was mostly drawn to the band's debut vinyl 7" which features the aforementioned noir classic 'Jacques Rigaut' together with the equally gritty, lo-fi fuzz-tone menace of 'Epoch Zero' on the flip-side. Complete with gothic tinged artwork, this neatly packaged vinyl platter will have you rushing back to Argos to exchange that iPod for a trusty turntable. These days, claiming to be original, and actually being original are poles apart, but Venus Bogardus are in possession of a sound, and a brilliantly crafted lyrical flair, that is truly of their own design." - Bristol Rocks, live review by Paul Towler


""The best band in years--maybe forever--based in Santa Fe.""

"Its no overstatement to say they’re the best band in years--maybe forever-- based in Santa Fe and already towards the top of my local favorites on the strength of two shows I’ve witnessed to date. It was a hot set, a more urgent Prids (minus the synth) versus the Pretenders circa 1981."

"New drummer (as of a few weeks ago!) Luke ruthlessly whips the band on from behind while Hannah’s bass holds rhythm & melody together in thrall. James’ guitar packs a powerful punch --sans useless wanking -- with beautiful but deadly turns like those of founding Pretender James Honeyman Scott-- whose untimely junkie death is still mourned by Chrissie Hynde and, if you’re in the know, you too.

"I’m ancient enough to remember that rock n’ roll is supposed to make you move your body, not just jump up and down and hit people. Venus Bogardus won’t let me stand still and best of all also moves my mind."

"Good guitar crunch like Sonic Youth at their most accessible, melodic bassfuzz with riffs sorta like Elastica's Annie Holland and overall a nice full sound for a three-piece with male/ female (husband/wife) vocals. Toss in a little No Wave, Eno & Cale flavors with a deep & solid groove and it adds up to an impressive package. I'd say we're fortunate since no one around here plays anything like it." - Wig Wam Bam zine, live review December 2008


""DIY's coolest couple, Venus Bogardus.""

"DIY's coolest couple, Venus Bogardus." - Noize Makes Enemies


""Artrock epitomised... Suffocatingly intense... Bloody brilliant!""

"Artrock epitomised... Suffocatingly intense... Bloody brilliant!" - Drowned in Sound


""Venus Bogardus play giddy no wave art pop noise with a freshness and ferocity that has been sorely missed.""

"One of the more interesting British bands to come along in far too long...Often reminiscent of earlier Sonic Youth and Blood on the Wall, Venus Bogardus play giddy no wave art pop noise with a freshness and ferocity that has been sorely missed." - Gothic Beauty Magazine, Issue #28


""Layers of noise-making... grunge meets art meets rock meets art.""

"Layers of noise-making... grunge meets art meets rock meets art." - Artrocker magazine


Discography

'Spitting at the Glass' (album, cd, digital) - five03 records, Dec.2009;

'Tourist' (album, cd, digital) - Pretty Mouth Records, Nov.2008;

'Motorman' (album, cd, digital) - Patchogue Records, Nov.2007;

'Jacques Rigaut' (7" vinyl, digital) - Patchogue Records, Nov. 2006;

'iii - demos archive' (album, cd, digital) - Patchogue Records, Nov. 2006;

Photos

Bio

Venus Bogardus are a post-punk band, inspired by no-wave, new wave, and experimental literature. They formed in England, but have relocated to New Mexico and have already been described as "the best band ever to be based in Santa Fe" (WigWamBam Zine, ABQ) - "If you haven't seen Venus Bogardus, you haven't really lived!" (Santa Fe Reporter) Since moving to New Mexico the band have already got to play with their hero Mike Watt, and are having a fantastic time making noise.

Founding members James Reich (vox, guitar) and Hannah Levbarg (vox, bass guitar) met in 2002 as fans of Richard Hell's writing and music, fell in love, opened (and closed) a nationally acclaimed independent bookshop in Bath, England and began collaborating on Venus Bogardus songs in 2005. James is a published author and poet. Hannah, originally from Texas, is Richard Hell's Web forum moderator (since 2003). The couple is fictionalized in the book Julie & Julia (Little Brown, US/Penguin, UK) by Julie Powell (2009 Nora Ephron film, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams). Richard Hell advises: "The band is skillful, interesting and ambitious. Check them out!"

In 2007 Venus Bogardus found themselves chosen as one of the six best emerging bands in Britain by Glastonbury Festival and a panel of judges and critics from Q Magazine and BBC Radio 1. The band went on to play a heroic set at Glastonbury Festival. In the UK, they also played a headline set at Ladyfest Bristol, as well as venues across London and beyond. New Zealand's Die!Die!Die! who Venus Bogardus played with in Bath, England declared "I'm f*cking ecstatic! Venus Bogardus are the best band we're seen in Britain!"

Between 2007-8, Venus Bogardus played shows in continental Europe (including headlining at Frankfurt's New Glam Underground Festival) and toured the US where they met their drummer Luke Carr. They debuted at The Viper Room, and also playing shows in Boston, New York, Austin TX, and across the south-west. The three Austin shows attracted the attention of Hunt Sales (Iggy Pop, Tin Machine) who described the band as having a "really great evil groove" and discussed producing the band. Flattered, but probably too broke to afford Hunt Sales, the band made other plans. In March 2009, the band, joined by drummer Luke Carr who had toured the States with them, moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and signed to a new record label Five03 Records in New York, and will be releasing their first new material with the label in December 2009 - the album 'Spitting at the Glass'.

Venus Bogardus is named after a femme fatale character in the 1962 lesbian pulp fiction classic, Beebo Brinker, by Ann Bannon. The author sent the band her blessing, and praise for their first recordings. The band has worked with avant-garde artists and writers in the UK, France and the US since forming in late 2005. Stanley Donwood (Radiohead), a regular visitor to James and Hannah's independent bookshop, and with whom they organised an alternative literary performance event in their ancient cellar, contributed art for their DIY single, Jacques Rigaut, in 2006 (Patchogue Records).

Jean-Luc Bitton, biographer of Dadaist Rigaut and commentator on the DVD release of Louis Malle's classic 1963 film, Le Feu Follet, contributed spoken word to the vinyl release. For the 2007 album Motorman, avant-garde author (and one-time custodian of William Burroughs' dreams) David Ohle read from his 1972 cult novel, Motorman, onto a cassette which he posted to the band from his office in Lawrence, Kansas. French artist Laurent Collobert (Cassius etc.) provided the Motorman sleeve art. The artwork for the new album Spitting at the Glass is provided by Michele Maier, an assistant to feminist artist Judy Chicago, continuing Venus Bogardus' commitment to intense artrock and potent performance.