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Providence, Rhode Island, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Providence, Rhode Island, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Duo Rock Alternative




"VulGarrity can't be categorized - they're too busy having fun"

VulGarrity’s theatrical, A.D.D. synth metal, absolute disdain for categorization and tireless work ethic has garnered the band a considerable amount of attention, not just locally, but beyond Rhode Island’s borders as well. In addition to winning this year’s WBRU Rock Hunt, they’ve earned such distinct honors as gigging with the Danzig-less Misfits and landing a track on MTV’s Teen Cribs.

The music of brother-sister duo Tracy and Shawn Garrity is a surprisingly listenable and often guiltlessly enjoyable mélange of skronky dance-synth, processed ‘80s rock vocals and some serious metal riffage, all whipped together into a sort of musical V8 that can provide you with your lifetime’s serving of everything the ‘80s and ‘90s had to offer: new wave, goth, punk, metal, garish neon and Halloween horror imagery. With enough distance between now and that actual era, it’s probably inevitable that young musicians like the Garritys see no problem with wanting to sound like Prince and Megadeth, while offering no apologies for trying. And really, why should they?

Beyond the music, there is a more theatrical aspect of all things VulGarrity, namely VulGarrity: The Series. Painstakingly self-produced, this comically absurd web series features the band getting themselves into all sorts of hilarious hi jinks, like adopting a pair of cocaine-addicted cats or accidentally buying a demonically possessed amp. Awkward dialog and hammy acting aside, it’s quite obvious that these two would be the last people in the universe to take themselves too seriously. And that’s precisely what makes VulGarrity a really fun and maybe even great band, as they slowly master the fine art of throwing everything against the wall just to see what sticks.

Expert Opinion

Wendell Gee, program director of WBRU: “I was really excited when our panel of industry, media and artist types gave them such high marks, enough to win this year’s Rock Hunt. VulGarrity is one of those acts that’s just too much freaking fun to miss them because you don’t ‘get’ them. I get some fatigue watching bands try to out-hip each other; Tracy and Shawn are great people hoping to do something crazy and fabulous and exciting for a crowd, not stick their noses in the air and demand to be treated as artists. It’s no secret that there is no other Alice Cooper-inspired dance rock brother-sister duo in town right now. There is also something refreshing about their musical risks, from the aggressive use of looping to the gender switching within the vocals on some of their covers.”

Eric Smith - Providence Monthly

"VulGarrity triumph at the 'BRU Rock Hunt"

There was a packed house and another well-executed romp last Friday at the Met, the site of the 2011 WBRU Rock Hunt Finals. Friends and fans quickly filled the room (a well-spent $5 to say the least) by the 8 pm start; four hours later, the eight judges' votes (including one from 2010 victors the Wandas) were tallied and VulGarrity, the acclaimed sibling duo of Shawn and Tracy Garrity, were declared champs. Neither 'BRU program director nor I could recall the first band performing ever coming out on top, but VulGarrity's 35-minute set slayed from start to finish, with all of their signature moves in effect — switching up instruments (even twice during one song), tossing in a dance floor heater of a cover (bands were allowed a one non-original per set), and Shawn's uncanny ability to nimbly nail riffs and work it all through loop pedals. And for the first time in three years as a Rock Hunt judge, the band I voted for (in six categories ranging from Songwriting to Radio-Readiness on a 1-10 scale) actually won. - Providence Phoenix

"VulGarrity at The Shredder"

On 11/11/10, the Providence, RI rock duo VulGarrity played at The Shredder with Boise’s own Demoni. Despite only having two members, VulGarrity has a full-blown rock sound thanks to innovative use of sampling and looping.

VulGarrity is composed of siblings Shawn and Tracy Garrity. Their unusual and effective formula stems from years of having a cast of unreliable band mates. The Providence Duo took matters into their own hands and invented their own incredible hard-hitting, full-fledged sound without having to rely on other musicians.

Their songs are fun, horror-tinged dance rock numbers that are bursting at the seams with energy and mischievousness. Tracy and Shawn switch instruments frequently, moving in between drums, guitar, bass and keyboards in an effortless manner. The songs stand on their own, but watching VulGarrity fluidly trade instruments makes for an amazing and completely one-of-a-kind live experience.

VulGarrity uses fierce and energetic bass guitar, four-on-the-floor drumbeats, heavy metal leads, distorted and angular rhythm guitar and spooky keyboards to create a successful formula. No two songs sound alike, but they all have something in common: they are catchy, captivating and irresistible. VulGarrity does not shy away from pop hooks, shy away from rocking out or shy away from taking the road less traveled. Simply put, the next time VulGarrity is in Boise, YOU need to be there.
- University Pulse

"The 10 alt-rock discs of Xmas"

VulGarrity’s sophomore release, Dance 2 the Grave, picks up where their debut left off, and then proceeds to blow it away. Dance 2 the Grave just sounds bigger, the songs are better. It’s tough describing the Garrity brother-sister dynamic duo, it’s like goth stoner funk with the primary instruments being bass and drums, while sounding like nothing anyone would really ever describe as funk. The lead single “Freakshow” kicks off with almost prog-rock guitar loop before settling into low end jam. “Murderhand” rocks while being post-new wave dance juggernaut. The sinister siblings won this year’s WXIN Rock Hunt and are currently on tour. - Motif Magazine

"Vulgarrity's haunting Dance 2 the Grave"

There's a musty funk emanating from the new VulGarrity disc, Dance 2 the Grave, as the acclaimed Provy-based sibling duo (Tracy and older brother Shawn Garrity) follow up their excellent '08 debut, If You Sing it, They Will Hum . . ., with 15 more tracks (including a monster cover of Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey") sure to satisfy those of us who crave their taut basslines, primal rhythms, and gnarled, fuzzy riffs a la Queens of the Stone Age. And, like Josh Homme's catalog of robot-sex rock, there's no shortage of dance floor groove lurking beneath the hard rock sludge.

This one is the soundtrack for your next graveyard bonfire or mausoleum makeout party. The Garritys love vintage horror movies (check out the videos for "Killer in the Back Seat" and the new single, "Freakshow"), which is abundantly clear when absorbing the opening thumper, "All Hallow's Eve." There's the burning and drowning of witches, kids hiding behind plastic masks "oblivious to what's happening," and "no rest for the creatures of the night." Yet even with song titles such as "Don't Go In the House," "Tortured," "Eyes In the Dark," and "Murderhand," Shawn said an October release wasn't the original plan.
"Actually, the album was originally scheduled for release in July, but we pushed for several reasons, the most obvious being the lyrical content," Shawn told me earlier this week.
"Besides, it's Halloween year-round in our world."
VulGarrity is known for their jaw-dropping live show, where the pair often switch instruments — sometimes mid-song, with Shawn capturing a riff or bassline through a loop pedal, then trading places with Tracy behind the drum kit. The instrumental that usually closes out the live set, "Vully" (named for their omnipresent mascot vulture), appears on Dance 2 the Grave and serves as a beastly finale.
"There's no doubt bands like Queens influenced our sound," Shawn said. "There's something about dark, melodic, and danceable music that resonates so much with us," he said. "You don't hear that combination done well too often."
Fine examples would be latter-half standout cuts "Tell-Tale," "Mix Around," and "Dear John" (one of three tracks with Tracy on lead vox) and, of course, that badass "Shock the Monkey" cover found smack-dab in the center of the album. "We had been playing that one live for awhile, but luckily our manager reminded us about it and recommended we get it on there," said Shawn.
The Garritys are gearing up for yet another nationwide tour, and at this point in their musical career there's no time for petty sibling quarrels. Still, I could never envision my younger sister and I traveling cross-country for weeks at a time.
"It's definitely challenging, but I guess we have an unspoken understanding that we need to make this work," Shawn said.
"We get on each other's nerves from time to time, but we also love performing and work really hard at making each tour happen.
"The last thing either of us would want to do is screw it up.
"Our main goal remains unchanged — having fun via playing music," Shawn humbly declared. "There's something about unfettered self-expression that gives people hope or inspiration," he said, "or at least helps them forget what a crappy week they had.
"We get to see that firsthand every time we play a show. It's pretty addictive." - The Phoenix

"CD of the month"

Sonic mayhem was in the air on a recent Saturday night at AS220, when local brother-and-sister duo Vulgarrity delivered a scorching set of material from their release If You Sing it, They Will Hum (Dog Hill Records). The band is comprised of Shawn Garrity on guitar, bass, drums, and vocals; and Tracy Garrity on bass, drums, and vocals. They shared this awesome bill with Infinite Children, Arma, and Glowkid.

AS220 is an unjuried visual art/performance space in downtown Providence. The place is set up with a bar and grill type of area on one side with the main performance space adjoining. The crowd that night was plenty and varied, with rock and roll lovers of all ages in attendance.
There was a bird there, too. But not a real bird, it was a wooden statue or figurine thing on the merchandise table, and somehow it made its way to the stage accompanied by another statue of what I can only describe as the dismembered upper torso and head of a Freddy Krueger like zombie or ghoul or something. The band’s apparent fondness for this Halloweeny type of kitsch was underscored with performances of songs like the Iggyish "Boogeyman", and "Killer in the Back Seat", a tune which is becoming one of my favorite vulgarity tracks.

The duo alternated their instrumental duties throughout their set, showcasing their versatility and demonstrating that it is possible to have an accomplished band with just two members. Effects pedal technology enabled Shawn to lay down his guitar over his drumming on a few tracks.
The fans loved it, with much dancing and banter throughout the set. Many of the fans seemed to know the lyrics to the songs, people were throwing poor "Freddy" around, and, as Tracy dryly remarked, there was some apparent sexual tension between the bird and the ghoul statues. I’ll just leave it at that. There was a totally good vibe during the set, and many digital cameras were deployed in the air for visual posterity.

Towards the end of the set, the duo busted out a blistering instrumental that would put most prog rock bands to shame. A good time, as they say, was had by all. Bravo, Vulgarrity!
I implore you to check this band out. - The Deli Magazine

"Live Review: Inn Cinema // VulGarrity // Arma // Riot Inside"

Multitaskers VulGarrity followed by proving just what sort of layering is possible with a well-used loop pedal or two. Multi-instrumentalist Shawn Garrity would play a solid lick on his guitar, loop it, then put down the instrument to play drums for the remainder of the song. Tracy Garrity for the most part stuck to her bass, but took her turns on the drumset as well while Shawn played guitar. Both Garrities layered vocals atop the fast-paced, melodically complex rock they created through several pedals at once. Shawn's riffs were unwaveringly catchy and intricate throughout as he jammed against himself. The duo climaxed with an epic instrumental track that layered guitar upon bass upon guitar, all over drums played so hard that Shawn had to stand up to get gravity on his side when he slammed his sticks against cymbals. - Performer Magazine


(Four out of five stars) “If You Sing It” has atrocious cover art, production values akin to yelling from 30 yards away and a pretty corny title. But while it may look like a demented children’s CD, this is some of Rhode Island’s finest garage rock in a long while. Providence brother and sister duo Shawn and Tracy Garrity have such an innate ability to craft fantastic and memorable songs, you wonder if you missed a decade of music somewhere in there. Formerly Rebecca Nurse and then The Radionics, their debut as VulGarrity lands closer to The White Stripes than The Fiery Furnaces in terms of hardness, with a repertoire spanning the disco-groove beat of “Plane in the Water” to ‘80s-inspired ballad “Night to Remember,” and the haunting creep of “Boogeyman.” What especially impresses is their ability to fill their songs with pure sound; the Garritys’ talent with multiple instruments makes “If You Sing It” sound more fleshed out than most comparable rock quartets. There is hardly a weak track out of the 15 low-fi ones presented here, and save for the strange looks you may get carrying the album to the check-out, there is little that should keep you from adding this to your music collection.

Definitely a band to keep tabs on. - Newport Mercury

"19 Nov 09"

Currently on tour, this duo totally rocked the stage as if they were a 4 - 5 member rock band. Vulgarrity's performance took this reviewer on a fantastical journey of sound via psychedelic/rock. Fans were treated to epic and grand song intros as well as the intense energy felt within their songs. Even though the sound was a little distorted at times during the set, SouthSide was still able to experience such rhythms and more ...never thought imagined. It was like listening to the indie version of Rush after getting lost amongst Vulgarrity's trippy keyboard/guitar combination. There were moments when this reviewer had to stop writing and simply enjoy the music. The highlight of this performance came at the end as this duo performed an epic instrumental. Through the use of looping (so Tracy and Shawn could switch between drums and guitar during this song), the finale left SouthSide breathless ...and hungry for more. For more information, visit this duo at - Southside On The Town

"Just The Two Of Us"

“Thanks a lot, White Stripes,” is what Shawn Garrity often thinks when audiences mistake he and his sister, Tracy, for another married-couple rock duo.

VulGarrity has more in common with the Whites than they might admit. Both have a good fashion sense and prefer a gritty sound, though the Stripes go the garage route while VulGarrity cite The Cure as an influence but, since they aren’t going for a retro sound, come closer to The Faint sans electronica.

The Providence duo make the sound of a full band come from just two musicians. They do this with a series of looping pedals, accessories that fascinate Shawn. He will play a guitar line, loop it through a pedal, play another riff, loop that through, and then overdub it before sitting down at the drums — at which point he and Tracy, on bass, come in playing as one. Both are multi-instrumentalists and sometimes switch positions mid-song. Their sweet, harmonizing vocals sometimes clash with their hard rock lines to create a pleasantly mashed-up effect. To make a song’s chorus pop, Shawn will often turn off the loop during verses, leaving only the thump of drums and bass, and allowing the guitar loop in for the chorus to blast the audience with a full-band sound, before killing it again when the song returns to the next verse.

Lyrically, they take inspiration from horror movies, a shared passion since childhood, one that counterbalanced their Catholic school educations.

The Garrities admit it’s not always easy to work with a sibling. “[T]he comfort level can be the hardest and easiest thing about it,” says Shawn. Though they bicker honestly and intensely about their music, they became competent at conflict resolution during their teenage years, when they began playing music together.

The two played in cover bands in high school and, many original-band lineups since, decided to ditch the other musicians and become a duo in 2008. It was difficult to find other musicians willing to spend most of the year on the road.

What they’re doing seems to be working. VulGarrity had a prestigious headlining slot at last year’s South by Southwest Festival and received rave reviews from crowds at this past summer’s Safe to Swim 2 in Danbury.

There is less of an art than the audience might think as to who plays which instrument on which song. “We’ll just play until one person gets sick of one instrument and then switch,” says Shawn.

Laurel Tuohy - Fairfield Weekly

"In the blood"

“We don’t have five dudes on stage pounding out power chords, so we need to find other ways to fill up all that space,” said Shawn Garrity, one-half of the multitasking siblings known as VulGarrity (sister Tracy is three years younger). “It forces us to think differently than before, and that’s proven to be a breathe of fresh air.
“Our live show takes a lot of concentration. There are three instruments on stage and only two of us and we switch instruments a lot, sometimes within the same song. It’s much harder but also much more fun.”

VulGarrity ( have drawn comparisons to the White Stripes with their loud-as-hell approach onstage, and while their 2008 debut album If You Sing It, They Will Hum . . . (at and iTunes) booms with aggressive beats and fuzzy, highly addictive garage riffs throughout, Shawn was quick to clarify: “The White Stripes comparison is definitely more visually-based than musically,” he said last week, prior to hopping the ferry for a show at the Block Island Music Festival.

“We saw the White Stripes when they came to Lupo’s years ago and I couldn’t get past the lack of low end in their sound,” he said. “Tracy and I had previously toyed with the idea of a two-piece and I said to myself that night, ‘If we decide to do this, it has to sound big — bigger than this.’ ”

It came as no surprise when Garrity revealed that he was listening to “a lot of Rush and Faith No More, and Tracy was on a huge Joy Division/Queens of the Stone Age kick” while they were recording If You Sing It; the hook on opening cut “No Coin” is Queens-meets-KISS all day, and continues with killer cuts “From Underground” and “Plane In the Water” that reek of stoner rawk, with Garrity channeling Josh Homme with that howling, balls-out falsetto. “Midnight on a dead man’s road trip,” Garrity begins on “From Underground,” and by the time you hit “Boogeyman” and “Killer In the Back Seat” (the opening chug hits like the Hives) into “Zombie Town,” there’s a theme brewing. “Tracy and I are heavily addicted to horror movies,” Shawn noted.

If You Sing It boasts no filler, with later-half standouts “Just Tonight,” “Medicine Man,” and “Sunday Afternoon Stroll” (with Tracy on vocals) holding their own.

“We have this cheesy old karaoke machine that records on cassette tapes, and we filled three 90-minute cassettes of riffs and beats with no vocals,” Shawn recalled. “We each brought home copies and wrote lyrics to the ones we liked best. It worked out perfectly, so we’re taking a similar approach with the next album.

Bassist Angelo Grancpo, who had played with the duo since their stint in Rebecca Nurse, left the band last year citing the usual “creative differences,” and yet provided a key moment of clarity before recording If You Sing It, calling for a simpler, family-friendly approach.

“The family thing helps a lot, and creating music together is much easier than trying to create it with anyone else because we’re not afraid to tell each other when something doesn’t work,” Shawn said. “So the end result is something both of us are completely happy with, which has never been possible when other musicians are involved.”

Creating music together is one thing, but what about the thought of driving cross-country with your younger sister on a whirlwind, two-week tour from here to Los Angeles and back? The irony wasn’t lost on Shawn, who had dubbed the trek “The Sibling Rivalry Tour.”

“We got in a huge fight after a show in Michigan — I’m surprised no one called the cops,” he recalled. “If we weren’t brother and sister, we wouldn’t be in a band together right now. But, we woke up the next morning, talked it out and forgave each other, and drove to the next show.

“Everyone told us we were crazy to drive there and back in two weeks, but we did it and it was a blast,” he said, “We’re planning on doing another one in the fall.” - Chris Conti, Providence Phoenix, 6/19/09


"If You Sing It, They Will Hum" 2008 Dog Hill Records

"Dance 2 the Grave" 2010 Dog Hill Records

"Funkeology" 2013 Dog Hill Records

"Afterlife" 2015 Dog Hill Records



Perhaps it’s no coincidence that death and the macabre are the subject matter of the majority of VulGarrity’s music. True, the brother-sister team’s unhealthy obsession with horror movies is a large part of the equation; however, it’s also symbolic of the journey that brought VulGarrity into existence in 2008. After several years of making music with a rotating cast of band members -- not to mention band names -- Tracy and Shawn had a problem: they needed to break the cycle, but didn’t know how.

The first step was adding “Vul” to their last name, Garrity, to create the ultimate tongue-in-cheek moniker. After a few months of soul-searching and musical experimentation, they came upon a solution that takes the do-it-yourself mentality to the extreme: they lay to rest the traditional idea of a rock band and decided to play every instrument themselves…at the same time.

The band uses technology to enhance live performance in a truly extraordinary way. The use of loop pedals allows the dynamic duo to play drums, guitar, bass and keys all at once while executing tight vocal harmonies. That’s not all. They switch instruments too, usually several times during a show, sometimes within the same song, without missing a beat.

Sure, other acts use samples and loop pedals on stage, but the difference is nothing is pre-recorded: the riffs are created live in front of the audience and then start and stopped during the song while other instruments are being played, to create the effect of a full band. How do they do this? Come to a live show and see for yourself. Such a unique performance style could be considered a gimmick by some, but the siblings don’t mind this label because the results never cease to amaze.

The band’s 2008 debut release “If You Sing It, They Will Hum…” boasts 15 original tracks of lo-fi, bare-bones, fuzzed-out bass driven rock complete with gloomy lyrics and haunting harmonies that will give the creeps while simultaneously inspiring uncontrollable headbanging. Combined with a relentless tour schedule, the album attracted nationwide attention earning the band airplay on satellite and college radio, and MTV’s hit shows “Made,” “Cribs,” “Teen Cribs” and “My Life as Liz.” The 2010 followup “Dance 2 The Grave” features 14 original tracks and a blistering cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey.” The addition of the synthesizer as a primary instrument on the album creates a more diverse and developed sound, affectionately described by one critic as “theatrical, A.D.D. synth metal,” while staying true to the band’s dark and dance-driven roots.

Along with more self-booked, cross-country touring, the album brought more accolades, including an artist development contract with MySpace Records, first place in 90.7 WXIN Providence’s 2010 Rock Hunt and endorsement deals with Hercules Stands and WB Gear. 2011 brought the band to prominence in their home state and beyond when they won 95.5 WBRU’s 2011 Rock Hunt, being the first band to win both of Rhode Island’s Rock Hunt contests.

The same year VulGarrity songs “Sunday Afternoon Stroll,” “Killer in the Back Seat” and “Beefcake” were used in the indie slasher film “Yorktown,” and “All Hallow’s Eve” was used in the indie film “Whole Grain”. The band also scored, produced and starred in “VulGarrity: The Series.” Written and directed by Schjoay Productions’ Johnny C, the web series features the duo battling it out with drug-addicted house pets, gangsta leprechauns, vampires and the like with a comedic approach best described at Scooby-Doo meets Bill & Ted. Each 10-20 minute episode ends with a different VulGarrity song and video as well as bloopers from the set.

Stage or screen, it’s no secret VulGarrity were born to perform. They’ve shared the stage with Mike Doughty, Days of the New, The Misfits, King’s X, Sponge, The Joy Formidable, Sleeper Agent, Psychostick, The Prodigals, Ra, and don’t show signs of slowing down any time soon. If you haven’t seen them live yet, what are you waiting for? Get your ass to a VulGarrity show! It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience where the reaction from first-timers is almost always “I’ve never seen anything like that before!”