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Athens, Georgia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Athens, Georgia, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock New Age


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music



Seeing a Bambara set live is sorta like getting trapped in a long, dark corridor with the vague sensation that you are being followed by the thing that terrifies you most … so long as what you’re scared of is experimental indie bands with a tendency to be mellow very loudly. - Weekly Dig Boston

"Album Review: BAMBARA: Dog Ear Days"

At 22-years-old each, the members of Athens, Ga. noise-rock trio Bambara are considerably young, but they actually formed at in 2001, when Blaze and Reid Bateh and William Brookshire were junior high students at the seemingly innocent young age of 13. Though starting so early isn't necessarily notable-plenty of musicians assembled punk bands in their teens-it's impressive that, from their years as impressionable youths on up to adulthood, the trio actually kept making music together that long. And on the group's debut EP Dog Ear Days, it shows-its complex, noisy industrial shoegazer textures reveal a surprisingly mature, though extremely loud musical unit.

Juxtaposing garage rock jangle with squealing, distorted organ riffs, first track "Repeat After Me" kicks off the EP with a harsh and menacing rumble. Harsh and aggressive, its effect is initially jarring, though not far below the squeals and screeches, the Georgia trio lays down a heavy and hard rocking melody with all the force of a bullet train. "Drag Hesitation," however, is more subdued, even somewhat pretty, casting aside the discordant noise and effects to reveal an atmospheric ballad. "Stay Gray," however, pummels and pounds with visceral power, as feedback and delay dances atop a hypnotically grooving bassline. And "Feed the Pigs" slowly creeps and crawls from a low-key intro to an increasingly terrifying nightmarish dirge.

Hearing the awesome, melodic noise terror that Bambara has cultivated in their adult years, I can't help but grow curious as to how these young gentlemen started out. Knowing that might, perhaps, remove some of the mystique behind the ominous shoegazer destruction they currently wreak. But if it sounded anything like they do now, then their parents must have either done something right, or horribly wrong.

Similar Albums:
Deerhunter - Fluorescent Grey
HEALTH - Get Color
A Place to Bury Strangers - A Place to Bury Strangers - Treble

"BAMBARA: Dog Ear Days (Review)"

Hypnotic is not a term one often associates with punk, but Athens-based trio Bambara fit both molds. At times ethereal and dreamy, at others ferocious and noisy, Bambara mixes elements of the post-punk revival with modern shoegaze and psychedelic noise. Dog Ear Days is a bit of a mystery as its mere existence possesses something strangely magical.

“Repeat After Me” opens the EP with a wild, looped noise riff ripe with feedback that continues even as the aggressive drum beat begins to echo by its side. The band then follows that power opening with the brooding, soft “Drag Hesitation” before again launching into the noise for which they’ve become known.

The noise continues until “Swim With The Trees” where the band again takes it down a notch, but they refuse to give up their penchant for experimentation and atmospheric, swirling guitars. Closing the album, “Chiromancy” is packed with eerie loops and carnal drums. One part psychotic, one part calm, it blends their soft side with their loud side.

Certainly, this is not for everyone. But there are plenty out there who dug Japandroids last year and No Age the year before who might fancy Bambara, and this band’s ability to crank up the volume and get a bit crazy with noise may just top those aforementioned artists in terms of decibel levels. In a way, they’re reminiscent of HEALTH minus the tribal math-y elements.

To call these guys loud would be an understatement, but intense noise does not deaden their ability to be dreamy. They are, truly, their own beast. And like any wild animal, there is something immensely beautiful about it that simply cannot be ignored. True to the predator, this wild animal is best taken in from a distance for fear that it will otherwise consume you.
- Fensepost THE Indie Music Blog

"Support Our Troops"

I'd never heard of Bambara before their six-song CD Dog Ear Days showed up in our mailbox, but their music is a thrilling blast of dark, noisy, tension-filled post-punk that pulls back and then rebuilds upon itself in a weird, looming sort of way that draws you in. The whole thing kinda blends together as a whole, with spookier, near-instrumental space-rock portions making up a large part of it, but that's cool 'cuz when they really kick into gear it just sounds that much more frantic and unhinged. The Athens-based trio only minted 100 copies of this EP, so hit the band up if you're interested. I'm definitely looking forward to their next dispatch.

-Jeff Clark - Stomp and Stammer

"Proud Evolution"

William Brookshire (bass) has been together with twin brothers Reid (guitar, vocals) and Blaze Bateh (drums) long enough to get gay couple civic rights in California, Vermont and Rhode Island. “We’ve known each other since the first grade—so probably ’96 or ’97… and we’ve been playing together under various names since 2001,” Blaze says. Now, they’re in an outfit named Bambara. And naturally, such familiarity does wonders for their improvisational impulse—be it filtered through their intense live performances or their playful conversations.

These guys really know each other. Like, "know what each other is going to say next" type of know each other. And they have these cute little inside jokes that sometimes no one even has to say for them to laugh. They’re resoundingly welcoming and engagingly digressive. Flanked by toppling towers of empty PBR cans and Dragon Ball Z DVDs on mute in their downtown apartment, they talk about “nut-scented aliens” (actual lyrics from Dragon Ball Z’s season-one theme song), Jennifer Aniston’s “bega” nose (big + mega), and little plastic army men falling off the ceiling onto HEALTH’s frontman as he crashed on their couch. Still, the guys talk of nothing as excitedly as their music.

“Noisy, washy, atmospheric, dark in a lot of places, melodic… textural.” The sound of Bambara—as described by the Bateh brothers in a back-and-forth staccato cadence. Surely. But the band used to sound very different.

I remember seeing them my senior year of high school, the first time I went to the Masquerade. But like most music nerds, the scope of one’s taste explodes in college, and we’re all seniors again. “We used to be post-mallcore spaz pop-punk!” Brookshire says, laughing. “But you mature, and the music you listen to grows with you,” Reid finishes. “So, eventually, we had to change our name,” Blaze explains.

Catch Bambara live these days and you’ll understand why club owners have handpicked them to open for buzzy touring noisemakers like HEALTH and Monotonix. They’re very loud, although according to Reid, “We didn’t realize we were loud until we came to Athens.” Ha. At a recent house party posters were literally peeling off the walls from the vibrations—every bass drum hit was a thumbtack undone. So, obviously, Blaze is a madman on the drums. That they play in the near-dark only adds to the moody drama of Reid’s solemnly purple prose and echoey wisps of vocals.

Bambara's upcoming EP Dog Ear Days is available now on Bandcamp using the “pay what you want” model, although they’re proofing the artwork for the impending physical release. The cover is a crappy picture taken on Blaze’s iPhone. It’s a still from a 1994 film by Peggy Ahwesh called The Color of Love; itself, an art film where Ahwesh painted over sex scenes from a '70s porno. It even has the muted pink tones that most shoegaze albums seem to have—Loveless, Pink, Cryptograms, A Place to Bury Strangers, etc. Maybe the art is a metaphor for Bambara’s hazey-gauzey sound and its emphasis on feedback.

Most significantly, the six tracks enclosed are a pretty damn accurate document of Bambara's live sound, and a clear advancement from its debut long player. “While recording, we tried to make it as live and raw as we could," says Reid. "All the loops are done in real time… It’s all created live so we can play everything as it is on the EP.”

Structurally, Bambara uses the loud-quiet-loud dynamic to lull you into near-hypnogogia, only to push you off a cliff. “There’s aggressive punk underneath the atmosphere, washes and soundscapes. But there’s melody behind Reid’s walls of sound,” Blaze says. The special thing about Bambara's sound is that it paints post-rock’s quietus, punk rock’s noise and visceral potency and shoegaze’s smudgy impressionism on the same picture plane, so the viewer can only hope to take it all in at once.

“We make pop songs that get beaten up and walk away with their heads down, until they get hard and mean,” Reid says.

True to form, the guys in Bambara are focused on their music and have been playing forever. And they’ve long learned to balance love and social lives, school and day-jobs with their first love—that is, making balls-to-the-wall rock music. The most promising statement of the night came at the beginning of our interview from Brookshire: “We’re still excited by our writing and by our music.” So, party on.

-Chris Benton - Flagpole

"Flagpole's Top 20 Athfest Performers"

The boys in Bambara have been very busy this year, collecting some media love and playing blistering shows in support of their new album, Dog Eared Days. A sinister trio of psychedelic, shoegazing power-players, Bambara's live shows just keep getting better and better. Brookshire and the brothers Bateh have come into their own with Dog Eared Days, a fierce and unrelenting attack of rapid-fire drums, haunting vocals, distorted guitar and ear-bursting bass. And they're giving it away for free. Score! But this is far from the end of evolution for the band, says bassist William Brookshire. “Blaze [Bateh] and I are always getting more and more in sync with each other, rhythmically,” he says. “Our songwriting is going in a really cool direction right now. Reid [Bateh] has added another amp to his set up, and that opens all kinds of new layers and textures.” If there's one thing Bambara is good at, it's textures. A live show will throw you from the darkest pits of the human mind to the highest points of psychedelic bliss. Get ready to have your mind blown. [Jordan Stepp] - Flagpole

"BAMBARA "Dog Ear Days""

Pulled off-handedly from a car floor, amidst other promos skimmed and forgotten, it’s something like destiny the way this EP found me. Athens, GA trio Bambara rear the lost heads of things that an older/younger part of me loves deeply: Ten Grand, Slint, Unwound, emo. There are references that I personally discovered not so long ago, like Saint the Fire Show, and current bands like Deerhunter and HEALTH and A Place to Bury Strangers that PR tells me I’m supposed to pretend this sounds like. I tend to think of Clockcleaner and the Terrible Twos, moreso, with their horrifying charisma and music that’s silver-threaded shards, sonic anarchy with a filament of accessibility. But there’s a certain reverbed tenderness on Dog Ear Days and an elegance of design; I kind of want to call it “a White Pony (2000) for the shitgaze kids.” Does that make me a bad person? That’s okay: Bambara is bad people.

I only mean that as a compliment, though. And pretty much everything I say here will only be complimentary. Because as an EP from some no-name, DIY, post-punk, post-rock outfit at which can easily be thrown the names of a lot of bands I like and dislike, Dog Ear Days is some pretty outstanding shit. Unlike any of the artists mentioned above except for Slint, Bambara distinguish themselves here by virtue of focus like a laser beam between the eyes. It’s an overwhelming enterprise, all this intensity of noise and darkness and beauty boiled down to less than twenty five minutes. The concision invokes a concentrated weight and intricacy that reminds me of how that Burial/Four Tet split last year felt so complete despite the brevity—but not really despite the brevity, more like partially because of it. I don’t know if Bambara are a one-trick pony, but if so here is that one trick executed in all its perfunctory, pernicious glory. Like Slint did with Spiderland (1991), Bambara carry us through six tracks that blister and salve and blister and salve and blisster.

There’s something quite immediate about Bambara’s sturm und drang; maybe it’s because violence is immediate and there’s a bluntness, a smacking violence to Blaze Bateh’s snare hits on a track like “Stay Gray” that’s very punk. Maybe it’s the totally righteous emo moments on “Drag Hesitation” and “Chiromancy” that come courtesy of vocalist Reid Bateh. Maybe it’s because William Brookshire’s bass reaches down your throat to tickle your guts. Eviscerating but ethereal this music, which is a rare line to straddle. And industrial rock textures that aren’t a chore or a cliché, that defy Trent Reznor’s existence? Yes, please. See, the guitar/noise loops present are insane; the record starts with a distortion squeal that hiccups into a chord and this is looped and that curt loop serves as the tonal and rhythmic foundation for “Repeat After Me,” as rollicking and energizing an opener as you’ll hear this year. These tricks bear a sophisticated primitivity, an aura of raw potential, that makes me feel a little something of what punks must’ve felt hearing Vs. (1982) for the first time—the sound of something new and strange brought potently into the framework of punishing rock music. Per notes on the Bandcamp site, producers Joel Hatstat (bassist for math-rock maniacs Cinemechanica) and David Barbe (Drive-By Truckers’ guru) delivered “just what [the band] wanted”—apparently, the band wanted chiaroscuro deconstructed and shot through with a biting poignancy. Dog Ear Days is both challenging and enrapturing; the moments where everything lights up are all the more incendiary for the vapors swirling in the air.

Barns will burn. Barns made of stone. And Bambara can get all Old Testament Elijah on that shit because they earn every ounce of their payoffs and their payoffs are unbridled, arcing upward into the night like the top blown off Indy’s Ark. These crescendos, man, these crescendos are chariots of fire. Again, I think of Slint, of lyrics as opaque as black stone but the stone is starting to crack, to crumble, to give way to something even more obscure—a simple line that can mean just about anything yet wrenches at you, and you don’t know why except that maybe it’s because the accompanying music knows all too well. “Drag Hesitation” slinks forward on an aloof rhythm and a blue melody with Reid musing about hellions in “gowns flowing and white,” atmosphere churning, until his voice rises and rises to end with “when our time is done / who’ll receive what we’ve made?” Then it’s a pounding of the main motif, punctuated with blasts of noise, that gives way to the churning atmosphere condensed into a stuttering loop, a set-up for Blaze to bring back his ride cymbal line and for the guttural guitar to refrain. Bambara’s aesthetic cogs are always working together, tracks segueing perfectly into each other, eerie production ephemera billowing out and amassing power (as in the zombie cicada swell on “Feed the Pigs”) until it is no longer ephemera but the beast that eats the music—until the music fights back (as in Blaze’s rattling, thudding kit explosion on “Feed the Pigs”).

“Swim with the Trees” is nearly three minutes of Bambara at their most ambient that at its end begins to shriek then abruptly cuts out, gently replaced by vocal loops that lap at each other and accumulate, Bartok modality by way of Panda Bear swag. And so closer “Chiromancy” is, once more, all Bambara’s got all in together now, in devastatingly logical order. Shrill whistles and drums set the track on edge, and when halfway in the shredding begins, the assurance is that the apocalypse was never called off, only mildly postponed. On “Good Morning, Captain” we arrived at “I miss you” and it broke us. Here the line is “I will finish it” and we are still broken. I mean, I know that I am still broken, and that brokenness is the reason I felt and still feel something deep within me, a bilious burn in the very fucking roots of my being, when I listen to monolithic post-trope rock the likes of Spiderland and Leaves Turn Inside You (2001) and This is the Way to Rule (2003). Sure, Dog Ear Days is only a twenty-something-minute EP by a no-name band but I’m just glad I heard it, glad that here’s one more record that claws out my shit and sends my discharged self floating upward on the empty warmth left inside.

-Chet Betz - Coke Machine Glow

"Record Review: Bambara"

"The eponymously titled debut release from local three-piece Bambara is pretty damn good. Though the band has been playing together since early 2001, it wasn't until October 2007 that the boys finally emerged from the shadows and began playing out, opening for the likes of A. Armada and Cinemechanica. This newest offering sounds emotionally charged and musically mature after six years of honing their craft. What unfolds from the speakers is an engulfing and often engaging blend of aggressive post-rock and psychedelic ambience. The noticeable influences of bands like Fugazi and Slowdive are hard to miss considering all the dissonant chords and fuzzed-out guitar melodies. Though at times the music itself can be sparse, lead singer Reid Bateh more than makes up for it with his startling voice, sounding a bit like Jim Adkins channeling Cedric Bixler-Zavala. One such example of this would be the hauntingly gorgeous "Morning Dye" where the quiet instrumental provides a hushed background against Bateh's rising and falling falsetto before lunging into a ferocious assault of pummeling drums, thunderous bass and blistering guitar. "Someone's Ghost" is another surprising gem; a rather jazzy melody superimposed over atmospheric noise, tribal drumming and anthemic lyrics. Judging from this debut release, Bambara would certainly put on a hell of a show. The production on this album leaves nothing to the imagination; in fact, this recording could've been a live show and no one would be the wiser. All in all, Bambara's debut album is amazingly good; 10 tracks and all of them cleverly arranged and musically intriguing. This will make someone's "year-end" list!" -Charley Lee, Flagpole Magazine
- Flagpole Magazine

"The Quest for the Best Albums of 2008 Continues..."

So I continue to scan through other people’s year end posts and add albums to a very long list of stuff to listen to, but I’m already finding so much good new music. For instance, I just finished listening to Bambara’s self-titled album for the first time, and it blew me away. The three piece Athens, GA outfit has been playing together for about 7 years, but this is the first release from them as Bambara. I’ll have more on this one upon closer inspection, but give a track a listen and then go see them live tonight. - Ohmpark.com

"The Best Local Albums of 2008"

Honorable Mention: BAMBARA
- Flagpole Magazine

"Best Music Moments of 2008"

"Bambara. Reminds me of bands like Cap'n Jazz because they've got the spirit, really, like the way it was."

"Gift Horse at the Farm was awesome! Also, Bambara at the 40 Watt before Cinemechanica was killer. Pegasuses-XL at Ciné was the shit!" - Flagpole Magazine

"Bambara bursts into athens music scene"

Bambara's presence has only recently begun to increase in the Classic City: the trio has received impressive airplay on WUOG 90.5 FM, had a live show streamed on southernshelter.com and shared bills with local A.Armada and Pegasuses-XL.

Tonight marks the group's first performance with local favorite, Cinemechanica, as it opens for the band's CD release party at the 40 Watt Club.

A little-known fact: Bambara's current brand of experimental rock is actually the product of seven years of musical evolution.

All three members are from Atlanta and juniors at the University.

Twin brothers Reid Bateh (guitarist-vocalist) and Blaze Bateh (drummer) met bassist William Brookshire in 2001 and have since played together in various incarnations. The lineup, however, remains unchanged.

"We've been playing together to the point where we each know what we're going to do," Reid, a psychology major, said of the longtime partnership.

"It smooths out the business side of music, too," Brookshire, a Spanish major, said. "There's less rigidity in the way we operate; it takes the harsh edge off since we're close friends."

According to Reid, Bambara's unusual name was chosen for the group's "violent and percussive sound," an evocation that describes the band's musical style, which Blaze describes as a "balance of aggression and dreamlike ambience."

Drawing comparisons to Fugazi, Sonic Youth and Slowdive, Bambara favors texture and style in their music over sheer technical ability.

"We use a lot of violent, aggressive sounds, but within everything is a lot of melody and emotion," Reid said.

The CD release show is not just exclusive to Cinemechanica; Bambara also will release its eponymous debut tonight.

"My main focus on this album was harnessing a lot of noise," Reid said, who treats the use of feedback and pedals as a wholly separate instrument.

"But I used feedback to craft melodies that would complement the song instead of just making noise for the sake of noise."

Blaze, a magazines major, said, "We were aiming for the whole spirit of letting the song flow, trying to connect the bass and drums to follow along with a clear path, whether bombastic or serene."

The sole lyric provider, Reid has steered the album's subject matter in a metaphorical direction.

"All of the lyrics are very personal, but you might not be able to tell because they're a little bit more vague," Reid said. "[They're] veiled in imagery and different bits of memory; some of the lyrics are even dreams being narrated."

Though the members have released material in previous years, this album marks the first time the trio has utilized professional recording studios, namely Chase Park Transduction with David Barbe and The Bakery with Joel Hatstat.

"One of the great things about recording at Chase Park is that it's such a big room, so we were able to capture a lot of natural room ambience similar to a live venue," Blaze said.

Brookshire mentioned most of the songs were recorded live with minimal overdub use.

Recording in this fashion lent the songs "a raw sound," Reid said.

Bambara also has created its own record label, Emerald Weapon Records, specifically for the release of the album, which it may choose to expand in the future.

But even after the excitement of writing, recording and supporting the record, the band is still creatively restless: it has already started recording its next EP, working once again with Hatstat.

"We've got one song done so far and are going for two or three more," Reid said. "The music is further along the same path as the new record, just more amplified." - Red & Black


Singles: "Shake" "Native Tongue"
(both received extensive college radio airplay)

Dog Ear Days (EP)
Single: "Stay Gray
(received extensive college radio and podcast airplay)



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Band Members