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Been Stellar

Scream from New York, NY, the first album by Been Stellar, is a remarkably brutal debut – bruised and volatile, it captures an image of ‘20s New York that’s unrelenting and harsh, where tenderness is a finite resource burned up by the machinery of the city and human connection is a luxury product. Leaving behind the driving shoegaze of their early recordings, the NYC-based five-piece tap into the disaffected sound and spirit of New York luminaries like Sonic Youth and Interpol, as well as the nihilistic, yearning cool of Iceage and Bends-era Radiohead, striking upon a sound that’s fearsome, buffeting and beautiful at the same time – a tidal wave as viewed from underneath.

As its wry title implies, Scream from New York, NY, is a record about what happens when language fails – between friends, partners, a city and its citizens – and the primal scream you might let out when words just don’t work anymore. Guitarist Skyler Knapp, vocalist Sam Slocum, Brazilian-born guitarist Nando Dale, bass player Nico Brunstein and drummer Laila Wayans met as undergrads at NYU, bonding over a shared sense of humour and forming a motley crew based more on emotional compatibility than any rigid ideas of shared artistic sensibility. Finding that last vestiges of the city’s famed 2000s and 2010s DIY underground had been ground down to nothing, the band put on their own shows, renting spaces and collaborating with friends to build the world they wanted to inhabit.

Determined to break new sonic ground, the band embarked on a relentless practice schedule, even renting scrappy studios on days off during tours with Fontaines DC and Shame. After befriending him at SXSW, the band tapped producer Dan Carey (black midi, Wet Leg) to help coalesce the disparate elements of their sound that had been percolating: forceful, driving physicality; pop classicism; gnarled beauty; and a rich emotional core. The resulting 10-song album announces Been Stellar as gimlet-eyed chroniclers of contemporary youth, staring through noise and confusion into the dark heart of modern life. These songs embody the spirit of a city that makes and breaks its inhabitants on a daily basis – an irony befitting the album’s tone: Been Stellar’s preternatural ability to capture the disconnection that haunts New York with photorealist detail might just be the thing that vaults them into its pantheon.

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Date:

Doors: 19:30

Price: £15 + booking fee

Ages: All (u16s accompanied)

The Fleece
12 St Thomas Street Bristol BS1 6JJ