Art Rock

BODEGA Brings Their Acclaimed Art Rock To Houston

Brooklyn's BODEGA are one of the most exciting bands to come out of NYC in a while.
Brooklyn's BODEGA are one of the most exciting bands to come out of NYC in a while. Photo by Mert Gafuroglu

Typically, art rock bands don't gain traction on a national level. However, if you mix in post-punk elements and have an intense live show, you can get plenty of attention like Brooklyn's BODEGA has.

"There's certainly a post-punk influence in our music. But that may be more intellectual spiritual than anything exactly musical. Though we have borrowed some tricks from the post-punk vocabulary. I say art rock because it's more open-ended, but to me, art rock is just rock 'n roll music that has a conceptual quality to it, says vocalist and guitarist Ben Hozie.

"BODEGA has a pretty diverse palette as well. For example, songs like "Name Escape" and "Charlie" have very different sonic characteristics. While I enjoy bands that really do one refined sound over and over again, BODEGA will not be that kind of band; we want to throw the algorithms for a loop. The goal of course, is to transcend genre and have your name be synonymous with the songs that you play."

While BODEGA haven't been around a long time, many people confuse it with another band that some of the same members were in called Bodega Bay.

"Bodega Bay was actually a totally different band with a different set of members," Hozie said. "I started that band in 2013 with my friends Aiko Masubuchi and Jason King, though Nikki (Belfiglio) joined that band later in 2014. When that band broke up in 2016, me and Nikki decided to start up a new band that would share some of the same characteristics of Bodega Bay but be very different. For one, we wanted to keep the percussion style (stand up drumming) and the philosophical approach, using songs as mini-essays, but the new group is less overly satirical and musically more streamlined. Madison (Velding-Vanham) in particular was instrumental in sculpting and re-arranging many of the songs into the Endless Scroll palette."

The band's debut album Endless Scroll is in a loose way, a Brooklyn sounding album like a mix of Jeff Rosenstock and Parquet Courts.

For that approach, the band recorded with Beaumont native and Parquet Courts guitarist Austin Brown. "Recording with Austin was a real treat, I'm a big fan of his band and his songwriting," Hozie said. "We recorded in the Parquet Courts practice space on the same Tascam 388 tape deck that they had used to record their record Light Up Gold. We recorded everything live in two days and spent two days doing the vocal takes. Austin encouraged us to play in a very direct style and embrace spontaneity."

When the band performed at this last SXSW music conference, plenty of journalists were quick to compare them to the likes of Gang of Four, Parquet Courts, The Fall and Wire.

"I think we have a different songwriting personality than those groups, but those are four groups that certainly influenced the band. The Fall looming the largest over my songwriting, Wire came up a bit when discussing the minimalism of Endless Scroll, though more so the idea of Wire than any sonic characteristic of theirs. For now I am very happy to be put on the same shelf as those groups," Hozie said.

You can stream BODEGA's Endless Scroll on all platforms, or purchase it from What's Your Rupture? You can hear all of the band's music and more when they perform on Thursday August 2 at The Secret Group. The all ages show has a support set from Houston's Get A Life as well. Doors at 7 p.m.; tickets $10 to $12.
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David Garrick is a former contributor to the Houston Press. His articles focus primarily on Houston music and Houston music events.