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Thursday, February 29

Grouplove

Rock And Roll You Won’t Save Me Tour

Bully (solo)

6:30 pm doors, 8 pm show

All ages welcome

$39.50 advance, $44.50 day of show, $49.50 advance 21+ reserved mezzanine, $54.50 day of show 21+ reserved mezzanine

Grouplove

The latest full-length from GROUPLOVE, I Want It All Right Now begins by shining a bright and cathartic light on one of the deepest tensions of the human psyche. In a moment of unbridled expression emblematic of the Atlanta-based band, the album-opening "All" finds vocalist/guitarist Christian Zucconi listing off a litany of unmet desires, then explodes into a glorious outburst of longing and frustration. "That song is our way of asking, 'Why do we always want something more than what we have?'" says Zucconi. "So many of us are stuck in this perpetual cycle of seeking some type of validation or fulfillment from the outside world, when it's very possible that everything we need already exists within us." Built on a raw but incandescent sound vocalist/keyboardist Hannah Hooper refers to as "resistance pop," I Want It All Right Now explores that paradox with equal parts tenderness, curiosity, and exacting self-revelation-ultimately arriving at a body of work that leaves the listener newly awakened to the wisdom of their own intuition. 

GROUPLOVE's sixth LP and first release since signing to Glassnote Records, I Want It All Right Now emerged from a period of intense transformation for Hooper and Zucconi, a married couple who are principal songwriters and lead vocalists for the band. "For me this whole journey started with wanting or asking for certain things from the world around me, then slowly turning inward and realizing I needed to pay more attention to what was going on internally," says Hooper. Largely informed by their experience in raising a daughter with sensory needs, the album's 11 wildly kaleidoscopic songs document that shift from external searching to radical self-discovery, embedding each track with so much warmly articulated insight. "Our daughter has been our teacher and completely reframed the way we see the world," says Hooper. "From the get-go our band has been about bringing joy and a sense of safety and inclusion to people's lives, and now we feel even more of a need to help everyone feel this very powerful love that we believe exists, and that links all of us together." 

Produced by John Congleton (a Grammy Award-winner known for his work with St. Vincent, Regina Spektor, and Sharon Van Etten), I Want It All Right Now came to life in a series of fast-and-loose sessions at United Recording in Los Angeles, with the band deliberately adhering to their purest impulses. "We had no label at the time we made this record, so we had the freedom to create without any outside pressure," says Zucconi. "We made it for ourselves and we trusted in ourselves, and the whole time we just strived to make honest music that moves us." A bold leap forward for GROUPLOVE-whose lineup also includes bassist Daniel Gleason, guitarist Andrew Wessen, and drummer Ben Homola-I Want It All Right Now fully harnesses the ecstatic energy of their live show while amplifying the unabashedly playful spirit the band has embodied since their 2011 debut Never Trust a Happy Song. "We really tried to stay with the child within us, and mostly just focused on pushing the emotion we'd already brought to the demos," says Hooper. "It's amazing how beautifully something can come together if you don't overthink it."  

Expanding on the brash exuberance of 2021's This Is This, I Want It All Right Now transforms GROUPLOVE's untamed spontaneity into songs with a potent impact. To that end, bittersweet but celebratory "Cheese" took shape from a bit of a cappella improvisation on Zucconi's part, a tossed-off lyric that soon morphed into the track's oddly poignant refrain ("Stay close to the cheese/Stay close to all your memories"). "I came up with that chorus when we were all hanging out at Hannah's parents' place in Northern California, which is this idyllic spot in the woods," he recalls. "I was feeling the pressure of how quickly time is passing, and it turned into a song about the importance of holding onto the small things and keeping them close to your heart." In another burst of unexpected inspiration, Hooper composed the lyrics to the frenetic yet tender "Malachi" while out on a head-clearing walk. "I wrote 'Malachi' when I was feeling so overwhelmed but instead of trying to look inward, I was pushing back against everything," she says. "In the overall arc of the healing process, that's the peak of resistance." Next, On "Hello," GROUPLOVE share an ineffable buoyant track they recorded their last day in the studio. "We had this demo Ben and I had been working on that wasn't quite finished and we decided to break it out and mess around with it," Hooper says. "There was this real free and casual feeling that we were done with the album so let's see where this goes in the studio.  We went into the lounge and just wrote the chorus on the spot." Zucconi adds, "It is funny because it feels so lighthearted, like a sing-along, but if you listen it's all about feeling lost and alone and wanting so badly for people to look up and connect." "Our drummer Ben makes amazing beats, so sometimes we'll do this thing where he plays me an idea and I'll start singing right away," Hooper explains. "'Hello' came from one of those moments, and we ended up going back to it later-it's funny because it feels so lighthearted, like a sing-along, but if you listen it's all about feeling lost and alone and wanting so badly for people to look up and connect."   

As I Want It All Right Now drifts into its latter half, GROUPLOVE turn their gaze inward and slowly unbind themselves from the expectations of the external world. In looking back on the album-making process, Hooper notes that the writing of a hazy and hypnotic track called "Cream" set the tone for that life-altering exploration. "It was the first song we wrote that captured how I want to feel, rather than what I was trying to leave behind," she says. "It's a song of complete surrender and pleasure, of feeling so connected to a greater purpose and a greater energy than the superficial world that I was constantly battling. As we were all singing it together, it felt immediately healing."  

An essential turning point on I Want It All Right Now, the sweetly wistful "Eyes" conjures a mood of heavy-hearted determination, twisting its complex sentiment into a strangely catchy refrain ("If I could never breathe again, I never would"). "I wrote 'Eyes' at a time when I wasn't doing well and had to remind myself that I just need to accept more love in my life to get by," says Zucconi. "And if I do that and I'm faithful to that notion, then I can die in peace." Meanwhile, the sublimely defiant "Tryin'" speaks to their shared intention to rise above the everyday chaos. "That song is us saying that we want to keep fighting and put in the effort to make this world a better place to live in," says Zucconi. "It's not easy, but it's absolutely worth it." And on the lovely and luminous "Francine," GROUPLOVE delight in the thrill of following your bliss despite any setbacks from outside forces (sample lyric: "This world is mean but nothing's out of reach/I'm gonna still go out and pick flowers with you"). "'Francine' is about getting my power back and coming out the other side," says Hooper. "There's a joy to that song, in that feeling of, 'I know myself now, I know what I need and I can take care of myself. I don't need the world to take care of me.'"  

A longtime painter who also serves as art director for GROUPLOVE, Hooper created the striking and subtly unsettling cover art for I Want It All Right Now. "The image on the cover came to me from the song 'All,'" she notes. "In the song we're asking, 'What is your 'all,' the thing you've spent your life working toward?' The idea was to paint this starlet who seems like she's the epitome of beauty and success and the whole concept of having it all-but if you look at the expression on her face, she's miserable. The truth is that we get so caught up in trying to get what we want in life, we lose touch with what we really need." In gearing up for the album's release, GROUPLOVE have also planned for a series of interactive art shows to accompany their new music. "We always want to show everyone that we're real people making these songs from real experiences," Hooper says. "Sharing our artwork and journal entries along with the songs feels like a good way to open up that conversation about pain and change, and everything else we're talking about on the album." 

As shown in their joyfully communal live show, GROUPLOVE have long thrived on obliterating the boundaries between artist and audience-an element that endlessly informed the intentionality behind I Want It All Right Now. "Especially in these crazy and turbulent times we find ourselves in, we want our music to give people the feeling that we're all in this together," says Zucconi. "We're all trying to figure out what that 'all' is, and hopefully these songs will help people to slow down and shift their priorities a bit-to help us all recognize that happiness can't be attained through things like money, awards, or a ton of likes on Instagram, but through loving ourselves and each other."

Website:
http://www.grouplovemusic.com/

Bully (solo)

Lucky For You is Bully's most close-to-the-bone album yet. It's an album that's searing and unmistakably marked by its creator's experiences, while still retaining the massive sound that Alicia Bognanno has become known for over the last decade. Her fourth album draws from personal pain and the universal struggle that is existing, learning, and moving on -- and it's all soundtracked by Bognanno's rock-solid melodic sensibilities and a widescreen sound that's impossible to pin down when it comes to the textures explored. These ten songs are simply the most irresistible Bognanno's put to tape yet, making Lucky For You her greatest triumph to date in a career already packed with them.

Work on Lucky For You began last year, when Bognanno brought some in-progress demos to producer J.T. Daly in his Nashville studio to see if they could strike creative kismet. "Authenticity is always on my mind, without even knowing it," she explains while discussing their recording process together. "If I'm doing something that doesn't feel natural or right, I'm quick to shut it down. So it was great with J.T., because I could tell he was a genuine fan who wanted to emphasize what's actually good about my writing instead of changing it. I could tell how much he cared about the project and it meant alot to me." The album came together over the course of seven months, the longest gestation process for a Bully record to date: "I was freaking out about it at first, because taking my time was so new for me. But a few months in, I realized how crucial that time ended up being. I got songs out of it that I wouldn't have had otherwise."

"With every record, I feel more and more secure in terms of doing what I want," Bognanno continues. "For this one, I wanted to be as creative as possible with these songs." She got her wish: A kaleidoscopic rock record spanning punk's grit, the crunchy bliss of shoegaze, explosive Britpop, and the type of classic anthems Bully has been known for, Lucky For You's thematic focus also zooms in on grief and loss. The record is largely inspired by Bognanno's dog Mezzi passing away, at a time when her life already felt as if in metamorphosis.

"Mezzi was my best friend," she explains. "She made me feel safe and empowered, she showed me that I was worth loving and never judged me or viewed me as a let down. I always felt accepted, understood and so much less alone. Mezzi was living, breathing proof that I was worthy of being loved." And the oceanic first single "Days Move Slow" was written shortly after Mezzi's passing, reflecting the persistence of Bognanno's incisive wit even while facing adversity. "There was nothing else I could do except sit down and write it, and it felt so good."

"Hard to Love" stomps and lurches with awesome abandon, resembling one of the most sonically left-field tunes Bognanno's put to tape as Bully; and then there's the passionate opening track "All I Do," which kicks in the door Bully-style with huge riffs atop her lyrical reflections on three years of sobriety. "I've been living in this house for seven years," she says while discussing her current Nashville abode. "Once I stopped drinking, I felt like I was still haunted by mistakes and things that had happened when I was drinking, and it's still taking me a long time to forget about that while existing in this house. How do I shed the skin from a path I've moved on from?"

In that vein, Lucky For You is a document of perseverance in the face of the big and the small stuff. "I'm so overly emotional and sensitive, it's a blessing and a curse" she says with a laugh, but there's no downside to her expressions of vulnerability on this record; it's the latest bit of evidence that nothing can hold Bognanno back.