Kalamazoo’s Bronson Arm are a duo who deliver noise rock via a stripped down conglomeration of baritone guitar, drums and vocals. As such, their sound falls on the less dense, smoke-filled room side of the sonic spectrum, utilizing more contrast between paint peeling vocals, sparse rhythmic thumping and spacious percussion than it does oppressive walls of sound and neck-vein bulging screeching. Imagine the Jesus Lizard doing jazz hall jams with Morphine, Sonic Youth hiding Unsane’s distortion pedals or heroin (the drug and the band) never making it to the city of Seattle.
The band, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Blake Bickel and drummer Garrett Yates, recently released their self-titled debut full-length, which combines 2021’s Tosser EP with brand new material, on Learning Curve Records and today you can get a taste of what Bronson Arm have to offer in shape of the video “One With the Floor.”
Says Blake Bickel about the song and video: “When I started writing this song I kept on envisioning fog rolling over a dark wooded hill. I wanted to create a sound…a song that evoked a sense of sheer terror and impending doom that slowly crept in and consumed you. I wanted to create a feeling of, ‘Oh, fuck. That thing. That thing I dread is starting again. Here it comes.’
“For me, this song is about the foreboding dread of bad things to come. However, when the folks over at Dark Boiler Productions approached us about making a video for the song, I intentionally did not tell them anything about the song or what was behind it. I wanted to give them free rein to create whatever inspired them; allow them to pull their own meaning out of the song. And this video is what they came up with. Conversely, I made a point of not asking about the narrative they depicted. I love it! I think it’s fantastic!”
In our mind and interpretation, the songs’ grungy, loping feel is deftly captured and accurately displayed by the performers and visuals which reference a generation-whatever-backend-letter-of-the-alphabet-people-are-being-categorized-as despondent, slacker vibe fostered by a sense of exclusion from the mainstream before finding solace in counterculture and confidence in the self. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the feeling.
Bronson Arm was mixed by Robert Cheek (Deftones, Band of Horses, Tera Melos) and mastered by Blake Bickel and is out now on Learning Curve Records. Info, ordering links and upcoming shows below. You know the drill.
*photo credit: Jacob Ludecker