Bad Guru – Bad Guru

We’re glad to announce that Atlanta, United States-based alternative rock band Bad Guru have released their self-titled album

Bad Guru are Sierra Watkins (vocals), Ethan Bilkert (guitar), Joey Hurley (guitar), Blake Powell (bass), and Quinn Brophy (drums). A group of long-time friends and former bandmates, they all found themselves in the Atlanta area and decided to form Bad Guru in 2019. Influenced by bands such as Kings of Leon, Sturgill Simpson, Highly Suspect, Tool, and Soundgarden, Bad Guru have played the Heaven stage at the Masquerade in Atlanta, headlined the Pigs, and Peaches Festival in Kennesaw, and were featured on Atlanta Rock Radio 100.5. They’ll also be playing an album release show at Smith’s Olde Bar on 12/11/21, and are in the process of making music videos for their new songs on the album.

Bad Guru was recorded and mixed by Kevin Sellors at The Vault Recording Lounge, and was mastered at Infrasonic Mastering. Inspired by political unrest, poor leadership, and breaking out of quarantine, the ethos behind the album explores the dialects of the human experience, the swirl of two contradicting ideas existing together in harmonious rapture; when the black and white thinking transmutes to the rainbow of human experience. 

Describing the creative process behind Bad Guru, the band writes:

We want listeners to have an experience listening to the album from start to finish. Writing this album we knew that we really wanted to create an album as an art piece, rather than just a collection of songs. We also wanted this album to tell a story, so we envisioned a dystopian movie script to go along with it (influenced by albums like Sound & Fury by Sturgill Simpson and Discovery by Daft Punk), and now we’re carrying that story into the writing process for our next album as well. The story is loosely related to the lyrics but matches the theme of each song, and it centers on the idea of a different kind of ‘apocalypse’ where the world isn’t destroyed, but actually thrives after Mother Nature forces humanity into a space odyssey for a new planet to call home, and focuses on a mother and daughter’s journey and relationship. The idea originated from our song ‘Enter The Void,’ which came about from dreaming up a guitar riff echoing between the trees in the woods by us. Trying to match energies found in nature is an underrated songwriting concept that we get from influences like Thrice’s Alchemy Index records, and desert rock bands like Queens of the Stone Age. For that reason, we really love playing our single ‘Mama Said,’ because it ties everything we were going for together with a beautiful but chaotic swirl of energies with the apocalyptic swells, constant harmonies, and yin and yang of clean delays and heavy fuzz.

The album opens with “Enter the Void,” which begins with a delay-laden electric guitar melody, while the distorted chords of a second guitar add a nice counterpoint. As the propulsive drums and bass join in, the dual guitars function synergistically as their waves of distortion together weave the melodically-rich tapestry of sound that characterizes the song’s choruses; while during the verses, the delay effect returns, the echoing guitar notes nicely highlighting Sierra Watkins’ captivating vocals. “Ashamed” then begins, featuring heavy blues riffs laden in gritty/fuzzy distortion, a fiery guitar solo later underscored by a driving rhythm guitar and vocal motif to conclude the track; while “Mama Said,” explores a wonderful range of guitar textures, including staccato, delay-laden passages, and searing, fuzzed-out chords, which complement the vocal melodies quite well.

“Intuition” then begins with its swirling guitar melodies, while the powerful drums and grooving bassline soon joins in to introduce the song’s first verse. Fuzztone guitar chords characterize the choruses, while a harmonically creative guitar solo further attests to Bad Guru’s compositional brilliance. “Fracture” sees the band going out of their comfort zone and exploring odd time signatures that make this impressive track quite an engaging listen; while “Sunshine in Hell” features wah-drenched guitar textures and palm-muted chord progressions that nicely color the track’s compelling lyrical passages.

“Grapes, Fans, & Fine Leather Seats” then begins with its powerful vocal melodies accompanied by fuzz- and wah-toned guitars, bringing a sound that is at once catchy and heavy. It leads nicely into “Knife Fight,” which features grungey, distorted guitar tones, crushing fuzz, and wah-laden motifs sustained by hypnotic drumming, nicely highlighting the track’s vocal melodies. The album then comes to a close with “Medusa,” an uptempo track with captivating guitar- and vocal melodies driven by propulsive rhythms, a soaring guitar solo towards the end of the track concluding the album.

On Bad Guru, not only does the band’s brilliant songwriting shine through, but each song on the album also flows perfectly together, making their self-titled a highly enjoyable listen as a whole. Bringing together their eclectic influences and creative forces, Bad Guru have crafted a sound that is as impressively dynamic as it is refreshingly unique.

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