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Bambara (band)

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Bambara performing at SXSW on March 14, 2019
Bambara performing at SXSW on March 14, 2019
Background information
OriginAtlanta, Georgia
GenresPost-punk, noise rock, cowpunk
Years active2009–present
LabelsEmerald Weapon, Arrowhawk, Wharf Cat
  • Reid Bateh
  • Blaze Bateh
  • William Brookshire

Bambara is a post-punk band from Brooklyn, New York. The band consists of Reid Bateh (vocals, guitar), Blaze Bateh (drums, vocals), and William Brookshire (bass, vocals). Their use of machines, loops and other assorted lo-fi software aided in them also being labeled as noise rock.

After signing onto Arrowhawk Records in 2013, the band released their full-length album Dreamviolence and later Swarm in 2016, which saw a turn for the band as they began to strip away their noisy elements in return for more traditional songwriting. In 2018, the band released the album Shadow on Everything to positive critical reception. In 2020, the band released the album Stray, which received critical acclaim.[1]


In Athens, Georgia, twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh formed Bambara with schoolmate William Brookshire in 2009. They chose the name Bambara as a reference to the character of the same name from the animated television series Æon Flux.[2] They moved to Brooklyn, where they would sign with Arrowhawk Records in 2013. Bambara recorded their album Dreamviolence from their basement apartment before releasing it in April of that same year.[3] Their music was labeled as noise-rock in part due to their use of machines, loops, and other assorted lo-fi software.[4]

By mid-2014, the band nearly finished their full-length LP Swarm, but had their computer stolen with all of the tracks they had recorded up until that point. This resulted in a delay for the album as the band took a break before re-recording the stolen tracks. Bambara recorded and released an experimental EP of pure noise titled Night Chimes in August 2015.[5] The band stated that the EP helped get the noise "out of their systems" which helped in creating a more toned down version of the abrasive sounds of Swarm when the time came to re-record it.[6] The album was released on April 1, 2016. According to Zoë Beery of The Village Voice, Swarm showcased the band's trademark atmosphere through long reverb and distorted guitars, but with clearer production to showcase the musicality as well as Reid Bateh's vocals.[7]

Their follow up to Swarm, entitled Shadow on Everything and released through Wharf Cat Records, continued this style for the band by restraining the noise experimentation while also incorporating a Western Gothic concept.[8] The album follows a loose story of characters reciting eerie tales to each other at a dive bar.[9] Critical reception for the album was positive.[6][10]

Following the release of Shadow on Everything in April 2018, the band embarked on a European tour in support for the album before going on an American tour in support of IDLES.[11]

Their time on the road continued into 2019 as they announced an East Coast tour in support of Daughters.[12][13]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Their style has been described as noise rock and post-punk.[6] Noisey's Colin Joyce described the songs as "chaotic" and "being held together with formless washes of noise and anxious vocal drones."[6] Marcos Hassan from Tinymixtapes listed the severity of Swans and the "depraved cabaret mold" of The Birthday Party as the sound they've been honing together.[5] Reid Bateh has mentioned the films of Wong Kar Wai and David Lynch and the moods portrayed in them as influences on their sound. Bateh also cited the Southern Gothic themes from the writings of Flannery O'Connor[7] and Bruno Schulz[5] as influences on the themes in Swarm.

Band members[edit]


  • Reid Bateh – lead vocals, guitar (2001–present)[4]
  • Blaze Bateh – drums, vocals (2001–present)[4]
  • William Brookshire – bass, vocals (2001–present)[4]

Touring musicians[edit]

  • Bryan Keller Jr. – guitar, vocals (2016–present)
  • Sammy Zalta – guitar, keyboards (2016–present)


Studio albums[edit]

  • Dreamviolence (2013)
  • Swarm (2016)
  • Shadow on Everything (2018)
  • Stray (2020)


  • Night Chimes (2015)
  • Dog Ear Days (2010)
  • Rings (2012)


  1. ^ "Stray by Bambara". Metacritic. February 14, 2020. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  2. ^ ""Bambara Shadow on Everything"". "Rough Trade. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  3. ^ "Bambara". The Masquerade. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  4. ^ a b c d McNamara, Patrick. "((Bambara)) Band Profile and Upcoming New York City Concerts". Oh My Rockness. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  5. ^ a b c "Interview: Bambara". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  6. ^ a b c d Joyce, Colin (2018-04-04). "Bambara's New Noise Rock Record Echoes the Grimy Loneliness of City Life". Vice. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  7. ^ a b Beery, Zoë (8 March 2016). "Bambara Turn Southern Gothic Into Brooklyn Noise". Village Voice. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  8. ^ Gotrich, Lars. "Bambara's Western Gothic Opus, 'Shadow On Everything,' Comes To Life". NPR. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  9. ^ Seyfert, Russell. "Bambara - Shadow on Everything". Sweet Static. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  10. ^ "Bambara – Shadow on Everything". The Quietus. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  11. ^ "THE JOY OF GETTING BRUISED UP WITH IDLES & BAMBARA IN BROOKLYN". Pancakes And Whiskey. 2018-09-24. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  12. ^ "Bambara". Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  13. ^ "Best of 2018: Daughters' Alexis Marshall Picks Favorite Music, Movies, Sports Event". Revolver. 2018-12-17. Retrieved 2019-04-10.

External links[edit]