We got a message today from Bull City’s Jim Brantley:
We all use numbers, every day.
Like today, since Bull City are on the Raleigh News & Observer‘s list of 8 Great Triangle Bands To Watch in 2008.
Quoth the N&O’s David Menconi: “There is much to admire about Bull City, particularly ex-Dillon Fence drummer Scott Carle’s time-keeping, guitarist John Kurtz’s effortless playing and the overall level of songcraft. But the most impressive part is how well the pieces fit together on Bull City’s debut mini-album, ‘Guns & Butter,’ a mixture of jingle-jangle catchiness and blues-rock whomp…”
Read the rest of the review, watch a video interview, listen to a pair of tracks from Guns & Butter or just download the nifty wallpaper pictured above at the N&O site
“Impeccably and tersely produced, this album has cult classic written all over it. Shame on us for taking so long to review it. Five bagels. With whitefish. Because its full of mercury and makes you forget everything.” Read more…
(See, we didn’t make that particular ratings metric up.)
Urban Myth artistes Bull City and Dan Bryk have both been voted by the music writers of the Raleigh Independent to The Triangle’s best 35 songs of 2007 list: Bull City for their epic track Game and Bryk for his quasi-jingle Discount Store.
This dropkicks ’em alongside many of our local faves: Bowerbirds, Future Kings of Nowhere, Hammer No More The Fingers, Red Collar, Schooner, and (winner of the UM office pool for best band name of 2007) I Was Totally Destroying It. Yaaaaay to everyone who didn’t make the list too.
Download the mixtape of all 35 tracks here and discover why they still call Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill “not a bad place for music.”
Today at 5 PM EST Bull City are going to be playing a full-on rock show live on the air on 88.7 FM WXDU Durham. Those of you outside of the Durham/Chapel Hill area can listen live on the WXDU.org website.
We realize that this notice is a little late (our bad!) but please tune in if you can! And thanks to host (and Triangle rock guru) Ross Grady for having both Bryk and Bull City on this summer.
Sunday, 8/26 @ 5 PM
WXDU Durham, 88.7 FM
Bull City’s debut Guns & Butter entered the WXDU (Duke) charts this week at #5. The album is also getting steady play on WXYC (UNC Chapel Hill), WKNC Raleigh (thanks for the Urban Myth props Stevo!) and unexpectedly yet gratifyingly, local commercial rock station 96 ROCK (WBBB), who apparently really do put their money where their mouth is when it comes to playing local rock bands.
Thanks to everyone playing the record!
Bryan Reed of the Daily Tar Heel writes:
“Its been said (too much probably) that you can never really go home. But cliched and pessimistic proverbs dont stand in the way of Bull Citys effort to craft a record that harks back to country-bred classic rock.
The result of that effort is the seven-track EP Guns & Butter. At times, the relatively new band lays the twang on a bit too heavy (Ford Ranger All American), but when the band hits its groove with a rootsy, retro, and most importantly, rocking variety of Americana rock n roll, as on the guitar fueled Game or the poppy, jangly Easy.
Though relatively new as a band, Bull City is built on the talents of music veterans from acts including Dillon Fence and My Dear Ella. And flanked with additional support from the likes of Dan Bryk, Schooners Kathryn Johnson and Megan Culton, and Mark Paulson of Ticonderoga and Bowerbirds, Guns & Butter is a debut album from a seasoned band, one that generally knows what works. So when Bull City tries on a little rockabilly with Sally, it doesnt feel forced, just unexpected.
The EP proves Bull City to be a band fully capable of producing solid rock music, one that is welcome into Durhams increasingly relevant music community.
“This weekend has a trio of album-release shows from some of the area’s finest bands. Jim Brantley’s Bull City unveils “Guns & Butter” (Urban Myth Recordings), an album featuring veritable truckloads of killer guitars, tonight at Durham’s 305 South.”
Rich Ivey of the Independent opines:
“Like the sonically similar Wilco, Durham’s Bull City melds the pop cognizance of Alex Chilton, the face-peeling passion of Neil Young and the empirical studio slight-handedness of Jim O’Rourke. And while Ex-Ashley Stove and Bull City guitarist/vocalist Jim Brantley certainly wanders the same hook-laden turf as Jeff Tweedy, he isn’t emulating. Instead, Bull City’s first EP (barring an early CD-R), Guns & Butter, is a stunning execution of how rewarding Southern music can be when next-generation indie rockers gaze at the Archers and Allmans with equal admiration.
Over seven tracks, Guns & Butter tastefully twists styles through Brantley’s cultured songwriting and penchant for harmonies and licks. The band ebbs between swaggering hard rock, country-fried pop and delicately orchestrated arrangements, only falling short for five of the EP’s 30 minutes. Goofy saloon stomp ballad “Sally” breaks its forming momentum, but upbeat tracks like “Game,” “Everything Falls Apart” and “Knock It Down” soar with fine hooks and standout instrumentation. Bandmates Lance Westerlund, John Kurtz and Scott Carle prove essential. Slower tracks “Easy” and “Runnin'” are both lyrically and musically mature, offering some of the EP’s strongest and most dynamic moments. Ass-kicking opener “Ford Ranger All American” includes the line “I’ve got a double-barrel in my doublewide/ It ain’t about livin’ on cinderblocks, it’s ’bout American pride.” Is there a Grammy for kicking ass?
Guns & Butter is too good not to transform Bull City from another local ex-member band into a crucial part of the Triangle’s music scene. It’s not a stellar local debut. It’s a stellar release.”
More Bull City shows:
Already the hardest working band around the office, Bull City will celebrate the release of their debut UM release Guns & Butter with an epic summerlong tour of NC. They will play not one, but TWO CD release shows–one for Chapel Hill, one for Durham. We’ve been teasing them that they’d better get a Raleigh show in there for the trifecta.
Here’s a show preview/G&B capsule review from this week’s Independent Weekly Music Worth Leaving the House for:
Former Ashley Stover Jim Brantley’s been working on Bull City for three years, and their first proper relase, Guns & Butter, pays waiting-game dividends. Brantley brings a range and finesse to his songwriting uncharacteristic of freshman efforts, capitalizing on sharp, guitar-forged hooks and tastefully built harmonies. Like Cracker sharpening Countrysides to a not-ironic gleam orbetter yetan album-rock suckler whose sense of song and like of jangle survived a career as an indie rockist, Bull City gets smart, efficient pop about right. It’s not hard to conceptualize Bull City as the Connells or Roman Candle of, yeah, the Bull City. Free/ 10 p.m. Grayson Currin
And from Ross Grady of trianglerock.com and alt.music.chapel-hill:
Bull City are just about to release their debut album, and it’s a good ‘un. Early demos sounded like a pop band in search of an angle, but in the year or so since, they’ve found their footing & have recorded a great record of southern country-rock that starts out all Crazy Horse, but then veers into weirdo smartass Alex Chilton/Big Star territory, to great effect.
Here’s the dates:
Check out Bull City’s debut Guns & Butter in its’ entirety!