New Bravado
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New Bravado

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Psychedelic




"REVIEW: New Bravado - "Sol Similar""

The fellas in sludgey psych-rock band New Bravado obviously love Black Sabbath, but it's what is underneath that initial layer that sets them apart from other 60's/70's garage/fuzz clones. Whether it be intentional or not, I'm feeling a consistent vibe from late 80's/early 90's grunge bands from Seattle like Screaming Trees and Soundgarden. And considering those are two bands I grew up being infatuated with, I consider that to be a good thing.

Their latest offering comes in the form of a two-song cassette single, which is intended to serve as a precursor to their upcoming full-length Sun and Moon, which will be released later this year. While the A-side, titled "Sol Similar" is certainly enchanting, I prefer the B-Side "Long Head Blues," an engaged number that wastes no time getting started with a righteous head-banging wah-wah riff. It settles in to a nice, vocals-driven 60's throw-back, completing a short, but enjoyable listening experience.

While I recommend you giving this release your attention, I can't say I'm completely satisfied, but only because of the short two-song sampling offered. I have no idea when their full-length will see the light of day, but I'm certainly ready for a plus-sized helping of New Bravado tunes. Stay up to date with them by following them on facebook and/or visiting their site here. - Phillip Olympia, Never Nervous

"New Bravado, Sol Similar"

Chained to a crownwork of droll, lulling proles humming a repetitive low. A misunderstood hoof through the boredoms of a grey pod day. Stick this in the tape player. Play and blossom. Succumb to all these things that are cured in heat with hugs of distortion.

It is this. This New Bravado. This new cassette single. All and that. Sucked into the menage of instrumentation of this "Sol Similar." A slow drool of softly drifting vocals and camouflaged in strums and skies and drips from the reverb.

New Bravado returns to us from atop a golden star making golden showers of golden acid on our brown, dirty heads. Blueing and blacking, this band has appreciated further time travels, backpassing Sabbath and instead bounding into the heavy psych and power fuzz of the 60s, whence came Eden's Children, Banchee, Lincoln Street Exit.

Play and suddenly it's summer, 1971, a dirt yard, sweating out moonshine, dosing, and starting anew. Staring at the sun for years, until finally realizing it's the sun's reflection off the hodgepodge chrome from your front yard van, yawning with you, a magic arrow of Abaris abating your mind into a numb blur.

Then it's night, and the shift is unnoticeable, and you don't know how, and it all happens again with the Moon, and soon friends have stopped by, and the panning chants begin in the abracadabra of the dark, warm, narcotic Kentucky night.

"Sol Similar" and "Long Head Blues" are about the groove drowning in an analphabetic swamp of words and riffs. Ben Lally's voice retires further and downward into a retreat of reverb. Lower. Fading into soft echoes. Adam Copelin's bass leads everyone into a rabbit hole of misty strums lined on scriptured mirrors and near whispers, until the chords become heavy firefly trails.

This is about the clock and its banishment. And downstrokes onto Big Things like God and Zeus and Love. New Bravado just broke open some real shit and is passing it out, mad hatter style.

This band became one of my favorites in Louisville with the release of their debut full-length Unconscious Afternoon in 2013. The new "Sol Similar" cassingle shows the band has only upped its style and presence. Looking forward to more, hopefully in the near future. - Brian Manley, American Gloam

"New Bravado - "Unconcious Afternoon EP""

We were funneled onto a blindingly bright Highland Ave, blocked and zoned for Record Store Day. "This band is amazing" my friend spat at me in a hoarse voice. "But I think I'm too high for something this heavy this early in the day."

It isn't that the band is too heavy. It's that the sun is too bright on this cold Spring day, and this a band that should play in dark with fumes, mimes and splayed lights mythologizing them. A picnic band, New Bravado is not.

They had already started. I was a block away and gated a jog to get to the sidewalk in time. After hearing Unconscious Afternoon in my kitchen I got impressed and was intent on witnessing. While Ben Lally's subsequent band Benanthrope blends twists on singer-songwriter material, New Bravado is a pan into fuzzed psych-rock with no inhibitions to that end.

Coffee, short breath, gangrened eyes from the foisted Great Glarer above, and New Bravado is playing at something like noon and oh shit who just handed me beer and wine and the band splays a sidewalk, bending into a space groove. Did we just huff some black ice car air fresheners?

Unconscious Afternoon, New Bravado's debut EP, eats the living flesh and spirit that is Hawkwind, Sabbath, Blue Mountain Eagle, and the 60s/70s fuzz-psych galley. "Death Wobble" mumble sideways with Ben's sweeping vocals, cinch-ringed to a saddle of heavy rock, but sputs any frills and just power chords Thunder and Roses-style into a neurine groove that isn't pretentious, ironic or knuckled. "Nobody Saw Nothin'" isn't a reference to but just sits and stirs in some cosmic shit. The opening wriggle of flange and toms that is the title track eventually lashes to an exotic crease before securing itself to a chorus that makes the drive of the song corrugate with a blend of psychedelia, doomish rock and biker speed that you forgot where you started.

New Bravado has gotten into the same wind that local favorites Old Baby are kiting, and deserve as much attention. A show between the two would be magnificent; I think their muses interact somewhere in the atmosphere.

Heavily recommended.

New Bravado will play their EP release party at Zazoo's on Friday May 10 with special guests Adventure, The Screaming Hand, and Ancient Warfare. - Brian Manley, American Gloam

"B-Sides: New Bravado"

New Bravado recorded their debut EP, Unconscious Afternoon, at Veggie Beef Stewdio, a facility singer/guitarist Ben Lally describes as “the shaggy green-carpeted den in my shotgun house that my wife — best ever — was kind enough to allow me to turn into a recording studio.” It’s an apt setting for the thick and shaggy band, which plays Saturday at the Tim Faulkner Gallery.

Having previously led The Sexual Disaster Quartet, Lally, who also continues leading the band Benanthrope, has displayed a desire to try different styles and avoid complacency. He describes New Bravado as “definitely more heavy, fuzzy, streamlined and guitar-driven than both Benanthrope and SDQ … While both other bands definitely do produce their own desired primal results, they lean a little more on the cerebral side of things than NB, I think.”

LEO: What made you want to play harder and heavier?
BL: Being that I grew up with Hendrix, Sabbath and early punk, playing harder and heavier has always been there in my fingers and in my vocabulary. Benanthrope is a more lyrically focused thing that allows me to paint pictures more with words: an outlet for wordier, softer, more sincere themes … New Bravado initially was a result of, at the time, not feeling I was playing enough music with Benanthrope alone, and having all these louder, more guttural, guitar-driven ideas that wouldn’t have really worked with Benanthrope. Now I find myself quite busy with both bands. (laughs)

LEO: Has the NB songwriting process changed as NB has played more live shows?
BL: Playing songs out live is definitely a testing ground, but as far as changes in our songwriting process, I think those have come from personal revelations and inspirations from the four of us — either at home alone or collectively as a group, which we bring to the roundtable as new ideas surface. Playing live encourages us to bring better songs to the stage, that’s for sure, but it’s pragmatism through practice, diplomacy and listening that should get the lion’s share of the credit for any changing or enriching of the songwriting process. - Peter Berkowitz, Leo Weekly

"Ben Lally's Diverse Bravado"

New Bravado's Ben Lally doesn't feel the need to commit to any certain sound; he simply loves to write and play music.

He does, however, have a commitment, as he reveals during a recent phone call from his back yard.

"My wife said she saw a snake," he said. "I have to figure out whether it's a guitar cord or what."

And while he's definitely committed to New Bravado, which recently released its first EP, titled Unconscious Afternoon, you never know what kind of sound might come out of Lally when he creates a piece of music.

He was most recently leader of the Americana-ish band Benanthrope, whereas New Bravado is more of a fuzz-rock ensemble. Before all that? He was in a Lexington jazz band called (note: you can't make this stuff up) Sexual Disaster Quartet.

But in a world of specialization, Lally never felt the need to focus on one particular thing. Or maybe he's just a little OCD, who knows?

"Playing in so many different kinds of bands, so many different genres, I was just really open to new ideas and never fit well into one exact [genre] growing up," he said. "Every few months or years I would get turned onto something new; I think that was a good thing. I can sit in on a country song with a Telecaster and pick stuff or I can sit in on a blues jam. I love sitting in on blues jams, it's great."

While one blogger (via American Gloam) described Unconscious Afternoon as "[eating] the living flesh and spirit that is Hawkwind, Sabbath, Blue Mountain Eagle, and the 60s/70s fuzz-psych galley," it honestly isn't all that far removed from straight-ahead 1960s garage rock. There's a little blues in there. There's a little pop in there. There's heavy rock and more, which really is just further testament that Lally isn't really writing to fill a certain sound – he's just letting the songs be what they naturally want to be.

Just, you know, louder.

You see, once upon a time Lally wrote a whoooole lot of songs aimed at becoming the beginnings of Benanthrope. But not all of the songs fit. And, naturally, he wrote some new songs that were never intended. But mostly, he just wanted to do something different.

And, um, louder.


The aforementioned Sexual Disaster Quartet really wasn't even the beginning – Lally was in his 20s by the time he landed there. The musical diversity actually started early in life with his mom, who had been a DJ in college, playing a lot of bluegrass music and modern country.

"Frankly, I wasn't a big fan of that," Lally said, "but my dad, in his car, would always have blues tapes."

Shania Twain meets John Lee Hooker?

"I of course listened to Guns n Roses – metal or hair metal –- as a kid," he continued. "When I got into playing guitar, I guess I was about 12, I started playing Metallica, learned some Slayer tunes, all that stuff."

In those days, Lally wasn't concerned with writing – he was more interested in becoming an accomplished guitar player. So he learned to play a lot of blues and classic rock "to sort of hone my skills."

And then something happened. He moved to Lexington and got some eye openers.

"I met some cool kids and got turned onto new stuff," he said. "What really flipped my lid was Beck, Wu Tang and jam band stuff – Grateful Dead. Three very different genres. It was different than stuff I had heard before. From hanging out with my new friends, I started meeting kids who had better record collections."

Then came late '90s indie rock (Pavement, anyone?) and after that came jazz. He listened to the greats and said he would lock himself away for hours and play.

That's when he found Sexual Disaster Quartet, which he describes as a "modern heavy avant garde freakout jazz" combo.

"Would cover 'Kinda Blue' by Miles Davis, and then do a free jazz set with distortion pedals on saxophone," he said. "We covered a lot of different kinds of styles in that band. We did a lot of covers – we would throw in Al Green, Hendrix. You're not going to be invited back every week if you freak people out."

The band indeed played a lot, pretty much every weekend, and he did it for about three years. Meanwhile, he kept thinking about a singer-songwriter project he simply didn't have time for. He wrote songs. Lots of songs. Some were just bits of songs – a chorus here, a verse there, maybe a melody or just a riff. But he had lots of songs. And then he moved to Louisville. Not long after, Benanthrope was born.


Benanthrope was not a modern heavy avant garde freakout jazz combo. It was singer-songwriter, Americana type stuff, but with its own direction – not the cookie-cutter Mumford & Sons knock-offs that have swarmed the music scene these days. There was rock. There was even a measure of psychedelia. But it was, um, a measured measure.

And the first Benanthrope record, Saddest of Bastards, came straight out of Lally's den. He had stockpiled a lot of instruments, and just went at the recording on his own in early 2012. He had plenty to work with.

"From the time I was done with SDQ, I just wrote and wrote and wrote," he said. "After so much playing guitar for other people, I just wanted to write songs."

And write he did. The songs were "a bunch of ideas I'd had flowing around for long time. It was the first time I'd found myself without a band because I'd just moved to Louisville."

And if you're in a new town and don't know many people, let's face it – you have plenty of time to record. Besides, you can only wait for so long if you've got 80 or so rough drafts, as Lally did.

"I said, 'Before I get too old, I'm gonna try to record a solo project," he said. "And that was Benanthrope."

Benanthrope would become a full, five-piece band that included Lally, Andy Matter, Rory Hanka, Ross Whitaker and Jason Walker. The band's bio offers this interesting description of what a Benanthrope show was like: "Their full live instrumentation includes pedal steel, organs, harmonicas, synths and dreamy delay feedback noises with reverb-laced vocals while their freshman recording efforts, with their warm lo-fi aesthetic, go on to feature acoustic piano, banjo, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, and actual live barnyard animals routed through analog delay pedals."

Take a breath.

As sometimes happens, everyone in the band was busy with other projects, and one member lived in Lexington. Benanthrope played as recently as June, but Lally said that project is currently on the shelf.


"Well, honestly, because the band that I really started as a side project during summertime last year … kind of took off," he said.

That side project is called New Bravado. Regardless, Lally says Benanthrope will go on – at some point.

"I still keep writing," he said. "One way or another, it will still go on. It may come back as an acoustic act, maybe not quite as alt-country as it was. It will be wearing a different kind of pants. It might show up in some jorts instead of boot cuts."


For now, forget the jorts and boot cuts. Lose the twang. New Bravado is a whole new kind of beast. What began as a side project has now become The Thing for Lally. Really, it was never meant to be anything more than just an excuse to play rock 'n' roll.

"After playing all those more alternative country songs, things that were less guitar oriented, I wanted to have at least a side project where I could just play real loud like I used to," he said.

It was a little over a year ago, he said, and "I started looking to have side project, do darker, psychedelic ideas. Get weird again."

Interestingly, some of the songs he'd originally written for Benanthrope have ended up being converted, because he decided after the fact they just didn't seem to work for that aesthetic.

"When New Bravado started, there was no preconceived idea of what it was going to sound like," he said, "except it was going to be a guitar -driven band and harder hitting. That was the only thing we had in mind. I knew I was finding the right friends and we would all work on the sound of the songs, and I knew the sound of the band would come naturally as we started to play together."

Adam Copelin, Colin Kellogg and Jason Walker round out New Bravado's lineup. Copelin met Lally when the former's band HuH Robots played a show with Benanthrope.

"He was doing a set of Benanthrope tunes and mentioned that he was looking for a bassist to try out some fuzzy sounding songs with," Copelin said. "Once I figured out that he actually lives in Louisville and not Lexington, I told him I was down. A couple of months later he started showing me some tunes and Jason and Colin joined the fray, and the rest, as they say, is history."

Copelin is not just a bass player, however; he's also an engineer, and he recorded the band's debut EP in a rehearsal space at Lally's house – and used Lally's bedroom as a mixing booth. We know Lally's wife doesn't like snakes, but how did she feel about her bedroom being turned into a recording studio?

"She was really cool about it," Lally said. "She complained a little, but a lot less than I would have."

Fair enough.

The sound quality is pretty darn good; Copelin uses a Focusrite LS56 interface plus "a handful of mics I like and Pro Tools," he said. "It's just mobile enough that I can get into cool spots and run a lot of tracks at once, and just clunky enough to be a pain in the ass to move around. I'm very happy with that setup though; it sounds super nice, and getting into different spaces can shape the sound of a recording in really interesting ways."

"It so awesome," Lally gushed. "I'm so lucky. He's got a lot of exp at it for such a young guy [Copelin is 24]. He's got great ears, great equipment and he's really eager to do a great job."

"I'm very happy with Unconscious Afternoon," Copelin said. "I feel like it's the best thing I've engineered, and it was the most ambitious project I've taken on. Ben, Colin and Jason helped make my job a lot easier. They're great players with great gear, and they really nailed their parts."

He added, "Thankfully, Ben's neighbors are apparently pretty indifferent to drums and wailing guitars for several hours a day for a month, so we all really got to let loose and make some cool noise."

Interestingly, Copelin is a guy with diverse musical taste and ability to make different kinds of noises, just like Lally. His other band, huH Robots, is very folk-meets-punk, with a side order of beat poetry. Which is to say, not at all like New Bravado.

"I suppose that majoring in music really opened up my ears to a lot of things that I otherwise would have probably ignored," Copelin said. "Learning about and listening to a lot of music just makes you want to pull from more styles and put them together in different ways. Both New Bravado and huH Robots do that to some extent; there are a lot of different styles that make themselves felt in both bands. I'm just sort of drawn to groups that can reference several different voices while making something new out of them all."

New Bravado is splitting time playing a handful of shows a month in Louisville and Lexington, with no immediate plans to push the envelope any farther.

"We haven't fully figured out what the grand scheme is yet," Lally said. "We want to put out good music, keep getting better, make it more and more fun for us as it goes. We haven't ruled anything out."

He calls New Bravado an "organic thing" that gives everyone in the band a say. Putting out a record at least once a year and playing enough shows to stay active is the loose plan at the moment. Anything else will be a bonus.

Judging from the response Unconscious Afternoon has received, you just never know where New Bravado might end up.

The scary thought is that there's no telling how many more good songs he has stashed away. Or in what direction they might go once they're written.

As for his dabbling in a variety of genres, Lally said, "I think it's like, throughout the day how many emotions do you have? Most people run through a whole wheel of emotions. What do you listen to while going through those emotions?

"Doing pushups, you might want to listen to Wu Tang. If you're having dinner, you might want to listen to Neil Young's more country records, or classical. If you're pissed off and stuck in traffic, you might want to listen to doom metal."

Lally is 33, and says he has learned some lessons both musically in life.

"I finally realized in order to actually get anyone to listen to what you have to say, you have to reel [the diversity] in a little bit, even if you only [do so] one record at a time. [But] if you can put out enough records you can express any kind off idea you want to." - Kevin Gibson, Louisville Music News

"New Bravado!"

Lately I’ve been really getting into the band New Bravado out of Louisville. A four-piece band that carries themselves as if there were double that many musicians in the band. They do such a great job at filling out a huge wall of great sound. It’s not heavy rock music by any means, but just emtionally played music with some great structures to the song so it comes across very well. They are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands to kick back and zone out to as of right now. If you’ve never heard them then check out their show from Zazoo’s earlier this year at the link below. And also if you don’t have any plans for Friday evening then you should stop by Modern Cult Records and see the band live with a few other awesome bands from the area. - Brandon Hogan, Re-Earth Records & Promoting


Sol Similar
Released: 19 April 2014

Live at Solidarity 
Released: 14 December 2013

Unconscious Afternoon EP
Released: 10 May 2013



In the Spring of 2012, a common interest to play their instruments louder than they were elsewhere brought four musicians together in a practice space in Louisville, KY.  Soon thereafter they called themselves New Bravado.  Drawing on their common interests and inspirations from all forms of early rock; from blues to post rock, and most points in between, they began writing all original songs.  After a few weeks of rehearsal they booked their first show.  One year after their inception, their debut EP, Unconscious Afternoon, was released to a celebrated arrival by local magazines, bloggers, and venue goers.  It shows a young band laying the groundwork for a big, lyrical and guitar-driven, fundamentally psych rock sound while leaving doors open for other directions, nuances, and 'sub-genres' in its casual freedom.  

Enter 2014.  With new material in the making since their debut release in the Spring of 2013, New Bravado is at it again.  The band is working hard in hopes to release their first full-length in the near future. The new record is to be more dynamic across the board both in its songwriting and its engineering, as well as having more space both in the structure of songs and in literally sounding like spaceships in parts.  To get a preview of the upcoming album, the band have released two cassette singles, "Sol Similar" and "Translucent Dreams", through Louisville, KY label, Gubbey Records.

Band Members