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Watch // Listen

Back in 2016, VICE described BANGLADEAFY's music as “Lightning Bolt and The Melvins eating big, greedy spoonfuls of each other’s candy-colored vomit." The Observer reported, similarly: "Not since Lightning Bolt wreaked havoc across DIY underground spaces in its heyday has there been a bass/drums duo as bat-shit complex as BANGLADEAFY."

In those early years, the NYC band, consisting of Jon Ehlers and Atif Haq, pounded out dizzying prog-punk compositions, using bass and drums as their weapons of choice. Haq's relentless, mercurial rhythms melded with Ehlers' four-string maximalism in songs that hypnotized whilst teetering on the edge of total breakdown.

Separating this singular outfit even further from the crowd was the fact of Ehlers' sensorineural hearing loss, a condition which requires him to use hearing aids. He states: "I’ve certainly faced criticism, or murmurings that I might not have what it takes to hang with the big dogs, so to speak, because there’s a limit to what a hearing disabled musician might be able to do. If anything, I feel that I've proved myself and have worked harder to get there."

Over the course of BANGLADEAFY's first five releases, synths were gradually introduced into the arsenal, with 2020's Housefly marking a tipping point. With the duo name-dropping Devo, Skinny Puppy, and Nine Inch Nails as influences, Housefly showcases an exhilarating union of human and electronic elements: Ehlers' synths alternate between smothering tension and angelic bliss, and his vocals are delivered with wild-eyed urgency, with Haq's nonstop drumming echoing the manic episodes of octopi like Brian Chippendale and Damon Che. A 2020 article in Decibel Magazine noted the shift: "Gone are the bass-driven metal songs in favor of acoustic drums, synthesizers and sample pads... It has both a cinematic and tribal feeling, despite its electronic trappings.”

Now in 2024, new album Vulture – the band's sixth release, and fifth for Nefarious Industries – sees BANGLADEAFY hurtling further in this direction. "Vulture is the crossroads of organic and electronic expression," declares Ehlers. "Instead of choosing a path, we chose to drive straight through the cornfield and hope for the best."

Crediting the likes of Clark, Dan Deacon, and Uganda's Nihiloxica for inspiration, Ehlers reveals the process behind the making of Vulture, illustrating clearly the interplay of nature and machine: "All synth sounds were created on a Yamaha MODX6. Sampler stabs were shaped from various manipulated sources, such as field recordings of bees and counter-rocket systems used in war. Said samples were pitched to match the song and mangled in various ways. The drums were all played live and recorded on a Yamaha kit with no click."

Ehlers explains that, as much as Vulture represents the new direction, it is also a return to roots. "Vulture is the sound of BANGLADEAFY settling into our purest form," he states. "When Atif and I were young, our first jam had me on a Roland synth. The very first time we got into a room together, it was something of a synth-punk persuasion, way back in late 2006. As time went on, our individual skills as a bassist and drummer took off and Bangladeafy was officially formed in 2009. That youthful display of bass and drum acrobatics can be heard on our early albums. Once Ribboncutter had been released in 2018, I felt I personally had said all I needed to say on the bass guitar. My true passion has always been synthesizers."

At just over two minutes in length, Vulture's first single, "Beautification," is an instantly infectious burst of vivid color, located somewhere between the anxiety of The Locust and the euphoria of Torche. "Beautification" is, in fact, one of the longest tracks on the album; Vulture's songs create maximum impact in minimum time.

While BANGLADEAFY's sound is evolving, so are the lyrics. "We used to have silly songs with chants about bedbugs and witches," says Ehlers. "The lyrics on Vulture reflect my personal experiences. Betrayals, let-downs, and the clarity that comes with age. The transformative effects of age and experience – the loss of innocence – is a theme that pervades the album. Each song has its own story that fits under this umbrella." Regarding the first single, "Beautification," he states: "This song is about fleeting innocence, fleeting security. The line between stability and poverty, or life and death, is very thin."

"'Beautification' may be a guitar-less synth punk song, but the lack of guitars doesn’t weaken the punk aggression in this song one bit. The relentless rhythm drives the song home, and the synths are punchy and fast, like The Screamers meet Lightning Bolt. It’s a noisy, fun, catchy tune that’s packed with punk energy." - New Noise Magazine

"New York City’s BANGLADEAFY is one of those bands where, because of their name, you might end up calling yourself a fan before you even know what they sound like. But as any listener will tell you, they’ve backed up their wacky name with similarly skewed prog, noise, punk, and more since day one." - Fecking Bahamas