Ahead of Bully’s Denton show, charting its sonic evolution

A double exposure of Alicia Bognanno crouched in front of the camera

Alicia Bognanno (aka Bully). Photo: Bob Birich

The only constant in Bully — other than its founding singer-songwriter-guitarist Alicia Bognanno — has been change.

Breaking out a decade ago on the strength of the ferocious debut album Feels Like, the Nashville-based Bognanno, who has collaborated with various bandmates before carrying on as a solo artist, has freely moved between moods and styles across four albums, subtly expanding her sonic palette as she goes.

Bully’s fourth and latest studio effort, Bully for You, dropped back in June and also serves as the impetus for Bully’s current headlining tour, which passes through Denton, stopping at Andy’s Bar, on Oct. 26.

To help you get primed for the gig, here is a playlist pulled from Bully’s catalog to whet your appetite.

“I Remember”

The lead single from Bully’s debut studio album, Feels Like, announced Bognanno as a songwriter eminently comfortable with the gritty, brooding stylings of 1990s alt-rock. It’s a blistering salvo, over in less than three minutes, and leaves a lingering mark.

“Feel the Same”

For Bully’s sophomore LP, 2017’s Losing, Bognanno — along with bandmates Clayton Parker (guitar) and Reece Lazarus (bass) — refined the loud-quiet-loud template she employed on Feels Like, but if anything, the barely controlled tension makes the explosive chorus of “Feel the Same” hit even harder.

“Where to Start”

The 2020 album Sugaregg (which found her working with, among others, Dallas-based producer John Congleton) marks the first time Bognanno recorded by herself — but going it alone in no way diminished the intensity of her work. “Where to Start” finds her trading a bit of skuzz for more gloss, but only just: Bully’s power still resides in those howling refrains that feel like steel wool.

“Change Your Mind”

For her fourth studio effort, June’s Lucky for You, Bognanno has dialed the fuzzed-out guitars back even further, and leaned into the bracing lyrics even more. There’s an almost palpable desperation here as she sings about trying mightily to sway a possible paramour’s thoughts.

Bully at Andy’s Bar, Denton. 8 p.m. Oct. 26. Tickets are $18.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.