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BAR ITALIA

Bar Italia

The Twits

    bar italia are the London based three-piece of Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton.

    ‘The Twits’ was recorded by the trio over eight weeks from February 2023 in a makeshift home studio in Mallorca, and was mixed by Marta Salogni. It finds bar italia’s economical yet evocative songcraft taking raucous, mystic, unkempt, occasionally sinister, and wholly committed turns. Songs like “my little tony”, with its in-the-red riff and excitable hooks, the cathartic four-on-the-floor of ‘world’s greatest emoter’ and the festival tent psychedelia of “Hi-fiver” need little in the way of exposition – these are exhilarating rock songs, if wayward and strange.

    Other moments see the band’s increasingly signature, three-act mini-dramas moving into previously uncharted territory. Cristante, Fehmi and Fenton can each manifest a different melody, mood, and cadence – at times overlapping and linear, at others unexpectedly divergent – often within the space of thirty seconds, a tag team rooted in shared language and kinship. “Jelsy”, for instance, plays out like a conversation between friends over wistful, buzzing country blues, the alternating voices at points comforting, wry and hopelessly yearning. The sinuous, slow-burning waltz of “twist” stands out in its bare lyricism and seems to invite each band member’s individual take on a confessional.

    While Tracey Denim was notable for its compact 2-3 minute compositions, horizontal and open-ended tracks like “Shoo” ebb and flow, moving from reptilian dive-bar soloing to a palpitating two-note piano coda. ‘glory-hunter’ takes playful twists and turns before ending up somewhere entirely different from where it started. “Real house wibes (desperate house vibes)” and “que surprise” imply sleepless, noirish misadventure, while at the other end of the light spectrum, “sounds like you had to be there” features some of the band’s most sweetly optimistic musical gestures yet. Closer “bibs” is a rare instance where all three can be heard in unison, as a procession of ghostly chords and lacerating feedback bookends the group’s most adventurous and rich set to date.

    Released in May, bar italia’s Matador debut ‘Tracey Denim’ followed a string of word-of-mouth releases on Dean Blunt’s World Music label and received widespread attention from publications including The Guardian (“one of the albums of 2023 so far”), The Times (“excellent debut album”), The Observer (‘Artist To Watch’), NME ("a lasting impression that’s all of their own making"), The Quietus (“endlessly evocative”) and Pigeons And Planes (“quickly establishing themselves as one of the most enticing upcoming bands”). Single “Nurse!” was playlisted on BBC 6 Music and received spins from BBC Radio 1, Absolute Radio and NTS. The release was accompanied by a UK tour, culminating in a sold-out headline show at the ICA in London, which The Spectator described as “transfixing… They just make their beautiful, off-kilter music, and let you unfold your own stories on top”.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Liam says: We've absolutely fallen in love with Bar Italia here at Picc HQ, so we were over the moon when we found out that they'd be releasing their second LP of 2023. And what a banger it is! Mega tunes and no bullshit, Bar Italia have honed and polished their sound even further. You won't get a better one-two punch than 'Tracey Denim' and 'The Twits' in the indie-sphere right now. So what you doing? Get on both!

    TRACK LISTING

    1. My Little Tony
    2. Real House Wibes (desperate House Vibes)
    3. Twist
    4. Worlds Greatest Emoter
    5. Calm Down With Me
    6. Shoo
    7. Que Suprise
    8. Hi Fiver
    9. Brush W Faith
    10. Glory Hunter
    11. Sounds Like You Had To Be There
    12. Jelsy
    13. Bibs

    Bar Italia

    Tracey Denim

      bar italia, the London trio of Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton, have announced details of their new album ‘Tracey Denim’, which is released on Matador Records.

      ‘Tracey Denim’ was recorded and produced by bar italia with mixing from Marta Salogni. It features the single “Nurse!” which was released in March to acclaim, and described as “a hypnotic post-punk ballad” (The Guardian) and “narcotically arresting” (Pitchfork).

      Over the last two years, bar italia have released two albums, an EP and several singles on Dean Blunt’s World Music label, leading to much word-of-mouth, sold out headline shows, and festival performances at Pitchfork Music Festival London, by:Larm, OUT.FEST, Le Guess Who?, and End Of The Road.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Ethan says: On ‘Tracey Denim’, bar italia sound like a 90s underground-American-indie outfit that miraculously discovered Britpop one day, and then were immediately whisked through time and space to a pristine recording studio in the 2020s. And the result is absolutely brilliant!

      There’s a ‘slacker’ approach to this band’s whole aesthetic, with their loose performances and inconsistent lower-case approach to titling. That is, in everything except the immaculate production, where they manage to pull off some incredibly unique drum sounds and edgy guitar tones while still remaining light and gentle. There’s the silvery hi-hat powering through “guard”, the guttural bass defining “Horsey Girl Rider”, and fuzz-tinted power chords on “Punkt”. Everything here has a definite Sonic Youth edge, or maybe a more-relaxed Modest Mouse would be more appropriate. It’s all wrapped up in a very tongue-in-cheek gen-z humour, best exemplified through their digs at Kate Nash through Track 7’s stupidly-long title.

      All this gushing about the band and I haven’t even mentioned what sets them apart from all the sub-par 90s throwback bands. Their unique selling point is the Beatles approach to vocals, which is to say lead vocals are distributed between all band members at a fairly equal rate. “Missus Morality” is a beautiful exchange between Nina Cristante’s alto range and Jezmi Tarik’s deeper, tenor timbre. The two then duet on tracks like “changer”, and the band even bring in Sam Fenton for a trio on tracks such as “Friends”.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Guard
      2. Nurse!
      3. Punkt
      4. My Kiss Era
      5. F.O.B
      6. Missus Morality
      7. Yes I Have Eaten So Many Lemons Yes I Am So Bitte
      8. Changer
      9. Horsey Girl Rider
      10. NOCD
      11. Best In Show
      12. Clark
      13. Harpee
      14. Friends
      15. Maddington


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