During the last two years, Long Beach’s Bundy has risen to the top of the city’s thriving alternative music scene. Aside from putting on fiery live shows, the group has been releasing a steady stream of EPs, each more impressive than the last. So it’s no surprise that the band’s debut full-length Bastard Performer arrives as one of the best pieces of indie rock out of Southern California in recent memory. Bastard delivers the recording quality and polished production a band like Bundy deserves, and presents the quartet at their tightest. Here they’ve truly found their sound, and Bastard is absolutely brimming with driving rhythms, sophisticated guitar and vocals approaching such intensity that they sometimes sound like a personal exorcism. Songs like the vast, spacey title track or the lush “Kerosene” capture the band at the peak of their performance, crackling with a newfound electricity. It’s rare to hear a debut record that captures a band’s live presence so well, but Bastard Performer showcases Bundy’s rich and powerful style perfectly.
There’s no shortage of scholarly indie/post-punk bands whose songs about the pain and struggle of our cruel, desolate world impede their ability to lighten the fuck up. But despite the tortured-artist genius of bands such as Protomartyr and the Walkmen that informs the sound of Long Beach quartet Bundy, they’ve never been ones to wallow for too long without attempting to crack a smile over some ridiculous joke—such as the origins of their name. Though most are quick to associate it with the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, it was actually spawned from a heinous douche of a different sort.
You may remember Bud Bundy from Married . . . With Children. But do you recall when David Faustino, the actor who played Al Bundy’s son, took a cringe-worthy detour into the music world, picking up the rap name D’ Lil? Even if you don’t (consider yourself lucky), lead vocalist/guitarist Nani Serna says he was inspired when their former guitarist introduced him to D’ Lil’s infamously bad video for the track “I Told Ya.”
“It was super-terrible, and we were all kinda laughing at it,” Serna says. “And one of us said we should call ourselves Bundy. We thought about it and were trying to come up with serious names, but everything serious just sounded like we were too much up our own asses.”
The band turn heads not only with the many different pop-culture connotations stemming from their name, but also with their explosive sound and string-snapping tirades about lost love and the disillusionment of young adulthood.
ecclectic Music Lover
Imagine if you will that Talking Heads, U2, The Cure and Radiohead all came together to collaborate on an album (after setting aside any and all creative differences). That would be one incredible dream album, right? Well, there is one that sounds like it could have come from such a supergroup: Bastard Performer, by a creative and outrageously talented alternative rock band called Bundy. The album is magnificent – a kaleidoscopic soundscape of breathtaking melodies, complex musical structures and deeply meaningful lyrics that elicit strong emotional responses for the listener. It certainly does for me; each of the tracks are so compelling and beautifully executed they bring tears to my eyes and chills to my spine.
Based in Long Beach, California, Bundy consists of front man Nani Serna (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Johnny Lim (Guitar, Keys), Mike Meza (Drums) and JB Vasquez (Bass). Serna and Lim had years of experience playing locally and abroad before they came together to form Bundy in 2016. “I like to say Johnny is the Greenwood to my Yorke” says Serna, in reference to Radiohead, one of the bands biggest influences. “I’m very much into the reverb drenched, dripping down the walls sound that The Walkman have – but I like to pair it with a Talking Heads feel.” Orange County publication OC WEEKLY named Bundy the Best New Band of 2017, saying: “Bundy temper their dark lyrical content with melodic breaks and pop-forward arrangements, letting audiences come up for air once in a while as they bob their heads to a dancy four-on-the-floor beat.”
The band released three EPs in quick succession during 2016 and 2017, and in late January dropped Bastard Performer, their first full-length album. Serna states the album “is an ode to the sinister feeling of expectations. Of feeling inadequate, unsatisfied, and alone. A lot of this album is about growing up in a broken home. Some of it is political. I thought a lot about my own struggles in life, writing these songs.”
Our first introduction to the album are sounds of sparkling synths, gentle guitar and fluttering horns, announcing the arrival of “Cold Dead Place.” As the instruments build, Serna begins to passionately sing about the pain from the loss of a loved one – “This is a cold dead place. Here lie the memories.” The track shifts to a balled-like tempo, and organ and percussion are added, along with a gorgeous little guitar riff that seems to convey the pain and sadness expressed in the lyrics. The song is mournful yet achingly beautiful.
The poignant second track “Holy Vultures” starts off calmly, but gradually-building riffs of jangly guitars and violently crashing cymbals create a fitting backdrop to Serna’s emotionally-wrought vocals. He wails about the agony of the personal hell he’s going through, causing thoughts of suicide but vowing not to let them overtake him: “I’m being ripped apart by these Holy Vultures. They’re circling the sky. Lighting my head on fire. I’m out of direction I swear. But I won’t let them take me.” The animated video is fantastic.
From Long Beach, CA comes the four piece alternative rock group, Bundy. Led by the writers Herman Serna (Lead Vocals, Guitar) and Johnny Lim (Guitar, Keys) both have their own unique style of writing taken from personal tragedy and experience. Mixed with the righteous rhythms from Mike Meza (Drums) and JB Vasquez (Bass) the band Bundy makes its passionate and lasting impression amongst their fans. Look out for their upcoming album “BASTARD PERFORMER” to be released on Jan 28th.
The triumphant feeling that is “They Left Us” is the magnificent ballad written by the avant-gardes. The track shows us the combinations of the 4 types of writing that leave us boggled somehow. This inspiring stand up story will not go unheard in the world we live in today. Bundy is leaving us with a masterpiece.