#AlternativeFacts Podcast: How to Rock Like Bully's Alicia Bognanno, Right Down to Her 'Frankenstein Guitar'

Alysse Gafkjen

The Nashville band's sophomore album 'Losing' hits stores tomorrow.

Bully’s shred-happy sophomore album is out tomorrow (Oct. 20) on Sub Pop Records, and it’s the stuff of indie rock matchmaker glory. The generation-old force behind amp-rattlers from veterans like Mudhoney and Sleater-Kinney, and newer noise from Metz and Pissed Jeans welcomes a true kindred spirit in the Nashville band, particularly frontwoman Alicia Bognanno.

“There were a lot of things on [2015’s] Feels Like I was pretty bored or unimpressed with,” the singer-songwriter-producer admits. “[For the new album] I wanted to approach the writing a little differently and force myself to do more lead stuff, instead of a couple chords and a two-minute song.” The result is a collection of riff-heavy thumpers like our early favorite “Running” -- all 3:46 of it -- that showcase Bully’s combination gut-punch of bulldozer lead guitar and Bognanno’s gritty, white-knuckled howl. 

On this week’s #AlternativeFacts podcast, Bognanno details the triumph of Losing, right down to the hardware. “I don’t get asked a lot about gear,” she admits, so we asked her for the low-down on her sea foam green “Frankenstein guitar” (that is, one assembled from assorted spare parts) and her personal pedal board. 

Before chatting with Bognanno, host Chris Payne checks in with music journalist (and Billboard contributor) Paige Williams, who calls in from her home base of Toronto to check in on a couple of much-hyped fall tours. Consolations are sent out to the masses who couldn’t grab a ticket for Brand New’s instantly-sold out dates and Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom trek gets an expert critique. 

“It’s just amazing how much she’s accomplished in a short amount of time,” says Williams, who was a marketing assistant at Universal Records when Halsey first signed with its Astralwerks imprint. Looking back on her Oct. 4 Air Canada Centre show, Williams reflects on how far Halsey has come since playing coffee shop-sized venues just several years ago and gives her props for excluding one of her most recognizable songs from the set.

She also shouts out a couple choice under-the-radar releases for the coming weeks: SoCal post-hardcore outfit Movements’ new LP Feel Something (Oct. 20) and Niagara, Ontario rockers Heavy Hearts, whose On a Chain EP is due Oct. 27.

#AlternativeFacts is a weekly Billboard podcast devoted to all things alternative music. Click here to subscribe to the #AlternativeFacts Podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes.