Brooklyn Vegan review of new BNLX EP

 Brooklyn Vegan‘s Bill Pearis wrote a great review of the new BNLX EP #10…

Minneapolis duo BNLX, led by Flowers Studio owner and indie rock vet Ed Ackerson (27 Various, Polara), are back with their first record since 2015’s Good LIght. It’s a return to the EP format that birthed the band — X is their 10th record in the format — and it is where they really excel. They haven’t altered their sound one iota — fuzzed out rock that draws from ’80s and ’90s influences that are easily spotted — but they do it so well and with a real sense of joy it doesn’t matter if you’ve heard it all before. Plus, Ackerson is a really savvy arranger — there’s a lot more going on in these songs than you may initially realize.

There is some definite post-election venting in the lyrics — there are shouts of “Deplorables!” on opening cut “Hit After Hit” — but BNLX never lose their sense of humor which is one of their secret weapons. My favorite song on the record is their cover of The Pink Faries’ “Do It,” a one-chord jam workout where things get pretty weird in the second half thanks to SAVAK’s Sohrab Habibion (solo guitar and Frippertronics) and Monsterland’s Greg Vegas on sax. The EP finishes with a cover of Wire’s 2017 single “A Short Elevated Period” which they turn, slightly, into a party anthem. This record is fun, which is a commodity in short supply these days.

BNLXFest 4 at the Uptown VFW 4/27! BNLX EP #10 on the way!

BNLX press release April 2018
During our recent period of inactivity, it became apparent that there was an ongoing need for BNLX. Our conclusion, based on direct consumer feedback and sophisticated analysis of proprietary psycho-demographic metrics, was that BNLX was still uniquely positioned to provide the BNLX-style services still demanded by today’s market.

In order to fulfill our commitment to our loyal consumer base, we are implementing Q1 of the BNLX First One Year Plan (extension 7). This Plan consists of two main components:

  1. The release of the BNLX EP #10 product, an audio product which contains four pieces of “music” performed by BNLX. This product is the tenth in a series, following the previous nine such products.
  2. The staging of an event, BNLXFest 4, featuring performances by BNLX and other “music” entities, including Two Harbors, The Rope, at the Uptown VFW Arena (Minneapolis) on April 27th.

This informational document is intended as a top-level overview of the Plan. Details will be provided in supplemental materials.

Thank you for your interest in BNLX.

“Resist! Resist!” Summer Mix with even more guest vocalists!

We’ve done a new mix (and edit) of the epic and ever-growing “Resist! Resist!”, adding even more guest vocalists including our old pal David Poe and our Argentine shoegaze friends Fer and Lu from APZOO. Other vocalists in “Resist! Resist!” section include Mark Mallman, John Mallman, Ciaran Daly (The Stress of Her Regard), Tommy Rehbein (Naive Sense), Two Harbors (Chris Pavlich, Kris Johnson, Jeremy Bergo, Shawn Grider), Jim McGuinn, Jameson McGuinn, The Rope (Jesse, Pauly, Mike), PD Larson, Annika Ackerson, Jonatan Westh. Chant along with us, the work isn’t done yet!

Ed Ackerson interview with Minneapolis City Pages about “Resist! Resist!” and the band’s return to the stage

City Pages writer Erik Thompson interviewed Ed about the new single and BNLX’s reactivation. Original article link is here. Photo of BNLX at the Uptown VFW April 8, 2017 by Tasha Dahl.

BNLX join the resistance with their first new song in two years

Nothing but bad news has come out of Washington lately, but at least this current administration has stirred BNLX out of a two-year dormancy.

Following a flurry of releases and BNLXFest organizing in the early 2010s, the indie-rock veterans took some time off as Ashley and Ed Ackerson welcomed their adorable baby girl, Annika, into the family.

That break stretched on longer than the group expected, but the time — and the political climate — is certainly right for their raucous return. City Pages is premiering BNLX’s first new release in two years, “Resist! Resist!” The track’s a politically charged anthem of unity and dissent, and its release coincides with the band’s first live performance in two years, this Saturday at the Uptown VFW, along with Mark Mallman and the Toxenes.

We were able to chat with frontman/guitarist Ed Ackerson about the inspiration behind the new track, the band’s current plans, and his production work at his Minneapolis recording studio, Flowers.

City Pages: BNLX has never shied away from being a political band. Did you intend on “Resist! Resist!” to be an overtly political number when you started writing it, or did those sentiments naturally come out due to the election and the current social state in this country?

Ed Ackerson: From the beginning, BNLX has been focused on presenting an anti-consumerist, anti-corporatist, pro-community message. We started the band specifically to make bold statements, both musically and conceptually. The current political environment is particularly dire, and we decided it was time to make a completely unambiguous statement of support and encouragement for people standing up to the myriad forces currently arrayed against them.


CP: Was it cathartic to be able to channel your frustrations with our current administration into a rock song?

EA: I associate catharsis with the expression of anger, fear, or sorrow, and this song isn’t really about that at all. We wanted to create a song that was uplifting, that encouraged people to feel strong in themselves and together as a community. There’s a long road ahead toward progress. This song is something to hum, sing, or shout along with while we all move forward together. The time for catharsis will be when we’ve finally addressed the current government and the regressive populist attitudes that led to it being installed. And it’s important to remember that the problems with the current government don’t start and end at the White House. There are people with terrible agendas holding posts at every level. Opportunities for resistance and change exist from the smallest to the grandest scales.

CP: There don’t seem to be as many political anthems coming from modern music in recent years –especially compared to past generations. Do you think contemporary artists don’t want to take that risk with their careers, or is it just difficult to capture political statements within a song?

EA: That’s a question I have thought about a lot. Part of it is likely artistic: It’s very difficult to write political music without sounding either like some sort of hippie or a Marxist philosophy professor. But one thing that is very disappointing to me is the way that indie rock overall has become increasingly backward-looking, insular, and escapist over the last ten years or so. Postmodernism and irony have become foundation assumptions in much of rock today, so there’s been a distinct trend away from “hard” topics. From a sociological point of view, this could be a function of the way the Internet and social media tend to decouple individuals from their immediate physical environments, leading to a decreasing sense of common cause across regional and social boundaries. This is not to say that nobody is making statements, just that there are far fewer now compared to similar periods of political crisis in the past.

CP: You’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling outside of the U.S. since the election–how have your interactions been with foreigners, and has their view of Americans changed as a result of the election?

EA: Overall our friends overseas are totally sympathetic and concerned about the situation in America. What’s bad for America is bad for the world in general, and there’s a lot of apprehension. And of course, our friends in the UK are experiencing the whole Brexit horror show, and Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands are all experiencing their own scares with populist right-wing politicians making disconcerting inroads. So basically, most of our friends feel very much like we do, threatened by an emboldened minority of people with bad ideas trying to turn back the progress of the last 100 years. These are strange and dangerous times all over the world.

CP: Is “Resist! Resist!” a standalone single at this point, or is this song going to be a part of a larger collection like an EP or LP?

EA: We have a new EP very nearly finished right now, but we wanted to get the single out immediately. The BNLX EP #10 release should happen later this spring if all goes according to plan.

CP: You’ve got quite an impressive cast of musicians who contributed to the chorus of “Resist! Resist!” How did that sprawling collaboration come about, and who did you recruit to take part in your unified statement of dissent and resistance?

EA: We asked friends of ours from both the local and international scenes to lend their voices to the refrain on the song. The resistance we are part of is truly international. So far the local mob includes Mark Mallman (and his dad John), Ciaran Daly (The Stress of Her Regard), Chris Pavlich, Kris Johnson, Jeremy Bergo, and Shawn Grider of Two Harbors, PD Larson, Tommy Rehbein (Naive Sense/Farewell Continental), Jesse, Pauly, and Mike from The Rope. We also have Jonatan Westh (from Stockholm shoegaze heroes Blackstrap), plus another dozen or so artists from Sweden, the UK, Argentina, and various US cities who are in the process of recording tracks. I’ve probably forgotten a couple people in this list, so I apologize for my largely-absent short term memory! The current mix isn’t even complete! We’ll continue to update the mix on Bandcamp as more contributions come in over the next weeks.

CP: This is the band’s first release in two years, as well as your first live shows. Does this represent a new creative phase for the group, or is it just a matter of needing to clear the cobwebs a bit and play some loud music together again?

EA: I’d say it’s a bit of both. Ashley and I of course had a baby just about two years ago, and although we thought we would only be taking a brief break from the band, it turned out to be much more extensive. There’s been a slight reset of both artistic and practical priorities, but we have a lot of cool plans and will be unveiling some crazy stuff later in the year. And in the short term, it’s amazing to blast out these tunes at high volume; we are incredibly psyched to be back up on stage and in the fray again.

CP: What can you tell us about the exciting production work you’ve been up to at Flowers Studio?

EA: Flowers Studio has been off-the-chain busy despite the supposed demise of the music industry, so I feel very optimistic about things right now. I’ve been working on a ton of interesting stuff from all over the place. Locally, I’m very psyched about new projects I’ve done with The Stress of Her Regard, The Shackletons, The Rope, The Rapture Twins (Justin Pierre from Motion City Soundtrack’s new project), and others. I’ve been doing a lot more mixing and mastering for local groups who record stuff on their own. There’s sometime some sort of aura that I’m unapproachable for new artists, but I absolutely love working on new stuff and some of the coolest surprises I’ve had lately have been working with totally new clients.


NEW single “Resist! Resist!”

The new BNLX *emergency* single “Resist! Resist!” is here now!

Work-in-progress single version of BNLX’s *emergency* track written in response to the current political situation. This track features the contribution of many guest vocalists in the “Resist! Resist!” bridge section, and the mix will be updated as additional people add their voices to the song.
Written by BNLX. Produced by Ed Ackerson at Flowers Studio, Minneapolis. Ed Ackerson: guitar, keyboards, vocals Ashley Ackerson: bass, vocals David Jarnstrom: drumsGuest vocalists in “Resist! Resist!” section (this list is incomplete and will grow as the track is updated): Mark Mallman, John Mallman, Ciaran Daly, Tommy Rehbein, Two Harbors (Chris Pavlich, Kris Johnson, Jeremy Bergo, Shawn Grider), Jim McGuinn, Jameson Slusarek, The Rope (Jesse, Pauly, Mike), PD Larson, Annika Ackerson, Jonatan Westh

BNLX covers Eagles of Death Metal’s “I Love You All the Time” to benefit victims of Paris attacks

Minneapolis noise/psych/punk group BNLX announce the immediate release of their cover of “I Love You All the Time”, a song by Eagles of Death Metal.

In late November, a despicable terror attack occurred at an EODM show in Paris, killing and injuring scores of fans and music industry workers. The members of BNLX were deeply moved by this attack, which struck into the heart of the international music culture in which we have worked and played our entire lives. As a show of solidarity with the victims of the Paris attacks (and all victims of terror), we have responded to the call of EODM to join their Play It Forward Initiative. 100% of the publishing royalties generated by sales and streams of this song through Dec. 31st will go to families of the victims of the attack at Bataclan in Paris. BNLX will also donate all performance royalties generated from streaming or sales to the same cause.

Part of the idea of Play It Forward is for other musicians to donate publishing royalties from covers of their own songs to this cause. In this spirit, BNLX will donate all publishing royalties from any cover version of any of our songs released under the banner of Play It Forward.

For more information on the Play It Forward Initiative and The Sweet Stuff musician charity foundation, please visit these links.

Thank you for your interest in BNLX.

BNLX in NYC with Les Big Byrd 5/11-12!!!

BNLX returns to New York City for a couple of last-minute shows with our Swedish psych superfriends Les Big Byrd! We play at Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg on Monday 5/11 (11:15 PM) and Cake Shop (Ludlow St.) on Tuesday 5/12 (9:15 PM). We are extremely excited to play with Les Big Byrd (A Recordings Ltd.), who we consider to be one of the best bands in the whole world right now! These are absolutely, positively the last BNLX shows before the much discussed BNLX Baby Break, so please come out (and tell your NY/NJ friends!).