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‘Brightness’ sheds new light on local Albany-based band Bendt

‘Brightness’ sheds new light on local Albany-based band Bendt

Group’s first full album captures ’90s sound they sought
‘Brightness’ sheds new light on local Albany-based band Bendt
Albany-based band Bendt has released its first full album.
Photographer: kiki Vassilakis

Over the past few years, Bendt has made a name for itself performing around the Capital Region. You might have seen the four-piece rock outfit last summer at Schenectady County SummerNight — opening for Smashmouth — or at The Linda, Little Pecks or Desperate Annie’s.

This week, fans will finally have access to the songs they’ve been hearing with the release of the Albany-based band’s first full album, “Brightness in the Barrens.”

Consisting of members Carl Blackwood, Matt Plummer, John Longo and Cody Bingham, Bendt arose from a few different bands about five years ago.  

“Carl and John have known each other for a long time,” said Plummer, who is the group’s lead singer/guitarist. “Cody and Carl knew each other, too. We [had] all been playing music with people we know, who we are good friends with. [It’s] a very tightknit community.” 

Back in 2017, the band released a self-titled EP with five tracks. It was also the year they won the Schenectady County Battle of the Bands. 

While they wrote and performed many new songs after they released the EP, they held off on recording them.

Fans and family members were always asking why they couldn’t listen to the new tracks on Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes, etc. 
“Now it’s finally coming to fruition, where a lot of these tunes that people have been hearing live for the last couple years are now going to be able to be heard in a studio format. It’s cool for a lot of people who’ve been listening to us for a while now,” Plummer said. 

Bendt recorded “Brightness in the Barrens” last year during what felt like a sprint-turned-marathon two and a half days at Sonelab in Easthampton, Massachusetts. 

“[It was] blisteringly fast,” Bingham said. 

Under the direction of sound engineer Justin Pizzoferrato — who has worked with the likes of Pixies and Dinosaur Junior, etc. — the band captured the ’90s sound they were aiming for with “Brightness in the Barrens.” 

“We recorded very old-school, like they recorded in the ’90s. It’s still digital, but we tracked all in one room. We all played together versus doing everything separately. The reason why the album feels like us is because we did it live,” Blackwood said. 

They also produced for vinyl, which helped capture the sound they were hoping for, a sound informed by a mix of bands like Soundgarden, Primus, Nirvana and Pink Floyd. 

While many bands have one or two main songwriters, Bendt tends to divide songwriting fairly evenly. Each side of the album features songs by every member, some written in the past two years and others written well before the band even formed. 

“One of the songs is called ‘Thirteenth,’ and it’s 13 years old. It just ended up fitting this band so well. … There’s parts from songs [on this record] that have been all over the history of my musical career, which is exciting for me to finally have a final form on some of these things,” Blackwood said. 

Many of the songs band members have written over the years seemed to fit perfectly together. One can hear certain melodies and themes echoed in different tracks on the album. 

“The musical themes and motifs are moving in and out of one another. You might hear something from a song before, a little bit of a melody from something else. Those songs really worked out well together,” said Blackwood. 

The first side of the album is aggressive and upbeat, while the second takes on a more ambient sound. 

“[It’s] nine songs not only [on] vinyl, but we’re doing the complete digital package. Everything from Spotify to iTunes, all that. …  For me, at least, this is not only the first time I’ve released a full album with these guys, but with any project. It’s pretty damn exciting,” Plummer said.

They’ve already released one single, “Symptoms,” with a performance video filmed by Chromoscope Pictures at SkyLoft.  

“[It’s] heartwarming to see how well-received the music video for the single has been. … I think just having something tangible and visible like that has really helped out a lot. Overall I’ve been very happy with how it’s getting received, and like any band who’s underground and independent, we’re trying to get as many ears to hear it as possible,” Plummer said.

To celebrate the album’s release, Bendt is performing Saturday at Lost & Found in Albany with a few other friends. 

“We have our friends Bad Mothers opening up for us. They’re also a four-piece rock outfit that has played some really big shows here in the area. … Then our friend Michael Gregg, who’s the banjo player in Zan and the Winter Folk. He’s the humor and the comedic factor to it. We wholeheartedly want this to be not just really a show, but a celebration,” Plummer said. 

After that, the band is heading outside the Capital Region, playing shows in Oneonta, Burlington, Ithaca and New York City. 

Saturday’s show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 for admission plus the album (on vinyl), $10 for admission beforehand and $12 at the door. For more information, visit Bendt on Facebook or visit bendtmusic.com.

Saturday’s show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 for admission plus the album, $10 for admission beforehand and $12 at the door. For more information, visit Bendt on Facebook or visit bendtmusic.com

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