Alicia Bognanno is a child of the 1990s. It’s evident after a spin of her band Bully’s latest album, “Sugaregg,” which dropped in 2020. The riffs are hook-laden but grungy ala the Breeders and Weezer.
“When I got to college, I discovered the Pixies, Sonic Youth and Liz Phair,” Bognanno said while calling from her Nashville home. “The first time I heard the Breeders, I was like, ‘Wait, that’s my favorite part of the Pixies.’”
Bognanno, 31, is referring to Pixies bassist-vocalist Kim Deal, who is the vocalist-guitarist of the Breeders. “I fell in love with that style of music even though I got into it at a later time (2007). I love the female singer-songwriters from that period.”
That’s not surprising since the women of that era – Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, P.J. Harvey and Bjork – made an impact with their powerful and provocative songs.
Sonic Youth’s “Swimsuit Issue” is a #MeToo movement anthem from a generation ago, and the same can be said for Harvey’s “Dress.” And then there is the aforementioned Phair’s gamechanger “Exile in Guyville,” which was a huge step forward for women in rock.
No wonder Bognanno was moved by the empowerment from those albums. “Those recording artists make music that matters,” Bognanno said. “They were sending a good message. Before I heard those recording artists, I didn’t play guitar, but I picked one up and learned how to play when I was a freshman.
“And then when I discovered distortion pedals, my whole world opened up. I discovered that I wanted to make music like the musicians who impressed me so much.”
The alt-rocker is impressing, as well, with songs that are dissonant and gritty but catchy. The Minneapolis native will showcase cuts from “Sugaregg” on Friday at Lucky You Lounge.
Bognanno contributed a few songs to the soundtrack of the film “Her Smell,” a 2018 flick about an enigmatic rocker portrayed by Elisabeth Moss. “It was a nice break from Bully, and it was cool to read a script and write from a character’s point of view,” Bognanno said.
However, don’t expect Bully to play any of those cuts. The intense singer-songwriter has eight new songs and a raw and melodic cover of Nirvana’s “About a Girl.” “I have plenty to play,” Bognanno said. “I’m like everybody else. I can’t wait to get out there and play live again.”