Black Bordello, Nunhead: An Art-Rock Attack of the Senses
London-based quintet Black Bordello released their new single “Nunhead”. An uncompromising 5-minute art-rock attack of the senses, the track examines the gentrification of Peckham, its new generation of disrespecting residents, and the inevitable fate of us all.
The release of “Nunhead” today coincides with the announcement of the band’s signing to Hideous Mink Records (Opus Kink, Fake Turins, Body Horror). It arrives alongside an accompanying video for the track, shot in Nunhead cemetery and directed by Will Reid (recently working with Malady, Slowthai, LEGSS, and Lauren Auder).
Comprised of singer and guitarist Sienna Bordello, Eddie Amos (drums/percussion), Anthony Boatright (bass), Rachel Asafo-Agyei (backing vocals), and Henry Carpenter (keys), Black Bordello are widely regarded as one of the most unique and exciting live acts in London right now.
Pulling together the shapeshifting creativity and theatrics of PJ Harvey, the jazz-flecked tones of Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith with the emotional intensity of Patti Smith, Black Bordello are a force to be reckoned with, and “Nunhead” is a momentous statement of intent from the 5-piece.
Speaking about the track, the band said: “‘Nunhead’ was written during the plague, at a time when people were confined to their houses. Sienna would frequently visit Nunhead cemetery as a place of refuge and see the graves of her family members. There she was met face to face by the ills of gentrification. The place that always held profound, peaceful contemplation and wisdom buried deep within its grounds was now ruined by over-privileged pleasure makers who had no real connection to the area or its history. Sienna and the band felt this reflected the overarching psychopathy in our times.”
On “Nunhead”‘s accompanying video, director Will Reid added: “Sienna and I properly went through the wringer making the video for Nunhead. It was an incredible process despite some borderline comical adversity to try and pull off what was at its core quite a simple, photographic video — from location permits that got lost in a cloud of red tape and meant that we didn’t have the right private window to shoot in Nunhead cemetery (which, I can tell you, gets extremely busy when you need it to be quiet…) or being kicked out of a backup location by the only security guard for miles, we pushed across four shoot days over about a month to get this one in the can. Sienna was a consummate pro and absolute trooper – none of us let the man get us down, and we kept the vibes alive even as it felt slightly impossible at times. We’re both very proud of the beautiful moments we’ve captured here.”
Known for their theatrical blend of art-rock, punk and jazz, “Nunhead” is the first new music to be heard since the band’s acclaimed self-titled debut album, released in 2020 to glowing reviews from the likes of So Young Magazine (“It takes very little persuasion to fall under Black Bordello’s spell”) and Loud And Quiet (“simply calling Black Bordello’s self-titled debut album ‘genre-defying doesn’t do it justice… This album is an exercise in world-building”).
Sadly, the band could not tour their album as planned due to COVID-19 and instead decided to record more music, some of which was recorded at the end of 2020 in Damon Albarn’s Studio 13, with “Nunhead” standing as the first taste of these new recordings.
The live experience of Black Bordello is a guaranteed heart-racer; with previous sellout shows at the Brixton Windmill, Moth Club, Sebright Arms, and The Old Blue Last, the band will be returning to the stage on August 27th supporting Goat Girl at The Ivy House in Peckham – a fundraiser event to help Sister Midnight with their plans to save the Ravensbourne Arms.
Black Bordello‘s new single “Nunhead” is out now via Hideous Mink Records, with more new music due to follow this year.