Geraldine Swayne: vocals/ guitars/ accordion/ banjo/ piano/ bass/ viola.
a.k.a. artist/ filmmaker.
James Johnston: vocals/ guitars/ organ/ harmonica/ autoharp/ viola/ cello/ piano/ bass.
a.k.a. founder and leader of Gallon Drunk / member of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
Steve Gullick: vocals/ guitars/ cello/ organ/ bass/ tonka.
a.k.a. photographer/ publisher of Loose Lips Sink Ships
This is a co release with the London based label TV Records.
Mojo says: "...Bender's full-length debut is spine-shivering, nocturnal almost-blues for the love-lost and sleep deprived."
Plan B says: "...Bender rave like a tramps' tabernacle choir."
"This is the scariest record I have heard in a long time. Even the most sinister of Black Metal of Norway has nothing on this. This is not a collection of songs it's an experience, and a harrowing one at that. Steve Gullick and James Johnston conjure a brew of Musique concrete and country music chillingly vocalized by Geraldine Swayne. Either perfect or dead wrong for driving at night, depending on where your head is. This is the rare case when I am truly at a loss. Must be heard to be... believed." - Greg Trout, MagnaPhone.com
Bender began life in 1996 as Steve Gullick recording primal, bass driven, experimental noise songs on a 4-track cassette recorder. One of the few people to hear the results was James Johnston who immediately offered to collaborate. Gullick however, did not record again till late 2003, when he recorded a huge body of new songs in a sustained frenzy of activity, releasing them as two limited edition cd's (’lost’ & ‘found’) via the Loose Lips Sink Ships label (Feb 2004).
“Making music for films that'll never see fruition, .bender create sounds that pull you in before disappearing into the ether.” Ben Myers/ Kerrang!
James & Steve met again around the time of the new recordings. They conspired to create an experimental album of solo organ material by Johnston for release with the next edition of Gullick's new magazine. In the meantime, bender played a totally unrehearsed show with a six piece band at London’s Buffalo Bar.
In February 2004, James & Steve started recordings for James' proposed solo record in Steve's kitchen. This quickly evolved into a shared musical project. Thrilled by the freedom of this style of recording and writing, and by the freshness and unpredictability of the results, bender became a band. A week later Geraldine Swayne was drafted-in on vocals, guitar and accordion. The venue was changed to an old east London school, and opting to record totally live on reel 2-track tape machine the results can only be described as dark, heavy cinematic folk music… The initial recordings are raw, moving, fragile & raucous... often one take improvisations. February also saw the trio’s first live show at which they were joined onstage by Ian White (Gallon Drunk) on drums.
“Watching them play was like standing on the outside peering in; things seemed intangible yet somehow not in the slightest bit distant. They were stripped back and mesmerising”
-Stewart Gardiner/ Artrocker
bender run aground is the first album, a collection of recordings made at Old St. Patricks school in the heart of London’s east end between February & May 2004. Run Aground was released on the Loose Lips Sink Ships label during the summer.
“Run Aground” sounds like vengeful ghosts communicating from beyond the grave via the medium of beat-up electric guitars and malfunctioning FX pedals.” -James Jam/ NME
Run Aground’s largely improvised dislocated blues floats on jagged guitars and damaged dissonance. Like a spaced-out Royal Trux or Jandex if his uber-primitive laments were scoring for Super 8.” -Andrew Carden/ MOJO
“A wickedly potent take on the blues.” Neil Davenport/ UNCUT
“A fine mixture of menacing Ambient gloom and misshapen blues and soul inflections.” Tom Ridge/ THE WIRE
“…bender create vistas wherein it is unclear what is just around the corner.” Stewart Gardiner/ LLSS