Blaire Alise and The Bombshells: A Wall of Sound

“I love Grimey’s,” Blaire Alise of the Detroit-based Blaire Alise and The Bombshells recalls of her first show in Nashville. “We played an in-store show there and I was simultaneously playing and record shopping at the same. I was, like, I’m going to buy that later.”

It’s difficult not to start a conversation about the classically trained bandleader of the 60s girl group/garage rock band that doesn’t note Alise’s age, 18, or point out that she’s only a few months out of high school. “It’s stapled to my forehead,” she says of her age and what it’s been like touring behind her latest record, Just Another Day, a 4-song EP with a vinyl-only release on which she played all but the drums.  

“My age has always been my strong and my weak point,” Alise says. “People think it’s cool that I’m young because there aren’t a lot of 18-year-olds touring, but at the same time I’m trying to show people that I’m not trying to get on the Disney Channel even though I’m a teenager.”

Alise, who handles guitar, vocals, and hand percussion, which she says is her current obsession, will be in town on Tuesday night with a drummer and bassist in tow. “While our recordings are super layered, sometimes with 10 tracks of backup vocals,” Alise says, “our live shows are a little bit more raw.”

Listening to her blend of bands like The Ronettes and The Crystals, both of which Alise can speak, basically, academically about, along with her take on thoughtfully immediate garage rock, it’s clear Alise is wise beyond her record-making years. Imagine Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound with fuzzed-out guitars subbed for the horn section.

“His [Phil Spector’s] records are so layered and deep,” she says. “You can find something new every time you listen to them. At first I hear those harmonies and think, I love that, I’m so inspired by that and then it’s like, all this percussion, why are the castanets louder than everything else?”

We might be seeing a lot more of Blaire Alise and The Bombshells here in Nashville. After playing Grimey’s that first time she was almost immediately signed to the Nashville affiliate of indie music publisher Carlin. “It just all happened,” Alise says and added that she’s been loving working on her full-length at local studio Prime Recording.

Alise was almost turned away when she recently played The Delancey in New York City. It took some convincing to get the venue to admit the 18-year-old bandleader onto the stage. So maybe keep an eye out for her if you’re outside The Basement East for her free 8 p.m. show this Tuesday, July 28.

Update: Blaire Alise and The Bombshells are at The Basement, 1604 8th Ave. S., on July 28, not The Basement East. Apologies for any confusion.

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