Name: Sultan Bathery
Where They’re From: Vicenza, Italy
When They Started: 2012
Genre: psychedelic garage punk
Sounds Like: Seeing shit
There isn’t really a way around this, so let’s just get past it. Sultan Bathery is a small city in India. It’s also an Italian garage rock three-piece with a weird, obsessive kind of thing with the town and, by a kind of association, with the trappings of eastern mysticism, Bollywood, and, uh, lingams. They’re named after the city because they seem to have enjoyed themselves there. Two of the members stayed there for a day or two and whatever happened to them on that sojourn, they reemerged at home in Vicenza as Sultan Bathery the band, a snarling, sensual beast belching lightheaded grooves and feral rave-ups.
Culturally appropriative tendencies aside, the trio comes off as pretty harmless, even if they might be building a strange sect of their own. They advocate swampy ’60s-style garage rock and getting high while watching Bollywood movies, things that arguably make the world a better place. Certainly, their debut EP Fireworx was a welcome arrival in Europe’s garage rock scene and their US tour added some much needed swirls of smokey color to summer in the States. Their second release is coming out on the newly minted Zibi Records and promises to be a blast of holy garage punk fire.
If all this is their way of trying to convert disaffected urban youth to their own brand Hinduism, well, it is a much better approach than the Hare Krishnas are taking with their tone deaf drum circles and free “literature.” So, are members Fred, Boy and Teo a pack of Western itinerant sadhus wandering around Europe or just three degenerate punks taking the piss? Is there a meaningful difference? It’s hard to say, but “Fog” is definitely my musical meditation mandala for today. I’m feeling more spiritual already.