photo credit: Neil (friend of Sarah’s)

Bambino Koresh

In May 2019, Half A Cow re-released the debut album Up And Left by Bambino Koresh.

from original album bio:

A three-piece indie pop-rock explosion band from Sydney, Australia led by Argentinian/Spanish singer and guitar player Leticia Nischang. Previously in bands such as Sneeze, The GiveGoods, 120 Mins and Sweet Thing, Nischang has a thoroughly original guitar technique which appears to be both technically advanced and naive at the same time. Playing bass is a certified member of Australia’s indie rock royal family, Tom Morgan. Mainly known for his band, Smudge and his songwriting contributions to the Lemonheads, Morgan also played in Velzen Schmelzen, Godstar, Sneeze and The GiveGoods. On drums is Sarah McEwan from Grace Before Meals and The Cad Factory. Bambino Koresh is for fans of classic pop/rock bands such as Teenage Fanclub and Neil Young.

Interview with Leticia Nischang (from 2011)

This week’s Cd of the Week is the second release by Maitland/Sydney band Bambino Koresh. I’ll make it clear from the start that these guys are friends of mine – call me biased – but you can’t keep the good music down! So instead of doing a couple of paragraphs on how great these three songs are (just quickly: ‘What I’m Gonna Do Now’ is a bonafide SMASH!), I thought I’d a quick little interview with group leader Leticia Nischang. Here goes.

HAC: Your first cd, with ‘Terracotta Warrior’ on it, made you guys come across as a punk band wearing a pop jacket. Your new one is like a pop band wearing a Nudie Suit. There’s a definite progression. Is this part of a master plan or do you have a variety of songs and are just getting them all out there?

Leticia: Well I don’t know, when I’m writing it depends to what I’m listening to that week, so I don’t have any control over the ‘style’ of the songs. It is what it is and it can be many different things. And really, our master plan is to get them all out there.

HAC: When I first heard ‘Terracotta’ I thought woah pony this is their blockbuster! Then along comes ‘What I’m Gonna Do Now’. Everything about it is PGCP, or to the uninitiated Pure Gold Country Pop. What’s it about? How new is it?

Leticia: We wrote ‘Terracotta Warrior’ by the side of the pool at Tom’s parents place. His dad has a mini terracotta warrior, his name is Arthur. We used to sing it all the time, a cappella. Didn’t know the chords or anything. Lot of our songs start like that. I wrote “What I’m Gonna Do Now’ ages ago. I wrote it not long after the Sneeze Europe Tour in 2002! It’s about feeling utterly lonely, without your love. The moment after he/she just left. And that feeling of hopelessness.


HAC: Tom, your bass player, has really turned into Macca here. The melodic bass part throughout the song, mind, is perfection. Did it take much arm-twisting to get him onto the bass duties?

Leticia: Oh man, Tom is so good! I’m so impressed! He’s so brilliant I just can’t get over it. You’re so right. The melodies he comes up with are so beautiful and clever…and cool. Also he is the foundation, the base of the band, he makes everything sound together and solid. And no twisting at all, he’s a natural.

HAC: And with Tom singing with you in the chorus, you guys could be vying for the Dolly and Kenny mantle in the indie rock world. Have you thought about doing more collaborating or is this a Leti-Fest pretty much 99%?

Leticia: Hahahaha, our folk alter egos are Diamond Young & Sandy Apples. We love Dolly so it would an honour! Tom and I had the idea for this band for ages. So it is a band! Not a Leti-Fest!! I write most of the songs but Tom and I write together all the time! He co-wrote ‘Terracotta Warrior’, ‘Crop Circles’, ‘Shoulder Closed’ and we got lots more coming. The next one I hope we finish soon is called ‘The DNA of the Pharaohs’.

HAC: With you two up in Maitland and Sarah – your drummer – down in Sydney, how does this affect shows and getting time to rehearse?

Leticia: Well, it is hard, but we try to come down to Sydney as often as we can, so we can rehearse and play shows. Lots of driving, but it’s so WORTH IT.

HAC: Sarah is a great drummer. What is her background?

Leticia: She’s unreal! She never stops surprising me. She has her own style. She plays in many bands, all very different. There’s The Momo’s and also Grace Before Meals. She had a band called Ruby Sue and another one called Cats Crash. I think we’re the most pop-rock band of them all. She’s pretty eclectic! She’s very talented!

HAC: Back to ‘What I’m Gonna Do Now’. That solo, Leti, is destroy. You like Neil Young, right? What’s your favourite Neil Young solo?

Leticia: Thank you very much! I LOVE NEIL YOUNG. He’s my favourite musician of all times. He’s my main inspiration to write and play music and give it all when I do so. Don’t hold back. He has had the most prolific and amazing rock career ever. There’s nobody like him. I can’t tell you which one is my favourite cause I would feel bad about the rest of them, picking just one. The ones coming to my mind now…I don’t know, ‘Southern Man’, ‘Hey Hey, My My’, ‘On The Beach’, ‘Cortez The Killer’, ‘Barstool Blues’, ‘Like a Hurricane’. I love ‘Speakin’ Out’ but there he shares duties with Nils Lofgren, too. But again, I love them all! It’s not so much about Neil’s solos but about his whole way of playing guitar – the “little” arrangements are the best! Oh, his music means so much to me…I can’t really describe it.

HAC: The slow outro you play is a winner too. I can just imagine if Neil Young and Crazy Horse did do this song, this section would go on for 10 minutes. When Bambino Koresh play live, do you stick to the 3 minute arrangements or are you prone to ‘kick out the jams’?

Leticia: Hahahaha, yeah it reminds me of Crazy Horse too! Yeah, I’d love to go on forever but luckily Tom and Sarah keep an eye on me. We jam for longer at rehearsal but try to stick to the arrangements when we play live.

HAC: There’s more to this cd than ‘What I’m Gonna Do Now’ I know. ‘Goth/Socialite’. Catchy. Damn catchy, And that stop bit. Excellent. A bit Juliana Hatfield in spirit, yeh? You a fan of Jules? She keeps on keeping on, doesn’t she? Have you heard her last few albums? She is so prolific – it’s great to see.

Leticia: I have been a Juliana Hatfield fan for a long time. She’s so brilliant! I admire her and of course I have all of her records, I follow her career closely. I think of her a bit like the new female Neil Young.

HAC: And what is ‘Goth/Socialite’ about? I couldn’t quite work it out.

Leticia: I saw a girl on a TV show and underneath her name, where normally they write your profession, she had the title ‘goth/socialite’. I couldn’t let it go, so funny! So she made me think about Goths who are actually socialites. Not the way Goths used to be. Reserved and weird and shy. There’s a new breed of Goths and they are very social. Goth is to emo as beatnik is to hippie.

HAC: The last song ‘Freesoul’ is a creeper. I mean, it creeps up on you and sticks in your heart and mind. And you sure that’s not Tom on lead guitar here? Sounds like a classic Smudge break!

Leticia: Oh, thanks so much! You’re so kind! And no way! It’s me, baby! It is pretty catchy…like Smudge, you think? I always thought of it as a grand rock 70’s song. I used to sing the riff instead of playing it, remember?

HAC: What’s next for Bambino Koresh? Another 3 tracker? More shows? An album?

Leticia: Not sure, we’d like to put a record out soon, but my main priority is to play shows, I love playing live and I just want to play and play as many shows as possible. I just want to write music and play it.


Buy Music

Bambino Koresh
Up And Left


Up And Left   (hac226)
originally released 2012
re-released by Half A Cow July 2019


I once met someone who crossed paths with David Koresh, the self-styled modern guru who subsequently led his followers into a compound in regional Texas, only to fall victim to the United States authorities’ concerted efforts to destabilise the community with a combination of military force and Nancy Sinatra music. According to my acquaintance, Koresh was charismatic, and not an untalented musician. Pity about the other stuff, however.

To the very best of my knowledge, Bambino Koresh has nothing to do with David Koresh, other than sharing a name, a latent pop sensibility and an apparently charismatic leader – in this case Leticia Nischang. The other critical ingredient in Bambino Koresh is former Smudge protagonist Tom Morgan, someone who knows more about quality pop than Janet Reno knows about obfuscating Congressional testimony.

Bambino Koresh has certainly got a catalogue of seriously good songs, both consistent and diverse. Starting with the sparkling adolescent Dando-esque whimsy of Freesoul, to the razor-sharp licks of Terracotta Warrior to the Nashville via Strawberry Hills Americana of Just Accept It, there’s something for anyone. The always pleasing theremin adds a suitable eerie edge to Crop Circles; If So Defacto is a misty-eyed Delfonics-and-Band sponsored walk into emotional desolation where everything seems like shit until you get over it. The System Tells bristles with attitude like a suburban pub hosting an L7 gig, What I’m Gonna Do Now is philosophical in mind, body and pop soul and Sleeping in Pain would draw a nod from Justin Townes Earle as he picks himself out of the guitar, dusts off his weathered suit and gets on with his life.

Post-Birdman attitude appears writ large in Goth/Socialite, Romantically Challenged is every bit as bitter and introspective as you might suspect, Satan Do Me A Solid captures the raw substance of ’70s rock in its purest form, Red Spot Always Meant Sale is best track of 1979 never recorded that fine year and Indirect Putdowns the ideal Stonesy outro for what’s been a thorough enjoyable journey through the world of Bambino Koresh.

– Patrick Emery, Beat Magazine

The pervasive winds of nostalgia are blowing stronger than ever across pop music and electronica yet they haven’t subjected guitar music to quite the same blatant level of shallow regeneration. Indie and rock music is always recycling and self-referencing itself of course but it takes a great band to be able to bottle the mood and atmosphere of another time. Sydney’s Bambino Koresh take on that challenge and for the most part the results are impressive and rewarding.

The sound and style of Bambino Koresh is comprised of an obvious passion, even worship, of 70s country rock in the vein of Neil Young and Creedence Clearwater Revival where the guitars crackle under the weight of wandering electric solos and the melancholic sigh of slide guitar. They match that influence with a strong 90s indie rock and power pop sound, straight from the songbooks of The Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom and Juliana Hatfield. These comparisons are somewhat expected, if not unavoidable as bassist Tom Morgan was a songwriting partner to Evan Dando at the peak of The Lemonheads success.

Up And Left opens with the brilliant sway of Freesoul that introduces singer/guitarist Leticia Nischang’s sweet/bittersweet vocals that have that relaxed and carefree delivery that that the likes of Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair possessed. Morgan adds some magical backing vocals to the song, setting it up as an album opener of the finest order. If the rest of the record was as good as this it would be exceptional.

Terracotta Warrior tightens things up with a snappy yet still relatively poppy approach. The Young guitar influence emerges and there is even some of Nischang’s Argentinian/Spanish strut and flair buried in the song’s DNA. It conjures up images of doomed romance and shootouts on the Mexican border, almost Morricone-esque. Crop Circles continues the jagged edges, building into an almost metal pastiche chorus, showing that Bambino Koresh aren’t above fun and frivolity in their music.

If So Defacto is soaked in 50s doo-wop filtered through The Band and it features Nischang’s strongest vocal performance on the LP. She convinces with her swooning serenade that employs ache and pain to just the right degree when it needs to. It is quite a different feel to most of Up And Left but it works wonderfully. Nischang uses the following track Campbell to showcase her guitar skills with a Crazy Horse styled second half of the song and like the best moments of that band it feels like it could on for another 10 minutes, winding and weaving with casual six string abandon.

The weaker moments on the record come in the form of the fairly disposable The System Tells that feels like a last minute addition and Sleeping in Pain that is missing a key ingredient to make any real emotional connection to the song. There is of course redemption and plenty of it elsewhere with the Sleater Kinney sounding Red Spot Always Meant Sale and one of the album highlights What I’m Gonna Do Now that again features Nischang and Morgan duetting. Their voices work so well it is surprising they don’t sing together more often.

As a debut album Up And Left is an impressive collection of songs showing range and ambition and a loving dedication to their record collections with enough of the trio’s personality to make it sound fresh and invigorating. Bambino Koresh will make you want to take their CD on a road trip, they’ll make you reminisce about college rock in the 90s and they’ll make you want to dance with a beer in your hand. The most enjoyable kind of nostalgia.

– review by Chris Familton (Doubtful Sounds. April 2012) . This review was first published on FasterLouder

Sydney group Bambino Koresh are a sneaky uppercut packed into a pint size three piece package. Their album Up And Left is 47 minutes of some of the most groovy and satisfying rock n’ roll that one is likely to hear from a local group this year. The opening track Freesoul begins with a perky guitar lead before releasing Leticia Nischang’s sprightly voice. It’s smile inducing and uplifting. Just Accept It is an ambling country-rock number with the pretty slide guitar that conjures Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Crop Circles is a rockier tune whose creepy theremin intro augments the paranoia and urgency of the track, while If So Defacto is a doo-wop number about kicking out an ex. The wonderful thing about Up And Left is that the band openly wear their influences – there are hints of Pixies, Stone Roses, Neil Young and other rock n roll greats – on their sleeve without sounding contrived or too derivative. The vocals and the enthusiasm in the playing is so infectious that you can tell the trio are coming from a positive place. Play this album and feel good about yourself.

– Imran Shahid,