When indie buzz band Denali broke up last year, the group's singer, Maura Davis, wasted no time in rounding up a new posse. Minus her guitarist brother, Keely (who left Denali to focus on his main project, Engine Down), the Virginia-based chanteuse enlisted the talents of three Chicagoans -- bassist Stephen Howard, guitarist Matt Clark and the insanely gifted drummer Ryan Rapsys, veterans of such celebrated acts as Pinebender, Gauge, 5 Style, Heroic Doses, Euphone and Joan of Arc. And although the resulting quartet, Bella Lea, has yet to record a proper release, its hand-burned, three-song demo has already kicked up considerable excitement. Balancing Pinebender's fuzz-upholstered pop assault with the glowering downbeat delicacy of Denali, the band promises to help fill the void that Mazzy Star left years ago -- and hopefully fulfill the vast potential that Denali never had the chance to.
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