LISTEN: Death Valley Girls – ‘Dream Cleaver’

Scuzzy riffs and a cosmic context inform ‘Dream Cleaver’, the latest single from doom-boogie LA rockers Death Valley Girls. Released via Suicide Squeeze, the track is “an anthem in praise of psychonaut and ethnobotonist Terrence McKenna, his research on “the spirit molecule” DMT and the possibility of trans-dimensional travel”.

Rolling rhythms and impassioned vocals permeate the new standalone single, which the band say is inspired by a desire to connect with the afterlife, whilst being in the midst of real life. The girls explain further: “Mr. Mckenna proposed that DMT (dimethyltryptamine) sent one to a “parallel dimension” and that literally enabled an individual to encounter “higher dimensional entities.” We believe that these entities hold the secrets of the universe and the afterlife! We became obsessed with trying to contact them, so we don’t have to wait till the afterlife to have some answers to these questions!”

It seems Death Valley Girls have the answers to questions we didn’t even know we needed answering, and we’re happy to swagger along to their mystical new offering. They have a sound rooted in nostalgia, but an outlook that spans the past, present, and future dimensions. Listen to ‘Dream Cleaver’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo credit: Deb Frazin

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Automatic – ‘Calling It’

Automatic are Izzy Glaudini (synths, vocals), Lola Dompé (drums, vocals) and Halle Saxon (bass, vocals). They’re from LA, but their sound is straight out of early 1980s Yorkshire.

‘Calling It’, their first single, is an ear capturing listen, marked as it is by distinctive post punk stylings which include lots of echo, tinny drums and a loud, dominant synth sound, all of which are set off by deadpan vocals. It’s as though the Delta 5 have mated with the earliest incarnation of the Human League and spawned a many legged Leeds/Sheffield-based hybrid creature that is now throwing super cool shapes on the student disco dance floor. More prosaically, Izzy Glaudini speaks of the track thus:

Its lyrics capture the sensation of being adrift in a wide-open space, and the desire to rip it all up and start over.” Destruction in art.

‘Calling It’ is out now via Stones Throw Records.

Cazz Blase
@CazzBlase

Photo Credit: Logan White

 

ALBUM: Pinky Pinky – ‘Turkey Dinner’

Giving up her music studies, Anastasia Sanchez replaced her violin with a drum kit, favouring the creative energy of DIY indie rock over the mentally-exhausting paragon of classical music virtue. Joining guitarist Isabelle Fields and bassist Eva Chambers, the Los Angeles trio pulled together their influences – from the Sex Pistols to Jeannie Piersol – and evolved into the monstrous Pinky Pinky.

Taking their namesake from a South African urban legend that terrified an entire generation of schoolgirls, Pinky Pinky’s early iterations were punk, then psychedelia, then blues, before the band realised that they needn’t focus on one genre. Following two extended plays – the self-titled Pinky Pinky EP and most recently Hot Tears, their debut album – Turkey Dinner is a an oddball mishmash of ’60s psych, surf-rock, and unpretentious observations.

Biting down gently on lips, opening track ‘My Friend Sean’ fantasises about the hottest boy is school: “Those pattern jeans, his ass busts through the seams!”. All the girls and boys want Sean. Next, Pinky Pinky take us through downtown LA in their ‘Mystery Sedan’ – ’60s garage pop blasting from the tapedeck – , whilst ‘Floorboards’ leads into ‘Lady Dancer’; two tracks that form two halves, with Anastasia displaying shades of Heart’s Ann Wilson and Kate Bush in her shrill vocal delivery during the first half, and Fiona Apple in the second. Both tracks have an infectious raw energy, and Isabelle’s closing guitar solo will leave you with a crick in your neck!

Four tracks into Turkey Dinner and the fresh-out-of-high-school Pinky Pinky have wasted no time in establishing their own style; foot-tapping rock and roll rooted in classic psychedelia, but bolstered by authentic perspectives on everything from passion to distress. The slower paced harmonies of ‘Applecheeks’ is followed by the surfy SoCal acoustic guitar and tropical drum patterns of ‘Do Me Dirty (Charlie)’.

This album provokes so many emotions, but it is the combination of Eva’s solid rock and roll basslines, paired with Anastasia’s vocal honesty in ‘Mr. Sunday’ that left me melancholic – “Can’t seem to feel what he’s done to me. I’m numb from pain ‘cause he don’t love me.”

The acoustic summer sounds of ‘All The Birds’ are contrasted by the echoing guitar tones, spirited drum beats, and themes of unrequited love in ‘If It Didn’t Hurt’, whilst ‘Sticking Around’ also tackles a similar theme of a doomed relationship, and finally, closing track, ‘Loose Change’, closes the band’s first full-length effort with a combination of keys, horns, and Eva’s irresistible bass guitar.

With every single one of the thirteen tracks on Turkey Dinner, Pinky Pinky have crafted a live-sounding album that is not only this year’s head-bobbing soundtrack to the summer, but an honest example of compelling songwriting and storytelling.

Turkey Dinner is out 14th June via Innovative Leisure. Pre-order here.

 

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Track Of The Day: The Paranoyds – ‘Hungry Sam’/’Trade Our Sins’

As they prepare to head out on a US tour with the awesome Tacocat, LA-based The Paranoyds are set to release their debut EP.

With this two-track, the band serves up a couple of slices of sleazy garage rock with a psychedelic pop edge thanks to the swirling, whirling keyboards, which sound like they’re straight out of a 1950s monster movie.

‘Hungry Sam’ is pure punk; effortlessly cool with a stomping opener that wedges itself in your brain after just a couple of listens. Meanwhile, ‘Trade Our Sins’ is slower, darker and sadder, but still sounds incredibly kick-ass.

Keen to make a name for themselves with their live shows and records rather than through social media (they don’t have a Facebook page), The Paranoyds’ debut release really speaks for itself. And with such an exciting support slot lined up, they’ll undoubtedly get more and more people listening.

 

Hungry Sam/Trade Our Sins is out now digitally, and will be released on 7-inch vinyl on July 12th via Suicide Squeeze. This will be a one-time pressing of 750, 650 on Orange Crush colour vinyl, and 100 on Neon Yellow colour vinyl – pre-order here

Vic Conway

EP: L.A. Witch – ‘Octubre’

With All Hallows Eve just a couple of weeks in the past, West Coast garage trio L.A. Witch bring us the appropriately named Octubre. Physically released on what the band have dubbed ‘Halloween Orange’ vinyl with a cover depicting a spider web background behind a bat perched on a headless torso, the EP combines five – mostly unreleased – tracks whose lifeless bodies have been reanimated and reworked by the band and producer Gregg Foreman.  

The record kicks off with thumping, distorted drums courtesy of percussionist Ellie English. Just at the point where the doom starts to get a little too creepy, ‘Haunting’ snaps into its sludgey bass (from Irita Pai) interspersed with top-line cymbals. Spry-sounding guitars moan all the way up the mix, enveloping Sade Sanchez’ slurred vocals like a dense fog, before a non-lyrical chorus of sharp chords shines through. The layers build as the song continues, its broken guitar effects repetitively flickering between shadow and light.

 

‘Sleep’ is a more upbeat Western style stomper, replete with a hooky tremolo lick and Sade’s old-timely croon – “Ooh baby, where did you go?” she intones. The track’s honky-tonk piano helps it capture the gothic tendencies of the Bad Old West until the ringing alarm of its middle eight leads into a surf-style guitar solo and a coda of the song’s chorus.

Next up, old style ballad with a whirly organ swing in its verses, ‘BB’s Momma’ is a deceptively simple slice of garage. On its opening half, Sade sounds like a laconic Wanda Jackson, whereas its second is a freak-out jam, combining bubbly guitar, piano thrash and stabs from the organ. Something in its jarring repetition and lyrical nihilism brings forth Murder Ballads era Bad Seeds.

Penultimate effort, ‘Heart of Darkness’, is the only track previously released – taken from a 2013 self-titled and self-released EP. Largely acoustic, it mostly consists of guitar and bass, with a single bass drum acting like a clarion, and some heavily distorted vocals. It’s another Western-esque take, as though Joseph Conrad’s tale of ivory greed and insanity has been transported to the West Coast in the 1800s, Colonel Kurtz and all.  

The EP closes with the appropriately named ‘Outro’. Also led by acoustic guitar, its waves of picked notes dovetail with electric feedback that creaks like seagulls, and ultimately winds up resembling Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’. And before you know it, it’s flown by.

Designed as more of a teaser of where the band might go in the future than necessarily a glimpse of a future output, L.A. Witch have crafted an EP that does more than just satisfy the completists. Whereas the band’s eponymous debut dealt in a straightforward blend of garage and rock ‘n’ roll, Octubre suggests a willingness to tell stories, switch up styles and blend layers of sound. And, with the nights getting colder, darker and mistier, perhaps it’s November that heralds the season of L.A. Witch.

Octubre is out now via Suicide Squeeze Records.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

LIVE: Sextile – Electrowerkz, London 18.09.18

Beneath the flashing lights and amidst the smoke machines of London’s Electrowerkz, Sextile brought their brand of manic ‘Disco’ to town on Wednesday night. The L.A. band celebrated the release of their new EP with a set full of pounding beats, wailing guitars and glitchy synths.

Greeted by a loyal and energetic crowd, drummer Melissa Scaduto and guitarist & vocalist Brady Keehn bounced around the stage for the duration of their gig. Joined by a brilliant, blue-haired multi-instrumentalist for their live shows, the trio played with an energy that matched their manic synth textures.

Front-man Brady jolted back and forth across the stage, delivering his delayed vocals with care-free aplomb. His movements were mimicked by the crowd who fed from his jagged energy – which amped up each time he played guitar throughout the set – whilst Melissa kept things steady with her relentless drum beats.

The aptly named ‘Mental’ taken from the band’s 2017 album Albeit Living, and new track ‘Spun’ (taken from 3) were highlights in a set that included tracks from both releases. The trio barely paused for breath between songs, and closed the night covered in sweat to the sound of rapturous applause. Sextile’s sound was built for venues like Electrowerkz, and with the help of support act Numb.ers – they electrified their crowd on Wednesday night.

(Support came from Numb.er)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: Sextile – ‘3’

Lovers of deviant but dance-able noise with an appetite for all things electronic should submerge themselves in the sound of Sextile‘s latest EP, 3. The L.A. duo released the record through Felte last week, and its a smoldering collection of tracks that seethe with an industrial, punk-infused bite.

The new release follows the band’s 2017 album Albeit Living and early 2018’s ‘Current Affair’ single. After various line-up shifts, Sextile are now comprised of Brady Keehn and Melissa Scaduto, who now favour synths over guitars. 3 was recorded in Los Angeles at their home and practice space using a KORG MS-10, a sequencer, a Fender Stratocaster and a LinnDrum.

3 jolts in to life with jagged synth grooves on ‘Disco’. The song would fit perfectly in a dimly lit basement bar, with moody vocals and snapping percussion punctuating the track. ‘Drop You’ follows with more of the pair’s fast-shifting drum beats, hazy synth textures and rowdy guitar riffs.

Midway through, ‘Paradox’ breaks in with its manic blur of synths and bass lines, leaving no room for respite. Prepare to lose your head to the penultimate ‘Spun’, which is two minutes of abrasive synths and punk-like vocals, that buzz with Sextile’s trademark intensity. This buzz bleeds in to final track ‘Hazing’, which is fueled by more jagged synth sequences, foreboding electronics and strung-out vocals.

Sextile are skilled in their ability to create infectious noise that urges listeners to dance, rebel, and reach out in to new sonic territories; and 3 is a short but savagely sweet example of this. Invest now.

Sextile UK 2018 Live Dates
Sept 18 London, UK @ Electrowerkz
Sept 19 Brighton, UK @ Hope & Ruin
Sept 20 Portsmouth, UK @ The Edge Of The Wedge

Follow Sextile on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut