Five Favourites: Death Valley Girls

Having been big fans of LA’s Death Valley Girls for a few years now, I’m super excited to hear that they will be announcing their new album, Islands In The Sky, at the end of the month. Our second taster from the upcoming release (following 2021’s ‘It’s All Really Kind Of Amazing’) comes in the form of truly dreamy new single, ‘Sunday‘. Oozing a glistening, ethereal splendour, ‘Sunday’ offers a sweeping slice of anthemic, soul-strewn psych-rock. Building with a fizzing energy, it harks back to the psychedelic sounds of the ’70s California scene, whilst showcasing the bands’ ability to create something that is utterly unique. A beautifully immersive trip into the cosmic world of Death Valley Girls.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of the upcoming album, we caught up with Death Valley Girls’ front woman Bonnie Bloomgarden to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. So, read about her five favourite ever albums, and check out the wonderfully trippy new video for ‘Sunday’ below!

Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda
Did you know music is allowed to sound like this? And has the ability to affect your entire existence? To reframe your view of consciousness and reality. To massage your light, and your soul with in. To feed you, the you inside your body!! To take your earth body, gently lie it down, turn it off for the time being, and lead your spirit to a journey in the astral realm?? It is, it can, and with Alice Coltrane it often does! 

Otis Redding – Pain in My Heart
Wow, I could not imagine my world with out this record. I cry every time I listen to ‘These Arms of Mine’ – chills go down my spine and I remember I am alive, and it’s good ‘cause I getta feel things like this. His voice is epic, on the top ten most important voices of all time to me. It’s hard to imagine what a break up would feel like with out this record – I wouldn’t know, cause I’ve never tried!

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Without pause, even for a fraction of an instant, my all time favourite album is Black Sabbath’s first record. Up until the point I miraculously chose Black Sabbath from a stack of nearly 50 rock and roll records my cousin gave to me, I had only heard soft music. I am forever grateful to all the music I’ve heard, but I had primarily listened to what I know now to be goofy in the scope of my current taste. Like for my first ten years, I exclusively heard show tunes, Billy Joel, vocal jazz, and the Indigo Girls. Before that was all piano, orchestral, and acoustic guitar driven music. To hear electric guitar, in all its evil glory, by the God that is Tony Iommi, for the first time!! Can you imagine at ten how deviant that felt! Also, for the first time to truly understand instrumentation. Getting to know each and every single note by those master musicians! I can not imagine where I would be, or what I would think a great bass line, or guitar riff, or vocal melody, or drum part is, if not for that divine record.
Black Sabbath!! Black Sabbath!! Black Sabbath!!

Ronnie SpectorUnfinished Business
First of all, the concept of being the original bad girl of rock and roll could not have been any more exciting to me as a kid! I love Ronnie, and what she stood for, and how she stood for it – way back when, when it was practically impossible to do so. Her voice, her wickedness, her unapologetic nuances and phrasing, mixed with her immaculate harmonies… Oh my goodness. She also was considered one of the boys, and got to tour with the Stones and Beatles, what career highlights! RIP Ronnie!!

Iggy Pop – The Idiot
What an amazing story and collaboration! Only this type of decadence and decay could have been created by Bowie and Iggy trying to get clean from drugs in Berlin. We are so lucky for this type of art. Something that seems as though it could have just as easily never made it to the light of day. And yet, it did. And it is pure, raw, unadulterated fun, mixed with the suffering they must have been feeling between their realities. Very grateful for these two, and their collaborations!! 


Must add as all time greatest influences:

  1. Tina Turner 
  2. Aretha Franklin 
  3. Sister Rosetta Tharpe
  4. Lightning Hopkins

Massive thanks to Bonnie for sharing her Five Favourites (and more!) with us! Watch the new video, directed by Arturo Baston, here:

Islands In The Sky, the upcoming new album from Death Valley Girls, is set for release on 24th February via Suicide Squeeze Records – pre-order here. And catch Death Valley Girls live when they’re over in the UK later month – more info here.

Photo Credit: Neto Velasco

New Track: Death Valley Girls – ‘Sunday’

Having been big fans of LA’s Death Valley Girls for a few years now, I’m super excited to hear that they will be announcing their new album at the end of next month. Our second taster from the upcoming release (following 2021’s ‘It’s All Really Kind Of Amazing’) comes in the form of truly dreamy new single, ‘Sunday‘.

Oozing a glistening, ethereal splendour, ‘Sunday’ offers a sweeping slice of anthemic, soul-strewn psych-rock. Building with a fizzing energy, it harks back to the psychedelic sounds of the ’70s California scene, whilst showcasing the bands’ ability to create something that is utterly unique. Reflecting on the process of addressing your pain and being honest with yourself, it’s a beautifully immersive trip into the cosmic world of Death Valley Girls; stepping away from some of their previous scuzz-filled post-punk offerings, but no less stirring. So, bathe in ‘Sunday’s blissful haze as Bonnie Bloomgarden’s distinctive impassioned vocals ripple throughout this uplifting shimmering soundscape.

Of the track, Bloomgarden expands:

Recently I realized I have been numbing, medicating, intellectualizing, and avoiding my pain and feelings for most of my life. Over the past few years I learned you have to feel and move through your feelings or they get stuck, and then you become a vessel or container for all the feelings you are trying to avoid! If you acknowledge, feel, and process them, you get to release and move them out of you! This song is to honor that process! Feel your feelings, be so sad you wanna cry forever, and then move on, you gotta keep moving!”

‘Sunday’ is accompanied by a wonderfully trippy, animated, Alice-In-Wonderland-inspired video, directed by Arturo Baston. Watch here:

Islands In The Sky, the upcoming new album from Death Valley Girls, is set for release on 24th February via Suicide Squeeze Records – pre-order here. And catch Death Valley Girls live when they’re over in the UK next month – more info here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Neto Velasco

Five Favourites: Ghost Car

Having released their epic debut album, Truly Trash, towards the end of last year, London band Ghost Car have previously received acclaim from the likes of Skunk Anansie’s Skin and DIY Magazine, as well as sharing stages with legends such as Beth Ditto and Amyl and The Sniffers. Showcasing their quirky, retro energy and trademark whirring soundscapes and honey-sweet vocals, the album is a pure post-punk delight; a whimsical, yet gritty, insight into the world of Ghost Car.

Originally due to be released by Burger Records, the band then pulled out of the planned album release as accounts of sexual assault and exploitation of women by associates of the label came to light. As activists for feminism and members of the LGBTQ+ community, Ghost Car practice what they preach, and aim to spread their mantra of inclusivity and equal rights as loud as possible.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Truly Trash, we caught up with Ghost Car to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choice of five favourite albums!

Sweeping Promises – Hunger For A Way Out

Cece: This masterpiece came out during lockdown and I immediately became obsessed with it. I always thought that a good lo-fi sound can cut through you way better than overly produced music and this album is proof of it. I haven’t heard something so genuine, direct, and beautiful in a long time. It has all been recorded live, using the “single-mic” technique which creates a perfectly unique and nostalgic sound. Lira’s vocals are incredible and a big inspiration for me, I always keep her style as a reference when I need to push my singing to something less obvious and it’s a good reminder to not detach myself and sing with the heart, not just using my voice.


Du Blonde – Homecoming

Clara: We’ve been asked to play with Du Blonde and we didn’t know much about her. When we checked out one of her video clips to check the vibes, I got super excited, and what an album this is! I could feel that same crazy excitement as when you were in your teens and you got a new record. She’s fun, she’s so talented, she’s so sincere! And she wrote, recorded, produced and released this album herself – how amazing. Loving the ‘90s vibes, but also the romantic chords of ‘Take Me Away’ sending me back to a love song from the ‘50s.


Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material

Maeve: This is one of the greatest albums ever written in my opinion. I got a lot of my musical understanding from my mum – she was in her 20s during the troubles and told me stories of going to see SLF in Belfast and having punk music as a release for all the political chaos happening around them. The start of ‘Johnny Was’ gives me chills and there’s nothing better than screaming ‘Suspect Device’ with my mum really loud.


Deerhoof – The Magic

Laura: I’ve been a fan of this band for a long time, but only bought this album quite recently at the independent label fair – tempted by the white vinyl and the fact it’s released on Upset! The rhythm… It’s brilliant! I really enjoy how it switches tempo and mood often, and you can see the band’s many influences worn on their sleeves! Recorded in 2015, it’s raw and full of experiments – I love the way it takes your hand and leads you through their world. Plus, Satomi’s voice is iconic.


X – Los Angeles

Maeve: I only found out about this album from Cece recently when she said “you need to listen to this album, you’re gonna love it” and she was right. One of the great things about Ghost Car is that we all have such varying different music tastes – we know each other so well, and are constantly discovering new music together. I love the intensity and grit of this album and it got me really excited to write some new bangers with the girls.

Cece: X was a late discovery for me too and I knew it would quickly escalate to my top 10 after listening to ‘Your Phone’s Off the Hook, But You’re Not’ – a brilliant song where you can see a great example of perfect harmony between male and female vocals. I was also quite amazed to find out that was produced by ex-Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek. X had a huge impact on the ‘80s punk scene and without them we wouldn’t have loads of the great bands that we have today. For example, would Kathy Valentine ever have joined The Go-Go’s if she hadn’t met Charlotte Caffey at the X gig at the Whisky at Go Go in 1980…?

Massive thanks to Ghost Car for sharing their Five Favourites with us! Their debut album Truly Trash is out now via One Little Independent Records. Watch the video for album track ‘Conch Pearl’ below:

Five Favourites: Hannah Schneider

Having been big fans of Danish artist Hannah Schneider (also of duo AyOwA) for some time now, we were super excited to welcome the release of her latest album (her first solo release in seven years), Ocean Letters. A collection of immersive, celestial soundscapes, it perfectly showcases Schneider’s ability to bathe your ears in a euphoric, soothing grace as her rich, crystalline vocals ripple with a dreamy ethereal haze. A blissful sonic accompaniment to calm the senses as the temperatures drop and the darkness draws in.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Ocean Letters, we caught up with Hannah Schneider to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. See below for her choice of her five favourite albums.

Beach House – Teen Dream
As a surprise to no-one, Beach House is a huge inspiration for me, and this is one of my favourite albums ever. The songwriting is off the charts amazing – wild, advanced and still it seems you can hum along to every one of the tunes. Many of the texts and titles have such a suspense in them, and they each create a scene or a story that catches your attention. And then of course, the sound. I have always been extremely inspired by their hazy dream pop sound with significant guitar lines, drum machines and beautiful vocals, and on my album Ocean Letters in particular I go all the way on a few songs in my Beach House tribute. The demo for ‘The World’s Gone Still Now’ from my album was even called “beach house vibes” before it got its real title after my friend and magic guitar player Anna had come and laid down the guitar parts on it! 

Hania Rani – Esja
For me, Hania Rani is a fairly new acquaintance, but I have been very inspired by her in my work with this album. From the sound of the piano, to the simple and yet complex compositions, and the sparse layers that still create such a full sound and beautiful cinematic scenes. This music gives such space for imagination, and that’s what I have been trying to create with my album as well. 

Portishead – Portishead 
I don’t think there’s a time in my life where I haven’t listened to Portishead. It’s a constant source of inspiration, how they make such intense music without shouting at the listener. Such slow paces, such minimalist productions, simple chord structures, and yet the melody and Beth Gibbons’ voice is so wild – complex and completely vulnerable, and unnerving, at the same time. I am forever inspired by their way of orchestrating music and making suspense and drama, and the way they dare to combine musical genres in their music has been a big inspiration for my album as well.

Emilie Nicholas- Tranquille Emile
Norway is the country with the most happening right now music wise in Scandinavia I think. One of the first in this new wave of interesting artists is Emile Nicholas, and I love her way of creating new R’n’B/soul with such a distinct Nordic flavour. Interesting melodies, beautiful instrumentation and Emilie’s million dollar vocals on top – wow, how she can create lines that amazes! I just gave in to this album, and have enjoyed it very much while creating my own album. I think I have also let myself be inspired by the gospel-ish chord changes in some of her songs, and in my song ‘It’s The Season’ I have let myself dive in to the slow more soulful chords and musical phrasings.

Agnes Obel – Myopia
This album is a true masterpiece of orchestration and melodies – such beautiful compositions, and Agnes Obel’s magical voice on top. There is such a cinematic quality to all her albums, and this has been a great inspiration to my album, Ocean Letters. Her albums also seem very conceptual thematically and sound wise, and this is something I have also approached in my work with Ocean Letters.


Massive thanks to Hannah Schneider for sharing her Five Favourites with us!

Ocean Letters, the new album from Hannah Schneider, is out now via Midnight Confessions.