Posts Tagged ‘Breakthrough’

LA’s Death Valley Girls have made a name for themselves by churning out a desert-blasted blend of rowdy proto-punk and primitive heavy metal steeped in cosmic idealism and third-eye consciousness. Their first new offering since tearing a hole in the sky with their 2018 album Darkness Rains comes in the form of a two-song seven-inch, “Breakthrough.” The title track is a cover by Atomic Rooster, though the band discovered the track through a rendition by Nigerian outfit The Funkees. With its grimy guitar riffs, fire-and-brimstone organ, and combative chorus, it’s as if the song was originally written with Death Valley Girls’ brand of stark transcendental rock in mind.
But it wasn’t just the pulse and melody that drew the band to the song. “It spoke to me because of the lyrics about breaking free from an invisible prison… we all have invisible or visible prisons we are trapped in,” says vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden. The song discovery coincided with the band’s interest in Damien Echols of West Memphis 3 and his ability to endure his imprisonment by learning to astral project through meditation. The b-side is another cover—a ramped up version Daniel Johnston’s loud-quiet-loud anthem “Rock ‘N’ Roll / EGA.” It’s a total rager, but it’s also a bittersweet song for Death Valley Girls as they had the rare privilege to briefly serve as Johnston’s backing band. Ultimately, the two songs have a deep and profound connection to Death Valley Girls, both in their spirit and in their aural alignment.
Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to offer up the “Breakthrough” seven-inch in a limited edition one-time pressing of 750 copies on Half Purple & Half Black colored vinyl
released June 12, 2020.

HARTS

Australia is producing some fantastic blues-rock and roots musicians. Darren Hart – a.k.a. HARTS – is another one from this lengthy music tree. The blues-rock musician is one of the best, young guitarists Down Under, whose skills have been recognized not just by local musicians and festival organizers but also by notable stars. Prince, for instance, invited the Melbourne native to play with him at his Paisley Park Studios. Prince also had this to say about HARTS, “He reminds me of how I was at that age”. There probably isn’t a better compliment a musician could receive.

This opportunity to play with the Purple One followed the release of his debut album, Daydreamer, that received high praise from Australian media outlets. Hart is now set to release a new EP, Breakthrough, within the next month or two. The latest single is “Streets” that is Gary Clark-esque with his blend of blues-rock and soul. The guitar solo in the middle of the track is fantastic. The title track is also provided below, and it has a funky feel.

HARTS, like his idol, isn’t just a guitar hero. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, and on his EP he plays every instrument – bass, drums, and whatever else we might hear.

Harts is set to be one of Australia’s next major rock exports, this talented Melbourne-based singer and songwriter’s approach to making music is surprisingly thrifty and DIY.

For one thing, he still plays an old Squier Stratocaster, the much-maligned six-string beloved by guitar beginners the world over. As far as he’s concerned, it gets the job done and he can’t get over the artwork applied by his friend.

The quirks don’t stop there. While his records are big, beefy testaments to a time when rock and roll was still mystical and held grandeur, Harts is more interested in what he can do with a mic and an amp than millions of dollars’ worth of studio equipment.

My essentials would be my guitar, so I’d probably get an electric guitar, My keyboard of choice would be a Korg R8, which is a kind of virtual analog synthesiser, and some sort of loop machine, like maybe a Boss loop machine, with multiple inputs, so I can loop the keys, play bass on the keys and loop the guitar over it.

I would probably also bring a drum machine as well. I’m not sure exactly what type, because all of my drum machines have custom samples on them anyway, but maybe a laptop with Addictive Drums on it or maybe EZdrummer, something with more of a live kind of sound.

I play a Squier Stratocaster, which is the cheapest guitar on the market. The reason why is because I got it painted by a friend of mine, this particular guitar, and I really loved the paint job that he did on it, so I wanted to play it live, and it was a Squier Strat.

To be honest, a lot of people ask me why I play Squiers and not Fenders or why the cheaper models. It’s just kind of what I’ve gotten used to. I never could afford a Fender when I started, so I just got used to playing the cheaper ones and learning how to get the best sound from those cheaper ones.

Learning what you can get away with and more importantly what you can’t get away with on those cheaper ones was an important part of my development.

It’s as is. It’s a Squier Affinity Strat, with the fat headstock. I don’t think they make those anymore, but I bought it a few years ago. There’s no changes, it’s stock standard what you’d probably go into a store and buy for about $150, $200. In my opinion, the neck pickup — and this might change depending on the actual make of the Squier — but the neck pickup is really good and I think you can get away with making it sound like a Strat with the neck pickup and actually the bridge pickup, too.

But the middle pickup is not so good and the changes between the neck and the middle and the middle and the bridge, those switches don’t sound good at all. So it’s more about finding the right setting and knowing you can’t really go onto those other settings even if you wanted to, and to be honest I don’t really need to, because the Stratocaster is so versatile.

I had a traditional pedalboard with all the different kinds of pedals that I need for my sound, but just the logistics of taking that on planes and things like that [was too difficult].

I already have a whole bunch of equipment just for my own live show, I was paying so much for excess baggage, it’s changed now that I have some deals with Virgin, they give you musician baggage allowance, but before I didn’t really know about anything like that.

So I really had to simplify my setup and find the right gear that was really light and that’s able to travel and not break. So I’ve changed from pedalboards to multi-effects units. So I use Zoom Multi Effects units and with the right amount of tweaking, I really like them.

They’re clones of the Big Muff and Buzz Fuzz and compression pedals and digital delays, and it sounds really good if you just spend the time tweaking it. It’s so much easier to set up at a gig when you’ve only got 10 minutes to set up.

The gear doesn’t really influence the songwriting, because the songwriting doesn’t really rely on my gear. I just kind of go with what I’m feeling for the song or what I have in mind. I don’t really loop anything. I play bass or drums or keyboard and layer it down like a traditional band would.

That doesn’t really influence my songwriting, but it does influence the recording process, because you can’t change the sound of the guitar that much. You can always process it, add you fuzz and delays, but essentially the sound is coming from the same source, so the recording process is limited to what instruments you have and what you can use to make sounds.

I think a lot of it is just people knowing how to mic and amp properly, because a lot of people that I see, they just stick an SM57 (mic) in the middle of the cone.
There’s nothing wrong with that, you can get away with that, but if you’re going for like the big tones or the fuzz that I like on my records, the really wide fuzz that covers the whole spectrum of the recording, you really have to experiment how to get really bassy tones or how to capture the stereo field of that amp.

And you don’t necessarily need two mics to do it, it’s just in how you go about using your gear. When you’re first starting out, you’re always looking for, “Oh, what else can I do or get?” instead of actually learning the instrument. You’re kind of more focused on what cool stuff you can do, and there’s so many pedals out there these days that can make your guitar sound like whatever you want.

You can even add MIDI pickups to your guitar and play keyboard with your guitar, there’s so much you can do. And I think maybe some of the people starting out get caught up with what you can do instead of what you should do, which is learning your instrument. But I understand it, because it’s cool, it’s cool what you can do with your guitar.

I always have to use a lot of noise suppression and noise gating on my guitar signal and sometimes on the bass signal, and that’s another problem with the Squier, actually, it feeds back a lot.

So you kind of really have to gate it if you’re driving the amp and the fuzz really hard, because that’ll come back in your monitors on stage and that’ll go through your guitar and everything will start squealing. So a lot of noise gating and noise suppression helps me get a really clean fuzz tone and helps tame the monster.