Posts Tagged ‘California’

At the core of Death Valley Girls, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel channel a modern spin on Fun House’s sonic exorcisms, ZZ Top’s desert-blasted riffage, and Sabbath’s occult menace. On their third album Darkness Rains, Death Valley Girls churn out the hypercharged scuzzy rock every generation yearns for, but there is a more subversive force percolating beneath the surface that imbues the band with an exhilarating cosmic energy.

Album opener “More Dead” is a rousing wake up call, with a hypnotic guitar riff and an intoxicating blown-out solo underscoring Bloomgarden’s proclamation that you’re “more dead than alive.” The pace builds with “(One Less Thing) Before I Die”, a distillate of Detroit’s proto-punk sound. At track three, Death Valley Girls hit their stride with “Disaster (Is What We’re After)”, a rager that takes the most boisterous moments off Exile On Main Street and injects it with Zeppelin’s devil’s-note blues. Darkness Rains retains its intoxicating convocations across ten tracks, climaxing with the hypnotic guitar drones and cult-like chants of “TV In Jail On Mars”.

Released October 5th, 2018,
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2019 is shaping up to be quite the year for Shab Ferdowsi, who is the singer/songwriter behind the “fuzzy guitar pop” act Blushh. With a headlining/festival run coming up in a few days in Los Angeles, Blushh has decided to grace us with a brand new single ahead of their upcoming tour dates.  Blushh gave listeners an inkling of what to expect from future releases with their one-off single, “All My Friends.”

The poignant, yet melodic, new single follows the release of the band’s latest EPs, 2017’s It’s Fine and 2018’s Thx 4 Asking. Of the new song, Shab Ferdowsi shared in a press release:

“Last year I moved back into my parent’s house for about 10 months. I was 20 miles away from all my friends, and I slowly but surely started spending more nights at home than I did hanging out. I was caught between not wanting to go out to begin with and starting to feel detached, both physically and emotionally, from my social life. Safe to say that’s probably where this song stemmed from, lyrically.

Sonically, this is the beginning of the most collaborative work Blushh has seen to date. I spent months with my band working on a batch of new songs, which is something I’ve never done before. The gang vocals kill me every time and I hope they rip your hearts out too.”

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“All My Friends” marks our first taste of new music since 2018, and it looks as though we won’t have to wait much longer for new releases from the group. Per the press release, the band recently completed recording on their first full-length album

The Warlocks started because of the their mutual love of all things Rock and Roll. We love a lot of the 60s, 70s and some 80s inspired music. We are not a retro band though. We all always try new stuff and from time to time hit something great.

Mean Machine Music is the highly experimental new album from L.A.’s spellbinding psych rock masters, The Warlocks! ,  Inspired by everything from Stereolab to Krautrock to Death Rock, this album presents 5 new compositions and then revisits those songs for instrumental reprises that reveal deep layers of melody and atmosphere! .  Engineered by Phillip Haut (Ariel Pink, Centimeters)! .
Follows on the heels 2016’s extremely well-received Songs From The Pale Eclipse as well as the band’s first ever official live album Vevey released in 2017! ,
Released May 31st, 2019

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The Warlocks return with “MEAN MACHINE MUSIC”, Their first studio album in 3 years.
The mighty Warlocks return on May 31st to melt minds with their own unique brand of dark psychedelia, served as only these purveyors of fine fuzz can offer. But let’s hear about what we have here, straight from the source!
The brave beware! This is no ordinary record by The Warlocks. It’s an experiment. We were inspired to do a heavy Stereolab, Neu, Death-Rock, Krautrock thing but struggled to get the drums and everything to sound good. After too much tweaking from start to finish (hence “Mean Machine Music”) we finally managed to finish the recording with our engineer Phillip Haut (Ariel Pink, Centimeters, Fancy Space People). I’ve always been proud the fact that for the most part we can try new things and get something out of it. We got shit for doing Doo-Wop type stuff which ended up on Surgery. We got shit for the discombobulated Heavy Deavy Skull Lover. Looking back that stuff still stands up! You choose and judge for yourself dear listener! There are def some nuggets in here like “Disfigured Figure” – super weird. It’s a curiosity that I had to wrestle with leaving on my computer or put it out. The fine folks at Cleopatra say “it’s good” and to “release it!” an d so it is. Enjoy! – Bobby Hecksher / The Warlocks – Feb 2019.
Mean Machine Music will be available everywhere starting May 31st via Cleopatra Records.

The Marias are meticulous. Every element of the Los Angeles band there is a vibe as vintage as it is fresh and new, and it feels natural, unthinkingly but supremely cool. There’s a formula here — but somehow, nothing about The Marías feels formulaic.

Superclean Vol 1.released in early November 2018, feels like velvet grazed against the skin — chill bumps included. Combining bossa nova, funk, coquettish 60s yé-yé, lounge, and psychedelic dream pop, The Marías offer a sultry pastiche, an instantly likable meld guided by the kind of soft-soothing vocals . It’s the first EP for the band, a debut built on the seemingly fated meeting of singer María — as an artist, she uses her first name only — and drummer-producer Josh Conway.

The gloomy video for “ABQ,” a track from The Marías’ second EP, Superclean Vol. II, mirrors that feeling, Anxiety is a sneaky, shapeshifting thing on your mind. It can be profoundly intense to the point of physical debilitation; other times it’s a looming, creeping sensation of paranoia, negativity, fear, and insecurity slithering snake-like through your thoughts.and unsurprisingly, singer María penned this slow-march during an anxious state while traveling in a van on the band’s first tour.

“I remember recording vocals and having to go underneath a blanket so that no one could hear or see me,” she says in a press statement.

In the video, women cloaked in hooded capes surround María like a black cloud, even when she seems to be in the clear and calm, standing strong in brighter light alongside a horse and wearing a white gown. These cloaked figures are an allusion to that blanket, which became María’s safe haven on tour.

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Working for a fourth time with director Ian Lipton, María co-directed “ABQ,” and together they convey the eternal mental tension of living with anxiety. In the moments where the cloaked women surrounding María look directly to the camera, though, it’s startling: a jolt to the viewer that cuts through the bleak color palette. Each moment of intentional focus feels like an acknowledgment, a spark of awareness that anxiety is conquerable. Eliminating it altogether may not be possible, but with effort, we can better control it.

Directed, produced, written and edited by María and Ian Lipton

Formed in Los Angeles in late 2016, The Marías have hypnotic guitar riffs, smoke– velvet vocals and nostalgic horn solos, there’s something undeniably sensual in the group’s dreamlike fusion of jazz, psychedelia, funk and lounge.

Vocals/guitar – Maria
Drums/vox/producer – Josh
Lead guitar/vox – Jesse Perlman
Bass – Carter Lee
Keys – Edward James

The Marias

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Eight tracks into Patience’s debut synth-pop LP, Dizzy Spells, singer/producer Roxanne Clifford is suddenly joined by a second voice, one that complements her airy choruses and misty-eyed melodies with cloudy French phrases. Fans of Clifford’s former band, Veronica Falls, may recognize the guest’s name if they take a look at the liner notes: Marion Herbain, who was the former Veronica Falls bassist. While the band essentially ceased to exist in 2014—when their social media accounts went silent—the two stayed in touch and are still very close friends.

“She has a great voice,” says Clifford. “I intend to persuade her to sing more songs with me, and hope she’ll join me on tour in the U.K. this June.”

There’s a reason for this. Unlike other projects that start in a home studio and get lost in translation onstage, Patience’s shows aren’t limited to a laptop and a mic stand. They’re an ever-evolving affair, involving a reel-to-reel player, live synths, and clean guitar chords, and often rounded out by guests who can help bring Clifford’s layered harmonies and head-circling hooks to life. Smoke machines, proper lighting, and a decent sound system certainly don’t hurt, either.

“Having a couple friends sing backup with me is wonderful,” says Clifford. “It adds to the energy of the show, sounds great, and I have people to dance with.”

Therein lies the contradiction with Patience. Though it’s her face and hers alone on the album cover, Clifford isn’t looking to hide out solo in a bedroom, surrounded by drum machines, keyboards, and samplers. She misses “the gang mentality of being in a band and the confidence that brings,” as well as the immediacy of being able to just pick up a guitar and play.

“I long for the magical organic excitement that comes from playing in a fully live band,” she admits. “When it comes together, it’s a feeling I can’t really get any other way. But I also don’t feel ready to recruit band members or start hauling a backline around with me just yet.”

As for how she went from writing guitar-centric goth songs with Veronica Falls (“Beachy “Found Love in a Graveyard,” “Beachy Head”) to embracing the dancing-while-crying electronics of Patience, Clifford credits a simple Korg Micro Preset synth from the late ’70s. A key element in some of her favorite songs—including ones by OMD and the cult Belgian act Bernthøler—it provided the foundation for her early solo experiments, along with a Roland TR-505 drum machine. While it took her some time to create a compelling and cohesive vision with such “time-consuming and infuriating” equipment, Clifford found the creative process surrounding her new sonic palette liberating. Doubly so, given the time that passed between Veronica Falls’ last album (2013’s Waiting For Something to Happen) and Patience’s early singles (2016’s “The Church,” “The Pressure,” and 2017’s “White of an Eye”). Pursuing a new sound removed the weight of expectations from the equation. The trickiest part of putting Dizzy Spells together was technical obstacles—hangups indie rock acts don’t really have to deal with.

“It doesn’t feel hugely rewarding for me to get wrapped up in the nuances of an oscillator,” says Clifford. “Or to figure out how to program a sequencer properly; I’m too impatient. I usually have a very clear [idea] of how I want something to sound, yet getting to that point can be a different story.

She continues, “I’m learning more as I go, and it’s been important to have people help me with that side of things where possible. I’m also trying to embrace a more experimental approach to songwriting; letting happy accidents lead me somewhere new has felt freeing…. One element alone can be the tiny piece to make everything fit together in a pleasing way.”

And that’s what Dizzy Spells is: an avant-pop and Italo disco-inspired puzzle that fits together perfectly, despite being developed over several years and countless recording sessions. Clifford also worked with such welcome collaborators as U.K. garage icon Todd Edwards (see also: several Daft Punk singles), Free Love co-founder Lewis Cook, and engineer Misha Hering (Virginia Wing), although the end result is distinctly hers

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“I chose the title Dizzy Spells because it suggests these disparate events acting as a whole,” she explains, “telling the story so far and mapping the ebbs and flows. There’s something special about that in and of itself, but I wanted the listening experience to feel immersive, the way an album should.”

Patience’s next round of material is poised to further their narrative, taking her “Gemini tendencies” to new heights without having to wait for the approval of other parties—especially since she now has her own label called Winona Records. Impromptu collabs may emerge on the imprint in the near future, but a Veronica Falls reunion is off the table after the passing of drummer Patrick Doyle last year. Forming another group with Herbain and former Veronica Falls guitarist James Hoare isn’t likely either, despite the creative spark they all share.

Patrick’s death hit us all very hard,” says Clifford. “It’s something that I am still coming to terms with. It’s impossible not to have a spiral of regrets in moments like this. But we’ve all tried to focus on the brilliant times we had together and how cherished they feel in retrospect…. Sharing the memory of someone helps to come to terms with the immense loss that you feel.”

Dizzy Spells will be available in the U.S.A. from Winona Records,


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It’s easy to get caught up in an undertow, pulled down into the water, weightless and directionless. The current stirs and you lose your way. But eventually, if you’re lucky and patient, you can float back up to the surface and take a breath. This is my first new music in a while – my gulp of air. Many talented friends joined me, the basic tracks were recorded live together for the first time in my recording career. This felt good. Jason Quever recorded it in Los Angeles, December of 2018. Thanks for listening.
Releases May 10th, 2019

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Written By Mikal Cronin

Performed By:
Mikal Cronin – Vocals, Guitar, Bouzouki, Saxophones, William Tyler – Guitar , Shannon Lay – Vocals, Ryan Weinstein – Bass, Heidi Alexander – Vocals, Marc Riordan – Drums, Jordan Katz – Trumpet, David Ralicke – Trombone

The Los Angeles singer/songwriter Christian Lee Hutson has shared a new single, “Northsiders,” taken from his forthcoming, currently untitled album. The LP was produced by none other than Phoebe Bridgers, a frequent collaborator of Hutson’s. “Northsiders” features Hutson’s kindhearted vocal melodies, light acoustic guitar plucks and rousing strings that linger in the background. In his lyrics, Hutson masterfully mixes witty, dark humor with observational sentimentality.  Hutson began his musical career as a member of The Driftwood Singers, he is a current member of Jenny Lewis’s Band.

Lyrical highlights include “We were so pretentious then / Didn’t trust the government / Said that we were communists / And thought that we invented it,” “Tried cocaine at my cousin’s house / I’m probably addicted now” and “Morrissey apologists / Amateur psychologists / Serial monogamists / We went to different colleges.” Underlying all the droll comedy is a sobering reality—the kind of realization that makes you pull over your car to shed a few tears before pulling yourself back together (“Nothing’s going to change it now”). Hutson is the kind of songwriter that you’ll want to root for—painfully relatable lyrics, comforting melodies and a sharp-witted personality that money can’t buy

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Dreaming The Dark”; the long anticipated follow up to 2017’s “Cranekiss” isn’t exactly what I thought it would be, but that might be a good thing. Tamaryn has continued to change her sound throughout her career, exploring new territory as she goes; which has made her an artist to stay connected with and to watch. I tend to get bored with artists who don’t somehow grow and change. Some listeners want that “standard” band sound, but I appreciate never quite knowing what to expect.

This album is even more firmly synthpop than “Cranekiss” was; which teetered on the genre as well as dreampop. There are still many dreamy elements presents in “Dreaming The Dark” but it has an overall more 80’s throwback and dance vibe. This album also seems much more personal, delving into Tamaryn’s psyche with different topics for each song. “Cranekiss” seemed to be a sexy, romantic album overall; at times seeming like a very steamy love letter. “Dreaming The Dark” covers more territory and is done in a very calculated way, making those different threads still weave themselves into a cohesive complete set; a solid album in it’s entirety.

The early released singles, “Fits of Rage” and “Angels of Sweat” seem to have lots of nods to strong female indie rock vocalists who came before. I got impressions of Tori AmosKate Bush, and even Bjork upon listening, given the certain ways in which Tamaryn chose to deliver her vocals. Regardless of if you hear those echoes or not, there is a fierceness and tenacity that has not been as present in Tamaryn’s prior work. There are some great collaborative moments here as well, as The Horrors worked with her on “Path to Love”; as well as provided a remix to that song, and Jorge Elbrecht is still very much involved and helped to produce the album.

Other stand-out tracks include “You’re Adored” which Tamaryn shared via her Instagram page is an ode to her beloved dog, Tennessee; who had been struggling with cancer and sadly now has passed away. It’s a forelorn lovesong asking someone to stay when you know that they are fading away. The closing title track also stands strong and is the perfect summary of “Dreaming The Dark” as a whole.
As I mentioned above, this album wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, and upon initial listening, didn’t strike me a hard as “Cranekiss” did. However, I am finding the more time I spent listening, the more I appreciate it and it’s absolutely growing on me. Maybe I’m not quite ready to move away from those beautiful, yet frivolous love songs and dig a little deeper.

A swirly cocktail of new wave and dreampop. Tamaryn’s new album pushes her into the kinds of territory I’d like to hear more artists exploring.  A perfect album to kick off spring! Love the New Wave vibe it’s got. Catchy songs, crafty songwriting with hypnotic vocals.

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“Dreaming The Dark” by Tamaryn. 
Dedicated to Matt Irwin.
Released March 22nd, 2019

L.a. witch octubre clean version

Produced by Gregg Foreman (Cat Power, Delta 72). L.A. Witch’s eponymous debut album tapped into the allure of warm nights on the West Coast while hinting at the loneliness and lawlessness of living on the periphery of a country founded on a dark past. The three-piece composed of Sade Sanchez, Irita Pai, and Ellie English culled sounds from the outlaws of warmer climes, whether it was 13th Floor Elevators’ lysergic rock n’ roll or the cool hand fatalism by The Doors on songs like The End. It’s an album transmitting subdued revelry while also smirking at the inevitable consequences of the night.

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There is no better season for these kinds of songs than the autumn, when the promises of summer have abated and the nights of reckoning grow longer. L.A. Witch seized the moment by revisiting some of their early tracks and reshaping them into Octubre, a five-song EP that delves deeper into their darker side.

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With only two EPs and some stray singles, grungy LA four-piece Goon have garnered a devoted fanbase and compelling sound. They released Happy Omen back in 2017, following their debut EP Dusk Of Punk the previous year. Goon have now shared a new single, “Datura” and a glitched out, saturated Vinyl Williams-directed music video.

“Datura” is heavier than Goon’s classic ’90s-indebted rock, but preserves their lo-fi fuzz. “This song isn’t really about any one thing. It touches a lot of different weird ideas,” singer and guitarist Kenny Becker says in a statement.

The original melodic idea for the song was just to make a tune that had a chorus with a bass line that revolved around three notes, only half-steps apart. The rest of the song moves around quite a bit and I’ve always really liked that contrast.

I wanted to have the chorus never use any repeating phrases, which led to stream-of-consciousness style lyrics. Because of that, this song isn’t really about any one thing. It touches a lot of different weird ideas. Like datura flowers that grew in the canyon near the house that I grew up in, or questioning the effectiveness of praying for god to take away stomach pain of an old friend.

“The original melodic idea for the song was just to make a tune that had a chorus with a bass line that revolved around three notes, only half-steps apart. The rest of the song moves around quite a bit and I’ve always really liked that contrast.

I wanted to have the chorus never use any repeating phrases, which led to sorta stream-of-consciousness style lyrics. Because of that, this song isn’t really about any one thing. It sorta touches a lot of different weird ideas. Like datura flowers that grew in the canyon near the house that I grew up in, or questioning the effectiveness of praying for god to take away stomach pain of an old friend.”

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Band Members
Kenny Becker , Drew Eccleston, Christian Koons, Caleb Wicker

released March 21st, 2019