Posts Tagged ‘Death Valley Girls’

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As possibly foretold in some lost gospel of Christianity, the children shall lead Death Valley Girls, as a choir of dirty-faced urchins chanting “Under The Spell of Joy” , under the spell of love” ushers in the galvanizing title track to their latest supernatural garage-rock revelation.

In what feels like an ecstatic and exuberant spiritual awakening, their mesmerizing march erupts into a wild, psychedelic fury of slashing guitars, violent skronk, crazed keyboards and incessant drums blowing in from parts unknown. For all of its breath taking might and crashing energy, it’s also incredibly uplifting and empowering, espousing everything that’s good and inspiring about communal, fire-and-brimstone punk rock experiences.

Volunteers should sign up in droves to follow the life-affirming Under the Spell of Joy, its jubilant cup of smoggy enlightenment and ghostly illumination overflowing in the aftermath of their last LP, the thrilling Darkness Rainsand its stormy seances. Opening with the rapturous “Hypnagogia,” Under The Spell of Joy is an album full of captivating siren songs, with the repetitive groove of “It All Washes Away,” an upbeat, hooky “Little Things” and the whirling, motoring “Dream Cleaver” all saved by the Velvet Underground’s more accessible rock and roll art. Tripping through the lysergic wonder of “The Universe,” Death Valley Girls return to earth with the ‘60s swing of “Bliss Out” and the primitive pounding and scratching of “10 Day Miracle Challenge.” Dirty organ clouds mushroom everywhere, with cool saxophone either lazily drifting through the air or erupting in frenzied chaos. This will give Iggy Pop goose bumps.

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Death Valley Girls have again dipped into their sacred well of mystical music, pulling from its murky waters a new incantation with a sweeping title, “The Universe,” and their deliciously droney sound (with some twists). Yes, it still feels as if the L.A. quartet is casting spells as much as making rock ’n’ roll.

With 2018 album Darkness Rains, Los Angeles garage rockers Death Valley Girls gave us a clever flat-Earther parody and the unforgettable image of Iggy Pop eating a hamburger, Andy Warhol-style. Today they’re back to announce their new album Under the Spell Of Joy. This time there’s no comparable iconic imagery attached to speak of — unless you count their incredible new band photo below — but lead single “The Universe” more than holds its own as a blast of hypnotic, sax-blaring rock ‘n’ roll.

The band’s Bonnie Bloomgarden offered this statement on the new album, which was initially inspired by Ethiopian funk records, and “The Universe” in particular:

Under the Spell of Joy is a space-gospel record. We believe we served as channels for what we think are guides. As we learn what the songs are about we realize they are meant to be sang like chants, hymns, or spells. Most of the songs were recorded with 12 voices, including a kids choir! We are learning that words with intention and energy hold so much power, especially when said or sang with a group. “The Universe” is a song to sing, a space to be, a time to think, remember, and truly feel that not only are we all connected, but we are also being guided.

Death Valley Girls “Under the Spell of Joy” out October 2nd, 2020, on Suicide Squeeze Records

While singer and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel knew their intention for the album before a single note was written, the actual nature and direction of the music was a mystery. The initial inspiration for the record came from the jubilant spirit of Ethiopian funk records the band had been listening to on tour, but once they began to channel the songs it seemed like the music came from somewhere not in the past but in the future. In the weeks leading up to recording, Death Valley Girls relied on their subconscious and effortlessly conjured Under the Spell of Joy’s eleven tracks as if they’d tapped into the Akashic Chronicle and pulled the music from the ether.

LA’s indie mystical punks Death Valley Girls with their new album Under the Spell of Joy, out today via Suicide Squeeze. “Under the Spell of Joy is a space-gospel record,” said vocalist/guitarist Bonnie Bloomgarden of the album and lead single “The Universe.” “We believe we served as channels for what we think are guides. As we learn what the songs are about we realize they are meant to be sang like chants, hymns, or spells. Most of the songs were recorded with 12 voices, including a kids choir! We are learning that words with intention and energy hold so much power, especially when said or sang with a group. “The Universe” is a song to sing, a space to be, a time to think, remember, and truly feel that not only are we all connected, but we are also being guided.”

The album opens with “Hypnagogia,” an ode to the space between sleep and wakefulness where we are open to other realms of consciousness. The song slowly builds along a steady pulse provided by bassist Pickle (Nicole Smith) and drummer Rikki Styxx. Tripped out saxophone bleats from guest player Gabe Flores swirl on top of the organ drones laid out by guest keyboardist Gregg Foreman. The band’s choral objectives for Under the Spell of Joy are established right off the bat, with Bloomgarden’s melodic invocations bolstered by a choir, giving the album a rich and vibrant wall-of-sound aesthetic.

The song ominously builds on its hypnotic foundation until it opens up into a raucous revelry at the four-minute mark. The portentous simmer of the opening track yields to the ecstatic rocker “Hold My Hand,” where verses reminiscent of Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting For The Man” explode into big triumphant choruses. From there the band launches into the title track, which marries the griminess of The Stooges with an innocence provided by a children’s choir chanting the album’s primary mantra “under the spell of joy / under the spell of love.”

Death Valley Girls have always vacillated between lightness and darkness, and on “Bliss Out” they demonstrate their current exuberant focus with a patina-hued pop song driven by an irrepressibly buoyant organ line laid down by keyboardist The Kid (Laura Kelsey). A similar cosmic euphoria is obtained on “The Universe,” where alternating chords on the organ help elevate soaring saxophone and keyboard lines out beyond the stratosphere. If you’re looking for transcendental rock music, look no further. 

Released October 2nd, 2020

Death Valley Girls are an indie rock quartet from Los Angeles, Calif. Through their punk-infused, fuzzy garage rock sound, they’ve caught the attention of Iggy Pop, who’s called the group “a gift to the world.” He even starred in their video for the single “Disaster (Is What We’re After).”  While singer and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel knew their intention for the album before a single note was written, the actual nature and direction of the music was a mystery. The initial inspiration for the record came from the jubilant spirit of Ethiopian funk records the band had been listening to on tour, but once they began to channel the songs it seemed like the music came from somewhere not in the past but in the future. In the weeks leading up to recording, Death Valley Girls relied on their subconscious and effortlessly conjured Under the Spell of Joy’s eleven tracks as if they’d tapped into the Akashic Chronicle and pulled the music from the ether.

The rockers have teamed up with the legendary shoe company Dr. Martens for a special mini-doc as part of their new Dr. Martens Music & Film SeriesIn the video, vocalist Bonnie Bloomgarden, guitarist Larry Schemel, bassist Nikki Pickle and drummer Rikki Styxx give a brief summary of their mission as a band, and there are also clips of the energetic live performances.

Death Valley girls recently released their new single “Dream Cleaver,”

“Making music and being in a band is like a religious conviction,” the band said in a Q&A with Dr. Martens. “We are nomads for most of the year, and a gang, and that’s the way we like it! When you travel around spreading the good word of rock and roll you are like a missionary!”. The album opens with “Hypnagogia,” an ode to the space between sleep and wakefulness where we are open to other realms of consciousness. The song slowly builds along a steady pulse provided by bassist Pickle (Nicole Smith) and drummer Rikki Styxx. Tripped out saxophone bleats from guest player Gabe Flores swirl on top of the organ drones laid out by guest keyboardist Gregg Foreman.

The band’s choral objectives for Under the Spell of Joy are established right off the bat, with Bloomgarden’s melodic invocations bolstered by a choir, giving the album a rich and vibrant wall-of-sound aesthetic. The song ominously builds on its hypnotic foundation until it opens up into a raucous revelry at the four-minute mark. The portentous simmer of the opening track yields to the ecstatic rocker “Hold My Hand,” where verses reminiscent of Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting For The Man” explode into big triumphant choruses. From there the band launches into the title track, which marries the griminess of The Stooges with an innocence provided by a children’s choir chanting the album’s primary mantra “under the spell of joy / under the spell of love.”

Death Valley Girls have always vacillated between lightness and darkness, and on “Bliss Out” they demonstrate their current exuberant focus with a patina-hued pop song driven by an irrepressibly buoyant organ line laid down by keyboardist The Kid (Laura Kelsey). A similar cosmic euphoria is obtained on “The Universe,” where alternating chords on the organ help elevate soaring saxophone and keyboard lines out beyond the stratosphere. If you’re looking for transcendental rock music, look no further.

Death Valley Girls Under the Spell of Joy out October 2nd, 2020, on Suicide Squeeze Records

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Psychedelic rock purveyors Death Valley Girls have anchored the Los Angeles scene for several years now – combining combustible, gazy proto-punk and desert-blasted metal with a witchy, occult-laced intensity. The Bonnie Bloomgarden-fronted band’s last album was 2018’s gloriously scuzzy and hyper-charged Darkness Rains. And now today, the group has shared the gazy and cosmic new track “The Universe,” the lead single off their newly-announced and highly-anticipated LP Under the Spell of Joy.

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”. Detouring slightly from their revved up, propulsive garage-psych stylings, “The Universe” is a slithery and marauding track full of experimental edges – trading in power chords for soaring saxophones and droning keyboards. It’s a spacey song that revels in every gritty sonic layer as Bloomgarden croons and serenades the cosmos in haunting, meditative fashion. It’s another hypnotizing track that demonstrates Death Valley Girls’ knack for pushing their sonic boundaries.

On the new LP, Bloomgarden shared: “The world is crazy right now and it feels like we should be doing more than just trying to perpetuate joy. I think music becomes a part of you. Like Black Sabbath’s first record is as much a part of me as my own music. I think you can listen to music or song to get lost in it, or you can listen to music to find something in your self or the world that either you never had or just went missing. I want people to sing to this record, make it their own, and focus on manifesting their dreams as much as they can!”

Under the Spell of Joy arrives on October 2nd via Suicide Squeeze.

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.

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“Under the Spell of Joy” is a space-gospel record. While singer and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel knew their intention for the album before a single note was written, the actual nature and direction of the music was a mystery. The initial inspiration for the record came from the jubilant spirit of Ethiopian funk records the band had been listening to on tour, but once they began to channel the songs it seemed like the music came from somewhere not in the past but in the future. In the weeks leading up to recording, Death Valley Girls relied on their subconscious and effortlessly conjured Under the Spell of Joy’s eleven tracks as if they’d tapped into the Akashic Chronicle and pulled the music from the ether.

The album opens with Hypnagogia, an ode to the space between sleep and wakefulness where we are open to other realms of consciousness. The song slowly builds along a steady pulse provided by bassist Pickle (Nicole Smith) and drummer Rikki Styxx. Tripped out saxophone bleats from guest player Gabe Flores swirl on top of the organ drones laid out by guest keyboardist Gregg Foreman. The band’s choral objectives for Under the Spell of Joy are established right off the bat, with Bloomgarden’s melodic invocations bolstered by a choir, giving the album a rich and vibrant wall-of-sound aesthetic. The song ominously builds on its hypnotic foundation until it opens up into a raucous revelry at the four-minute mark. The portentous simmer of the opening track yields to the ecstatic rocker Hold My Hand, where verses reminiscent of Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For The Man explode into big triumphant choruses. From there the band launches into the title track, which marries the griminess of The Stooges with an innocence provided by a children’s choir chanting the album’s primary mantra “under the spell of joy / under the spell of love.”

Death Valley Girls have always vacillated between lightness and darkness, and on Bliss Out they demonstrate their current exuberant focus with a patina-hued pop song driven by an irrepressibly buoyant organ line laid down by keyboardist The Kid (Laura Kelsey). A similar cosmic euphoria is obtained on The Universe, where alternating chords on the organ help elevate soaring saxophone and keyboard lines out beyond the stratosphere. If you’re looking for transcendental rock music, look no further.

Under the Spell of Joy out October 2nd, 2020, on Suicide Squeeze Records

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 on June 12th, 2020.
Released June 12th, 2020

Based on your current station in our technological age, Death Valley Girls’ fusion of feral proto-punk, ‘70s scuzz dirges, and third eye mysticism is either completely at odds with your worldview or utterly revelatory. Words like “retro” or “old school” convey a starry eyed nostalgia that do a disservice to the band’s harnessing of primal instrumentation and communal reverberations—if something in Death Valley Girls’ sound harkens to the past, it’s only in an attempt to dislodge us from the static of the present. That dedication to lifting the veil of modern illusions continues with their current single “Dream Cleaver”—a rousing anthem in praise of psychonaut and ethnobotonist Terrence McKenna, his research on “the spirit molecule” DMT, and the possibility of trans-dimensional travel. Lest one thinks that this is some blissed out cosmic ride on new age synth pads, be aware that “Dream Cleaver” is an unapologetic stone-cold rocker—an unabashed orgy of Farfisa organ hooks, Larry Schemels’ hypnotic and propulsive guitar chords, hallucinatory sax lines, and Bonnie Bloomgarden’s call-to-arms vocals. If you need to get elevated, take a three-minute dose of “Dream Cleaver”.
released August 9, 2019

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,