Posts Tagged ‘LA Witch’

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Though the band hails from Los Angeles, they do not partake in any sort of witchcraft. Yet their ability to conjure a specific time and place through their sound does suggest a kind of magic. On their eponymous debut album, L.A. Witch’s reverb-drenched guitar jangle and sultry vocals conjure the analog sound of a collector’s prized 45 from some short-lived footnote cult band. The melodies forgo the bubblegum pop for a druggy haze that straddles the line between seedy glory and ominous balladry; the production can’t afford Phil Spector’s wall-of-sound, but the instruments’ simple beauty provides an economic grace that renders studio trickery unnecessary; the lyrics seem more descendent of Johnny Cash’s first-person morality tales than the vacuous empty gestures of pre-fab pop bands.

This isn’t music for the masses; it’s music for miscreants, burnouts, down-and-out dreamers, and obsessive historians. Album opener Kill My Baby Tonight is the perfect introduction to the band’s marriage of ‘60s girls-in-the-garage charm and David Lynch’s surreal exposés of Southern California’s underbelly. Sade Sanchez’s black velvet vocals disguise the malicious intent of this murder ballad, with the thumping pulse of bassist Irita Pai, the slow-burn build of drummer Ellie English, and Sanchez’s desert guitar twang helping beguile the listener into becoming a willing accomplice to the narrator’s crimes. Brian follows the opening track with a similarly graceful, if not somewhat ominous, slow-mo take on a well-worn jukebox 7”. It’s a vibe that permeates the entire album, from the early psychedelic hue of 13th Floor Elevators on tracks like You Love Nothing, through the motorik beat and fuzzed-out licks of Drive Your Car, to the grittier permutation of Mazzy Star’s sleepy beauty on Baby In Blue Jeans.

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The band hailing from Los Angeles  are a special kind of hazy fuzzed out evening. Like the moments before a storm here they feel eery and exciting. New track ‘Brian’ is proof of that. Recently signed to Suicide Squeeze Records the trio seem to have something special up their sleeve.

‘Brian’ is a slow burner. It reverbs across the cavernous heated airspace and drags the star shine with it. Feeling at times moody and untouchable it softens at the edges and lets you in to a smoky and darkened descent with a smile on its face.

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This new slice of their reverb-soaked punk sounds with a new single ‘Brian’! The band will be headlining a full UK and European tour in February and March.

It’s easy to forget that just a few decades ago, the only viable means for penetrating the golden glamour of Los Angeles was via the dusty trail of Route 66. And just as the arteries of the interstate latched onto the thumping heart of California, so too came the amplified sounds of a new restless generation. There was acid on the streets and revolution in the air, but there were also Hell’s Angels in the alleys and Manson’s family on the desert periphery. It was an age of innocence, beauty, and opportunity, with an underbelly of lawlessness and depravity. And it had a soundtrack.

It’s impossible to listen to L.A. Witch and not hear echoes of that time. The sound of dusty neon and the first dim-lit bars of Sunset ring out with every reverb-drenched note. The juxtaposition of Hollywood allure and Skid Row desperation throbs in every three-chord riff. And the perilous wager of temptation lies in every sultry vocal melody. Yes, L.A. is the land of sunshine, but it also harbors a certain kind of dangerous magic. And no one seems to understand that more clearly than the three women of L.A. Witch. Whether they’re conjuring the downtrodden cowpunk of The Gun Club, the seedy metropolitan balladry of Velvet Underground, or the beefed-up blues of Black Sabbath, L.A. Witch remind us of that exhilarating revelation that a city can elevate you just as quickly as it can grind you into the dirt.

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It definitely takes attitude to name your band L.A. Witch and that attitude comes through in the band’s music. Dark, mysterious and very clearly influenced by psychedelia, L.A. Witch’s named alludes to both the music and motifs the band puts out.

“The original line up was all girls with really long dark hair and we wore all black. It seemed kind of witchy and mysterious and beautiful,” vocalist and guitarist Sade Sanchez says. “You know, a witch is automatically thought of as female and it can be good or evil but it is a powerful kind of woman. Plus there aren’t a lot of people wearing all black in L.A.”

Although drummer Ellie English wasn’t in the original band line-up, they have been playing as the current trio with Irita Pai on bass and organ as well for over two years. Pai says the band’s interest in darker things has been a lifelong theme.

“It represents the dark side of human nature,” she says. “When I was little everyone else would be watching rom-coms and I’d just want to watch some scary weird horror movie.

“I feel like we are who we are on stage,” Pai continues. “We don’t try to be anything.”

Just before English joined the line-up, L.A. Witch release a three-song self titled and self released EP, which was later picked up and released digitally by Manimals—a label that represents Warpaint, Death Valley Girls and Bat for Lashes to name a few.

Although the band currently only has those three songs released, it’s fair to say those three songs have impressed. Ranging from tripped out rocking psych revival to melancholy dark folk and even moments of stoner metal peeking in, it’s clear that whatever L.A. Witch is going for it’s going to be a little more morose and somber than some of the other psych bands out there.

“I think it’s really easy to group everything as psych sometimes, a lot of Lollipop bands have a lot of garage or a lot of pop influence as well,” Sanchez says. “That’s one thing—we’re not really pop.” So if they’re not pop, what are they?

“It’s really raw. It’s not necessarily upbeat or something you can dance to or mosh to or whatever,” she continues. “It’s the kind of thing you really have to pay attention to.”

In terms of inspiration, the band pulls from everything from Nirvana and ‘90s female alternative acts to ’60s psych and ‘90s neo-psych to horror movies and Black Sabbath—the latter of which is most evident in the breakdown of “You Love Nothing.” Sanchez says “Heart of Darkness,” though, had a much different influence.

“Heart of Darkness was really influenced by blues. The Rolling Stones wrote a lot of really bluesy stuff, especially in the beginning,” she says. “I was messing around with different tuning on my guitar and that really is a blues tuning but I dropped one of the notes really, really low. When you drop a note that low it makes it like a dark blues tuning and that’s how that song got its feel.”

With those three songs released, the band has managed to book some pretty impressive gigs, including this year’s Austin Psych Fest. However, Pai says it’s a matter of building an audience more than a discography.

“We’ve been playing for a long time,” she says. “We started out playing a lot of shitty shows and even though we’ve only released three songs I think we’ve been able to build a reputation just playing as much as we have.”

L.A. Witch will be releasing a new single within the next couple weeks. After that, you can get their 7”, released by Psych Fest’s label Reverberation Appreciation Society, in September with their first full-length album following shortly.

LA Witch

With a name that almost sounds like it was chosen on purpose to enrage certain people, trio L.A. Witch are indeed from Los Angeles, and sport a dark bluesy sound that recalls a pitch-black Widowspeak or, yes, BRMC . But the band’s music is also heavy on smoky attitude which you 100% need with this kind of thing.
L.A Witch,  will release their new album later this year but you can get a taste right now via smoldering, sultry first single “Kill My Baby Tonight.”

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The trio will be in Austin this weekend for Levitation Fest, playing Saturday 9th May in the Elevation Amphitheatre. After that, LA Witch will be on tour for most of May. No shows here unfortunately ..With a name that almost sounds like it was chosen on purpose to enrage certain people, the trio L.A. Witch a dark bluesy sound ,Often compared to early Gun Club, The Black Angels and Brian Jonestown Massacre, L.A. WITCH are Los Angeles natives Irita Pai (bass), Sade Sanchez (singer/guitarist), and Ellie English (drums). The band formed after Irita and Sade met on a blind jam date after being introduced by a mutual friend. L.A. WITCH released their first self-titled EP digitally via Manimal Vinyl in 2014 and have since been touring extensively, including dates in Mexico, Beach Goth 3, CMJ, Burgerama, and Desert Daze.

L.A. WITCH have just released the first single, “Kill My Baby Tonight from their upcoming full length LP in support of their current spring tour which includes dates at Desert Daze, Levitation, and Levitation Vancouver (both presented by Austin Psych Fest). The track also features the first appearance of their new drummer Ellie English.