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DEATH VALLEY GIRLS

Death Valley Girls

Islands In The Sky

    For the better part of a decade, LA’s scrappy rock n’ roll mystics Death Valley Girls have used their music as a means of tapping into a communal cosmic energy. On albums like Glow In The Dark (2016), Darkness Rains (2018), and Under the Spell of Joy (2020) the band challenged the soul-crushing banality of modern society and celebrated “true magical in­nite potential” through a collage of scorching proto-punk riffs, earworm melodies, far-out lyrics, and lysergic auxiliary instrumentation. But on their latest album Islands in the Sky, Death Valley Girls’ songwriting mastermind Bonnie Bloomgarden uses the band’s anthemic revelries as a guidebook to spiritual healing and a roadmap for future incarnations of the self. And while these may be the loftiest aims of Death Valley Girls to date, the resulting music is also by far their most infectious and celebratory.

    “Death Valley Girls are a gift to the world.” - Iggy Pop

    “Harnessing the allure of the occult and the power of self-help, the Los Angeles garage rockers break free from their roots and ascend to the realm of spiritual psych-jazz rockestra.” - Pitchfork

    “(Death Valley Girls) taps out of traditional songwriting and tune into a new spiritual consciousness…” - Spin

    “An insistent Banshees like boom and groove.” - MOJO

    TRACK LISTING

    1. California Mountain Shake
    2. Magic Powers
    3. Islands In The Sky
    4. Sunday
    5. What Are The Odds
    6. Journey To Dog Star
    7. Say It Too
    8. Watch The Sky
    9. When I'm Free
    10. All That Is Not Of Me
    11. It's All Really Kind Of Amazing

    Le Butcherettes / Death Valley Girls

    The Universe / When I'm Free

      Is there a better pairing of kindred spirits than a split seven-inch single featuring Le Butcherettes and Death Valley Girls? We're hard pressed to think of one. Sure, the interaction is fleeting, but damn is it satisfying.

      We've got Le Butcherettes on side A taking on one of Death Valley Girls' most cosmic numbers, the kaleidoscopic centerpiece off Under the Spell of Joy album, "The Universe." Le Butcherettes' fearless and charismatic mastermind Teri Gender Bender takes the tune into even trippier territories, replicating the original song's sonic tapestry of synth, sax, and guitars with layer upon layer of vocals. Only the sparse accompaniment of acoustic guitar and modest percussion keeps the song from being fully a capella. It's a perfect interpretation of Death Valley Girls' communal and choral aims.

      On side B, Death Valley Girls offer up a new tune - the deliciously ecstatic "When I'm Free." Like every great Death Valley Girls song, it's a celebration of life bolstered by fiery rock n' roll riffage, spiritual organ, dizzying sax, and Bonnie Bloomgarden's defiant and triumphant vocals. Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to offer up this meeting of mystical minds on vinyl and digital platforms on February 11, 2022.

      Death Valley Girls

      Under The Spell Of Joy

        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 Bonnie 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 are a gift to the world.” Iggy Pop.

        “If Charlie Spahn Ranch girls had formed a band that was part-Stooges, part-Bikini Kill, all groove, then they’d have sounded like this.” Classic Rock Magazine.

        “A striking record, all brazen fury and bratty beats, something resembling hard rock before Sabbath” Noisey.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: A ruthless, but melodic jaunt through snarling punk riffs, snapping percussion and fists-in-the-air groove from Death Valley Girls here. Expertly toeing the line between distorted drive and more thoughtful, slow numbers. Utterly essential, and a superb early morning blast.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Hypnagogia
        2. Hold My Hand
        3. Under The Spell Of Joy
        4. Bliss Out
        5. Hey Dena
        6. The Universe
        7. It All Washes Away
        8. Little Things
        9. 10 Day Miracle Challenge
        10. I’d Rather Be Dreaming
        11. Dream Cleaver


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