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SUICIDE SQUEEZE RECORDS

Minus The Bear

Farewell

    Farewell covers a lot of ground across the span of its 26 songs and two-hour run time. Yet every moment is a reminder of why Minus the Bear were such an experiential live band. They were always pushing forward, evolving their sound, and ­nding new ways to balance brainy musicianship, pop worship, meditative sentimentality, and adrenalized fervor into their own signature concoction. Further bolstered by the mix of Matt Bayles and master job by Ed Brooks at Resonant Mastering, the album sounds like a fully immersive live experience.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Drilling - Live
    2. Last Kiss - Live
    3. Lemurs, Man, Lemurs - Live
    4. Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse - Live
    5. Thanks For The Killer Game Of Crisco Twister - Live
    6. Diamond Lightning - Live
    7. My Time - Live
    8. Summer Angel - Live
    9. Cold Company - Live
    10. Fair Enough - Live
    11. The Fix - Live
    12. Fine + 2 Its - Live
    13. I’m Totally Not Down With Rob’s Alien - Live
    14. This Ain’t A Sur­n’ Movie - Live
    15. The Game Needed Me - Live
    16. Invisible - Live
    17. Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!! - Live
    18. White Mystery - Live
    19. Spritz!!! Spritz!!! - Live
    20. Knights - Live
    21. Let’s Play Guitar In A Five Guitar Band - Live
    22. Hey, Wanna Throw Up? - Live
    23. Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo - Live
    24. Into The Mirror - Live
    25. Throwin’ Shapes - Live
    26. Pachuca Sunrise - Live

    Julia Shapiro

    Zorked

      Zorked (adj.) - what happens when you end up thunderbaked, as in extremely stoned or in any situation where you feel not sober. You can feel so tired you’re zorked. In fact, any state, so long as you’re a little out of it, quali­fies. And Julia Shapiro, of Chastity Belt, Childbirth, and Who Is She? much like everyone on this earth with a pulse was zorked on more than one occasion in 2020. In March, she packed up her things and traded Seattle’s late-winter gloom for the perennial sunshine and seemingly endless opportunity of Los Angeles only to be forced into near-total isolation. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, she began working on her second solo album, Zorked. On the resulting batch of songs, we’re given Julia’s vision of Los Angeles: a wasteland melting in slow-motion, a place to commune with ghosts and warped legacies.

      Living within earshot of a man who spent his entire 2020 singing karaoke for over 10 hours a day, Julia could write, record, and play an album’s worth of instruments without fear of noise complaints. Her roommate Melina Duterte (Jay Som) transformed their house into a viable home studio, making it easy to fully realize the sound in her head, even at the height of a global lockdown. Taking things a step further, Melina agreed to co-produce the record, pushing Julia to make these new songs sound less like Perfect Version, her ­rst solo album, or like the songs she performs in Chastity Belt. At the peak of her uncertainty and discomfort, she jumped into the deep end in search of something new and found power in heavy sounds.

      This is evident in the fi­rst few seconds of album opener “Death (XIII).” Taking newfound inspiration from the namesake Tarot card, drone metal, and shoegaze, Julia layers walls of guitars, bass chords, and programmed drums. “Come With Me,” the album’s lead single, takes inspiration from a mushroom trip gone bad. “Take me to awful places now,” she sings, envisioning heat death as her own eyes stare directly into the sun. On “Wrong Time,” shimmering guitars smolder and levitate, yet she fi­nds herself “stuck inside this hole I’ve dug.” That said, these songs aren’t unbearably sad, nor has Julia become any less of a merciless observer of human behavior. By album closer “Hall of Mirrors,” she’s come full circle. Over ­fingerpicked guitar, the sense of lost identity becomes all-encompassing.

      It’s the sound of a life lived in servitude to digital screens and the psychic damage invisibly done along the way.

      Though Julia Shapiro found herself in a near hermit-like existence, writing and recording almost all of the album’s instruments herself and struggling to navigate her place in a city and world rendered nearly comatose, she maintains a sense of humor about all of it. At the very least, “It’s funny to force people to have to say Zorked out loud. Any other title sounded pretentious.”

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Death (XIII)
      2. Come With Me
      3. Wrong Time
      4. Someone
      5. Reptile! Reptile!
      6. Pure Bliss
      7. Hellscape
      8. Do Nothing About It
      9. Zorked
      10. Hall Of Mirrors

      Death Valley Girls

      Glow In The Dark - Reissue

        Death Valley Girls’ sophomore album Glow in the Dark (2016) is a white-hot distillation of their sound and spirit a jittery and jubilant joyride of barnburner guitar riffage, goosebump-inducing choral hooks, pounding rhythms provided by drummer Laura “The Kid” Kelsey and bassist Alana Amram, and an overarching aura of some secret and subversive power. The band wastes no time detailing their strategies as they crash out of the gate with the title track. Bloomgarden and auxiliary vocalist Jessie Jones issue the song’s call to arms “unite, multiply, and conquer” as a rallying cry to likeminded souls.

        “Once you realize that money, government, and this whole system is a shitty construct that doesn’t work and stands in the way of our true magical in­nite potential, we start to glow,” says Bloomgarden about Glow in the Dark. “And we can see everyone that believes ‘cause they glow too!” It’s hard to not feel that magical tingle during the riotous stomp of “Disco,” the old school rattle-and-raze of “Death Valley Boogie,” or the -re-and-brimstone proselytizing of “Seis Seis Seis.”

        While the initial line-up of Death Valley Girls featuring the core duo of Bloom-eld and Schemel with bassist Rachel Orosco and drummer Patty Schemel ruminated on the hellish realities of the modern world on their debut album Street Venom, the Glow in the Dark-era Death Valley Girls reveled in the secret bond between the mis-ts and outcasts who refused to bow to crushing weight of “capitalism, classism, and elitism.” Up until now, Glow in the Dark has been as elusive and mysterious as the forces behind its title, with physical manifestations of the album being out of print since 2016.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Glow In The Dark
        2. Disco
        3. Death Valley Boogie
        4. Seis Seis Seis
        5. Pink Radiation
        6. I’m A Man Too
        7. Love Spell
        8. Horror Movie
        9. Summertime
        10. Wait For You

        Death Valley Girls

        Street Venom (Deluxe Edition)

          With a name like Death Valley, one would assume early cartographers were actively deterring people from its boundaries. It’s now recognized as an ecosystem with its own unique beauty and wonder, though it’s not without its element of danger. That landscape is a fitting reference for LA’s blazing rock troupe Death Valley Girls, whose particular blend of garage punk, proto-metal, and communal music drapes an air of occult mystery and white-hot energy over an underlying celebration of life and vitality. Their 2020 album Under the Spell of Joy was the clearest distillation of the band’s ongoing mission—creating a sound that was both riotous and transcendental, brimming with positivity even as it navigated dark melodies and rowdy riffs. That said, Death Valley Girls felt fully realized the moment they appeared on the scene and never lost track of their initial daredevil energy. Their debut album, 2014’s Street Venom, was given only a modest roll-out consisting of a small run of cassettes, but the songs were so infectious that they continue to be staples in the band’s live set.

          For the fi­rst time, Street Venom is receiving its proper due with a Deluxe Edition courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records. Death Valley Girls began when vocalist/guitarist/organist Bonnie Bloomgarden moved to Los Angeles to get clean from drugs. Figuring that playing music would be a positive distraction, she put her feelers out for potential bandmates and was eventually introduced to Hole drummer Patty Schemel and her guitarist brother Larry. Bassist Rachel Orosco was brought into the fold soon after. “We spent a year messing around and jamming ‘cause we all needed to play and have something safe to do that wasn’t AA,” Bloomgarden says of the band’s infancy stage. Not wanting to land shows only off the merits of their drummer’s credentials, Death Valley Girls opted to make a record before playing out live. They spent two days at Station House Studios in Echo Park with producer Mark Rains and cranked out the nine-track album Street Venom.

          The deliciously scuzzy guitars and righteous chorus of album opener “No Reason” immediately set the tone for the album. There’s an undeniable swagger to tracks like “Arrow” and “Shadow,” a sultry allure to songs like “Get Home” and “Paradise Blues,” and a life-af­rming electric spirit to “Girlfriend” that sound more like the output of a seasoned, road-tested band than the debut offering of a bunch of mis­ts. Combined with the follow-up long-out-of-print seven inch single “Electric High” b/w “Gettin’ Hard,” this Deluxe Edition of Street Venom captures the ­ery beginnings of one of LA’s most exciting and inspirational underground rock bands while bolstering the sound with a new mix and a remaster.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. No Reason
          2. Sanitarium Blues
          3. Arrow
          4. Get Home
          5. Shadow
          6. Gettin’ Hard
          7. Paradise Blues
          8. Run Run Rocky
          9. Red Glare
          10. Girlfriend
          11. Electric High

          The Paranoyds

          Pet Cemetery

            As the world continues to literally burn, The Paranoyds return with a much-needed dose of musical levity. It's been nearly a year since the Los Angeles-based outfit released Carnage Bargain, their debut full-length, and this new release, a two-song seven-inch, is a total embodiment of their every influence. Their identity - a band fueled by campy horror movies and garage rock - is more evident than ever on this seven-inch, beginning with the organ-fueled opening of A-side "Pet Cemetery." Featuring the sounds of off-kilter keys alongside a chugging guitar line, and expansive experiments, "Pet Cemetery" has become a staple of the band's live performances, resulting in a sea of zombie-fied headbang every time it's played. Despite the obvious heaviness that surrounds a track entirely centered on undead lovers partaking in PDA, there's an undeniable undercurrent of fun. Previously recorded during sessions for the band's full length-debut, this unofficial anthem for underworld romance was being saved for a special moment. On the record's B-side, is "Hotel Celebrity," a single that's darkness isn't quite so overt. An examination of aging, and the fruitless celebrity pursuit of superficial perfection, The Paranoyds share in a not so sincere toast to Hollywood. The single was among the last sessions at the famed Tiny Telephone, a San Francisco-based recording studio. The track is a sneak peek at the future, if there is a future beyond all this shit, of what musical direction The Paranoyds might be headed in next. 


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