Garage

2020 Year in Review: Death Valley Girls

This writer is still stuck in "2020 Year In Review" mode because this writer refuses to believe that 2021 has even begun yet. Let's agree this past week was merely the afterbirth of 2020 and move on to the real start of the year next week mmm'kay? And let's pray we're not dealing with evil 2020/2021 twins because I'm guessing they'd make those twins from The Shining look like nothing more than the "cousins...identical cousins" from The Patty Duke Show. Anyway, here's one of my fave rekkids from last year I mean this year:

Artist: Death Valley Girls
Record: Under the Spell of Joy

Imagine if the Manson Girls had talked Charlie out of that whole Tate-LaBianca nonsense and instead wrote a bunch of cool songs and talked Mr. Helter Skelter into murdering his guitar parts instead of writing drivel like “Look At Your Game Girl” and then enrolled as a group in some EST seminars and you may have ended up with something like this album rather than a bunch of dead bodies. On the Death Valley Girls’s fourth full-length, frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden and company subtly expand their sonic palette with a mix of funhouse organ and guitar, fevered sax squalls, motivational mantras (a children’s choir is even brought into service!) and a clutch of songs that put the “mesmerism” back into “mesmerizing.”



Opening track “Hypnagogia” sets the tone with its cascading layers of sound enveloping the listener in the liminal state of its title--a word for the twilight consciousness between wakefulness and sleep--a state that holds sway more or less to the last track with its declaration that “life is but a dream / that is really happening.” A kinda concept album about joy made by a gothy garage-psych band previously drawn to all things dark and spooky it’s unsurprising that DVG doesn’t offer up too many bromides here--”You will survive / while you’re alive” is pragmatic uplift--but the joy on offer *is* unhesitating and unadulterated. Best of all UTSOJ manages to capture something akin to the blissful state I’ve experienced alongside many others at DVG’s incredible live shows. And that’s a joyous thing indeed. (Jason Lee)

photo credit: Abby Banks

 

   

Devil's Dildo unleash "Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker"

To be clear this writer doesn't know a lot about Devil's Dildo but that's ok, here's all you need to know: 1) They livecast a DJ set and new-song-unveiling two nights ago on Baby TV that felt like it was beamed from deep inside the duo's collective unconscious and it was a spooky, sexy, strange place to be. Leading up to the witching-hour the DJ stream cut out periodically--and just as mysteriously resumed--for violating something called "community standards" but I can tell you on my end the violation was quite consensual. I mean what's a little crotch thrusting and foot licking between friends? 2) The DJ set was a perfect teaser for this Devil's Night/All Hallows' Eve weekend. Hearing "There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)" and "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be" played back-to-back is a pretty magical thing. 3) Judging from their debut single below--named after an early '80s sleazoid shocker that fits the Devil's Dildo like a glove--the duo's aesthetic is in fact not unlike AC/DC-meets-the-B52's. Or maybe just maybe this leather-clad, freak-flag-flying pair is the second cumming of the Cramps but translated to drum machine, bass guitar and sculpted noise. I doubt Lux (R.I.P.) and Ivy would mind the comparison.

Most important of all: Devil's Dildo will appear tonight as part of what looks to be an epic all-covers variety show spectacular featuring the music of the Stooges, TSOL, The Damned, Cocteau Twins, Poison Idea, Void, Ramones, Misfits, Las Vulpes, and more if you ask nicely. The show will broadcast from Greenpoint's very own Saint Vitus in case you had any doubts of its heavitude. Proceeds of the show will benefit Black Trans Femmes In The Arts. (Jason Lee)

   

Desert Sharks "Don't Know How To Dress for the Apocalypse"

Released in late 2019, when heard today “I Don't Know How To Dress For The Apocalypse” sounds like a warning from our past future present. Over a buzzing rush of power chords the Desert Sharks’ lead yelper and bass player Stephanie Gunther laments “the world's a disaster / our leader wants to get there faster.” Mission accomplished. Fast-forward to October 2020 and the power-trio-plus-one have stayed busy with everything from a Zoom-tastic cover of the Misfits' “Hybrid Moments” to a feature on the queer-friendly Twitch rock 'n' roll hootenanny I Want My HYB hosted by Astoria's own Hell Yeah Babies in benefit of The Okra Project—a charity providing meals to Black Trans people-in-need prepared by Black Trans chefs. (Jason Lee)

   

Pure Adult debuts new song in 10.16.2020 live set

It was just over a week ago that Pure Adult played a raucous set on BABY TV, the socially distanced version of indie venue Baby's All Right, and this writer is still recovering. The Brooklyn-duo-turned-live-foursome is known for filtering adult concerns--e.g., late capitalism, social control, granny panties--through a childlike impulsiveness whose end result is a big wonderful mess of burbling synths, stuttering drums, gratuitous guitar pedal abuse and brief spasms of strutting rawk. Pure Adult’s mix-and-match aesthetic is not unlike a kid let loose with a 128-count box of crayons, fresh piles of Play-doh and a prescription of Ritalin. The set below opens with the band’s as-yet-unreleased “Ain't I A Woman” (shout out to Sojourner Truth) segueing into “The New Guillotine” (see underwear fetish above), a track from the band's debut EP S/T (self-titled, that is). In these five minutes you get a pretty good idea of what they're about: a feral Foucauldian funhouse ride that's equal parts “queasy listening” and raw ecstatic rush. (Jason Lee)

   

PREMIERE: Career Boy ponder an uncertain future on “What’s Next?”

One could view Brooklyn-based outfit Career Boy as the natural successors to last decade’s garage rockers — their white knuckle guitar work, marked by a slightly discordant sound, combined with frothy, fast and loose vox evoke the sound of predecessors like Jay Reatard and Harlem. In a different sense, however, new track and video “What’s Next” finds the band lyrically situated in an uneasy rut, pondering personal flaws of excessive drinking and “waiting for what’s next to come,” bounding outwards without a sense of personal direction. Moreover, such songwriting encapsulates the sentiments of our current age, capturing the energy many of us feel to do something, literally anything new, while feeling woefully uncertain as to what the first step is. Regardless of when whatever's next arrives, Career Boy will be ready to start — stream the premiere below.