with Gymshorts and Dirt Russell

Rock n’ roll has always served as a means to elevate the fringe of society, though it’s
accentuated the plights of the outcasts and misfits in different ways throughout the
years. In its infancy, rock was a playful rebuttal against segregation and Puritanism.
In the ‘60s, it became a vehicle for an elevated consciousness. In the years following
the Summer of Love and the clampdown on Flower Power, that countercultural
spirit adopted the aggravated and occasionally nihilistic edge of bands like The
Stooges, Black Sabbath, MC5, and The New York Dolls. And then as the ‘80s
approached, popular rock n’ roll turned into a relatively benign celebration of
hedonism and decadence, but that contingent of dark mystics from the ‘70s who
lifted the veil and used music as a means of rallying people to altered planes had left
their mark. It was an undercurrent in rock that would never die, but would
percolate in corners of the underground. Today we can see it manifest in LA’s Death
Valley Girls.

The group feels less like a band and more like a travelling caravan. At their core,
vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel
channel Death Valley Girls’ modern spin on Funhouse’s sonic exorcisms, early ZZ
Top’s desert-blasted riffage, and Sabbath’s occult menace. Their relentless touring
schedule means that the remainder of the group is rounded out by whichever like-
minded compatriots can get in the van. On their third album Darkness Rains, bassist
Alana Amram, drummer Laura Harris, and a rotating cast of guests like Shannon Lay
and members of The Make Up, The Shivas, and Moaning help elevate the band from
their rogue beginnings to a communal ritualistic musical force. On the surface level,
Death Valley Girls churn out the hypercharged, in the red, 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.

Death Valley Girls’ sophomore album Glow In The Dark was based on the concept
that many of us are trying to become more enlightened, and you can tell by the way
they ‘glow in the dark.’ Darkness Rains goes a step further, attempting to shift the
consciousness of those that have not yet considered how we are all connected and
how that relates to the way we view life beyond death. Those that ‘glow’ can use the
songs on Darkness Rains as new chants—or they can be used for pure
entertainment. “Songs come from beyond and other worlds, you just have to tune
into the right radio wave signal to dial them in. Our signal happens to be in a 1970
Dodge Charger Spaceship,” says Schemel.

Album opener “More Dead” is a rousing wake up call, with a hypnotic pentatonic
guitar riff and an intoxicating blown-out fuzz-wah solo underscoring Bloomgarden’s
consciousness-rattling proclamation that you’re “more dead than alive.” The pace
builds with “(One Less Thing) Before I Die”, a minute-and-a-half distillate of
Detroit’s classic proto-punk sound. But at track three, Death Valley Girls hit their
stride with “Disaster (Is What We’re After)”, a gritty, swaggering rager that takes the
most boisterous moments off Exile On Main Street and beefs it up with Zeppelin’s
devil’s-note blues. Darkness Rains retains its intoxicating convocations across ten
tracks, climaxing on an astral plane with the hypnotic guitar drones and cult-like
chants of “TV In Jail On Mars.”

“Learn from the stars and beyond! Be happy and thankful we got to live together on
Earth at the same time! And death is just a shift—stay alive and awake,”
Bloomgarden and Schemel respond when asked for a final thought on Death Valley
Girls. “Embrace the darkness and don’t fear the Reaper.” Suicide Squeeze Records is
proud to further the cause by releasing Darkness Rains on October 5 th , 2018 on
LP/CD/CS/ and digital formats. The first vinyl pressing is limited to 1,500 copies.
Both the cassette and vinyl include digital downloads.


Boise, ID

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