I’ve managed to write a bit about the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act Death Valley Girls over the past few years, and as you may recall the act which is currently comprised of founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps’ Laura Kelsey can trace their origins to when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). Despite the series of lineup changes throughout the band’s history, the JOVM mainstays’ sound and aesthetic has primarily been influenced by The Manson Family and B movie theatrics while thematically focusing on the occult.
Interestingly, last year’s Darkness Rains might arguably be the darkest and most menacing batch of material of their growing catalog. Sonically, the album found the band crafting a feral mixture of proto punk, proto metal and stoner rock with a healthy dosage of mysticism. “Wear Black,” the album’s latest single features a hallucinogenic and sweaty arrangement of thunderous and propulsive drumming, glistening organ arpeggios, fuzzy power chords, enormous hooks and soaring vocals. Much like the rest of the album’s material, the song manages to evoke occult-inspired sacrificial rituals while sonically recalling The Black Angels, Roky Erickson and others.
Just in time for the holiday season, the members of Death Valley Girls released a Brandon McKnight-made video for “Wear Black” that’s split between live footage of the band performing at Saint Vitus Bar — occasionally through kaleidoscopic filters, edited stock footage, old horror movies featuring hellish and unnatural medical procedures and people behaving as though they were possessed, as well as footage of masked figures performing bizarre and occult-like rituals. It’s appropriately creepy — and absolutely perfect for today.