Tag: The Stooges

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act JOVM mainstays Death Valley Girls. The act, which currently features 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 UpThe Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps’ Laura Kelsey can trace their origins back to over a decade ago, when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). Interestingly, despite the fact that the band has had a series of lineup changes thrhgout their history, the band’s aesthetic and sound has been generally indebted to The Manson Family, B movie theatrics and the occult.

2020 has been a very busy year for the JOVM mainstays: Earlier this year, the band released the two song, seven-inch EP Breakthrough, an effort that saw the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays covering two songs that have a profound connection to the band — both in their spirit and aural alignment. One of the songs included on the EP was  Atomic Rooster‘s “Breakthrough,” a song the band originally discovered through an even more obscure cover by Nigerian psych act The Funkees.  The Death Valley Girls’ cover leans more towards The Funkees’ version — thanks to grimy power chords, fire-and-brimstone organ lines and an in-your-face, combative chorus — but all three versions are centered around the age-old desire to be free from prisons — both literal and figurative.

Continuing upon the momentum of Breakthrough EP, the members of the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays will be releasing their newest album Under the Spell of Joy through their longtime label home Suicide Squeeze Records on October 2, 2020. The album’s title is derived from the text on at-shirt that the San Diego-based heavy psych rock act Joy gave to Death Valley Girls’ Bonnie Bloomgarden. Bloomgarden regularly wore the shirt constantly over the next five years, treating it like a talisman. “I read it as being about manifesting your biggest dreams and responding thoughtfully and mindfully to everything that comes in your path with joy and compassion first,” Bloomgarden explains in press notes. “There is a lot to be really angry about in the world but joy is just as powerful if used correctly!”

With Under the Spell of Joy, the members of the Death Valley Girls sough to make a spiritual record — what Bloomgarden describes as a “space gospel” — with the intention of bringing people together and creating the kind of participatory musical experience people have in places of worship. And as a result, the album’s material is generally centered around chants, choirs and rousing choruses, written with the purpose of encouraging people to sing along. Where the band had once sought to connect people through more esoteric means, Spell of Joy finds them tapping into an age-old tradition of uniting people by inviting them to be an active participant.

Although Bloomgarden and Schemel knew their intention for the album’s material before they had written a single note, the nature and direction of the music was initially inspired by the Ethiopian funk records they had been listening to while touring — but once they began playing and recording the material they had written, the music, which they claim came from tapping into their subconscious seemed to come from the future.

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: the slow-burning and expansive, Wish You Were-era Pink Floyd-like “The Universe,” which featured elements of shoegaze and classic psych rock — and the straightforward and soaring “Hold My Hand,” a track that evoked the swoon of new love, and the urge to improve oneself through deep personal reflection. Interestingly, Under the Spell of Joy‘s third and latest single, album title track “Under the Spell of Joy” is a hallucinogenic fever dream featuring chanted lyrics, fiery blasts of saxophone, enormous hooks and even bigger power chords. Seemingly one-part Fun House-era The Stooges, one-part acid-tinged psych rock, one-part Giant Steps-era Coltrane, the track is a rock”n’ roll take on the good news gospel stomp — while centered around an ebullient and mischievous joy.

Live Footage: The Death Wheelers Perform “Ditchfinder General”

With the release of their full-length debut, 2018’s I Tread On Your Grave, the rising Canadian act The Death Wheelers — Max “The Axe” Tremblay, Richard “Bastard” Turcotte, Sy “Wild Rye” Tremblay and Hugo “Red Beard” Bertacchi — have developed a sound that’s largely inspired by the aesthetics and ethos of bikesploitation movies like The Wild Angels, Werewolves on Wheels and Psychomania — and Dave Allen, The Cramps, Motörhead, The Stooges, and Grand Funk Railroad.

The Canadian metal act’s forthcoming album Divine Filth is slated for a September 11, 2020 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album will reportedly continue the band’s reputation for crafting, sleazy, head banging instrumental anthems that also simultaneously serve as the soundtrack for fictional bikesploitation films. While naturally centered around power-chord driven riffage, the album sonically finds the band drawing from Motörhead, The Cramps and Dick Dale.

Recorded in a breakneck series of live sessions, Divine Filth is all killer, no-filler, no bullshit scuzzinness with a layer of juvenile crassness that happily recalls Troma Films. Their sophomore album is loosely based around a fantastically dumb yet pretty fucking awesome plot synopsis: It’s 1982. Spurcity is run-down,The crime rate is up and so is drug use. A new kind of kick has hit the streets and it ain’t pretty. DTA, a powerful and highly addictive hallucinogenic drug, is transforming its loyal citizens into undead trash. Its users experience an indescribable high, but it leaves them rotting away within days, craving human flesh. No one knows who is dealing this new potent drug, but rumour has it that the motorcycle cult, The Death Wheelers, is behind this concoction. Could this be the end of civilization as we know it? What is motivating this group of psychotic individuals?

Last month, I wrote about the sludgy, The Sword-like album single “Corps Morts.” Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Ditchfinder General” is arguably the most expansive ripper they’ve released to date as it features elements of Dick Dale surf rock, crusty Headbanger’s Ball-era riffage  and dashes of prog rock experimentalism — thanks to an atmospheric and brooding bridge. Continuing their reputation for a cinematic take on metal, “Ditchfinder General” sounds as though it would be part of a movie’s key scene — in my mind, it’d be early on, when the protagonists and antagonists are introduced and defined to the viewer. 

New Video: Frankie and the Witch Fingers Release a Menacing and Trippy Visual for Mind-Bending “Sweet Freak”

Currently featuring core trio Dylan Sizemore (vocals), multi-instrumentalist Josh Menashe and Shaughnessy Starr (drums), the Los Angeles-based psych rock act Frankie and the Witch Fingers can trace their origins back to their formation about a decade ago in Bloomington, IN. Since the band’s formation the band has developed and honed a reputation for restless experimentation, multiple permutations and a high-powered, scuzzy take on psych rock, centered around absurdist lyrical imagery — fueled by hallucinations, paranoia and lust. And as a result, the band’s material manages to be simultaneously playful and menacing. 

With the addition of Shaughnessy Starr, the Los Angeles-based psych rock act went through another sonic mutation that resulted in a lysergic and claustrophobic sound — while further relying on their penchant for Black Sabbath-style riffage. Building upon a growing profile, the members of the Los Angeles-based act has opened for the likes of JOVM mainstays Thee Oh Sees, Cheap Trick and ZZ Top. 

Written while on the road, the act’s forthcoming album Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters . . . is slated for an October 2, 2020 release through Greenway Records and Levitation Festival’s label The Reverberation Appreciation Society. Recorded in a breakneck five day recording session, the highly-anticipated follow up to ZAM, Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters finds the band taking the turbulence of its immediate predecessor and making the material much more insidious, evil and ambitious while capturing the band in the midst of massive personnel changes — longtime bassist Alex Bulli left the band, and as a result the band’s Menashe wrote and played most of the material’s bass parts with occasional contributions from Dylan Sizemore. Much like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Infest the Rats Nest, Frankie and the Witch Fingers’ forthcoming album sees the band crafting expansive, maximalist material — with fewer moving parts. (Interestingly, Death Valley Girls’ Nikki Pickle will join the band as a touring member.) 

“Sweat Freak,” Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters . . .’s latest single features crunchy, power chord-driven riffs, punchily delivered yet surrealistic lyrics and explosive horn blasts within an expansive, constantly morphing and expansive song structure. Sonically, the result is a song that’s one part King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard one part Stooges and one part Tool-like prog rock with a menacing and malicious air. 

Done by Spaghetti Jesus, the recently released claymation video for “Sweat Freak” features trippy visual effects by Slob Dylan and 2D animation by Mitchell Zeni — and the video is centered around monstrous aliens performing weird and bloody experiments on people and each other.  It’s hilariously disturbing and absolutely brilliant. 

There’s an apocryphal tale of the The Stooges’ final show at the Goose Lake Festival that’s been told countless times in the 50 years since it happened: Dave  Alexander (bass), due to nerves or overindulgence in drugs or who knows, spaces out in front of 20,000 concertgoers. He doesn’t play a single note. Iggy Pop fires Alexander immediately after the show, and this particular moment, purportedly began the end of the legendary band. Although fans and critics have referenced the Goose Lake Festival set, there was no evidence of what actually happened — that is until recently, when a 1/4″ stereo two-track tape of the Goose Lake Festival set was found buried in the basement of  Michigan farmhouse among other analog artifacts of the era.
Recorded directly from the soundboard, the August 8, 1970 show is the only known soundboard recording of the band’s legendary founding lineup — and it was recorded just before the official release of their beloved 1970 album Fun House.  Restored by Vance Powell and mastered by Bill Skibbe, Third Man Records will be releasing this previously unheard and unreleased live recording on August 7, 2020 — almost 50 years to the day. The live album is revelatory because it sets the record straight on some things, essentially rewriting some of the band’s history: Alexander actually played his instrument throughout, and it captures the band, just before the release of Fun House.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s furious and sweaty live version of “T.V. Eye,” and continuing on that same theme, the album’s second and latest single is an explosive and unhinged rendition of album title track “Fun House.” Play it loud, y’all.

New Audio: Canadian Sleaze Rockers The Death Wheelers Return with a Scuzzy New Single

With the release of their full-length debut, 2018’s I Tread On Your Grave, the rising Canadian act The Death Wheelers — Max “The Axe” Tremblay, Richard “Bastard” Turcotte, Sy “Wild Rye” Tremblay and Hugo “Red Beard” Bertacchi — have developed a reputation for a sound that’s largely inspired by the aesthetics and ethos of bikesploitation movies like The Wild Angels, Werewolves on Wheels and Psychomania — and Dave Allen, The Cramps, Motörhead, The Stooges, and Grand Funk Railroad. 

Slated for a September 11, 2020 release through RidingEasy Records, the Canadian act’s forthcoming sophomore album Divine Filth continues the band’s reputation for crafting sleazy, handbanging instrumental anthems that simultaneously serve as the soundtrack for fictional bikesploitation films. Centered around power chord-driven riffs, Divine Filth reportedly finds the band riding the line between Motörhead, The Cramps and Dick Dale. 

Recorded in a breakneck 48  lives setting, Divine Filth is all killer, no-filler, no-bullshit scuzziness with a layer of crass that recalls Troma Films. This time, their sophomore album is loosely based around this fantastically dumb yet fucking awesome plot synopsis: It’s 1982. Spurcity is run-down,The crime rate is up and so is drug use. A new kind of kick has hit the streets and it ain’t pretty. DTA, a powerful and highly addictive hallucinogenic drug, is transforming its loyal citizens into undead trash. Its users experience an indescribable high, but it leaves them rotting away within days, craving human flesh. No one knows who is dealing this new potent drug, but rumour has it that the motorcycle cult, The Death Wheelers, is behind this concoction. Could this be the end of civilization as we know it? What is motivating this group of psychotic individuals?

Divine Filth’s first single “Corps Morts” will further cement the band’s reputation for sleazy headbangers, as its centered around thunderous drumming, grungy power chords-driven riffs, enormous hooks and an expansive song structure. Sonically, the track will bring The Sword to mind, as much as it does Motörhead and others but with a nasty crustiness on the surface. 

There’s an apocryphal tale of the The Stooges final show at the Goose Lake Festival that’s been told countless times in the 50 years since it happened: Dave  Alexander (bass), due to nerves or overindulgence in drugs or who knows, spaces out in front of 20,000 concertgoers. He doesn’t play a single note. Iggy Pop fires Alexander immediately after the show, and this particular moment, purportedly began the end of the legendary band. Although fans and critics have referenced the Goose Lake Festival set, there was no evidence of what actually happened — that is until recently, when a 1/4″ stereo two-track tape of the Goose Lake Festival set was found buried in the basement of  Michigan farmhouse among other analog artifacts of the era.
Recorded directly from the soundboard, the August 8, 1970 show is the only known soundboard recording of the band’s legendary founding lineup — and it was recorded just before the official release of their beloved 1970 album Fun House.  Restored by Vance Powell and mastered by Bill Skibbe, Third Man Records will be releasing this previously unheard and unreleased live recording on August 7, 2020 — almost 50 years to the day. The live album is revelatory because it sets the record straight on some things, essentially rewriting some of the band’s history: Alexander actually played his instrument throughout, and it captures the band, just before the release of Fun House. The live album’s first single is a sweaty and furious version of “T.V. Eye.”

Lyric Video: Gateway Drugs Releases a Shimmering and Heartbreaking Ballad

Formed in 2010, the rising Los Angeles-based act Gateway Drugs — siblings Gabe, Noa and Liv Niles, who all share vocal and instrumental duties, and their longtime friend James Sanderson (bass) — emerged into the psych rock scene with the 2015 release of their full-length debut, Magick Spells, an album that helped to establish their noisey and melodic take on shoegaze that Hellbound has likened to “The Stooges meets My Bloody Valentine and The Brian Jonestown Massacre — a little dark, a little eerie and a little grainy and all intoxicating.”

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Future Shock Records, the Los Angeles-based psych rock quartet’s, ten song, Sune Rose Wagner-produced sophomore effort PSA was recorded during a 12 day recording session at Josh Homme’s Pink Duck Studio. Centered around what the band says was some of the quickest and most direct songwriting process of their young careers, the album as the band told Foxes Mag “. . . is much more intimate and raw than our first album. All of the songs were recorded live for the most part.”

While further establishing their noisy and melodic take on psych rock, the material reportedly finds the band writing more introspective material, drawing from a wild and chaotic few years for the band — and for the world at large. According to the members of Gateway Drugs, the album reflects “everything that is wrong in the here and now: the weakness of the world laid bare, and the almost total state of apathy we all find ourselves in due to feeling powerless to effect any change with respect to all of this. PSA is an attempt to connect with others, who feel the same way and regain a sense of our ability to change things for the better.”

Now, as you may recall, last week, I wrote about, the brooding and hook-driven  “Slumber,” PSA’s second single, a track that reminded me a bit of the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre, Riot City Blues-era Primal Scream, while being an earnest reflection on unrequited love that focused on the rejection and heartbreak of a jilted suitor. PSA’s third and latest single is the slow-burning ballad “I’m Always Around.” Centered around shimmering guitars, the song was written and sung by the band’s Liv Niles — and is essentially, a bitter and heartbreaking goodbye letter to a lover ad a relationship that seems bound to come to a close. 

“The song reflects my nostalgia at the time towards my relationship that was failing, my sadness knowing he would hate me one day for choosing myself over him,” the band’s Liv Niles explains in press notes. 

New Video: Rising Los Angeles Psych Rockers Gateway Drugs Release an Intimate Visual for Brooding “Slumber”

Formed in 2010, the rising Los Angeles-based act Gateway Drugs — siblings Gabe, Noa and Liv Niles, who all share vocal and instrumental duties, and their longtime friend James Sanderson (bass) — emerged into the psych rock scene with the 2015 release of their full-length debut, Magick Spells, an album that helped to establish noisey and melodic take on shoegaze that Hellbound has likened to “The Stooges meets My Bloody Valentine and The Brian Jonestown Massacre — a little dark, a little eerie and a little grainy and all intoxicating.”

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Future Shock Records, the Los Angeles-based psych rock quartet’s, ten song, Sune Rose Wagner-produced sophomore effort PSA was recorded during a 12 day recording session at Josh Homme’s Pink Duck Studio. Centered around what the band says was some of the quickest and most direct songwriting process of their young careers, the album as the band told Foxes Mag “. . . is much more intimate and raw than our first album. All of the songs were recorded live for the most part.” 

While further establishing their noisy and melodic take on psych rock, the material reportedly finds the band writing more introspective material, drawing from a wild and chaotic few years for the band — and for the world at large. According to the members of Gateway Drugs, the album reflects “everything that is wrong in the here and now: the weakness of the world laid bare, and the almost total state of apathy we all find ourselves in due to feeling powerless to effect any change with respect to all of this. PSA is an attempt to connect with others, who feel the same way and regain a sense of our ability to change things for the better.” 

“Slumber,” PSA’s second single is brooding yet shimmering and hook driven track that features the band’s Gabe Niles taking up vocal duties. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre, Riot City Blues-era Primal Scream, the song is an achingly earnest reflection on unrequited love, focusing on  rejection and heartbreak. 

Shot, edited and directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Slumber” is an intimate view into the band’s daily lives inn a way that personally reminds me of 120 Minutes-era MTV. “Videos nowadays tend to be overly cinematic or pretentious. The songs get lost and leaves little room for the listeners imagination,” the band says of the video. “We wanted to keep it simple, sincere, and true to form, so we shot and edited the video ourselves.” 

Although they’ve gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the Seattle-based indie act The Grizzled Mighty —  Ryan Granger (vocals, guitar), Jojo Braley (drums) and Jewel Loree (bass)  — have developed and maintained a reputation for crafting fuzzy and dirty, garage rock-tinged psych rock, influenced by The Stooges, T. Rex, Motorhead and others — and sweaty, high energy live shows. Building upon a growing profile, the members of The Grizzled Mighty have shared bills with The Dandy Warhols, Built to Spill, Death Valley Girls, Andrew WK, and a list of others.

The band’s third album Confetti Teeth is slated for an April 24, 2020 release through Freakout Records — and from the album’s first single “Rewind” is a Nirvana and Ecstatic Vision-like take on psych rock: layers of fuzzy and distortion pedaled power chords, a fiery and explosive guitar solo, propulsive and thunderous drumming, enormous hooks and howled vocals meant to be played loud.