Death Valley Girls

Death Valley Girls

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 5th, 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.

Like all great bands, DRÆMINGS began as an outlet for heartbreak – the opening track of their debut EP, Nevada, repeatedly pleads “oh stay with me / please stay with me” – and has spent the last several years evolving from vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and sometimes-producer Kimi Recor’s alter ego into a tightly knit band of four with a complete disregard for genre definitions and a penchant for elaborate set design and dramatic performances.

Recor started DRÆMINGS as a solo project in 2012 and wrote, recorded, and produced the five-song Nevada EP over the span of a weekend. It was the first time she had ever released music on her own, rather than as part of a band (of which she had been a member of many). Not long after posting the lo-fi dream pop collection on Soundcloud and playing a few shows around Los Angeles’ east side, Sumerian Records approached her with a label deal. The relationship started off with excitement on both ends as DRÆMINGS was going to be the label’s first foray outside of the hard rock and metal world and into the radio-friendly alternative space. Despite this honeymoon phase, a subsequent national tour with Night Riots, and a couple single releases, the arrangement began to make Recor feel caged. It took over two years after its completion for DRÆMINGS’ sole Sumerian release, the full-length The Eternal Lonesome, to see the light of day. Recor celebrated the birth of the record with a sold out show at The Echo in Echo Park in August of 2017 and a full west coast tour (including an opening slot for Juliette Lewis), and set her sights on changing the DRÆMINGS story.

Their 2017 self-titled EP was akin to a rebirth for DRÆMINGS. Its new evolution brought Recor back to her band-oriented roots, cementing DRÆMINGS as a four piece comprised of herself (vocals/guitar), Christopher Vick (guitar), Thorson (bass/synth), and Nathaniel Meek (drums). The band returned to being independent for the release of the EP and wrote DRÆMINGS as a collective, self-titling the EP to make that point clear to listeners. This format has flowed through the following singles, “Loveless,” “Stay Up All Night (Dancing to the Knife),” and “Siamese Flame.”

Outside of their recordings, DRÆMINGS are infamous in Los Angeles for their electrifying performances and intricate set designs. During an oversold month-long residency at The Echo, the band transformed the venue into their own magical world each week. They carry this mentality to all of their live performances which are a mix of the band’s own charisma, costumes, stage make up, and set design. Anything to take their audience away from the world for an evening. Over the last two years, these performances have taken them on headline tours up the west coast and around the southwest and secured them the direct support slot for industrial titans Psychotica’s 2018 west coast tour, a mainstage play at Echo Park Rising 2017, an appearance at Phoenix’s Flying Burrito Music Festival, and shows supporting Kitten and Company of Thieves.

The band will have a string of new singles releasing throughout 2018 and have plans to write and record a new EP this fall for release in 2019 alongside select tour dates.

DRÆMINGS is:
Kimi Recor – vocals, guitars
Christopher Vick – guitars
Thorson – bass, synth
Nathaniel Meek – drums

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