Every now and then, as a gig goer and record buyer, you are lucky enough to come across a band that you know very quickly is going to have a massive effect on you.
I had this experience in June of this year in a small sweaty and packed out club in New York’s East Village, when I saw three-piece all- female garage rockers L.A.Witch for the first time. It was obvious by halfway through the second song that this band had all the sonic ingredients necessary to make a lasting impact; creating those moments when you’re at a gig and nothing else matters, anywhere…those highs that regular gig goers are constantly trying to recapture, chasing that buzz, that hit..
Life can work in funny ways and a few months, and many emails and messages later, Enjoy Yourself! have just finished a week on tour with the band, filming all four of their English shows and providing a psychedelic light show for two of them - the combination of their earthy vintage sound and our vintage retro lighting working together to create an intimate immersive experience, which we hope to build on during future tours.
The band is currently in the middle of an extensive tour to promote this, their first, self-titled LP; out on Suicide Squeeze Records and of course available from Replayed Records in Swanage
I’m glad to say the record is as good as that first live show made me hope for. It starts with ‘Kill My Baby Tonight’; dark and menacing with all the trademark L.A.Witch sounds – Ellie’s thumping drums, Irita’s snaking basslines and vocalist Sade’s reverb heavy guitar. Her voice is unique throughout the album, anything from a smoky laid-back drawl to an angry sneer and on this one edgy and vengeful.
‘Brian’, is a swaggering mid paced rocker with a rumbling bass line; it builds slowly layering in all the instruments in turn before the sultry vocal cuts in followed by spiralling guitar and furious drumming. ‘Untitled’ is unusually fast for an L.A.Witch song, a psychotic rockabilly country stomper with some tribal drums and jangly psych-out guitar thrown in later on for good measure. Side one closes with ‘You Love Nothing’; bass heavy garage rock, loaded with aggression and another timeless soaring guitar mini-solo.
Side 2 ups the tempo again with ‘Drive Your Car’, a thumping fuzzy garage punk wall of sound, the singing stoned and hazy but full of defiance. And then we get to the absolute standout track, ‘Baby In Blue Jeans’, a darkly romantic love song, vocals seductive, heartbroken and triumphant at the same time. The whole track is loaded with beautiful guitar sounds that echo down through your consciousness so that you think you’ve heard somewhere long ago but can’t quite place. The band seem barely able to restrain themselves but they hold it together to deliver a haunting but uplifting rock song. If the Rolling Stones had released this in the late 60s it would be considered a timeless classic and the whole planet would love it! Track of the year for me, in case you couldn’t guess!
Check out the Baby In Blue Jeans live video filmed by EY! above the clip above!
Ellie’s glam rock drums open encore favourite ‘Feel Alright’ before the song leaps into spiky post punk edginess, combines it with a hint of psychedelia and heads for a reverb frenzied psych-out ending. ‘Good Guys’ is 60’s garage pop cranked up with punk aggression and underpinned by thundering bass and drums. ‘Get Lost’ closes the album; a fuzzed-up rocker with the band cool and commanding before letting it all go and rocking out into heavenly reverb laden distortion. And then… it’s over, all too soon…which would be my only slight complaint about what to me is a near perfect, slightly raw, dark, and ridiculously catchy album.
Off stage these 3 Californians are full of life and laughter but they make a wonderfully dark and evocative noise when they pick up their instruments; a hint of psychedelia, a big dose of punk, a bit of surf twang, a bit of decadent goth glamour and a lot of rock ‘n’ roll. L.A.Witch seem to have absorbed influences from every decade since the 50s and combined them to create a primal timeless sound which is uniquely theirs. The dark and dreamy songs are mainly short and sharp and don’t hang around but within that they have created an almost cinematic feel – demanding to be the soundtrack to the best rock ‘n’ roll noir road trip movie yet to be made…if David Lynch is still stuck in Twin Peaks trying to work out what the ending to the last series actually meant then maybe the job of making that film falls to Enjoy Yourself!
Writes, films, shines lights and liaises with Witches for EY!
Live photo below from EY! video taken at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar in Brighton, Sept 2017.