Review & Interview: Death Valley Girls

It’s eighty-two degrees and sunny outside. There have been a number of celebrity sightings on Rodeo Drive this afternoon. Most of the ‘A’- listers spotted, were seen weaving through the crowds en route to their favorite boutiques, while many of the others sipped champagne from cut-crystal flutes at some of the nearby bistros. The city of Angels is host to a much darker element as well; one where leather, guitars, and gangs define the social structure. Death Valley Girls, the tough-talking, hard-hitting foursome with their own brand of fuzz-soaked dystopian doom punk, is a product of this gritty counter-culture. After a successful debut of their EP, "Street Venom" on Burger Records back in February, the girls now are preparing for the release of their sophomore endeavor via Lolipop this fall, by dropping two of their new singles early; "Electric High" and "Gettin' Hard." "Electric High" takes no prisoners, with roaring guitars competing shamelessly with unrelenting percussion, all embedded within a heavy layer of reverb. The surprisingly danceable beat is a throwback to the early days of garage and punk rock, much like The Velvet Underground and Jesus and Mary's rad. On the album's B-side is the pulverizing "Gettin' Hard," a groovy blend of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Pain Dimension, and The Murlocs. Powerful lyrics tell a tale of woe with the help of classic staticy instrumentals: "things are getting so hard, things are getting so hard for me...things are getting so hard, what I get I get for free..." We spoke with the rough-and-tumble foursome responsible for these recalcitrant new tunes: frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden, bassist Rocky, "The Kid"/Kill City Kelsey/Laura Kelsey (formerly of The Flytraps) on drums, and guitarist Larry Schemel (ex-Flesh Eaters and brother of former Hole drummer, Patty Schemel) about fulfilling lifelong goals, dream collaborations, and what the future holds... Earlier this year, you released your debut album "Street Venom" on Burger Records. What would you say were the biggest inspirations for the record? BONNIE BLOOMGARDEN: Putting out a tape on Burger was our inspiration. It took three of the longest, loneliest, most grueling soul-sucking, life de-mystifying years to find one another. When finally we did meet we had only one goal in mind...Put out a tape on Burger Records. Do you have a favorite track? ROCKY: Yeah..."Arrow," because it doesn't sound like anything else. LARRY SCHEMEL: "No Reason," cause it's one of the first songs we wrote together and all still like! THE KID: Oh man!...Probably "Run Run Rocky" because I love the organ at the end...or "No Reason," or "Sanitarium Blues!" Do you have a set songwriting process? BONNIE: No, songs just come to us...who knows from where! The only thing I'm certain of is that when Larry and I write together it's magic, it's street, and that's what we like. So, all we need to do is sit down, find the melody, and it builds from there. In terms of lyrics, well, I just wait until I'm in the studio to write them. Playing guitar feels good, writing lyrics and thinking aren't as fun. What's the biggest difference between the sound on "Street Venom" as opposed to your new EP? BONNIE: Street Venom had been brewing in the ether for a long while. It only took two days to record because we recorded with a true studio wizard, Mark Rains, there's hardly any overdubs, mostly first take best take or else we move on. "Arrow," "Get Home," and "Paradise Blues" were born on the spot. The process for the new EP was different, it was super intentional. We have so much fun playing these songs we wanted to get them down while they were still young and fresh, and we wanted them out right away so everyone could hear them. The two tracks are with our new drummer, "The Kid," and "Street Venom" was with Patty. Oh, and I think we're calling the new EP "Street Justice," but that's not official or anything. Who are your biggest musical influences? BONNIE: Black Sabbath, The Stooges, Little Eva, MC5, Velvet Underground, The Cramps...Bo Diddley to name but a few. Bonnie, you're featured on the new King Tuff album. How'd you get involved in that? BONNIE: It, happened! It was fate at its best, you know? Bobby reached out to me because he needed someone to sing back up vocals. Then, being able to go into Studio B with Bobby Harlow, who's one of my top ten all time favorite rock and rollers. As if that wasn't cool enough, I find out it's for the new King Tuff! And they had Ty Segall on drums, ya know, I mean, I'm super into him, and on drums, he plays like no one else... it's too amazing, won't likely happen again to be part of such a personally epic project, but it was enough good to last a few lifetimes. If you could collaborate with anyone - dead or alive - who would it be? BONNIE: Fred "Sonic" Smith on guitar, Ivy on rhythm guitar, (or Tony Iommi on lead and Thunders on rhythm) Ringo on drums, the bass player from UFO on bass, The Tammies as back up girls, me as lead back ups, and Iggy on vocals. And of course Brian Jones on string-ed things for when we record. We see that you guys have a bunch of west coast dates scheduled with Shonen Knife this summer, any plans to come to the east coast any time soon? BONNIE: Plan it everyday. Where do you see the band in five years? BONNIE: Oh man. There's this awesome compound type thing on top of this hill in Elysian Park. It looks victorian, but also could be from the 50's. It's three very tall houses, and I believe a guest house with no windows, which would be our studio. And there's a vegetable garden and tons of fruit trees, and cactus that are so unusual, they're probably the only of their species. I hope we are living there. Or at least in a house with a basement. And we gotta have chickens. And dogs. Is there anything you want to say to your fans? BONNIE: Oh man, Hi!
Hear Zeahorse's New Single, "Pool"

Aussie psych-rock act, Zeahorse, has just signed to Dine Alone Records! To celebrate, they have released the first track off of their upcoming album, "Pools." "Pools," set to be released on September 2nd, is perfect for those who miss the glory days of grunge. "Pool" is a blazing, sludge-ridden mixture of crunchy guitars, unyielding percussion, and maudlin, woebegone lyrics. The sensitivity of Nirvana's "About a Girl" paired with the instrumental intensity of Smashing Pumpkins' "Today," comes to mind when previewing the’s brilliant. We can't wait to see what else Zeahorse has in store! You can check it out for yourself below, and while you're at it, be sure to give Zeahorse a "like" on Facebook here.

Live Review & Interview: Animal Years

We took a walk on the wild side at the Brooklyn Bowl this past Thursday with NYC's Animal Years and reconnected with our primal selves. This band is fierce - with a recently released debut album, "Sun Will Rise," energetic live performances, likeability and innate talent, their following is multiplying faster than feral wildlings.

Animal Years kicked-off the evening with the steady, bass-line in "Meet Me," an Americana-infused tune about rediscovering oneself through adventure after a devastating break-up. The lyrics are a candidly melodic way of saying, "it's not you, it's me!" Full, lush instrumentals cushioned the bittersweet lyrical blows as frontman Mike McFadden's voice soared, "I might seem like I'm running, but I'm just trying to find me..."

Surveying the venue and the herd before him, McFadden grinned broadly and roared with incredulity, "Brooklyn! Holy shit, what's goin' on?!" Raucous cheers erupted as Animal Years submitted to their next jam, "Heart on Heart," a gentler track giving off a distinctly Mumford & Sons vibe. The contemplative "Let Go of Your Head," showcased McFadden's impressive range and lofty vocals which prowled expertly amongst the multilayered instrumentals.

The band next played their latest addition, a new tune, "I Was Born." "This track can be about anything I suppose," McFadden mused, "but for me, it's about my hometown, Baltimore, Maryland..." A smattering of "woo's" rang out in the audience as McFadden reminisced about earlier days, leaving the crowd in a particularly contemplative mood.

Interview: The Gallery

Hailing from the Great State of Massachusetts, four boys from a suburb of Springfield; brothers Brendan and Ryan Cooney, Dave Mozdzanowski, and Ben Lozano, are making their hometown (Wilbraham) proud. Their band, The Gallery, is just one of a select few that is achieving underground cred AND commercial appeal. The band's distinct, yet infectious Southern-influenced blend of Americana Pop as resonated on their latest album, "Restless," paired with a whirlwind tour schedule, has captivated fans and media outlets alike. Recently, they kicked-off their co-headlining tour with Honor by August, and it's been wild! Despite all of the activity and enthusiasm surrounding the band right now. Brendan found time in between shows to speak with us about their album, life on the road, and their love of Tom Petty...

For our readers who may not know, could you tell us a bit about yourselves? Hey all, we (The Gallery) are four friends who started a band in our parents basement in a small town in Massachusetts back in 2005. Luckily for us we no longer live with our parents, and have had the opportunity to move out to Los Angeles, California where we reside now. The band is made up of myself (Brendan), Ryan (my brother), Dave, and our newest addition Ben Lozano of Riverside, California. Ben actually found us through a craigslist post we made, but that's a long story. Anyways, we moved out to LA in 2012 to record an album with producer Warren Huart, and haven't left since. We've had many ups and downs as a band but at the end of the day love what we do. With that said almost ten years later here we are, still playing.
Album Review: Heavy Sigh's "My Quiet" EP

It’s been another one of those days. Hostile work environment, ruthless Manhattan bikers clipping legs while whizzing by, stalled subway, and puddles everywhere, and the rain...the unrelenting rain. Soggy and exhausted, you're home at last. Warm slippers, vinyl, wine and a cold piece of chicken from last night’s take-out. Thoughts racing; memories of last night's bickering, followed by silence, fades as you take a Heavy Sigh...

Heavy Sigh has just released their first EP; it’s luminescent, like commiserating with an old friend after a hard day. It’s chill and alluringly transcendental, and it starts with “Rains," a track with strong, steady, pulsing beats. Front woman Suzy Forman's voice floats airily over tinkling guitars; "I remembered your chair reclining, back in 2008, and my eyes watered, and I remembered watering my neighbors' flowers, and thinking that I was important...and that I was necessary...." as she reflects back to a time when their love was still fresh and engaged.

"Chlorine" is a sleepy track filled with fond memories and a deep yearning. The lyrics are succinct with only one verse, "My hair still smelled like fire and chlorine, you tucked your nose behind a strand in a dream...but you're not with me, but you're not with me..." Languid guitars filter through transcendental horns until it reaches its climactic end; it’s lovely, even other-worldly. "Tell Me What State You're In," is a tune with an unmistakable 90's vibe. Combining the instrumentals of early Smashing Pumpkins with the dazed, dreamy vocals of a stoned Alanis Morissette and slightly-drunk Zooey Deschanel, Forman tells a woebegone tale of missing an absent lover. "Now it's your turn to leave me at home, I'll never get used to being left alone. You said you managed as 'patient and sad,' I can manage that...but can I manage the rest?" "My Quiet's" title track plays like a crestfallen lullaby, gently strumming guitars intermingling with a steady, methodical drum beat. Forman waxes lyrical about her struggle to break out of her shell, crooning, "Please let me know if you'd rather stay at home, I understand if it's one of those nights...I have them all the time..." The instrumentals slowly build in intensity, as Forman laments about her inability to be heard, "Hear me, hear me, I'm anyone listening? My quiet can tremble, but only so far, so far it's not far enough..." The album concludes with "C.I.P.," a track that addresses the overwhelming exhaustion that can weigh us down when the monotony of life sets in. The mere echo of horns mix with gentle guitars and soft percussion to provide the ambiance for Forman’s emotional revelation: "An eleven hour headache in a two-seater on the 6:43 train...and my hat is pulled halfway over my eyes. I thank the conductor as he takes my ticket and involuntarily gasp for air twice..." The track comes to a head as she wails, "I'm so tired...I'm so tired..." grieving and desperate for freedom from the dictates of daily life. Heavy Sigh subscribes to the philosophy that misery loves company, in a way that comforts a weary soul. It’s sweet, gentle and extremely's an auditory Xanax. Check it out here, and you're going to be just fine.
FREQUENCY That dress though!
Live Review: Daniella Mason at Brooklyn Bowl's "School Night"

Nashville came to NYC this week at the Brooklyn Bowl's "School Night," where southern songstress Daniella Mason serenaded New Yorkers with her first-ever Brooklyn show! Mason recently opened for Demi Lovato after her song, “All I Want” was tweeted by the pop star, taking it viral. Since then, Mason has been working on new material for her upcoming EP, and as luck would have it, she brought it to Brooklyn! Decked in a short gold-sequined dress with some plain white sneakers for a touch of Brooklyn chic, Mason's set kicked off with "Technicolor," a loungey, easygoing tune about a love so great that it fills all voids. "Your touch is like a stroke of B.I.G. to his flow, flow..." Daniella crooned, attracting the growing crowd’s attention with her silky-smooth vocals. When previously asked about "Technicolor," Mason explained that it was written with her husband Chris, about her husband Chris (who also plays guitar in her band). It was all very sweet, as the two often stole reassuring glances from one another. Mason's newest single, "Shade Of You," which is currently climbing the iTunes Alternative charts, was next. The crowd perked up at the dreamy track, clearly impressed as her voice soared over the band’s explosive instrumental chorus, "So I'll dive in, cause that's just what I do and turn right into just another shade of you..." Scattered murmurs of "damn!" and "oh wow...she's really good!" came from a thoroughly impressed audience. Mason & Co. manifestly felt the positive energy - they beamed perceptibly. The eery, stark track, "The Water" followed, along with the insistent, no-nonsense "It's Not Up To You," where Mason demands to be in control of her own life. "All I Want" heard shouts of encouragement throughout the crowd, as she wailed, "All I want is you tonight, all I want is you tonight..." before berating her synths into providing the perfect quixotic effect for the haunting tune. The enthusiastic applause that followed prodded a megawatt smile from the singer. Mason was seemingly ever-so-slightly ambivalent about playing a NYC crowd. "This is our first show in Brooklyn. You guys are pretty rad so far!" she teased. She and her band then rapped up their set with the energetic "Cover The Earth," which also was well received. Mason encouraged the newly smitten crowd to come by and say “Hi” after her set. She then said a quick thank you, and exited the her fans excitedly lined up to meet her. Well done Daniella Mason...New York loves you!
New Jersey Hard Rock Vets, AUG, Premiere Full-Length Album

If you’ve recently wished for a new hard rock album in the spirit of Iron Maiden, Guns N' Roses, or Ozzy Osbourne, then your wish has come true. Straight out of Jersey comes AUG with their new, full-length CD, titled Be Careful What You Wish For, now available.

The hardcore style band has brought to the table something rock fans will surely appreciate. If you haven’t heard of the hardstyle band, let us assure you, they are not new to the scene; as matter of fact, they already have several accolades to their name. Such accomplishments include landing the spot as the host band for VH1's That Metal Show Christmas party for 3 years, reaching #2 on Reverbnation's Hot 500 Rock charts, and receiving praise from as VH1 Classic's TMS Host, Eddie Tuck for their first single "20 Years In Hell."

FREQUENCY The adorable album artwork for Tamar's upcoming album
Joonbug Exclusive: 'Adore' by Tamar Haviv

Tamar Haviv is captivating listeners everywhere with the latest songs off her upcoming debut album, You and Me Without Pajamas. Not even yet released, her songs have already been hailed as a "terrific debut" by the prestigious Sir Paul McCartney.

Though Tamar claims she has been making music for as long as she can remember, it was only after becoming a finalist at Lilith Fair that she decided she wanted to take her songwriting more seriously. When talking about the experience of writing her very first album she speaks about how important it was to her to "express [her] purist desires...keeping things so simple and direct"

The Kooks Set To Air Newest Track Tonight

It's no small feat to have your latest track deemed "hottest record in the world" by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Zane Lowe. Joining the ranks of artists like Porter Robinson, Lana del Rey, Nero, Coldplay and so many more, The Kooks' new single will be the second off their new album Listen to be awarded the prestigious title. 'Forgive and Forget' is an incredibly catchy, up-beat disco record. After the premiere, frontman Luke Pritchard talked a little bit about the musical diversity that The Kooks are bringing to the table with their new album, saying, "We're just trying to fuse really different styles."

The song just premiered, so head over to the BBC website to stream it now.

Listen will be out September 2nd, and you preorder it on iTunes here!

Animal Years Announces Show At Brooklyn Bowl

Brooklyn’s own Animal Years is coming home to Brooklyn Bowl at the end of July and it’s a show you don’t want to miss. Influenced by the early Kings of Leon and Young the Giant, the band is making its own name. Led by front man, Mike Mcfadden, the recently released their album, Sun Will Rise which is filled with feel-good melodies, ringing guitars and impassioned vocals .You can see them live at the Brooklyn Bowl with tickets starting at $15 which you can now purchase here.