Death Valley Girls Unearth Freakbeat Tendencies On “Dream Cleaver”
Written by Chris Ramos on August 15, 2019
There’s no “right” way to play rock music. If you decide to churn out rock music that is high-speed and abrasive, causing adrenaline to burst through the body; more power to you.
Death Valley Girls, the explosive garage rock/psych-rock band out of Los Angeles, is no stranger to high volume. Yes, they’re loud but it isn’t for the sake of simply being loud. It’s apart of their infectious attitude. From mind-melting riffs that are thick with sinister intentions to catchy choruses that get the body moving, their foot is glued to the gas pedal from start to finish.
Their raw, fuzzy sound is akin to other bands that have emerged from the garage-rock scene embedded within the west coast. In the past decade, it has flourished and we are reaping the sweet rewards. In many ways, it pays homage to the brash music scenes that have been harbored in California.
My first encounter with Death Valley Girls was their Glow In The Dark (2016) LP. Songs like “Disco”, “Love Spell” and “Death Valley Boogie” quickly aroused my interests. Their follow-up record, Darkness Rains (2018), was just as fun to listen to. Best of all, the band managed to feature Iggy Pop in the music video for “Disaster (Is What We’re After)”. The renowned maniac is wearing a suit (hard to believe) and proceeds to imitate Andy Warhol eating a hamburger. Every bite is complemented by the sound of controlled chaos. If Iggy Pop agrees to work with your band, then you’re on the right track.
The band’s newest single, “Dream Cleaver”, makes it evident that Death Valley Girls isn’t losing their footing anytime soon. A nod to the spiritual ambassador, Terence McKenna, the song is kicked off by an organ intro. Quickly entering the sonic space, a roaring guitar riff played by Larry Schemel. The bass and drums bolster the groove paved by the organ’s bouncy chords that establish a freakbeat rhythm. It’s trippy, quirky and it feels so liberating. Bonnie Bloomgardnen’s screechy, ghostly vocals sing about the fallacy of time with urgency. The addition of a saxophone proves to be worthwhile, as it blends into the chorus gracefully and adds another dynamic to the song. From the vocals to the instrumentation, this track posses that twisted, melodic sound that the band manages to execute consistently.
As a result, “Dream Cleaver” is an auditory hallucination that takes you on a cosmic ride for a little over three minutes. Death Valley Girls know what they do best and essentially stick to their guns on this single, but that doesn’t make it bland. It’s the kind of track that must be blasted through your speakers without any remorse. Give it a listen.