LA Witch starts off like a nightmare in a wood paneled, beer-drenched, and musty basement somewhere in the darkest corner of Los Angeles where the most unspeakable acts take place, the kinds of acts your mother simply can’t believe exist. Like forgotten Nashville legend Link Wray, the music is so heavy on the reverb that it might be dripping from an ancient radio, Sade Sanchez’ guitar might be two blocks away from you, her vocals so nearly washed out they could only be the result of your worst hangover. This music is the precursor to something really awful, or the burned out bulb of a devastation that’s already occurred. If I haven’t made it totally clear here, LA Witch’s debut album on Suicide Squeeze records is easily one of the best things I’ve heard in 2017 or any year for that matter.
Think surf rock covered in jetsam, drowned, and vomiting seawater, it’s Nashville rock from the 1960’s buried alive, it’s jangly rock and roll with pounding drums, chest thumping bass, and washed out guitar for the ages. These are diabolical slow jams punctuated by uptempo slammers. Sade’s ashy-wicked vocals cut each song like a dull knife over and over, the lyrics and vocals bleed out from each song reluctantly but with a bitter beauty.
For years LA Witch toured incessantly without a proper release, they took time to record some songs at the briefest down periods before hitting the road, but according to the band, by the time they would return the songs had evolved after a thousand shows and it no longer matched the recording. It wasn’t until this time around with some assistance from Suicide Squeeze that the band was finally able to properly record something that stuck. The end result is… magical sounds to fluffy… biting?!
If forced to make a comparison I’d say that LA Witch is some combination of La Luz, with songs like Baby Blue Jeans, Brian, or Good Guys, but also that darker much harsher sound of a band like Acapulco Lips in songs like Kill My Baby Tonight, Untitled, or Get Lost. They’re danceable in that slow drugged out psyche-rock way, but you also can’t deny your tapping foot. But just as you’ve settled into something with this album they pop you in the face with a killer guitar solo, or spin out of control with a tempo shift.
The band to no surprise comes out of LA, that first part evoking some of the darker psyche rock of the late 60’s and early 70’s, some weird Laurel Canyon shit in an overgrown backyard, something the Manson family was wackin’ out on. They are as it turns out NOT witches, but for them the name evokes the image of powerful women. Bassist Irita Pai credits Kim Gordon has her influence for ever picking up a bass. Kill My Baby Tonight is a brilliant showcase for an image of power and the band’s full display of their own power, they beat those instruments with a strength that could make anyone jealous.
LA Witch is out 9/8 on Suicide Squeeze records, it’s one of those albums that you need only to hear moment of before you find yourself neck deep in the whole thing. Pick it up now! at suicidesqueezerecords.tumblr.com or at lawitches.bandcamp.com.