Release Date: Sep 16, 2016
Record label: Cooking Vinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
With effortless cool and a whole lot of attitude, San Fernando garage rock duo Deap Vally expand on their early White Stripes-meets-Black Keys assault with addictive grooves and space to breathe on their sophomore outing, Femejism. Produced by Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, Femejism is an unpolished, rough-hewn delight that satisfies visceral urges while pushing Deap Vally in new directions. Singer/guitarist Lindsey Troy restrains her wild delivery on a few tracks -- like the spare and spiteful acoustic "Critic" -- allowing a new side to shine with vocals reminiscent of fellow hard-rocking sisters.
Turns out it wasn’t a fluke LA blooze-rawk duo Deap Vally exist in a very hip pocket tucked neatly between the sweatbuckets and split lips of hardcore, stun-gun, it’ll-be-1974-forever stomp’n’roll, and the hazy netherworld of buzzy indie-rock. They could tour with Blue Öyster Cult or spray-paint the walls of an art gallery with Sonic Youth and feel equally at home. .
Within a few minutes - at the very latest when Lindsey Troy’s gnarly vocals hit in second track ‘Julian’ - it’s clear Deap Vally’s ‘Femejism’ is at least a bazillion times bolder than already-pretty-bloody-bold debut ‘Sistrionix’. Should you be of a certain 51% of the world’s population, by the unparalleled call-to-arms ‘Smile More’, there’s no way you won’t be punching the air mid-scream, then during penultimate number ‘Turn It Off’, cradling yourself in the foetal position. Lindsey, and drumming partner-in-crime Julie Edwards have their metaphorical balls out further than the eye can see on a record that’s so smash-full of gritty, dirty blues riffs it’s as if they’ve ransacked all the dive bars in their native LA.
LA duo Deap Vally’s second album might be full of the kind of messages feminism thrives on (empowerment, freedom), but it’s a record that everyone should take to heart. On Smile More, guitarist and singer Lindsey Troy advocates being proud of one’s self, with lyrics like “I’m not ashamed of my mental state/I’m not ashamed of my body weight” and the wry “I’m not ashamed of my sex life/Although I wish it were better”. On Gonnawanna she winningly suggests “Let’s live our lives and live ’em big/Cos we only got one life to live”, with all the self-confidence in the world.
Society has a polarizing relationship with the "f" word — no, not that one. Feminism. It draws equal parts ire and support, but Deap Vally aren't afraid to place it at the rowdy heart of their new album, Femejism.The Los Angeles-based blues-rock duo of Lindsey Troy (guitar/vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums/vocals) came out swinging with Sistrionix in 2013, their brash style drawing comparisons to the White Stripes, Led Zeppelin and the Black Keys.
Deap Vally arrived circa 2012 as a feminist reaction against the male mainsteam of rock music. The duo had hotpants and big hair and big blues-rock tunes, and in 2013 they released their excellent debut album Sistrionix, which spoke from a resoundingly female experience. Gonna Make My Own Money marked them out as independent women in the same vein as Destiny’s Child; while Walk of Shame, which glorified an early morning walk home from a one night stand’s gaff was a bit more sleazy, and necessarily so, so as to prove that female rock musicians can be sleazy too.
From the title of Deap Vally’s second studio album, it’s probably obvious that the California blues rock duo is done with Feminism™ — the subject two women in a band must always expect to address in interviews, the superficial buzzword that sticks to female artists in the 21st century whether they like it or not. Julie Edwards and Lindsey Troy’s frustration at being pigeonholed by a supposedly liberatory ideology is a new shade to Deap Vally. They’ve also forged ahead into fresher sonic territory on their latest, FEMEJISM, with the help of producer Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and without the auspices of Island Records, the label that released Sistrionix in 2013.
Los Angeles duo Deap Vally found friends in high places after their 2013 debut Sistronix, performing with Iggy Pop amongst others. The hype of their first release also gained a generally positive reception from critics, bringing with it the rather predictable task of ‘saving rock music’. Although Sistronix wasn’t perfect, it demonstrated the bite and attitude of vocalist and guitarist Lindsey Troy, which is what much of Femejism also depends upon but it soon starts to wane thin.
LA rockers and crochet enthusiasts Deap Vally return with loud, sludgy, stadium-filling rock’n’roll on Femejism, but not much new ground is covered. On Gonnawanna, the duo shows some serious promise at breaking into new territory: it’s a bit psych, a bit garage, a bit punk and a real testament to their musical abilities. The same goes for the downtempo, reverb-laden Critic, which is a welcome break from the noise halfway through the album.
This uncompromising Los Angeles based rock duo burst into public consciousness in 2013, catching the imagination with a series of frenetic live shows. This along, with their debut Sistronix, helped shake up what the idea of rock music should be about in the 21st Century. Femejism may not have quite the same impact, but their second album has enough to it to suggest that Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards will be able to maintain interest our vested interest.