Release Date: Sep 8, 2017
Record label: Suicide Squeeze
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
It’s not often this old boat gets floated by a new band using the trusty voice, guitar, bass and drums template but southern California female trio LA Witch cast a heady spell, straddling realms of LA noir imbued with a spectral psychobilly twang not encountered since Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s early Gun Club. Singer-guitarist Sade Sanchez, bassist Irita Pai and drummer Ellie English released under-the-radar singles while spending the last three years discovering their innate infernal magic through relentless gigging. The name could have been harbouring some desperate goth ensemble or heavy metal atrocity but seconds into chillingly-assured psycho-ballad Kill My Baby Tonight there’s obviously something rare and special afoot as, sending cavernous howls from her reverbed-to-hell guitar, Sanchez intones with dead-eyed malevolence over the rhythm section’s ominous telepathic rumble, exploding midway into San Francisco acid guitar.
L.A. Witch have been in and out of various studios in between near relentless touring for several years, but have never previously been satisfied enough to release the results. This might seem difficult to understand in that their self-titled debut LP feels a simple affair upon first glance. The tracklist conjures quintessential images of Southern California life: faded glamour, tumultuous romances and the ups and downs of leather jacketed reprobates.
If La Luz are the joyful surfers that arrive leave the beach at sunset just in time to share a joint before mom calls for the family barbecue, L.A. Witch are the outcast badasses that appear once the sun goes down. They sound menacing and dangerous, as if some supernatural power (hence the name) had taken over them and they wandered the sands in eternal penitence.
Their self-titled debut is one that bubbles with retro rock fuelled passion - it feels like they’ve been raised on a diet of short-lived, little-known cult bands, recasting their influence into three minute blasts of reverb-drenched guitar jangles that have a firm dream pop underbelly. Opener "Kill My Baby" arrives with classic 60s garage rock chops and sets a firm indication of what will go down in each of the eight songs that follow. "Brian" starts as a relaxed reverb-heavy tune that slowly evolves into a psychedelic slow burner.