Lance and Liz of Permanent Records have supported our little label from the very beginning. They were the first store to carry our records, the first store to invite our bands to play in the shop and have become some of our best friends. Over the past year, Permanent Records has become a home for us kids who love dirty underground punk and feverish garage rock and roll. So of course when we heard that Liz and Lance were in a band, we expected nothing short of heavy and dangerous garage punk.
The Ripper Current EP was recorded by their buddy Ty Segall (who really needs no introduction. If you don’t know about Ty, something important is missing in your life). The result is everything we love about punk and garage rock. The guitars are loud, fuzz fueled blasts of feedback, Liz’s drums are perfect examples of lightning fast minimalism and Lance’s bass brings the driving distorted bottom end. Then there’s guitarist/vocalist Greg Bummers perfect old school hardcore punk vocal delivery. I’m talking the days of FEAR hardcore.
Recently it seems like the Los Angeles “garage rock” scene has been largely populated by reverb drenched, surf/psych music. Though we’re fans of some of those artists, it’s refreshing to hear a band bring the danger back to garage rock. The A-Side is a perfect specimen of garage power. “Such a Drag” kicks off the EP with a heavy fuzzed out bass line before igniting into a furious, hooky wave of noise. “Your Treatment” serves as the catchiest track on the EP with a bouncing three-chord progression and anthemic chorus “I want it, want it now, want it nooow”.
The B-side finds Endless Bummer indulging in their more noisy, punk rock tendencies, which they do fucking perfectly. “What I Want” is fifty seven seconds of Ramones style rebellion. “The End” bookends the EP in a beautifully chaotic mess of screams, distortion and driving drums. It’s on this side that Endless Bummer release the devil and single-handedly reignited my love for crazy punk music.
Endless Bummer have released a great debut. If you like your punk nasty, heavy, with a touch of surf you won’t be bummed out at all. Pick up the EP at their Bandcamp or at Permanent Records! Out now via Trouble in Mind.
It’s hard to deny that this Halloween is the season of the witch. Witches have not only cast a spell over Hollywood (AHS:Coven, Witches of East End), but they’ve also infiltrated the Los Angeles music scene. We were so excited to talk horror with our favorite spell casters in LA Witchwho have just released one of our favorite local EPs.
What’s your favorite horror movie and why? Sade: The Exorcist. That was the first scary movie I saw when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares for years. At least with monsters and serial killers you might have a chance - but when you’re dealing with the supernatural, you’re screwed. Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are up there too.
Irita: Suspiria. The soundtrack is so great and so unsettling.
Ellie: I’d say Carrie is my favorite.
What’s the WORST horror movie you’ve seen? Ellie: The Granny.
Sade: Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
Irita: Hostel. And any of the Saw movies.
Your name is LA Witch. Is there an actual witchy story behind the name? Irita: A woman named Louise Huebner actually contacted us via Facebook a few months ago. We found out that her title is actually the “Official Witch of Los Angeles”, which was given to her in 1968 at this huge ceremony at the Hollywood Bowl – during which she cast a Sex Spell over all of LA… over 11,000 people attended. We didn’t actually know there was an actual L.A. Witch that existed, but it was rad that she got in touch with us.
What famous witch would you want to be? Ellie: Bette Midler from Hocus Pocus.
Sade: Maybe a cross between Sarah and Nancy from The Craft?
Irita: Definitely Nancy from The Craft, except less evil. And no bugs/snakes.
What’s your favorite scary movie theme? Sade: Supernatural, slasher, serial killer. Ellie: I like when people have super powers. Irita: Anything satanic, religious or supernatural. And zombies.
Any tips for Halloween? Sade: Watch out for razor blades and don’t forget the blood.
Wyatt Blair is one of the most important figures in the Los Angeles music scene. He is founder and co-owner of Lolipop Records, drummer and vocalist for Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel and has released one of the best solo albums this year: Banana Cream Dream.
What’s your favorite Halloween or Horror movie? hmm, I must say my favorite Halloween movie is probably that Disney Channel movie Halloween Town! i remember it was the best Halloween movie I’ve ever seen.
What’s the worst horror movie you’ve seen? I don’t really know, horror was never my thing, but all of the SAW movies are fucking insane, I remember watching the first one for a hot minute and freaking out a bit, ha!
What are you going to be for Halloween? I am going to be a bumblebee for halloween! bzzzz
What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Oh, I like this question….I’ve got to say my #1 Halloween candy is the Halloween Edition Oreo Cookies…HOLY CANNOLES! I give Nabisco headquarters major kudos for that one!
What’s your favorite Halloween song? Oh, definitely the Monster Mash! It’s a classic and always the late great Halloween jam.
If you could be any type of Ghoul what would you be? a… “Cool Ghoul”
Any Halloween tips? Just be safe out there, the world is a scary place, Trick or treat with confidence, use the buddy system, don’t eat too much candy at one time (you will reap the consiquences)…hmmm, tell your momma you love her, have fun, wear your seatbelt, stay hydrated, and if you drink and drive…DON’T SPILL ANYTHING! Happy Halloween to you all!
Bert Hoover is an everything man. In the past three years he has fronted Cab 20, joined Jesus Sons on slide guitar, jump started a solo project and has helped run Mock Records. On top of all of his musical achievements, he’s also an avid movie fan, particularly of the old school horror classics.
What’s your favorite Horror movie? An American Werewolf in London. Not only is this movie one of my favorite movies of all time, but it’s a fantastic horror/halloween time movie. Nazi wolf-man dream sequence, Violence, X-rated movie theaters, and an amazing soundtrack. All directed by the guy that brought you Animal House.
What’s the worst scary movie you’ve ever seen? The worst Scary movie I’ve seen is The Wolfman remake. Let’s just say it didn’t even come close.
If you could be any classic Universal Monster which would it be and why? As a little kid I was pretty obsessed with the Bela Lugosi Dracula. So I’d probably have to go with that.
What’s your favorite “scary movie” tune? I really like the theme to John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. He makes good use of synths and drum machines. It’s kinda cheesey but I’m into it. It’s also pretty hard to beat his music in “Halloween”. So it’s a tie between those two, but John Carpenter definitely wins.
How would you like to be killed off in a horror movie? Something in the vein of the Evil Dead movies. Like, maybe have one of my limbs come off and choke me to death or something. Maybe something more violent. I dunno.
Tips for Halloween? It’s the only time of the year where they sell pumpkin beer, so my advice is to drink so much pumpkin beer that you don’t want it till next Halloween. That’s normally what I do.
Black Lullabies are terrifying. Their shows and songs are fog drenched trips into a dark abyss full of tingling guitars, primal drums and ghostly vocals. The husband and wife duo comprised of Ken Ramos (Hexham Heads) and Melissa Pleckham (Hexham Heads / Kissing Cousins) are also huge fans of Halloween and classic horror movies! Check out their suggestions for first time horror viewers and more!
What’s your favorite horror movie and why? John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, 1978. I just think it’s so elegantly creepy and autumnal. It is the perfect movie for my favorite time of year.
What’s the WORST horror movie you’ve seen? Probably the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. I’m not against all remakes (I really liked Rob Zombie’s Halloween, actually, and the Fright Night remake, and Toolbox Murders…I could go on) but I don’t think the people behind the TCM remake understood the tone of the original, or the fact that it’s a modern horror classic.
For people who are unfamiliar with horror movies, which would you suggest they start with? If you’re squeamish, I suggest starting with something that is spooky and creepy but not gory, like The Haunting (1963).
What’s your favorite scary movie tune? The theme music from Halloween is great, obviously. Rosemary’s Baby, with that black lullaby sung by Mia Farrow.
from The Lost Boys.
If you could be any classic monster, what would it be?I would love to be Dracula, that dapper gent.
Any tips for Halloween? Dress up. Raise the dead. Wreak havoc.
Check out Black Lullabies’ creepy crawly tunes over at SoundCloud!
Shelby O’Neal is definitely one of the busiest people in the new garage rock scene. As drummer for “goth” garage rockers The Black Belles, Shelby and co. got a record produced by Jack White, played with Stephen Colbert on the Report and provided a new theme for the queen of darkness, Elvira. Since her time in the Belles, Shelby has played drums for some of the scene’s more prominent garage rock groups including Cosmonauts and Peach Kelli Pop. On top of that she is the star of No Bunny’s video for "Little Bo Bitch".
Lucky for us, Shelby took some time from touring to answer some questions about her favorite horror films and goulies!
What’s your favorite horror movie and why? My favorite horror movie is Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I think it’s the most genuinely scary cos everything and everyone is so real. When Pam is grabbed by Leatherface after she follows Kirk into his house remains my all time favorite horror movie moment.
What’s the WORST horror movie you’ve seen? I’ve seen soooo many bad horror movies it’s hard to pick an all time worst. I’m just gonna say Halloween 3 because it pisses me off the most. A Halloween movie that has nothing to do with Michael Myers or the franchise just really bums me out because those are usually some of my favorites.
What famous witch would you want to be? Any of the 3 from Hocus Pocus.
What’s your favorite scary movie sub-genre? I’m a slasher purist. The era of late 70s-early 80s slasher movies is my favorite and I love when they follow the formula. Open with a kill. Kill a bunch of teens (some dumb, some naughty) with sharp objects. Surprise twist ending. I need/want nothing more from a horror movie.
Any tips for Halloween? It only happens once a year so you HAVE to go for it !!!!!! Never sexy. Scary costumes or funny and clever ones are my favorite. Also. More fake blood.
Last question, do you have a favorite horror movie actor? Linda Blair. Come on.
To me, when you write about music, you should hold yourself to the same criteria as signing an artist to a label. You have to ask yourself questions like: is this worth putting work into to share with the world? Is it unique? How does it affect me? Does it make me move or does it make me introspective? Once you’ve answered those questions, and are satisfied with the answers, only then should you move on. This is why these posts happen so far and few between. Not because I haven’t heard a decent piece of music in the past month, but because few things have inspired me to hop on to the blog and write about it. Lo-fi / folk / experimental project Fog Lake has broken my silence.
I first found out about Fog Lake from exploring the vast, digital music library of Bandcamp. As predictable as it might seem, I typed in the term “lo-fi” and began to scan the world’s offerings of fuzzy, bedroom recordings. To my surprise, the term lo-fi is apparently attributed to stripped down electronic music, at least it is on bandcamp. So after page after page of quiet boops and beeps I fell upon a release with the cover of a building obscured by grey haze and a brightly illuminated cross hanging on its wall. Being as I have a soft spot for striking images, I clicked on the record and began to listen.
The style of music featured on holy cross is hard to pin point so I won’t even attempt to place a genre tag on it. To call it stripped down folk is a disservice to the density of the instrumentation which features some droning violins, haunting reverb-drenched parlor piano and harmonica. To label it experimental discredits the talented simplicity of the core of the songs. The only words that can justify this piece of music are eerie and beautiful.
The EP hops around all types of styles while still maintaining a consistent sound and feel, which is no easy feat. Songs like album starter “Seeds” and “The Time” may call to mind Bon Iver’s debut album with it’s semi out of tune guitars and layered vocals. Then there are tunes like “Despondency” and “All Broken” that feature a more upbeat classic indie-rock type of feel a la Deerhunter.
The fluidity of this release is so remarkable. From beginning to end the tracks flow seamlessly with each other creating an atmosphere and mood like sitting in the middle of the night on a foggy, wet, grassy hill staring at that cross from the cover. This is not the type of music that makes you want to jump around with your friends, beer in one hand and the other a fist in the air. This is the type of music you want to hear when you go home to your empty apartment by yourself and sit with your thoughts. Which, in my opinion, we all need to do more often.
There are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of psych/garage bands that like to sink their teeth into the murky waters of reverb drenched blues. That’s why it takes a little extra somethin’ somethin’ to make our ears perk up when we hear another band from this “genre”. LA Witch have that little somethin’ somethin’.
On their debut EP release, Los Angeles’ LA Witch have taken a large step from the lo-fi demo world into another musical dimension filled with atmospheric psych, fuzzed out shoegaze and even a little moody country. “Get Lost” starts the EP off with a mellow psych-revival groove ala Brian Jonestown Massacre. The overdriven bass remains steady while the reverbed drenched guitars and vocals bring in the fog. The special thing already about this release is although the vocals are coated with reverb, the lyrics are still audible and distinguishable and frankly, there’s a great voice hiding behind that wall. This is a trait that is largely missing in our current surf/psych scene. New bands take notice.
While “Get Lost” proves that LA Witch could write a great psych rock song, the next song called “Heart of Darkness” proves that these ladies can just write a great song in general. This may be the most haunting song to come from an LA based artist since Olentangy John’s “Angry Little Town”. (Yes that was a local artist reference. Study up.) Here, the guitars are hushed to gentle picking from an acoustic guitar. An ominous organ drones delicately in the background while the band and guest vocalist Lucy Miyaki softly croon. I would imagine this to be the song an old cowboy would hear while he was lost somewhere in the pines of the Sierras. It’s truly a magical track.
The last track on the EP, “You Love Nothing” brings the girls back into a steady groove reminiscent of the EP opener. That is until the great break down / build up towards the end. It’s a track that once again earns them a place next to the other psych/garage lords of LA.
This was a great introduction to this band and I’m genuinely excited to see what else they have up their sleeves. To have a song like “Heart of Darkness” lie next to a song like “Get Lost” shows that this band is interested in dynamics. They want the noise along with the quiet. That’s refreshing.