L.A. Witch’s self-titled debut unfurled like hazy memories of late-night revelries in the city center creeping back in on a hungover Sunday morning. Guitarist/vocalist Sade Sanchez purred and crooned over jangling guitar chords, painting pictures of urban exploits, old American haunts, and private escapades with a master’s austerity. Bassist Irita Pai and drummer Ellie English polished the patina of the band’s vintage sound, adding a full-bodied thump and intoxicating swing to the album’s dusty ballads, ominous invitations, and sultry rock songs. The album had an air of effortlessness like these songs were written into the fabric of the Western landscape by some past generation and conjured into our modern world by three powerful conduits. The band readily admits that L.A. Witch was a casual affair and that the songs came together over the course of several years. That natural flow hit a snag when the band’s popularity grew and they began touring regularly, so a new strategy became necessary for their sophomore album, the swaggering and beguiling Play With Fire, available on August 21.
The record is a bold new journey that retains L.A. Witch’s siren-song mystique, nostalgic spirit, and contemporary cool. The newest advance single from the record, “Gen-Z,” was written after Sanchez read about how kids these days aren’t picking up musical instruments. “When I was a kid, music and guitar were my escape,” Sanchez says. “Music was how I fought through my depressions. What will the future do to get through it?” Previous advance single, “I Wanna Lose,” employs amped-up riffs and slashing fuzz lines in a celebration of defeat as a starting point for rebirth and redemption.
RIYL: Death Valley Girls, Bleached, The Coathangers, Dum Dum Girls, The Cramps, Slutever, The Kills, Vivian Girls, The Gun Club, Thee Oh Sees
Goes For Adds 7/21
Label: Suicide Squeeze