Zodiac Death Valley


Los Grillos Collective had the pleasure of catching Zodiac Death Valley at San Francisco’s Independent last Thursday.  We caught up with them afterwards for a brief web interview:

Indica or Sativa?  Hybrids
PBR or ?  Tecate
Dream producer?  Aaron Swanton
Dream Studio?  White Horse Recorders, San Diego
What is the Dream?  We’re living it
Fame or Fortune (or both)?  Cherish your anonymity, we just want the money
RESPECT?  God’s creatures
Props to?  Isis

For a more in depth look into the mind of Zodiac Death Valley go here.  See them now before it becomes more difficult to get tickets to their shows (they play the Tavern in San Rafael on 7/30.)   And by the way, don’t bring your girlfriend…

Zodiac Death Valley – Cinci Oh

Girls — “Vomit”

The 2009 debut by Girls, Album, was loaded with golden pop nuggets that practically emitted rays of sunshine from their jangly guitar lines, but lyrically the songs laid bare the soul of one seriously damaged dude. Now comes “Vomit,” the first advance single from Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Girls’ forthcoming second lp (on the heels of last year’s appropriately titled Broken Dreams Club ep), and this time the music matches the mood while also revealing a band determined to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump by:

1. Calling the album “Record 3”. (This release will be the band’s third album but only its second full-length effort, so it’s not really “Record 3”. More like “Record 2 1/2”. Anyway.)

2. Continuing to, as with the Broken Dreams Club ep, grow as a band and move beyond the Beach Boys via Elvis Costello-isms of Album while retaining a strong sense of melody.

“Vomit,” as vomit can sometimes be after a long night spent drinking away one’s lovelorn blues, is positively epic as it builds from a simple lyric and guitar phrase to a feverishly emotional gospel-soul finale–imagine Spiritualized covering Pink Floyd.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost is out September 13 via True Panther. Check it out here.

Girls – Vomit

Hear Here — Richard Buckner ‘Our Blood’

Back in May, los grillos was happy to relate the news that Merge Records is set to release Our Blood, Richard Buckner’s long-awaited follow up to 2006’s Meadow, on August 2, and even happier to hear the album’s advance single, “Traitor,” which promises that Our Blood will be worth the wait. Now that the wait is almost over, NPR, courtesy of Merge, is streaming the album in its entirety until its release. An initial listen reveals that with this album Buckner continues to blend his country roots and pop sensibilities with his more experimental urges, providing a deeply layered musical foundation for his distinctive baritone and darkly poetic lyrics. Check it out at NPR Music, and let us know what you think.

Our Blood is out August 2 via Merge Records. Check it out here (where it’s currently available for pre-order on cd and lp).

And here, once again, is lead-off track “Traitor,” which is available to download for free via RCRD LBL

Buckner has some tour dates coming up in support of the album. Catch him live if you can…

07/28. Cincinnati, OH. MOTR Pub FREE!
07/29. Chicago, IL. Schubas Tavern
07/30. Milwaukee, WI. WMSE 3rd Annual Radio Summer Camp Music Festival
07/31. Minneapolis, MN. Triple Rock Social Club
08/16. Los Angeles, CA. Bootleg Theater w/ David Kilgour
08/17. San Francisco, CA. Great American Music Hall w/ David Kilgour
08/19. Portland, OR. Bunk Bar w/ David Kilgour
08/20. Seattle, WA. The Triple Door
08/23. Atlanta, GA. Smith’s Olde Bar w/ David Kilgour
08/24. Carrboro, NC. The Arts Center w/ David Kilgour
08/25. Arlington, VA. IOTA Club & Cafe w/ David Kilgour
08/27. Brooklyn, NY. The Bell House w/ David Kilgour
08/28. Boston, MA. Brighton Music Hall w/ David Kilgour
09/9. Big Indian, NY. Truck Festival
09/10. Big Indian, NY. Truck Festival
09/11. Big Indian, NY. Truck Festival

Backtracks — Ronnie James Dio’s Sacred Heart

Ronnie James Dio entered this mortal coil on July 10, 1942, and he left for that which lies beyond on May 16 of last year.

I entered Dio’s world through his 1985 album Sacred Heart and its biggest single, “Hungry For Heaven”. And then I worked my way backwards through his solo albums to his time with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Elf. What I learned through this journey is that metal is not metal without the legacy of Dio. So horns up for the man with a sacred metal heart who fell in love with a country girl.

If you’re in Austin on Thursday, July 28, head to Trophy’s for the Ronnie James Dio (belated) birthday party–it’s set to include a live karaoke band playing music spanning Dio’s entire career, and it’s a benefit for the “Stand Up and Shout” cancer research fund created by Wendy Dio.

Sharon Van Etten – Lilt by Association

Sharon Van Etten has a great lilting voice. Cool and fluffy and cleansing like a dollop of Noxema, and not overly impressed with me. Which is only fair; I’ve been a little ornery towards lilty female vocals of late.

It’s the commercials.

Cat Power’s cover of Cat Stevens’ “How Can I Tell You,” Yael Naim’s “New Soul,” and Erica Bjuremark’s version of Ted Lucas’ “It’s So Easy (When You Know What You’re Doin?)” are featured on commercials for de Beers, Apple and Audi. These ads all say the same thing: breezy, quirky, unconventional girls are actually really impressed with diamonds, laptops and sportscars. . .that you can buy. And we will sell them to you!

Well I prefer to think Ricki Lee Jones cannot be bought!

I actually really like lilty female vocals and what their idiosyncratic modulations hint at: the individualism, freedom and strength of particular women who can act and feel particularly. They can be crazy about you or bored of your shit, and can feel the sun on their faces, the breeze in their eyelashes.

In “Don’t Do It” Sharon Van Etten is feeling the storm. The lilt in her voice stands firm, collar up amid the rolling waves of splash and crash, the insistent guitar chords, and the swirling, dirgey background vocals. This troubled nocturne speaks simple truths about the chasms between freedom and bondage. Her path is an emotional math problem that shows all of its work.

listen here.