California, USA
L.A. Witch’s eponymous debut album tapped into the allure of warm nights on the West Coast
while hinting at the loneliness and lawlessness of living on the literal periphery of a country
founded on a dark past. It felt suited for driving through the desert late at night, broadcasting
from some lonesome radio DJ through a low-signal FM station. The three-piece composed of
guitarist/vocalist Sade Sanchez, bassist Irita Pai, and drummer Ellie English culled sounds from
the outlaws of the warmer climes, whether it was 13th Floor Elevators’ lysergic rock n’ roll,
Bakersfield country’s jangling laments, or the cool hand fatalism captured by The Doors on
songs like “The End”. It’s an album transmitting subdued revelry while also smirking at the
inevitable consequences of the night.
There is no better season for these kinds of songs than the autumn, when the promises of
summer have abated and the nights of reckoning grow longer. L.A. Witch seized the moment by
revisiting a handful of their early long lost tracks and reshaping them into Octubre, a five-song
EP that delves deeper into their darker side. Opener and lead single “Haunting” is a swaggering
rumination on heroin, full of big ringing chords, swirling tremolo, and narcotic vocals. It’s more
densely layered than anything the band have done in the past, owing in part to the engineering
skills of Samuel Shea (Warbly Jets) and the production savvy of Gregg Foreman (Cat Power,
Delta 72), but also as a result of the band’s premeditated deviation from bare bones recordings.
“Because these are old songs—we don’t play them live anymore but still wanted them to be
heard—this was the perfect opportunity to get experimental with sounds and textures,” Sanchez
says of the EP. Despite this new studio adventurism, the songs on Octubre stay true to L.A.
Witch’s vintage starkness. The obsessive love song “Sleep” still centers on the trio’s economic
interplay, but the empty spaces between reverberating chords are filled with woozy
whammy-barred guitar, as if tape bleed-through caught the ghost of some forgotten troubadour.
The cryptic “BB’s Momma” gets bolstered by organ vibrato in its sultry verses and bombarded
by bloody-knuckled piano in its climactic choruses. As the EP culminates with the acoustic
ballad “Heart of Darkness” and the instrumental “Outro”, we hear echoes and melodic ether
swell in the background, as if the magic conjured by L.A. Witch is beginning to take on a life of
its own.
Octubre may be a record about unhealthy infatuations and debilitating love, but it’s also an
inadvertent statement on the past and permanence. Offered to the world as a surprise digital
release, it might suggest a kind of ephemera, but the underlying motive is to reinvent and bring
a new life to these seminal songs from the band’s early years. Reimagined and reshaped, these
songs not only represent the band’s beginnings but also serve as a teaser for the band’s future
output. Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to offer up these songs to world digitally on
November 2, 2018 and anticipate vinyl and CD editions sometime in 2019.
May 10, 2019 12:00 am ONE RPM and CMW Presents
May 11, 2019 7:30 pm YDS, Saturday May 11th