L.A. WITCH “L.A. Witch” CD cover

In order to really make a band like L.A. Witch work on record, the sound captured on tape has to also capture the essence of the dirty city rock-n-roll vibe. You know what I’m talking about, a sleazy club with graffiti on the walls, spilled booze on the sticky floor and the sound of echoing guitars bouncing around the room. Well L.A. Witch goes one better because they give you all that and more on their fantastic new self-titled album.

Not only do you get the kick of rock-n-roll dreams captured in the grooves, but they even capture the aftermath, coming down hard, and driving home from the show at 4am. The white lines of an L.A. freeway blurring in a pair of bloodshot eyes.

The three women of L.A. Witch, Sade Sanchez (vocals / guitar) Irita Pai (bass) and Ellie English (drums) conjure up an enchanting mixture that brings to mind a brooding mix of early Gun Club and the dark side of psychedelia ala Arthur Lee’s Love. Run all this through a wash of Phil Spector wall of sound reverb, and you get a sound equal parts sunshine pop, dreamy and drugged out scary.

And to prove straight off the bat that this ain’t the summer of love we’re listening to here, the gals start things off with a (ta-dah) MURDER BALLAD!

“Kill My Baby Tonight” opens with a pulsating bass line, pounding drums and a slinky, slithering guitar line over which floats Sanchez’s aloof, almost detached lyrics and vocal style: “I’m gonna hurt my baby tonight / If he don’t come home on time / I’m gonna kill my baby tonight / This way he’ll forever be mine”

Fair warning issued – This is a woman you do not want to get on the wrong side of.

“You Love Nothing” opens with a guitar tremolo effect spinning off into space and set to stun, a truly massive, thundering bassline and a snare drum hit so hard it rattles your teeth. Sanchez snarls out the lyrics with enough venom to take out an entire congregation at a tent revival: “You Love Nothing / You Want Nothing / Why Do I want You? / Why do I need you?”

Now you might be getting the (wrong) impression that this record is a bit of a downer, and I really want to emphasize that it is anything but that. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to listen to. The songs are performed well and with great feel. And when these women play together they generate enough cool out of their instruments to keep a six pack of beer ice cold for a week.

The songs have been recorded exactly as you want a band like L.A. Witch captured in the studio, with sufficient polish to get them on the radio but enough of the raw edges left on to still make them sound dangerous and exciting.

L.A. Witch is the perfect anecdote for the cotton candy clogging your veins after a summer of bad blockbuster movies and too many days at the beach. Put this one on and it’s instantly the witching hour even if you play it at noon on yet another sunny day in Los Angeles. I promise that it will take you straight to the underbelly of whatever city you live in. And that’s really where you want to be, isn’t it?