Celebrating the release of their second full-length album Play With Fire, indie-rock trio L.A. Witch performed a livestream album release party this Thursday. Made up of gritty vocalist and lead guitarist Sade Sanchez, drummer Ellie English and bassist Irita Pai, L.A. Witch offers a nostalgic, ’60s garage-rock flair, bending genre territories with a variety of musical influences that lend to their eclectic style and sound. Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to support independent venues struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.
The setting is strange but fitting for the witchy trio, with saturated red lights, a moving dragon figure in the corner and seance candles littered across the floor of the stage. Kicking off without a word, the show opener is “Kill My Baby Tonight,” a hyperbolic metaphor of a song straight off their self-titled debut album. In short, it’s a song about murder; in reality, the murky track conveys an obsession with one’s partner. Sanchez travels to the dark corners of romance and then paints a haunting fictional scenario. The track is particularly heavy with reverb, accompanied by a smooth bass line and classic california-surf-guitar riffs reminiscent of Sublime.
The three-some pulls from a multitude of influences for their genre-bending discography; “Brian” is a classic, Americana rock ‘n’ roll track. A characteristic L.A. Witch sound, “Gen-Z” is draped in reverb. Part of new album, this track is emotive as it touches on the subject of rising suicide rates among young people. A lengthy instrumental interlude in the middle of the song amplifies its intensity.
“Baby in Blue Jeans” is made up of just three repeating lines, despite the track edging on five minutes. And, somehow, Sanches manages to add a different layer to each lyrical repetition, adding depth to the hazy, consistent rhythm of the tune. A political track, “True Believers” marks a turning point in L.A. Witch’s lyrical content; “I guess I’ll just make up my own rules, my own ideas, my own rights,” Sanchez sings with an edge of defiance.
“Sexorexia” conjures the nostalgic energy of the riot grrrl era, with a fiery guitar riff accompanied by an upbeat background melody that gives the song a degree of complexity. It’s confessional and angry, as Sanchez spits out the lyrics, “You drag me around, you push me down/ You must think I’m your little clown.”
Marked with wanderlust, “Get Lost” is once again a track composed of just a few repeating lines, the fixation being, “To get lost from myself/ To get lost from my soul.” Sanchez’s voice carries a feeling of detachment, her tone apathetic. Toward the end of the track, a fast-paced, crashing drums build-up from English mimics the feeling of anxiety that comes with feeling stuck in one place, followed by a dragged-out instrumental fade.
The finale track, “Starred” is dominated by fast-paced guitar riffs from temporary addition for the night, Gregg Foreman, who knocks heads with Sanchez as the two battle it out on the strings. The song comes to a halt in a daze, as Sanchez falls to the floor and the show fades to black, leaving the audience with an authentic, flaming performance from the dream girls of L.A. Witch.
Kill My Baby Tonight
Drive Your Car
Baby in Blue Jeans
I Wanna Lose
File Photo Credit: Kalyn Oyer