The music of Death Valley Girls represents a very specific type of mysticism, like taking peyote on the hood of a Pontiac Firebird in the middle of the desert. Or the California of the People's Temple and the Manson Family. On the face of it, the project – helmed by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel – is a leather-clad rock and roll band, drawing from a variety of sources that make the term "rock and roll" seem less corny (the Stooges and the New York Dolls chief among them). But when you dig a little deeper into the album (out now via Suicide Squeeze), you find a vast array of the paranormal, government surveillance, inside jokes (here is a 2016 interview with L.A. Record which serves as the inspiration for the album's title), and a deep understanding of the things that cannot be explained away by science or simple logic.
Bloomgarden reached out to KEXP, offering her perspective on each of the tracks from Darkness Rains.
"This is an anti-suicide song. It’s so hard to ask for help or know what to do if you are feeling the bluest of the blues. I wanted to make a song for a friend down in the dumps and also for myself. I realized all you can really say to make someone stay longer is how short life is and that we need bodies now more than ever to fight the good fight! Our work is not done here! Let’s fix this shit together. Then let’s go find out what’s in space!!"
"It’s just a rock and roll song. Like, 'Why are you looking at me? Who said that was ok?' :) Haha! And maybe you like them too a little, but you pretend in your head that getting to know them or why they are looking at you is one too many things to have to know before you die."
"'Disaster' is an anthem for good times and bad times! Either to celebrate a joyous success or pick yourself up from your bootstraps and get ready to do it all over again! You can read it as either we are after disaster – seeking it out – cause we love it so, or we are the next thing to happen after there has been a disaster; like, 'We would love to help clean up after your party.'"
"I always thought it was weird that in futuristic movies it always had to be the government that implanted us with a regulator or device. Come to find ourselves smack dab in the center of the future – and we are the ones that purchased our own tracking devices! And we are hooked! But, 'Don’t worry we don’t wanna eat your brains, or see if they are squishy, we just want your brains to keep them safe, scout's honor!'"
"My 1965 Fender Mustang was stolen from my a few years back! I bought her when I was 14 and wrote every song on her. This song is to mourn her. I’ll only wear black (guitars) til I get her back."
"Abre Camino, or 'the road opener,' is a magic spell! Instead of just focusing on luck, money, love, success, or power, Abre Camino allows you to wish for all. It opens your 'road' and unblocks your 'path' to all riches and happiness you desire!"
"It has been a pretty tough year for a lot of people. Many people have placed their horrible memories and experiences in boxes in their mind. Having to confront these boxes every day because of the news and various reasons is so hard. 'Street Justice' is a song to listen to when you don’t know how to feel – when you do know how to feel, when you want to speak up, and when you don’t want to speak up. It’s just for you. In the end, just know street justice will prevail for you and me."
"This song is a mean song! You know how people just brush off important things by saying, 'Don’t worry, it’ll be better in the end?' Well, we decided to start saying that too. Lots of people were being mean and we told them not to worry – everything will be fine in the end! But, the jokes on them; they won’t be there in the end cause there isn’t one!"
"I had an article on my wall from a '70s supernatural magazine called 'Beyond Reality.' It was the story of two women: one alive, Pearl Curran, and one dead, Patience Worth. During their friendship of many decades, I think Pearl was able to write 11 novels for Patience. This case had been studied and all the skeptics had been called in. Pearl could carry on full conversations while Patience would use her hand to write it the parlance of her time – I believe Middle English! Pearl was not a great student so this case has always been so interesting to us, particularly since neither Larry nor I understand where songs come from, we just know it’s cosmic."
"I always really liked the sound of that [Charles] Manson song 'Always is Always Forever' – it’s super freaky and there are little girls laughing at times but it’s also so peaceful and innocent. I think we wanted this song to sound like that, something to hang sheets to or sing while driving your buggy down the highway. We also always wanted a locked groove!!"