Death Valley Girls (DVG) had their genesis in singer (and guitarist and organist) Bonnie Bloomgarden who moved to LA and wanted music to be part of her drug rehab therapy. Hole drummer Patty Schemel and her guitarist brother Larry were soon on board followed by Rachel Orosco on bass. Wishing to avoid capitalising on the Hole name, DVG decided to record first and play gigs after, so they spent two days in Echo Park’s Station House Studios with producer Mark Rains and crammed nine tracks into their 48 hours to produce Street Venom.
Street Venom was originally released in 2014 as a limited series of cassettes and is now getting a deluxe release from the excellent Suicide Squeeze Records who also have L.A. Witch and The Coathangers on their roster. Time has not cooled the heat that pours off these tracks and if you are feeling in a quiet reflective mood then maybe hold off on listening to this for the time being. However, if you want an ear-grating, cone warping wall of abrasive fuzz then jump on in.
This is Patti Smith meets The Cramps in a relentless bulldozer of heart-warming noise on both the fast and slow tracks. Far-away vocals are sung/screamed over the waves of fuzz with all the force of a hand grenade, and there are bagful’s of hooks and pyrotechnic choruses with the stand-outs being ‘Sanitarium Blues’ (sic), ‘Arrow’ and ‘Shadow’ (with its stellar opening drum beat).
This is a blistering hot-rod of an album, decked out with a bleached animal skull hood ornament and it would tear up the desert floor and send lizards scattering in all directions. So, paint flames on my thighs and hook me up with chrome exhausts, NOx propellant and a parachute and fire me down the Death Valley Girl’s drag strip. Vroom!
Review by Paul F Cook