Psychedelic Rock, Pop and Garage from: Skull Diver, The Dead Ships, Pacific Latitudes
Sat, Jul 1 at 9pm
For as long as they could hold an instrument, sisters Aly and Mandy Payne had the benefit of a partner through which to filter their artistic progression. Naturally the rate of evolution for Skull Diver moved fast. What requires deliberation for most they do instinctively. Sharing duties as multi-instrumentalists where one left off the other found new inspiration. Carving out their dynamic, Aly's unique playing style is perfectly tailored for Mandy's Vocals. Their musical collaboration isn’t so much a pastime as an identity around which everything else revolves. Growing up their intake of major influences was simultaneous and therefore proactive: The first time one of them heard King Crimson, Prince or Radiohead soon became an infectious awe they could share.
The early Skull Diver compositions were long, roomy abstractions-more an experiment in painting broad strokes of the subconscious. The sisters reflect on this period as more as a work-study period. With an interest in experimental audio rivalling their compositional desires, they toiled tirelessly to familiarize themselves with the world of analog circuitry, audio engineering and midi programming, turning their house into a makeshift studio where songs could be taken through their entire evolution-from inception to perfection to production.
Skull Diver’s 2015 'Self-Titled' debut, however, captures the jubilance of invention after the initial spark. It’s a tragically beautiful and poetic effort. Well studied and artfully self-produced over months of experimenting with how it should or could sound before finally being crowned complete.
For the bands 2017 independent release ‘Chemical Tomb", the alternate approach was to make the document while it was still raw. The thematic elements are darker, with a gravely dangerous bend due largely to the addition of percussionist Alexandra Geffel. Geffel was introduced to Skull Diver in late 2015 and quickly became the long sought after engine powering Skull Diver’s breakneck pace.
'Chemical Tomb' employs the same aching melancholy of Skull Diver’s debut but adds an element of aggressive dissonance. It’s landscape is winding, with malevolent and often uncomfortably honest subject matter. Skull Diver’s ability to juxtapose doom and gloom riffage with sparkling synths and delicately frigid piano is masterful. It’s an inventive dichotomy that illustrates the rare ability to not only churn out the raw material but also refine it in post-production while retaining the initial vibrancy.
Like the Cecily Brown painting from which the band takes it’s name, Skull Diver’s textured complexity incorporates a varied array of tones and strokes. Their current pallette dips into the darker shades of our own humanity but it’s vibrancy is still sourced of something pure and familiar.
The Dead Ships
A lot has happened for The Dead Ships in the short time that they’ve been together. They quickly became the most talked-about live show in L.A., picked up airplay on radio giant KROQ where their song “Big Quiet” spent five weeks in the number one slot on the station’s star-making Locals Only show. The Ships were hand-picked by Goldenvoice to perform at Coachella 2016 and LA WEEKLY named them the city's best band. Now, with the release of their debut full-length album, it’s time for the rest of the world to get to know The Dead Ships. Produced by Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, the soulful garage rock four-piece has put together a fiery collection of songs that showcase McCluskey’s engaging yowl and an unrelenting drive that never lets up on the gas pedal.