Without a doubt, my favorite album of 2013 is Deap Vally’s debut Get Deap! EP (recently Philthy-profiled Blood Red Shoes may agree, whose Steven Ansell name-dropped the band as being one of his favorites of recent years). And unless Iggy and the Stooges’ new album proves to be their best since Raw Power, I’m guessing Get Deap! will remain 2013’s best release. I recently had a chance to chat with Julie Edwards, one-half of the SoCal retro-rocking duo. Edwards tells me, “Our genre is blues punk, like blues music with a punk attitude.” She goes on to proclaim “You know what blues punk is? It’s Rock’N’Roll,” a reassuring conclusion that she and musical partner Lindsey Troy recently came to. I’d told her that I’d been describing their sound as “post Riot Grrrl garage metal.” She tells me that she thinks garage metal implies something heavier than Deap Vally and adds, “I think there’s obviously a Riot Grrrl element, just because we’re both women, but I don’t think that sonically it’s in-line with that stuff.” Deap Vally’s sounds are reminiscent of the earliest (and best) output of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Gossip. Edwards tells me that the band’s biggest influences are bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and the first two Hole albums… along with cheeseburgers.
Well, apparently Deap Vally are well on their way to resembling Led Zeppelin. In fact, Marilyn Manson has crowned Edwards with the moniker of “Dawn Bonham.” Apparently Mr. Manson, or Brian Warner, who worked with a friend of Troy’s, was at the band’s second show ever… at Los Angeles’ Hotel Café… a bastion of NPR singer/songwriterdom (and not exactly Deap Vally’s target demographic), who found himself in the front row, heckling the girls (much to their amusement), who, afterwards, asked if he could have the privilege of being their groupie. Manson’s designation of Julie Edwards as “Dawn Bonham” has, apparently, given her something to strive for. “That’s a goal,” she tells me.
Like most prolifically brilliant bands, Deap Vally’s Julie and Lindsey came together in a crochet class… Okay, so it is a bit of a quirky story… Julie was the teacher and Lindsey was a prodigal student. The two were already LA musicians, Julie as one-half of Pity Party and Lindsey a solo artist, but their present projects weren’t proving to quite satisfy their appetites. The two proved to be a musical match made in… well, whatever is the crossroad of the Delta and C.B.G.B.s. Their sound is certainly heavy, but with an authentic soul of oppressed revolutionaries.
Much of the early attention to Deap Vally was in regards to their scantily-claddedness… but this isn’t something that necessarily bothered them. Edwards tells me, “When a lot of people see us they assume we’re skanks and yeah, we have our butts hang out and we’re not at all fitness or diet people, but we’re not skanks. I mean, this is what sexual women look like.” She goes on to describe the duo’s style by saying, “A lot of it is our desire to let it all hang out and not be afraid of ourselves in any way.” Much of their drive seems to be inspired by confronting what is means to be a “woman” in modern America, but in less of an academic and more of a practical manner of simply refusing to strive and yearn for only the things that females are told are within their reach. But they are certainly not a second-wave feminist punk band… at least not in the traditional sense (?)… Whoa, that does sound a bit weird. They are also happy to write chaotic songs about smittenness… In fact, Troy once said, “What we represent, I feel is like post-post-post feminism.”
Deap Vally are going to be in the 215 this Saturday, May 4th, when they double-headline a show with local heroes Free Energy at the North Star Bar. The live experience would seem to be a YouTube thing of legends. Of what we can expect, Edwards tells me, “Sweat, maybe blood, maybe spit. It’s our ultimate desire to just connect to the material and lose ourselves… A lot of hair flying, a lot of sparkles.” And upon being asked what the band hopes for in 2013, she responds much like a line from a song of the best of G’N’R’s years: “Get up on time, make it to soundcheck, and play our asses off.”