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Birds of Maya - Valdez Music Album Reviews

Birds of Maya - Valdez Music Album Reviews

The noisy, cosmic trio of Philadelphia DIY lifers returns with an unearthed studio album. It’s an upgrade in fidelity and a shit-ton of fun.

Birds of Maya are a band who don’t seem all that concerned with the formalities of being a band. The Philly trio doesn’t really remember when they formed—“somewhere between 2000 and 2004” is their best guesstimate. They took about half a decade to properly issue their first album in 2008, and then, after two follow-ups, checked out for most of the 2010s. And while the arrival of Valdez, their first record in eight years, might seem like an encouraging sign of life, it was actually recorded seven years ago, thereby blurring the line between a comeback effort and a reissue of a lost album.

Of course, there’s a good reason for their inactivity—all three members of Birds of Maya are pillars in the Philly DIY community, with multiple projects on the go. Singer/bassist Jason Killinger has stayed busy with his bands Spacin’ and Soft Crime; drummer Ben Leaphart has played with the Bardo Pond offshoot Aye Aye as well as Purling Hiss, the long-running indie-rock outfit fronted by Birds of Maya guitarist Mike Polizze (who also dropped an alt-country-leaning solo release, Long Lost Solace Find, last year). But if the sudden reappearance of Birds of Maya feels randomly timed at this juncture in their respective careers, Valdez’s origin date is ultimately immaterial because Birds of Maya deal in a type of rock music that persists like nuclear waste: the sort of sludgy noise that loses little of its skin-melting toxicity through the passage of time.

Valdez belongs to an exclusive fuzz-punk fraternity whose charter members include Funhouse-era Stooges, Spacemen 3’s “Revolution,” early Mudhoney, Monster Magnet’s Spine of God, Comets on Fire’s Blue Cathedral, and the Men circa Leave Home: records that value blown-speaker distortion, runaway-train momentum, and sinister, brain-scrambling psychedelia above all else. But even as it follows a well-trodden trail of busted distortion pedals, Valdez abounds with thrills and surprises, the same way that standing in the middle of an 8x8 jam space while a band revs up will always give you a heart-palpating jolt.

Birds of Maya always aspired to bring that practice-room experience into your home through their largely improvised, no-fi recordings that were liable to spill past the 20-minute mark. Valdez, by contrast, was made at a proper studio in upstate New York, and although the whole thing was reportedly cut and mixed in 36 hours, there’s a much greater definition and thickness to these recordings that elevate the Birds from trashy basement noisemakers to omnipotent power trio. Most significantly, the album presents an opportunity to truly appreciate the relentless rumble that Killinger and Leaphart produce, through a combination of kosmische-rock velocity and soul-revue vigor that launches Polizze’s fretwork into the cosmos. The 10-minute instrumental centerpiece “Recessinater” epitomizes Valdez’s expansive, three-dimensional attack. As Polizze’s sun-warped, snake-charmer guitar line plays call-and-response with itself, the rhythm section sets the breakneck pace while providing the melodic undercurrent that gives shape and structure to the splatter.

On the tracks with vocals, the upgrade in fidelity doesn’t give us any clearer picture into what Killinger is actually talking about, but it does allow us to hear his voice in strange new contexts. While the opening “High Fly” peels out like Jimmy Page hitching a ride on Can’s “Mother Sky,” the song’s scorching midsection guitar jam is threaded with the uncanny murmur of his vocal track in the background, like a lone parishioner who refuses to snap out of his prayer chant even as his church is burning to the ground. Amid the acidic Crazy Horse churn of “Busted Room,” he breaks out of his diseased-Dylan snarl to deliver a spoken-word passage in a different corner of the mix, as if he were instantly transported inside your brain.

But for all its brute force and suffocating scuzz, Valdez is also a shit-ton of fun, whether it’s making you see stars from all the hypnotic hammering of “Please Come In” or blindsiding you with a two-minute proto-metal spurt like “BFIOU,” which is sort of like Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” for dirtbags on a joyride with a suspended driver’s license. As a seven-year-old recording slathered in redlining guitar squall, caveman stomping, and largely unintelligible lyrics, Valdez has absolutely nothing to say about the state of our world today. And yet the timing of its reemergence couldn’t be more perfect: This is a readymade soundtrack for humidity-choked summer nights spent getting up to no good and going crazy from the heat.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Birds of Maya - Valdez Music Album Reviews Birds of Maya - Valdez Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, July 08, 2021 Rating: 5

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