Review: The Downwards label inaugurates their new stateside operation Downwards America in superb fashion with the long overdue debut album from Los Angeles duo DVA Damas. Formed of Taylor Burch and Joseph Cocherell, the DVA DAMAS made a distinctive debut back in 2010 with the Brand New Head 10? on the DO sub label of Karl O' Connor's long running Downwards imprint. Burch's intimidating vocal delivery for that release ensured the track remained in our affections ever since and it's excellent to see their sound expanded to a full length album. Our only complaint with Nightshade is it feels far too short at just under 20 minutes, but otherwise their canny concoction of subtle film references and delay laden industrial sounds is a thrilling ride from start to finish. As an added bonus these shrink wrapped vinyl editions include the album on CD!
Review: Taylor Burch and Joe Chocherell's DVA Damas project has always inhabited a sound space all of its own. While heavily influenced by post-punk rock, new wave and minimal wave synth-pop, quite a few of their records also draw on contemporary minimal techno and Visionquest style tech-house. It's the latter that comes to the fore on "Clear Cut", with Burch's stylized, groaning, Mascara-clad vocal riding a dubby, hypnotic tech-house groove and spiraling, EBM electronics. It stretches out for a mesmerizing 10 minutes, too, and subsequently overshadows the fine - but not quite as potent - bonus tracks.
Review: JS Aurelius and Nick Nappa's Marshstepper project steps out of its more familiar Ascetic House imprint and lands on Regis and Silent Servant's Downwards America stable - a division of the Downwards industry reserved for more experimental, electro-acoustic and punked-out electronics. The EP starts out with the sunken drones and metallic twists of "Everything Is Sorrow", morphs its way into a bloodbath of distorted, wavy electric guitar riffs on "Survival" and "Confronted With Life", the latter being strictly of the industrial variety. "On An Animals Soul Turned Against Itself" is the more macabre of the lot thanks to its eerie vocals, while "In Pure Linen & Placed In A New Tomb" heads into a total atmosphere of doom and dread. Top class chillers from one of industrial's best contemporary outlets.