Liily are five Los Angeles teenagers hailing from deep in the San Fernando Valley to the edges of the Inland Empire. Emerging from a new and burgeoning culture of youths in the city, their wildly frenetic shows point to a new vision for alternative and hard rock music in 2018 where such things aren't supposed to exist anymore: one that is actually a hell of a lot of fun. Liily makes music that draws on all the jagged stimuli of their upbringings to make something distinctly Los Angeles in 2018.
You wouldn't know it from the walls of death they're forming at their shows, but Liily is creating a space for their generation. With the aid of their deep fraternal bonds, Liily is pulling an exhilarating scene out of rock's current murmur.
When Plague Vendor were about make their new album By Night, singer Brandon Blaine didn’t exactly know what he wanted it to sound like, but he did know what he wanted it to look like. “A house that’s falling apartbut lit uplike crazy,” he says now, six months after finishing a record that captures that exact feeling of ruin and regeneration, of charisma and catastrophe and of slashing at the night with nothing but pure electricity. Where 2016’s BLOODSWEATended with a to-be-continued moment and Blaine shouting “Romance!” into the silence, By Nightends with a second of feedback and noise. It's a perfectly spent finish to an adrenaline rush of a record that asks, “What just happened?”Plague Vendor are already usedto making nothing into something. It’s a place where the only way things happen is if you make them happen. A fearless our-way-is-the-hard-way work ethic and famously physical live shows won the band a ferocious fan base, a flash-bang debut album and place of pride on the Epitaph Records roster. When they called that album BLOODSWEAT they might’ve just been explaining what it took to make it. (Or they could’ve just been talking about those live shows.) And when they stepped back into the studio in the latesummer of 2018, they were ready again to do something new. They spent eleven days locked in at Hollywood’s legendary EastWest Studios (Brian Wilson, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop) with StVincent/Chelsea Wolfe producer John Congleton, with all visitors banned and all distraction eliminated. (Well, one blood relative has was allowed once.) Theyhad the instinct to delay the sessions until they knew they could get Congleton, and when they met, they connected intensely and instantly, more like co-conspirators thancolleagues. They would even complete each other’s sentences, says drummer Luke Perine. With Congleton’s precision production, they found their own way between the powerful-but-too-polished sound of right now and the engaging-but-aging reinterpretations ofclassic punk/rock albums of the 60s and 70. And with Congleton’s limitless encouragement, they did things Plague Vendor never did before: chorused bass in endless waves, lightning-strike flashes of synth, motorik man-machine drums that sound inhuman and human at once and even a string section that’ll be a surprise if they ever do it live.“We knew we could trust him to take us as far as we wanted,” says Perine, and inspired by the opportunity, the band stretched and warped their songs, discovering a merciless sense of tension and apprehension that set every moment on edge. (That’s how they play live, too, says bassist Michael Perez: “It’s all a performance—building energy and releasing it.”) Blaine broke out new vocal ideas, new vocal styles, new depths of imagery and intensity that feel like flashbacks instead of pop songs. If BLOODSWEATwas a primal scream, By Nightwould be a precision attack. And, says Blaine, “I had my ammunition ready.”The record starts like you’re in the studio with them.There’s a second of chatter to check if you’re ready, and Perine’s drums, Perez’ bass and Rogers guitar aligning in formation. Then a snap dynamic change and anxious heart-pounding piano as Blaine slides in, out of breath and into a scream before the minute mark. That’s “New Comedown,” and the rest is just as stark, raw and out of control—even the love songs, when there are love songs. (“You gotta have light to have dark,” says Blaine.) The brooding “All Of The Above” is an internal monologue
disintegrating over a sci-fi punk drumbeat, while sing-along-gone-wrong “Let Me Get High\Low” is an infinity mirror of echo, effects, illusion and delusion: “Toward the end,” says guitarist Jay Rogers, “it just gets cinematic.” The menacing “Night Sweats” is like the soundtrack to some kind of crime spree as a cruise through town in a camouflage Cadillac starts to fall apart. “Snakeskin Boots” is a shattering battle with temptation and closer “In My Pocket” is a song for the first bleak light of dawn—it’s exhaustingandexhilarating at the same time, with a final rush moment that screeches to an instant stop. Think of it as the moment the sun finally comes up, which is exactly when an album called By Nighthas to end. As Blaine says: “Nothing cool happens duringthe day.”
Pinky Pinky have good gut instincts. During an era of limitless distractions, societal pressures and sonic trends, the three best friends are focused on being happy and blissfully on the outside of all that noise. The trio grew up together in Los Angeles and there's a shared understanding of what makes them all tick. Together with her punk cohorts Anastasia Sanchez (vocalist/drummer, 20), guitarist Isabelle Fields (19), and bassist Eva Chambers (19) have a clear understanding that Pinky Pinky's modus operandi is in not overthinking their decisions. You can hear that on their debut album, 'Turkey Dinner' due on Innovative Leisure. It follows their two prior EPs, most recently 2018's 'Hot Tears'. Their first full-length, however, is even freer than their previous efforts. It's a patchwork quilt of garage rock and oddball indie. It's rooted in classic bass, drums, guitar, but it's bolstered by the perspectives of a trio of LA youths writing about their everyday observations, anxieties and passions. For instance, “My Friend Sean” is a young fantasy about the dreamiest boy in class, “Mystery Sedan” is an LA story about a car being the only thing there in times of distress, “Lady Dancer” is about a stripper at a bikini bar in Los Feliz. When lead lyricist Sanchez met Chambers in the girls' locker room in High School they knew that they'd be in a band together (Chambers and Fields had already met in Middle School). All three of them had always dabbled in bands. Originally born in New York but moving to LA during childhood, Chambers began life in a band with her three older sisters, playing keys. She picked up a bass at the age of 13 after their endeavors had died a death. Fields, on the other hand, trained as a violinist but rebelled and taught herself guitar from the age of 12, while rearing herself on the Sex Pistols and riot grrrl bands. Sanchez's father put sticks in her hands as a little girl. She was a prodigy in classical violin but also wanted to get back to the sheer pleasure of playing and so canned the anxiety-ridden music studies for her DIY drumming. She became a singer by necessity for Pinky Pinky, referring back to her love of Fiona Apple and even Heart for vocal chops. Pinky Pinky itself had a few iterations before settling on its three core members. “We were really trying to be punk at first then psychedelic then blues,” recalls Fields. “Finally we got to a point where we knew we didn't need to focus on just one thing. Growing up you think you only should listen to one type of music but we got to a certain age and realized we don't need to do that.” During their High School years they flew beneath the radar. “Nobody cared I was in a band,” says Field. Their first gig was at the MOCA museum in Downtown. To date it's the most nervous they've ever been. “I'd still be scared to do that,” laughs Sanchez, admitting to almost having a full-on panic attack due to the swathes of cool teenagers that turned up to watch them. Only recently have they hired a booking agent after already building a solid reputation on the LA scene hustling by themselves. When they played Dave Grohl's inaugural CalJam festival in 2017 they didn't even have a manager. “I got a call from someone who works with Dave Grohl: 'Dave really likes your band',” recalls Sanchez. “And I was laughing like, 'Weird? But cool?! It was a little surreal'.” In company, the trio exhibit an airtight ease together. In the studio too, their process is super collaborative. They tend to jam out a song idea first then pick out lyrical themes. Whereas their first EPs were overcomplicated and limited by a prior standard of musicianship, their LP has been created with more confidence alongside producers Jonny Bell and Hanni El Khatib in Long Beach. “It took a long time for our EPs to come out,” explains Chambers. “And by the time they did we'd grown a lot.” Indeed, by the time this album arrives it'll be the most accurate representation of where Pinky Pinky is currently at live onstage and off it. They aimed to make a live-sounding record that didn't feel too shiny in its production. As a result, 'Turkey Dinner' is unpretentious, raw and unpredictably zany.