BIRDS OF MAYA have become one of those legendary lost power trios, so much more than the sum of their parts; superfuzzed, raw, ready to kick out the primal jamz, deliciously low-slung. I mean, really of course, that should read: had become, since they back with us, boy.
Followers of the rock music at its dirtiest noted we’d heard nothing from em, not a bean, since Mike Polizze got himself all seduced by the Purling Hiss project with Ben Leapheart joining him over there; two-thirds of the Birds’ lifeforce off creatin’ elsewhere. The signs in the tea leaves weren’t great. The faithful scried for signs; eight long years. Eight. During which time Drag City released three Purling Hiss records, Water On Mars, Weirdon and High Bias.
It all changed a month or so back now, when kabam! suddenly the rumour fug cleared enough for the Midwest label to announce a new long-player, the news doubled down with an actual video, the Birds spotted in the wild, for “BFIOU”; of which we noted for the record: “They’ve got all the good filth goin’ back on: fireHOSE, the Ashetons, Iommi, superfuzz pedals banked up. Sludge. Distortion. Vocals one-take and straight from the messy soul.“
Actually, for those with the noses in the know, Birds have done the occasional low-key live excursion in that long interregnum, mostly on home turf. And everything they plied by way of big amplification those rare evenings was committed to tape.
And so came the time, suddenly, precipitously, and actually while the strings and pedals were still cooling from a Purling Hiss sesh at Black Dirt Studios, north-west of New York. They brought roughed-out, roughed-up sketches to life over one evening. And just a teensy sprinkling of post-production followed the day after – just a little, you understand. The grime is the goodness. You know that. And so Valdez crawled blinking toward the light.
Valdez presents as a quartet of murkier fuzz jams, the right noise, the right swampiness, with a brace of quicker-fire whiplashes sequenced in there too. It all comes wrapped in artwork recalling the downtown they lived, loved, rehearsed and brought the sound to back in the Noughties, before the big bucks discovered post-industrial glamour.
Monday afternoon, UK time, and they capture the caught-in-the-perspiring-heat visuals for “Please Come In”, which you can delight in just down there: tom-toms a-go-go, a little raga perfume wafting through it; but it also has really vicious feedback squeals, no percussive quarter spared, shrieks and a ’67-psych bass which emerges as the saviour as the guitars fracture and flame and skitter off in pursuit of that final great howl.
Think MC5 dispensing with any final creative restrictions, the guitars chainsaw buzzing, their jam the absolute thing. They’re so back.
Birds of Maya’s Valdez will be released by Drag City digitally and on vinyl on June 25th – you can order your copy from the label direct, here.