Medium Rotation — Islands in the Sky; Good Luck

DEATH VALLEY GIRLS Islands in the Sky (Suicide Squeeze Records) — Melancholy intertwines with hopefulness on Islands in the Sky, the fourth long-playing outing from Los Angeles’s grand conjurers of grindy, gnarly anthems. Frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden says the foundational inspiration of these songs came from a bout of illness that left her bedridden for long stretches and more determined than ever to express herself when she was on the mend. In the lyrics, she both acknowledges the stress and strain she went through while stressing the wherewithal it takes to get through it all. As the words tip towards the heady, the music goes straight for the gut. Although maybe a touch less combustible than they’ve been in the past, the quartet still pushes out intoxicating rock songs, the flinty and buoyant “What Are the Odds” and buzzy psychedelia of “Journey to Dog Star” standing as especially find exemplars. There’s a bright energy to be found in these grooves, too. “Magic Power” even suggests they could teach a couple tricks to the current paragons of the sly shimmy, Wet Leg. Death Valley Girls make a convincing case for music as medicine. Find some Island love with the following cuts: “Sunday,” “Say It Too,” “Watch the Sky,” and “It’s All Really Kind of Amazing.”

DEBBY FRIDAY Good Luck (Sub Pop) — Born in Nigeria, raised in Montreal, and based in Toronto, Debby Friday seems determined to rattle the whole danger world on first full-length, Good Luck. The album-opening title cut is a charged assault of industrialized electroclash that is made all the tenser by the lyrics that resonate with the condescending pressure brought to bear on legions of gifted ingenues: “You better tell the truth now, girl/
You better build yourself up, butter cup.” Friday is properly fierce all the way through this debut, channeling esteemed predecessors, as when “What a Man” starts to feel like PJ Harvey commandeering Depeche Mode for her own devious doings or “Let U Down” hits with the heft of a Savages sucker punch. The comparisons only go so far, though. Friday is too much of a vivid individual to be pinned down like that. Like the best albums, Good Luck could only come from the distinctive artist who made it. Keep reveling in the fine fortune of being a listener with the following tracks: “So Hard to Tell,” “I Got It,” “Heartbreaker,” and “Wake Up.”

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