ALBUM PREMIERE: HAMMERED SATIN “VELVET VORTEX”
If you are an L.A.-area musician who would like to submit unreleased songs or videos of any genre for premiere, email a stream or download link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
L.A.’s committed glamrockers Hammered Satin are ready with their new Velvet Vortex album, and it’s a gloriously over-the-top homage-slash-valentine-slash-absolute-reincarnation of what’s known now as “junkshop glam.” While cranked-up Americans with guitars spent the desolate mid-70s making the kind of extra-hard rock they now call bonehead, Europeans chased after the Sweet and T. Rex with big bubblegummy riffs and enthusiastically ridiculous outfits. (Both of these were proto-punk, in two sort of opposite ways.) It’s the sound of the Sex Pistols’ guitar, the Ramones’ catchy choruses and those stomping T. Rex drums, exploded across hundreds of obscure but exciting 45s hiding in cheapie 45 bins across the continent.
Don Bolles (who does backup vox there) and Hammered Satin frontman Noah Wallace do their own Velvet Tinmine DJ night and radio show on dublab, so they’re very likely the reigning local experts on this sound, and naturally Velvet Vortex is a spot-on showcase of the form. If you’re already collecting these 45s, you probably already dig this band, and you’ll hear the secret and not-so-secret references to microgenre classics like Hello, Hector, Nicky Bulldog, Iron Virgin and more instantly. (Captain Groovy and his Bubblegum Army even get a specific mention in the first song, and Bonnie St. Claire and Unit Gloria helped with the phrasing in the chorus.)
But like current junkshop glam champs Giuda, Hammered Satin know every obscure variation and experiment that ever hit junkshop vinyl, and that keeps Velvet Vortex (which includes guitarist Elizabeth Boyd, also of the Flytraps, and drummer Victor Penalosa of the Zeros and the Flamin’ Groovies) from sounding like the same hit single nine times in a row. Instead, this album ricochets from slinky T. Rex-y sing-alongs (the title track or “Planet Boogie,” which of course asks the star sister to boogie with her mister) to Kasenatz-Katz bubblegum (“Candy Sugar Baby,” even more dedicated to the theme than you can imagine) and the micro-microgenre of black leather biker glam, presented here as “Silver Streak” complete with revving engine sound effects.
Vortex has the spirit, the energy and (probably most importantly) the personality of the original wave of this stuff—it takes guts to get this glam. Velvet Vortex is out today on vinyl from Deadbeat—original home of the mighty Giuda—and you can get black wax here or the deluxe pink vinyl version here, with cassette on Burger of course. (And this probably somehow sounds better on pink.) They’ve got a few shows coming this summer listed below, and as luck would have it Don and Noah are doing a special Wired Up night at the Monty on Sunday night. (And check them out on dublab here as well!)
June 28th at Casbah SD
July 5th at Eli’s Mile High Club (Burger Boogaloo Pre-Party)
July 18th at Whiskey A Go-Go