If a noir banquet for the aural pathways is what you’re hankering after, may we suggest “Voices In The Dark” by Bad Shadows. The accompanying mini picture show is the perfect unsettling dreamscape for a slice of buoyant foreboding.
It’s off-kilter Beach Boys meets the Allah-Lahs in a dark alley, way past your bedtime.
It’s a summer night where time has run away to other dimensions; a moment displaced, forever reverberating through space.
It’s lusciously lugubrious lo-fi stuff.
Bad Shadows are Matt Mayhem (vocals and guitar, previously of The No Tomorrow Boys and Roselit Bone), Victor Franco (guitar and vocals, ex-The Cry! and currently in Roselit Bone), Joe Benassi (drums) and Russ London (bass). Mayhem and Franco met around 2015, fusing their love of garage, punk and oldies to start a band called The Furies. In 2017 they became Bad Shadows when Benassi (of local bands Mope Grooves, Youthbitch and Therapists) and London (from Golden Handcuffs) joined.
The new video for “Voices In The Dark” uses classic analog equipment (a record player) along with futuristic tech (an iPhone) and a lighting kit straight from your dad’s garage (a headlamp). With these items, the band created an epic little monotone flick.
“Our last video (‘Take Me Home’) was a big production shot with a fancy camera using motion-control robots that are used for cinema and commercial video production,” Mayhem explains. “But for this video we went the totally opposite direction shooting it on an iPhone connected to a record player with a headlamp as our primary light source. It just fit the style we were going for.”
The video was shot in a couple of hours at the furniture fabrication shop where Benassi works as an upholsterer and features London’s girlfriend, Heather.
“The song kinda has these themes of worry and uneasiness, but the music is pretty mid-tempo and almost dragging so we really wanted to match that—mirror the dynamic changes in the song by shifting the intensity of the visuals instead of the tempo,” Mayhem says. “There's this dark sense of dread, but it's all smoothly laid out in slow motion.”
“Voices In The Dark” is the title track of their 2018 debut. Mayhem says the inspiration for the song was from an engineer who worked on recordings for his high school band, Young People With Faces, back in Idaho. That engineer, Robbie Wood, was in a band when he was a teen called The Bees who released "Voices Green and Purple,” which Mayhem says is “one of the classic underground drug tunes.”
“In talking to Robbie, we found out that he was just 14 when he wrote the song and had never done any drugs in his life, let alone dropped acid!” he adds. “As someone who is straight but loves psychy garage rock, the story resonated with me.
“I thought it'd be fun to do something similar with music in that classic garage psych vein and riffing on the themes of ‘Voices Green and Purple,’ half writing a drug song from an outsider perspective and half writing about the demons that we all struggle with in our daily lives.”