Into the Ground.
The music video for Into the Ground is available via:
The album, Little Dove is available from:
RUNNING TIME: 34:19
RELEASE DATE: 2013
3) White Lies
4) Say Go
5) Into the Ground
6) Sink Ships
7) In My Bones
8) Not the One
9) Lion's Den
10) When the War Comes
11) Let Me Fall
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
This L.A. duo have been setting alight U.S. audiences; drawing comparisons to the likes of The White Stripes along the way. There is a lot more to Little Doves than the defunct Detroiters; their music is germane and exhilarating; pugnacious and personable- they are a live act whom possess very few equals (and will be coming to the U.K. very soon).
IT was not so long ago that I featured Californian...
duo The Open Feel and their track, Sidewalk Zombies. To me, that reviewed marked a turning point and surprising apparition, as most of my reviews document U.K.-based talent. I have surveyed the odd North American talent such as David Ward and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and it is always surprising when I get to do it. Our British acts have a great range of sounds, yet (by featuring a U.S. act) I get to go to another part of the world; see what sounds are being made elsewhere- and what may be arriving to our shores over the coming months. The media can be remiss when proffering international talent, and it has been at the epicentre of my recent discourse and egregiousness. To my mind, California is one of the most fervent and thriving musical hubs on the planet. Us over here tend to concentrate solely on what is happening on our doorstep, yet if you cast your eyes to Los Angeles and its environs, then you are in for a huge treat. A musician friend of mine (whom originates from Leeds, Yorkshire) was just there; in awe of California, she has made it a personal and professional goal to go back as often as possible- and soak up all the music on offer. I touched on it in my previous piece (about The Open Feel) by saying that the range of genres and acts on offer bordered on the profound:
"In a blog post back in January, L.A. Weekly expounded the virtues and wonders of the music scene in Los Angeles. When explaining why the city was one of the most fertile stomping grounds for new musicians, they theorised: "We possess, of course, the requisite corporate music-industry behemoths: the Grammys, the major record labels and PR companies, Beats by Dre and Diddy’s Revolt TV, for starters. Equally important are our smaller cultural institutions, including the Smell, Pehrspace, Vex Arts, Dublab and the Do Lab, breeding grounds for emerging artists. Then there are the influential parties – Low End Theory, Das Bunker, the Do Over, Funkmosphere – which serve as breeding grounds for creative types. You’ll find exciting talent everywhere, from the Sunset Strip to backyard punk shows in East and South L.A." Amongst the blog’s extemperanious outpourings, one of the most distinctive arguments was this: the range of genres on offer is staggering. Murs raps on the Sunset Strip; Echo Park’s The Growlers can be heard seducing in Echo Park; Latin Jazz can be heard wafting from downtown promenades and bars; The Entrance Band and Psych-Rock proceedings are often witnessed down at Silver Lake- the city is a mecca for diversity and music entnocentrisism. There is no boastfulness or arrogance; the city is open and all-inclusive, and as such, is marking itself out as the epicentre for new music. Of course, Nashville and Detroit offer up a great deal; New York and Seattle are axiomatic hubs for some of the U.S.’s best- and have provided some of the most legendary musicians ever. L.A. can be seen as the Dance capital of the world; a myriad of local labels provide sanctuary and nurturing for the city’s most ambitious folk, and festivals such as Coachella are amongst the world’s most important musical dates. There is a solitude and peacefulness that can enjoyed, and the clement and summery weather is conducive with prosperous and inspired musical mandates. Pitchfork wrote an article about the many San Francisco musicians who have departed for L.A., including Ty Segall and John Dwyer, who called L.A. "a place where creative people can come together, swap ideas; it’s a place of artistic cultivation. Plus I think there is a certain seedy, creepy mystery that has always lived here. It’s a good place for the freak, and the phantom." Many out-of-towners have been drawn in by the great weather, the networking opportunities and the spaciousness the city offers up. Niche neighbourhoods and locales such as Venice Beach sees clans of musicians play and ply their trade; the natural beauty and diversities that is provided compels creative minds. With so much on offer, and with a humongous amount of diversity available on the Los Angeles menu, it is not a shock to see so many new acts coming through (here)."
I came away from reviewing The Open Feel, determined to seek out the best and brightest that L.A. (and California) had to offer. Casting my lascivious and seduced musical eye about, it was not long before I came across my featured act. I shall introduce you to them anon, but I will raise a couple of other points (before I do). Heavier sounds and Garage Rock-infused temptations are present and (fairly) prevalent within the mainstream, yet in new music there is a slight scarcity- of the good quality sort, at least. When I reviewed Knuckle, and their White Stripes-cum-Led Zeppelin fusing, I was staggered by the power, potency and passion that was being offered up. As much as anything, there was a great deal of melody and catchiness; everything that music should offer was all present and correct- and nuance was provided in spades. It is the Garage Rock/Blues stylings that the music world needs more of; few acts are interesting in getting to the core of these genres, cross-pollinating elements from classic and modern day- and providing something hot, swaggering and emphatic. To my mind, the greatest mainstream acts (whom offer this up) are The Black Keys and Jack White. Having just taken receipt of The Black Keys' latest L.P., Turn Blue, it is evidential that we need more of their ilk; acts whom pertain to their sense of glory and range- and leave a gaping smile on your face. That particular album is choked full with sharp and combustible Blues kicks; sprawling and multi-part 'epics'; and reflectiveness in measures. The Ohio duo have output their fair share of albums, and are less immediate than on earlier cuts. That said, there is ample evidence to suggest that the two-piece will be offering up exciting and layered albums for many years to come. Civil war rival (and long-time detractor) Jack White seems to be in a dissociative state at the moment; embittered when it comes to The Black Keys- and keen to best them and up the ante at every opportunity. His forthcoming album Lazaretto, looks sure to not only galvanise existing fans (as well as draw in new ones) but also go some way to balkanising music to an extent. We have Black Keys fans; we have Jack White fans, and it seems like you are either in one camp or the other- with few exceptions (me included). White's mandates are not a rederivation of his White Stripes work, but expand on the Garage Rock and Blues genres- and take your breath away. My point is, that these genres and this type of music does great things to the senses; offers sexualisation and seductiveness; kicks you in the heart and soul and grabs you by the hair; provides musical endorphins and eases the most severe depression. I have a lot of respect and time for the mainstream as a whole, yet for my money, there is not as much fascination and range as there could be. I have expounded the virtues of newcomers and sapling talent plenty, and shall do once more. In the recent cases of Knuckle and The Open Feel, here were two disparate acts whom showed how good they were; both are capable of being huge future players. It is not that I have Schadenfreude (when a mainstream act fails) but I am always happy when room is made available in the market; that which allows a new act to come through and provide a difference of opinion- something that is fresh and immediate. In my role as reviewer, I have evolved into a bon vivant; someone exposed to the decadent splendours that new music has to offer. I am a patriot and proud Brit at heart, yet I yearn to experience what the rest of the world has to give, what music is being made across other continents- and discover something truly staggering. I mention California and 'heavier' sounds, because to my mind, this combination is one of the most potent and psychotropic in all of music. There are some pioneering and long-sighted U.K. music publications whom are adopting and emphasising L.A.-based artists; making the public here aware of how good music can be- and what sounds will be on our shores very shortly. Before I bring Little Dove to your attentions, I will make one minor point: that which concerns band make-up. Our featured act are a duo (technically), and (in the case of Knuckle, The Open Feel, etc.) it seems to be a winning formula; a componency that seems to be conducive to tight and concentrated sounds- and proving that you do not need four or five players to make a truly wonderful sound. When I listen to the likes of The Black Keys (and The White Stripes) I am amazed by the kinship and relationship between the players; that borderline-telepathy that augments their music and gives you the feeling that more bodies would ruin their majesty. Knuckle's two fellas have a natural bond and sense of camaraderie that not only allows free and organic songwriting, but leads to some jocular and enlivened live performances. The Open Feel's boy/girl make-up provides sexual tension, some richer shades- as well as a relationship that is both professional and personal. I feel we may be onto something, when it comes to two-pieces and duo music; there is enough to suggest that this formation is producing some of the most diverse and spectacular music around.
Little Dove have not been on the scene for a long time, yet have laid down some spectacular Indie/Rock-cum-Blues/Garage Rock sounds that mark them out from their contemporaries. The L.A. duo have been whipping up a sandstorm of critical adulation; connecting with fans all across the globe- and ensuring that they are one of the most exciting names on the block. Our heroic twosome comprise:
Vanja James- Guitar and vocals
Dylan Cooper- Percussion
As well as being one of the most beautiful and striking women in music, James is also one of the finest talents, too. Her vocal parables contain strength and force in huge numbers; her axe work is amongst some of the most electrifying in all of music, and she is imbued with an innate passion and authority- when it comes to the genres of music she plays. Similarly, Cooper comes across as one of the most confident and pervasive percussionists in the musical ether; comparisons to Dave Grohl, Neil Peart and John Bonham are free from hyperbole and over-exaggeration. One of the things that impressed me most about Little Dove, is the range and style of their online portfolio. Not only is it easy to find the band online, yet when you do, there is a wealth of up-to-date and detailed information. Their official site is awash with live (and publicity) photos; live dates as well as songs- and an insightful biography. One of the things that erks me about new acts, is how few take the trouble to write a biography (let alone a great official site). People like me do not want to spend hours scouring Google, hoping that some interview exists that 'fills in the blanks'. If you can't be bothered to tell the public (and press) where you come from and what inspires you, then why would anyone take an interest? You never judge a book by its cover, yet if the book has no cover, you're not likely to pick it up are you? I shall not rant excessively, but it is shoulder-sagging; when I hear of an act marked out as 'Ones To Watch'; only to arrive at their Facebook page- and find that there are no personal details. You can only gleam so much information from the music alone, and if you are a fledgling act in the embryonic stage, then it is not good enough to offer perfunctory tidbits. Little Dove have an authoritative and eye-catching website; one which gives you all the information you need to know; plenty of press release links and interviews- as well as stunning and effective designs. Our L.A. duo also include (on their official site) an E.P.K. (electronic press kit); that which gives links to reviews as well as all the details that a reviewer could ever want- they get the point I am making here! The duo's self-titled L.P. have been on the market for a little while...in fact, before I expand on this, here is some biography about Little Dove:
"Little Dove played their first show at the Viper Room on April 7, 2013. In a year of being a band, they have accomplished more than most bands: They have toured, garnered radio play in the UK, France, and the Netherlands, directed and produced their own music video, had 2 of their videos have go viral on youtube,, and they have earned endorsements from equipment manufacturers. They have performed at the Viper Room and Canters in LA and the famed Casbah Club in San Diego, and plan on touring all over the states. Their single, "Into The Ground" was chosen by Nic Harcourt to start the show "Connections by Guitar Center" for the week of 7/20/13. Little Dove picked up UK and Europe management and booking in April of 2014, as well as representation from a boutique licensing agency. They expect to tour Europe in the fall of 2014, and are currently working on a new EP due to be released in Summer 2014. So how did Little Doves two members meet? Originally, VJ saw Dylan playing a show as a drummer with another band, while she still was living in San Diego. She remembered his unique drum kit and sound. Once she moved to LA, the two connected via facebook, had a couple of rehearsals in a Santa Monica rehearsal space, and the two clicked right away. Since VJ felt Dylan added a unique dimension to her existing songs and inspired her to create new songs with Dylan in mind, they agreed the project deserved a name of its own. They both agreed on the name Little Dove, and thus, the driving duo was born. Both fans and local music venues have been extremely supportive of Little Dove's sound. Many refer to the early days of The White Stripes after viewing their gritty, energy-fueled performances. With no shortage of drive or enthusiasm, Little Dove has big plans for the future. This is a band to keep your eye on."
Anyway... their L.P. has been gathering steady praise; media from the U.S. and U.K. (as well as other foreign parts) have been paying tribute to the album's flair, consistency and brilliancy. Perhaps it would be lazy to compare the act directly to The White Stripes. Sure, they have a girl and boy (even if their roles are transposed); they are American; they play the sort of sounds that Detroit's finest Garage Rock band used to- and that is about it. The duo is not married (or pretend to be brother and sister); they have no strict uniformity; they are in no danger of splitting up (any time soon at least)- the only similarity is the quality they provide. Being a White Stripes aficionado and latter-day Black Keys worshipper, I can attest to the fact that Little Dove are a different beast entirely. There are some similar flavour notes in their artistry and ambitions; something elements that tie them to The White Stripes- but you would be hard-pressed to find too many obvious comparisons. What the Californian two-piece give us, is music that is modern and etched with current-day relevance; yet also dips its toes in the past- and infuses sounds of past masters and mistresses. Having investigated the 11 tracks that their debut comprises, I have ample evidence to suggest that these two will be sharing the same sort of accolades that the Stripes and Keys possess- yet do so in their own way, with their own sound. The songs have a great range of emotions and subjects; the lyrics are well-considered and intelligent- and the sounds range from primal through to tender and introspective. In my conclusion I will give a capsule review (of the L.P. as a whole), but it is axiomatic to say that the media have taken the duo to heart. Looking at the below, and you just know that James and Cooper have a great deal of adoring sweethearts:
"Over-all an impressive debut and with a proper recording contract and money pushed their way, god only knows what they could produce if this is anything to go by. "
Music Mafia UK
"At present, Little Dove remain an unsigned act although, based on the strength of their debut, that can surely be just an ephemeral status. And with their recent acquisition of booking/management in the UK and mainland Europe (hence last year's album is being promoted afresh in 2014), I predict this talented duo will soon become a globally successful phenomenon. They certainly have the potential for such. Let's just hope that, with any future label backing and record deals, they're able to maintain the raw, organic aesthetic that makes them such a refreshing listen at the moment."
"This is awesome, original songs, great riffs, soaring vocals and trash drum rock sound....and every song is great!"
Anonymous coop , iTunes
"Even a Heart connotation comes to mind. The way Annie Wilson of Heart sings in 1977 in front of the huge crimson "Heart" logo in her blue "bad school girl" outfit with the white dots on it, - here you are - is an ethos that sounds to be chased relentlessly by this duo, even though they might not even be aware of said group. Little Dove, as an enterprise organized for silence massacre - logically - sounds to be a legitimate club act already, and I can't wait to hear these slick, elemental songs revealing their faces amidst professional production standards."
"This band has a sound all their own. Really cool sound with lots of power!! Love this band."
"So, what are we dealing with style-wise? Comparisons to The White Stripes are abound throughout previous reviews of this duo and, although there are marginal similarities, for me, that's about as redundant a comparison as likening Little Dove to Winnebago Deal, the UK two-piece. It's ultimately a journalistically lazy comparison by equating bands of minimal constitution to each other, and one that undermines Little Dove's creative individuality. The band, themselves, have quite simply opted to describe their style as rock/indie on their Facebook page although, as with all umbrella genre tags, it unjustly simplifies Little Dove's musical stylings. Generic they are not."
"When you go for the music "itself", the ensuing shape reminds me of the most wildest-, the wildestest - sorry about that - top form of Kidneythieves, - a fellow industrial cyberneticorganism act from Lost Angeles - consorted with an image of delirium-grade Nirvana. You can hear verbatim harmonic structures from certain Nirvana songs, but they are complimented by freshly fabricated and relevant ideas. The lead singer chick can sing like there is no tomorrow, while sticking to a guitar with both hands in the process. Her rhythm guitar playing is surprisingly ballsy and relevant, as is the rhythm section, that fuels and guarantees crude yet efficient beat-backrop environments for the crystal clear respective anatomies the songs convey."
"It's difficult to avoid thinking of The White Stripes when you first hear Little Dove. Yet Jack and Meg's influence was such that almost any two-piece blues rock band is bound to do the same. That shouldn't take anything away from Into The Ground, a stomping blues assault packing a mega riff and an incessant, pounding drum beat. Don't write this LA duo off as White Stripes imitators - their self-titled debut album does more than enough to suggest they're a fearsome proposition in their own right."
One Album A Week
"Based out of LA, Little Dove are heading to the UK/Europe for some serious live shows and festival dates this year and in 2015. Famed back in the US for their gritty, energetic live shows, there's going to be nothing standing in the way of these ones-to-watch."
Never Enough Notes UK
"Pounding straight into 'Eyes' Little Dove show a statement of intent to hammer you with the kind of songs the white stripes used to write before they went all arty and English? towards the end. Not that Little Dove are mere stripes copyists, vocalist Vanja James has a broader vocal range giving every song a huge epic feel while still retaining a basic blues stomp blueprint. Throughout the 11 tracks on this self-titled self-released album there isn't a dud, recent single 'Sink Ships' is easily a highlight showcasing the band at their most stripped back. Little Dove are just one of numerous new bands showing that you don't need major label backing to create some noise, you just need some cracking tunes and to put the effort in. Brilliant brilliant stuff."
Stuart Brenton, Happy Days Music UK
"...Likewise for Vanja's fuzzily distorted guitar. Thus, the backbone of their music, while minimalist in constitution, production and overall sound, and indubitably an antithesis to the over-produced, clinical sonics of a modern-day Pro Tools polish, is actually a refreshing blast of organically conceived and executed music. Where the album genuinely shines, though, is in Vanja's remarkably powerful voice."
Mark Homes, Metal Discovery UK
"With the two players and unique drum-kit there is a stark sound to the music that heightens the material to a space that entrances and captivates. Simple pared back rock that spills of emotional context and the essence of the spirit of indie music. The percussion resonates of that primitive dance that still lives within us ensuring the listener becomes engaged with the sound and just wants to join in while circling the flickering firelight."
"Little Dove is a fresh new gritty rock duo from Los Angeles CA. Featuring Vanya James, a left handed guitarist/vocalist, and Cooper providing the backbeat on the drums. Whats Dylan interesting about this project is that they have a surprisingly full sound for a duo, and drummer Dylan plays on a kit that he has made himself, using items such as dinner ware to make some big percussive sounds. Little Dove is happy staying a duo project, and their live performance echoes the early days of the White Stripes. Mix all this in with well-crafted songs filled with catchy hooks and soaring melodies, and you see indie music doing what it does best."
Real Magic TV
"The actual music, while largely adhering to gritty, punk-edged garage rock is elevated way above the simplicity of its foundations by Vanja's incredible vocals. With a wide-range, she has power at both the low and high ends of her voice. In terms of tonality, it has blues, rock, punk and soulful qualities... often simultaneously; an amalgam of styles, but idiomatically her own. And, most importantly, the profundity of emotion she's able to convey is astonishing, and strikes a chord in the very core of my being. It's difficult not to be moved by singing with so much affectively compelling depth."
"I was keen to introduce Little Dove for a few reasons, predominately of course for the music – but also…Their first gig was only 8 days ago (4th April 2013) at The Viper Room, have already gained TV exposure, have a catalogue of music, a live EP recording…. A home made drum-kit which includes items such as a Clothes Hamper and a Salad Bowl which Dylan calls The Drumster…. An EP in production, a US tour scheduled and a European tour in planning…. An EPK, which makes the whole process of finding out about the band readily available."
The mark of a truly rounded band whom expound meritocratic principles, is the way they adapt their music for the live arena- the effect they provide through the stereo, as well as in the flesh. I have seen a lot of great new acts whom seem tight and mesmeric in the studio, yet have little to recommend as a live act: no patter or personality and performances that stick to close to the studio equivalents. Likewise, many musicians are great live performers, yet their recorded material seems comparably tame and stagnated- striking a natural balance is a hard thing to do. Little Dove have been gaining plaudits and plus points with regards to their album, yet they seem to be an incredibly engaging and memorable live act. When they come over to London (I hope they do), I will witness it first-hand, but I have seen enough reviews that suggest that the duo are a very special proposition. In terms of exposure in the U.K., Little Dove have made some impact, yet to my mind more can be done. Publications like Never Enough Notes and Metal Discovery can only do so much, and it should fall to some of the larger outlets (national newspapers, N.M.E. etc.) to do their fair share. It is great having the backing of your native land, but if your music is phenomenal, then it is only right that other nations start proffering this fact. I hope that the ensuing months see a reappropriation and rectification, as Little Dove have shown themselves to be most worthy; an act that can seamlessly transition into the mainstream- and have a natural home over here, should they wish. One of their album's finest tracks arrives in the form off Into the Ground. It is a track that has been earning major kudos across YouTube and SoundCloud, and is a song that resonates with their fans- and perfectly distils their essence and unique sound. Few modern-day acts have such a hard-hitting and intoxicating sound; there are not many whom elicit the same sense of passion and force- which sticks in your head for a long, long time. I sat down to surmount and surmise Into the Ground; try to capture its essence- and ensure that those of you reading this, are compelled to listen to it.
After the spectral and echoed wail that beckons the track, arrives a crunchy and bloodthirsty guitar slam; backed by percussive pugilism, it is an evocative and urgent opening. Keen as I am to dispel and temporize any (early-) White Stripes comparisons, a sensation of Jimmy the Exploder, When I Hear My Name and Cannon (from The White Stripes) can be detected within the opening few seconds. The introductory moments whip up so much fervency and primal lust, that you get caught up in submissively. Our heroine arrives on the mic. to announce some direct utterings: "I've been my worst for so long/I don't know what my best looks like." There is a power and spike to James' voice, and it is instilled with flair and sex appeal; hard-hitting hob-nail boots and razor blade sunsets- some of Alison Mosshart's cutting bite comes through. After the spiralling and stomping mantra of the opening, there is little time to relax; the duo are keen to implore and campaign as staunchly as possible- the combination of guitar and drum in the sapling stages is relentlessly pummeling. You can almost hear the rose between our heroine's teeth; blood trickling down her lips and whiskey in hand, it is a twilight dance that offers no surrender. In the song's video, James is wrapped in a film; a sheet perhaps that envelopes her- as she sings through it, the material almost being swallowed as she sings. Perhaps it is an ample and apt metaphor to convey the track's lyrics; those which see our heroine sticking it to the man; trying to get out of a detached life- that she has grown tired off. Lines such as "Cuz I've been cheating the system/try to buy me a new life/And they've been throwin' them stones/yeah they've been throwin' so long" are delivered with raw emotion and directness. There are no histrionics or needless vocal acrobatics; the matter-of-fact-cum-f*** you delivery sees our heroine's voice hit hardest; its conviction and delivery cannot be faulted. The parables and truths that emanate from Into the Ground are from a personal place; the most heartfelt and honest words that James scribed (for the album) and as such, you are compelled to root for her; intoxicated by the knife-edged tongue that chews the words- and sets them on fire. Early plaudits must be levied towards the instrumentation and composition. There is a definite touch of late-'90s/early-'00s Garage Rock mixed with Q.O.T.S.A. punch; it stamps and smashes with a linear concentration and deterministic swagger that is straightforward but hugely evocative. Cooper marks himself out as a drummer to watch; possessing of a power that adds emotion and potency into every beat. James ramps up the tension and pressure; matches Cooper's percussive rhythm as well as adding in sparks of electricity and grimey and Blues-infused stagger. Our heroine is surveying the facts of the matter and the truth of her situation; caught in an emotional and situational quagmire, she foretells: "Wait for the sound of your footsteps/still you are gone." It is well worth watching the video (along with the song), as the first 55-or-so seconds are striking and wholly befitting of the song's mood. Close-ups of our heroine's lips pressed against the sheet (I shall find a more apropos term to describe it) are elicited; you find yourself staring at her movements; encapsulated by her words and the visuals of the videos- it is something that draws you in and does not let go. Before the video's storyline changes and mutates, our heroine has some telling and forceful words: "When you don't hear a sound/I'll burn it into the ground." The pace and ferocity rise incrementally; becoming more jagged and animalistic with every second. It is rare to hear something so honest and raw in 2014; sounds that have turn-of-the-century flavours, given an updated nuance. The hypnotic allure of the composition does not let you out of its grip; in the video our duo sway and nod their head, enraptured and mesmerised by the grumbling and brutal pound. As the video goes from black-and-white to colour, appropriately more colour and vivacity is thrown into the mix. Our heroine's voice is less punctuated and dark; it opens up and becomes more enlivened and wracked. The Punk/Indie edge is very much present, but the power-o-meter is ramped up to 12; with microphone-bursting emotion James' tongue twists like a viper: "They gave out enough rope/to tie up for hanging/you did it all on your own/for things not worth saving." Lyrics paint mordent and deathly projections against a jet black canvas- yet one which offers cracks of redemption. From an intimate shot of our heroine's (ruby-red) lips, the composition frames the band; blurred and obscured (as though viewing them with tear-strewn eyes) our duo rock their asses of; nod and stagger zombie-like; succumbing to modern-life gospel that James is preaching. Any comparisons with Detroit's former brother-sister-husband-wife-red-white-and-black parabond are soon dispelled; the themes presented are more crepuscular and introspective (early Stripes material did not tread such darkened avenues). We see that our duo are still cocooned in sheets; they are almost shrink-wrapped and suffocating. Given that thoughts such as "put on the suicide suit/count the basement's steps/the body rattles and shakes/til there is nothing left" accompany it, once more, medium and subject blend organically. Our heroine's thoughts and soul is more soothed and less anxious now; yet Into the Ground must have been inspired by some rather capricious and turbulent horror shows- it all comes through in the performance. The production is clear and uncluttered, which allows James' axe to wield, strike and maim. The composition barely changes course of delineation; the single-mindedness of the sound does not detract at all, but instead adds emphasis and conviction to the song's words. Cooper's swamp-dwelling percussion hammers and spatters with reckless abandon; it is a facet that is weaponized and ballistic- the duo's musical partnership is an axis of pure electricity. Our heroine's voice is not content to merely shout its intentions; there are soulful undertones (Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone spring to mind) as well as Blues and Garage Rock hybrids- when combined you get an instrument capable of doing anything. The video document's the band's torment and anxieties; our heroine's scarlet lips are vivid and stunning- they score words that get inside your head and seduce your inner recesses. The video itself sees our heroine pressed against the material wall; looking forward she is trapped in a spider's web; she seems lost and desperate for salvation and resolution. The final minute is a more sedate (well, almost) and calmed affair; the blitzkrieg rush abates, and the lights are brought down. James' voice becomes more emotive and sweeter (which highlights the emotional and octave range that she possesses). The scenery becomes more vampiric, as the final chapter is written; our heroine introduces her most honest and earnest words on the track. With the vocals more distorted and hazier, James lets it be known: "Could anything be so still?/Death wish does what it will/Your body may be gone/but all your blood is mine/and we will shine/we will shine." Throughout, our heroine's voice drips with intent and power; it is hard to ignore such a passionate and gravitational pull- you are sucked in and compelled. A scratchy and springy riff mingles with lighter (yet no-less-impressive) percussion, as the mood explodes; finally our heroine manages to break free from the shackles of emotion (and in the video she manages to tear through her fabric coffin). The words "we will shine" are projected with so much force and potency, that they stand out as the headline: the redemption amidst the heartache. In the video, scenes become more frenetic and liberated. Both of our duo are free (Cooper is bare-chested at this point); the riff and pummel returns to its swaggering stomp- and the energy ramps back up, once more. In the final moments, the energy and dominance does not fade; our hero's drum work is brutal and demonized; our heroine's guitars are cackling, grumbling, spitting and a whirling dervish of sound. The song's mantra ("When you don't hear a sound/I'll burn it into the ground") is unveiled, re-injected and repeated in the final seconds; our heroine's voice hits its emotional peak, as she is overwhelmed by the mood- yet one feels that an exorcism of sorts has been performed. When the song ends, a myriad of thoughts and emotions spring to mind. The unrelenting and militaristic beat and drive that defines the song, is a snaking and wild beast; something that lodges in your brain and will not let go. Like The Black Keys have proved (on their latest album, Turn Blue), tracks such as In Time and Fever are most memorable- complete with catchy and insatiable hooks. Into the Ground is no one-dimensional song; as well as boasting a vintage Blues/Garage Rock composition, there are multiple reasons to love the song. Cooper's percussive inputs are sturdy, powerful and delirious; not only capable of keeping up with the song's ragged punch, but keep it in check- and add to it emphatically. Lesser drummers would not instill the same energy and nuance; there are fills and moments that add sparks and bright colours into the palette- and keep the song mobile and compelling. James proves herself to be one of the strongest front women in new music; possessing a voice that is capable of summoning up vividity and startling lustre. At its heights, the vocals are demonic and possessed; demonstrative of pain and inner turmoil- few contemporaries are owners of such striking lungs. Our heroine is also capable of softness and sensitivity; the track's embers pay tribute to this. With such a range and breadth to her voice, each line of Into the Ground comes to life; sticks in your heart- and remains in your consciousness after the first listen. James' fret work is impressive and imperious; able to muster up a tremendous Moltov cocktail; one that ignites and burns. Whilst many are quick to run to the White Stripes well (certain songs on The Stripes' debut are comparable by sound), James (as well as Little Dove) are no second-rate equivalent. Their individual spirit and ambitions come through; they can take tiny elements of other acts and modify and mutate them perfectly; inject a huge chunk of personal experience and flair- and come up with something new and bold. There may be stronger tracks on Little Dove (which is a compliment in itself), but Into the Ground is one of the most personal- and something we can all relate to. There is a sense of malevolence and grit; raw passion and deep anxieties- these emotions bubble through with clarity and conviction. On the whole, you are determined to re-play and re-investigate the track, delve into the band's back catalogue- and immerse yourself in their album. It is almost ritualistic for critics to expound the virtues of a new act; only for them to be conflagrated within weeks. Our pioneering L.A. heroes will be a serious name to watch, and a duo with a hell of a lot to say- who sure of hell know how to say it (better than anyone else).
The duo's album is a triumph in itself. The tracks have unique personalities and voices; each will enrapture and seduce. The opener (Eyes) is a brooding monster; one which speaks of: "I've got eyes in the back of my head/we are the monsters/we are the freaks." When the War Comes is self-reflective and inward; its haunting moments bring life to words such as "Momma momma what have I done/everything has burned/down to the rubble/down to dust/nothing I have learned." The defiance and pugnacious determination of Say Go tells us: "Don't say a word/don't make a sound/No I'm not gonna listen/got all their rules/took all their notes/no I'm not gonna give in." My standout cut was Lion's Den, an incredible and exciting coda that provides curious images and twilight scenes; our heroine sheaves her tongue and directs it towards the anti-hero: "Where will you go when it runs out/Using your mind and not your mouth?/When the blood starts to boil/When everything's in turmoil/Where will you go?" There is plenty more contained within the album; a collection that offers up something for everyone, and is capable of uniting clans of Indie/Garage Rock fans- as well as drawing in lovers of disparate and diverse genres. When conducting an interview with I Know Where Its (sic.) At, the Californian duo were asked about their influences and past endeavours. James was asked about her influences:
"Aretha Franklin is probably my favorite vocalist. But I definitely look to bands like Against Me!, Rocket From the Crypt, Queens of the Stoneage – as influences. And Rival Sons! Love those guys."
You can hear the soulfulness and power in James' voice; that same sort of empowered and uplifting vocal that gets under your skin; an incredible musicianship which puts you in mind of Homme's gang- she can mingle Soul and Desert Rock with aplomb and seemless conviction. Cooper's biggest influence is Led Zeppelin; an admiration and intuition that comes through in the powerful and emphatic drumming. When the duo were asked what advice they would give to new musicians (starting out), James stated:
"When you are starting out, try to collaborate with as many people as you can. If you plan to thrive (make a living) in music, then study up on business. Talk to business owners and people that own their own businesses, even ones that aren’t related to music. You’ll be putting in long hours, and if you want to get stuff done, and you want to see your project go somewhere – you’re going to be doing the hustle yourself. Don’t expect any magical band fairy to come along, go "poof!" and make you famous. Do it because you love it, treat people with respect, and play from your heart, always."
Cooper offered some prudent advice:
"Don’t give up. That’s the only difference between musicians and regular people… Musicians don’t give up."
You hear genuine musicians come through; those whom are indebted to an in awe of music- and are keen to pay it back. A sense of passion and heart comes through strongly, and the band's itinerant ambitions are sure to see them reap the rewards. On the evidence of Into the Ground (and the album), the duo should prepare themselves for a long career and emphatic support. As it stands, they have over 2,000 supporters on Facebook; over 9,000 followers on Twitter- from all around the world. Few modern acts (in the same stage as them) have that wealth and mass of patronage. I am not surprised, to be honest, as I stated (in my opening) that the sounds they are currently playing are amongst the most sought-after and in vogue. That is not to say that Indie/Garage Rock is a fashion statement, just that musicians are acts are starting to realise how effective and appealing those genres out; how many people want to hear the best examples of the breed- and how the type of music Little Dove have mastered never goes out of style. It is fair to say that there are hints of The White Stripes in their overall sounds, yet there is a bit of Queens of the Stone Age and Led Zeppelin- one should not instantly compare acts with one another. Lazy journalism and myopic insight creates slovenly comparables, so you should judge their music on its own merits, as it has a fantastic individuality and personality that is overwhelming and stunning multiple audiences. The duo's songwriting hails from personal and real-life events; James often bringing lyrics and ideas to Cooper- before they are fleshed out. Before I conclude and offer some proclamations and predictions, when asked- by U.K. Music Directory- about how songs come about, James suggested:
"I’m looking at the track listing now. The song lyrics are inspired by real life people I’ve met along the way. A lot of metaphor mixed in with literal facts, and snapshots of memories in my mind. "Into The Ground" is probably the most personal song – it started off about an internal struggle – the kind we all have with ourselves, but for some reason I could not finish the song – I only had the first couple of lines. When someone close to my family took his own life, I was able to finish the song, in his honor. "When The War Comes" is also a really personal song for me – I’m not a fan of war and wish we could find a more peaceful solution to the world’s differences."
The two-piece have a conviction and sense of ambition that shine through on their L.P.; they are keen to conquer the globe and have made some great strides. Recently, the duo won the backing of a U.K./European booking agent (and representation), which means that they will be touring hard and wide. It will be exciting when they bring their sounds and sights to us in the U.K., take them across Europe and win over a wealth of new fans and faces. There are venues here in London such as Koko, Cafe Oto and Plan B, which seem almost tailor-made for our duo. With the likes of The Black Keys riding the crest of critical acclaim, acts such as Little Dove will not only be gaining some of their fans, but (in years from now) be in their position. It is going to be an exciting 2014/15 for James and Cooper, whom are growing in confidence and stature. When I Know Where Its At asked the two-piece the classic interview question- where do you see yourself in five years' time?- James had this to say:
"Hopefully we will have some serious tour dates and big festivals in the US and Europe under our belts. I hope we get to break through to the masses so hopefully Little Dove will be a household name, and our bills will be paid, and we can afford to drive decent cars, n’ stuff."
Our heroes should have no fear, as nice cars and paid bills will just be the start of things; when their new E.P. arrives we will get to witness a duo at the peak of their creative trajectory; an act whom are amongst the most underrated new acts in the world. I hope that more of the high-profile papers and websites give paen to Little Dove, as we here have few acts that provide such weight and range- it is high time that more in the U.K. are initiated to their music. For the time being, immerse yourself in Into the Ground, as well as their album. They belong to a wider audience, and I can see radio stations (here) such as Absolute, Kerrang! and XFM latch onto (and promote) Little Dove with glee, and I shall make sure that I do my bit to spread their gospel. I am going to listen to Into the Ground for the tenth time (it is a song that offers up something upon each new listen), and keep my eyes on the social media sites- to see when Little Dove are coming my way. In a week that is promising sunshine, warmth and radiance, the music of the L.A. duo seems almost too perfect; that which you can listen to with the car windows wound down, as well as blaring from the kitchen (whilst holding a glass of wine). If you do nothing else today...
THEN make sure you check out this scintillating act.
Little Dove Track Listing:
White Lies- 9.7
Say Go- 9.8
Into the Ground- 9.7
Sink Ships- 9.7
In My Bones- 9.7
Not the One- 9.8
Lion's Den- 9.8
When the War Comes- 9.7
Let Me Fall- 9.8
Standout track: Lion's Den
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Tour dates available at:
5617 1/2 Melrose Ave
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