L.A. Witch, Play With Fire (Suicide Squeeze Records)

With the best band name in the biz, L.A. Witch were back in 2020 with a much different sound to their serrated, feral-sounding first record. Here on Play With Fire the indie witches of L.A. have settled comfortably into a supremely dusted and filthy, yet lush and bouncy series of grooves that enrapture each of the nine tracks on offer. One of them is the best song this band has yet conjured, the bummer-in-the-summer Shangri-Las-quoting “Motorcycle Boy”. Another must for your “Decadent Los Angeles” playlist is “Maybe The Weather” which sounds like what it must feel like wearing leather in 91 degree desert heat and not breaking a sweat because you’re too drunk to feel it. The Witch have made sure to break up these stoned-out tracks with some real snarlers; the vaguely rockabilly and shockingly primitive “I Wanna Lose”, the chugging “True Believers” that sounds like Lemmy-era Hawkwind crashing a Stooges gig. This is truly one of the most purely enjoyable records of the just-passed year, concise and perfectly executed yet breezy and loose, with no need to flex musicianship or lofty concepts. L.A. witch are a dazzling whirl of lovable contradictions, flamboyant but shy, visceral but worlds away, scowling cool but with a lot of bruised heart.