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Birds of Maya

The Philadelphia trio Birds of Maya take a no-frills approach to recording their loose and loud mix of thundering proto metal, jagged garage rock, and blown out hard rock. Captured at punishing volume on noise saturated tape, their songs sound like they are recorded in the middle of a particularly sweaty basement practice-- which is not far from the truth. Their albums, beginning with 2004's Vol. 1 straight through to 2021's Valdez, are a joyous racket born of a desire to push their instruments and voices to point just before rock & roll turns to noise. The band formed in the early 2010's when guitarist Mike Polizze responded to an ad posted by bassist Jason Killinger and drummer Ben Leaphart looking for someone who was into Blue Cheer and the Stooges. The three musicians joined forces and coalesced as a unit while bashing out sounds at maximum volume in a small basement rehearsal space. Their first release was culled from tapes made between 2004 and 2006. Titled Vol. 1, it was a lo-fi blast of noisy guitar freakouts that also added some classic, punk and garage rock influences to the original mix of Stooges and Blue Cheer. The band took their time before their next release, culling songs from a huge stash of basement tapes. Ready to Howl was slightly less noisy than their debut, but still murky and raw sounding. It was issued by Richie Records in 2010 in the US; Agitated did the UK honors in 2012. Before the album's release. Polizze had begun making four-track records under the name Purling Hiss. This soon took over most of his time and energy, he formed a live band that included Leaphart on drums. Killinger made use of the band's downtime and formed the sludgy AOR band Spacin'. Birds of Maya did get back together to record tracks for their third album and the suitably overloaded and loose Celebration was released in 2013 by Little Big Chief Records. Purling Hiss continued to be Polizze's main focus and he recorded a solo album -- Long Lost Solace Find -- in 2018. It was released in 2020 by Drag City, the same label that released most of Purling Hiss' 2010's output. Looking to corner the Polizze market, in 2021 they unearthed some Birds of Maya tapes from 2014 that were recorded in a studio in New York and put them out as Valdez in mid-2021.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo
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