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Taylor Burch and Joe Cocherell.

“Dva Damas has California written over it,” says Taylor Burch, the band’s founder and figurehead.

Fitting, then, that they’re the first act to release a record on Downwards America, the new US offshoot of Karl ‘Regis’ O’Connor’s now two-decades-old, Birmingham-born label. Downwards America is being operated by Juan Mendez, O’Connor’s longtime cohort and collaborator in Sandwell District; and it was Mendez who, after attending Dva Damas’s first public live show in 2009, signed them on the spot to record their debut single.

That self-titled, three-track EP came out on Downwards in 2010 – part of the DO series that O’Connor and Mendez co-curated and which introduced the world to such other notable talents as Tropic of Cancer (of which Burch is a touring member), Pink Playground and The KVB. The 10″s title track remains, for this writer, the band’s calling card, a deliciously swaggering synthesis of post-punk minimalism and bloodthirsty, Crampsy rock ‘n roll; at the time it bemused a lot of people who still associated Downwards with thunderous industrial techno, but it was a prophetic release, anticipating and contributing to a sub-cultural sea-change that has seen the worlds of tortured art-rock and dark-hearted electronic music collide and collude with a vigour not seen since the 1980s.

Dva Damas’s debut LP, Nightshade, expands on the Spaghetti Western vibe hinted at in the lurching guitar twangs of their debut EP, its Morricone-esque flourishes conjuring vast and blasted desert landscapes inhabited by a new breed of existential cowboy and cowgirl.

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