Even with enough street cred taking them around the world and back supporting other artists, producer Manny Nieto, Mando Lopez (formerly of Fear and The Breeders, now co-writing and touring with Morrissey) and Phil Guerrero (formerly in Distortion Felix with Manny) have returned to the concrete nest of Los Angeles to finish their debut album together as the Chavez Ravine at Nieto’s new studio, Suplex Audio.
Their first video and single for their long-awaited and as-yet-to-be-named debut album is the gritty “Citywide.” Directed by Lopez and Kevin Beauchamp and filmed by Tony Molina, the video features actor Fabian Garcia as a washed-up clown traversing the backroads, alleyways, train tracks and cemeteries around downtown and East Los Angeles, picking up battered stuffed dolls like a collector of lost innocence left on city streets.
Soundtracking this is the growling low-end distortion of Lopez on bass and Nieto on guitar and vocals singing, “How much till you break? / How much can you fake? / Citywide.” About halfway through, actress Sydney Presley cuts through as the foil to Molina’s smeared, sweaty, masked hoarder. Embodying perhaps captured innocence, Presley herself ends up among the kidnapped dolls in Molina’s apartment. As Guerrero pounds out the song’s driving beat, Garcia’s soiled clown begins boxing the stuffed dolls hung like a menagerie around his apartment as Presley looks on in horror.
Like L.A., it’s a mashup of the beautiful and the ugly, and, at times, what we gaze upon in horror.
||| Watch: “Citywide”
||| Previously: ‘Touch Down’