Von Iva: Von Iva EP

VON IVA LUV YOU! It says so on the liner notes of their debut CD, a six song EP on San Francisco's microlabel Cochon Records. If you get the chance to see them play live, this becomes evident. Of course, the luxury of seeing these ladies play out has so far been mostly a pleasure of Californians and people near the West Coast; this new CD, which is built out of material these ladies have meticulously polished in show after show onstage, will have to fill in for everyone elsewhere.

The most well known of all the Von Iva material is the stomping disco rock anthem "Not Hot to Trot." This song was a big hit in 2004 at betterPropaganda, made our year-end staff picks lists, and was released as part of a double A-side single (along with The Vanishing) by Jeffrodesiac (Paradise Boys) and the Princehouse Records crew in SF. By indie standards, the band has made a surprisingly well-made video for the song, which is included along with a new mix of the track on this enhanced CD. The band's trademark sound is in full effect here, with a persistent bass/drums/keyboards groove underneath Jillian Iva's powerful and soulful vocals.

A heavy, lusty party vibe ties all of the band's compositions together. The material is entirely dance oriented, relying on four on the floor beats and catchy, bass-heavy riffs. The band doesn't let up from track to track, you're getting full on power start to finish, even when the singer tells the band to "break it down."

For a bunch of hipster chicks fueling the whole 80s new wave revival- clearly well versed in post-electroclash scenester fashions and all that- they have some odd classic rock references to throw into the mix. Iva's vocals definitely go into white Tina Turner territory; hear her belt out "I tell you somethin' you don't know/We got soul" in "Solid Gold" if you have any doubts. The band's bluesy, love-angst intensity recalls Led Zeppelin time after time, which seems really weird considering there's no guitar and no boys in the band. "Livin', lovin', movin'" wails Jillian.

The EP was mixed and mastered by Mark Pistel (Michael Franti, Spearhead, Tino Corp., Meat Beat Manifesto, Azeem). Bex (keyboards) and Lay Lay (drums) did their own album graphics, a colorful gatefold sleeve. The cover has Jillian, arms stretched wide, phoenix-like, a firebird, rising from flames to the sky, matching the band's current trajectory. "We can get down" says the band in "Soulshaker." We'll see how far they fly; we're biased as all hell here at betterPropaganda and cheering them on as Von Iva's love spreads further, higher and deeper around the world.

Terbo Ted
Editor, betterPropaganda

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