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***A long era of dull ringing and nothing else in our ears is over. Once again, winds of warm guitar and humid thunderheads of bass and toms rumble all around. With Valdez, Birds of Maya are back in flight. And like the first song title explicitly states, this latest is a soaring blast of riffers, rife with punk rock abandon, sludge, treble, distortion, neck-throttling rock n roll solos, pummeling drums and bass and half-shouted/half-gargled vocals, all of it half on and half off the mic. For the good times as always, these Birds! That’s how they’ve done it: fast and heavy, hard, live and loose, amid accumulating piles of empties, in appropriately informal environments since 2004-ish, with their three LPs (on Holy Mountain, Richie and Little Big Chief) ripping us up whenever they drop. With each release, our thirst has increased, but to our horror, we haven’t found any fresh feathers from their tree in the new release bins since 2013. In the past five years or so, there’s been a couple gigs here and there, but intensities in cities other than Philly has always been a rare thing. And with no Ready to Howl 2 on the schedule, you MUSTA wondered... were these an extinct Birds? Nah! Somewhere in Philadelphia, Jason Killinger, Ben Leaphart and Mike Polizze played on—preferably outside—but wherever, really. Still making it happen as always: taping everything they play—with bass, drums, guitar and vocals fighting for space in the condensing mics of cheap recorders—then tossing the tapes aside, for consideration at a later moment. Time is a test that Birds of Maya recordings need to pass before they see the light of day. Valdez is a good example, although it’s also an exception to their regular M.O.. It was recorded in 2014 at Black Dirt Studios in other-state New York. Yeah: Birds of Maya packed up their shit, drove out of North Philly to a recording studio hundreds of miles away and made an album. Kinda nuts. And then didn’t release it until...well, yeah—now!