2016 TOP 10 RELEASES! Desert Highways staff + special guests from Orange Goblin, Monolord, Pagan / Little Lamb & The Rosemary’s!!

Words Anthony Moore.

There were some amazing releases that come out in 2016, and as with every year, I start out with the best of intentions keeping a list of my favourites as they hit, only to let it fall by the wayside by about March. Yeah I know, it doesn’t last long! So undoubtedly I will forgot lots of great releases from 2016. There’s been the talked about releases like Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self Destruct (which for me has been quite a disappointment, some moments of clarity and power but as whole, it wasn’t the driving force I was hoping for), then there’s been some that have come out of left field that have really thrown me for six and impressed me quite a lot, like Electric Magus Olympus Noms, which is Raul Sanchez (Magic Dirt, River Of Snakes, Midnight Woolf) latest offering through Wild Animals Records. Like with John Frusciante’s solo albums, some sound quite unique and very different to his work with Red Hot Chili Peppers (which is an awesome thing these days!) yet his style and soul still comes through in various ways. Electric Magus is like this for Sanchez compared to his ‘usual’ guitar driven work. It’s totally different yet still somehow connects with me for the same reasons.

I still listen to loads of releases from all around the world, but more and more as time goes on I find myself mainly listening to local bands. Possibly for a few reasons, I like to support local muso’s and friends, it’s possible to see them more live which in turn gets us more stoked on listening back to a band later, and maybe most importantly, there are just so many fuckin incredible bands in Melbourne and throughout Australia that there’s not enough time to sometimes reach out further. Continue reading

DINOSAUR JR, Flour. The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne. 21-01-2017.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Sally Townsend Photography.

© 2017 - Sally Townsend Photography.Partly because I am a product of the ‘90s music scene and partly because anything J Mascis and co are associated with is awesome, I was psyched to be heading off to Thornbury in Melbourne for the second of two sold out shows at the Croxton Bandroom. Dinosaur Jr are touring their eleventh studio album, 2016’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, and their fourth since reforming in 2005 with the original lineup.

Local band Flour are the only support and opened to a quickly filling room. The guys already had a buzz about them when they first started in 2014 and as time goes by they keep going from strength to strength. However, they did have to start one of their songs again, as guitarist Steve Cohen announced that he was really hung over and stopped at the intro. Flour come from a place of pure unadulterated don’t-give-a-fuck rock’n’roll and for fans, that was no drama, a restart is just part of the show. And the hangover was probably fair enough, his ‘Left of The Dial’ art show with Sydney-sider Ben Brown kicked off the night before (Check it out here!). Continue reading

SEEDY JEEZUS + ISAIAH MITCHELL (US), A Basket Of Mammoths, The Black Heart Death Cult, My Left Boot, Motherslug. The Tote Hotel, Melbourne. 22+23-09-2016.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Adam Russ – Right Eye Media Australia.

Even on paper Isaiah Mitchell (San Diego, US) with Seedy Jeezus (Melbourne, Australia) reads like a match made in heaven; the personalities, the musicians, the music. All of them have made a great name for themselves creating some of the most memorable and cosmic psych jams you’ll ever here. Each night of the Australian tour includes a set by Seedy Jeezus followed by a second set where they’re joined by Mitchell. The supports for The Tote Hotel, Melbourne gigs were Thursday: A Basket Of Mammoths and The Black Heart Death Cult (included in the gallery below), Friday: My Left Boot and Motherslug, all four solid Melbourne bands.

Now, the issue here with writing this is that you can’t review your friends bands, too much bias involved, but what a pleasure it is every time I catch them live and especially as part of this tour, I just had to write something! Thursday and Friday at The Tote were incredible. Absolutely mind blowing. The punters that filled the room had their feet planted firmly, eyes wide open and mouths agape as Seedy Jeezus guitarist Lex Waterreus annihilated his fretboard with some of the smoothest solos ever. Not many bands can include guitar solos that go for as long as a Pink Floyd song, yet with Waterreus it’s different, he isn’t there to show off with as many notes per minute as possible, it all oozes out from his soul and is played with perfection; space where there needs to be and frantic when it’s called for. It all comes from the heart. Like the just as mind blowing rhythm section of Paul Crick (bass) and Mark Sibson (drums). Crick’s control of his theremin is second to none and his ability to lift a song with his flawless bass playing is incredible. Sibson’s drumming is the closest you’ll ever come to seeing Mitch Mitchell (Hendrix Experience) or Ginger Baker (Cream) live. Such a free and loose style yet one of the tightest and strongest around. Love watching him play, he can’t stay on his drum stool, jumping round and sometimes walks around to the front of the kit mid set. His solo on Friday night had the ghost of John Bonham with his hand on his heart and a tear in his eye.

Isaiah Mitchell is best known for his work with Earthless, instrumental psych rockers from California. Seeing Mitchell play live with Earthless is like watching an hour long solo where all the questions to the life and death of the universe are answered and then we’re transported into the afterlife where music is God. The ‘Under The Influence’ Tour “will give fans of Isaiah a chance to see him play songs that have influenced him as a musician since he first picked up a guitar at the age of 8. After performing their own set of blistering psych freakout, Seedy Jeezus will be Isaiah’s backing band as he works through songs from ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.” Which means we also get to hear Mitchell sing this time round in Australia and he has such a soulful voice that resonates and connects. Also check out another band he plays in, Golden Void.

Over the next week there may be Instagram and Facebook post’s that include hints or tell you about the shows, reviews on various sites, and live clips, but we aren’t going to give anything away in terms of the setlist and what’s played, as part of the magic of this tour is to discover what these songs are as they’re played live. No one that attended was disappointed. There’s some songs you may know and some you may not which only open’s up a new avenue of music to explore. After the tour we’ll post the setlists and a live clip from the Friday Melbourne gig that was a truly memorable experience to have witnessed only feet away!

As I said, when reviewing friends bands, bias can creep in, but the music itself speaks volumes, as well as the crowds reactions each night. Glasses were raised, cheers were loud and people hovered around the band for hours after they left the stage, getting vinyl signed, to chat and find out more about what makes them tick. So proud to see the effect that Seedy Jeezus and Isaiah Mitchell have on people as it’s so well deserved.

They’ve also released a 12″ and CD collaboration together under The Tranquonauts. Make sure you pick this up at one of the shows, or check out Seedy Jeezus online for more details on how to grab a copy. Have a listen to some of it HERE! Tym Records (Brisbane) has also released a split 7″ featuring both bands, pick up a copy at one of the shows or online HERE.

Blown Music and Touring and Seedy Jeezus have done well to not only make this tour happen but also to have it such a success right from the first show. Well done! I’d also like to give a shout out to artist and muso Shannon Trottman (Bugdust) who did the art on the tour poster featuring Mitchell, love it.

For more info and ticketing, please check out Blown Music and Touring: Site // ‘Under The Influence’ Facebook event.

Seedy Jeezus: Site // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Bandcamp // Soundcloud // Youtube.
Isaiah Mitchell: Site // Facebook // Twitter.
Earthless: Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Bandcamp.
Golden Void: Facebook // Instagram // Bandcamp // Bigcartel // Last.fm // Thrill Jockey.

WEEDEATER, CONAN, Merchant, Weedy Gonzalez. Max Watt’s, Melbourne. 16-07-2016.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Matt Allan Photos.

© 2016 Matt Allan Photos.Two points were brought up pre gig. The first I think I read on the Facebook event page, that punters that were going to the gig needed to wear earplugs for Conan or we wouldn’t be able to hear Weedeater after them, purely from going deaf due to Conan’s ridiculously loud set. The second from someone as I walked down the stairs into Max Watt’s, and this was going off the feedback from how the other gigs on the tour had already gone, that this could very well be the gig of the year! Calling it before the first band had even started! Continue reading

BABY ANIMALS Debut Album 25th Anniversary gig. The Forum, Melbourne. 21-05-2016.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

© Stephen Boxshall 2016.Baby Animals self-titled debut from 1991 was one of the first albums I bought on CD and what an absolute cracker it is too! Fast forward to, unbelievably, 25 years later and the band are touring playing the album in its entirety. Two sets of Baby Animals; the first with a mix of songs from the current lineup of Suze DeMarchi (vocals, guitar), Dave Leslie (guitar), Dario Bortolin (bass) and Mick Skelton (drums), the second set playing their debut with the original lineup, DeMarchi, Leslie, Eddie Parise (bass) and Frank Celenza (drums).

There was no support band opening up, just straight into Baby Animals. They kicked the night off with ‘Got It Bad’ from 2013’s This Is Not The End album. Leslie was having some amp issues to start off with but it didn’t put a dampener on things at all, the rest of the band already had the room’s attention and DeMarchi’s vocals, amazing power and tone! The first time I’ve ever caught Baby Animals live and in the first few seconds of hearing her sing I decided it will definitely not be the last! Continue reading

KADAVAR, Child, Mt. Mountain, Elbrus. The Corner Hotel, Melbourne. 28-04-2016.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

© Stephen Boxshall 2016.When German long-haired fuzz rockers Kadavar last toured Australia, it was in 2013 as part of what turned into being a massive double header with Sweden’s Blues Pills. The buzz for both bands even before they hit was already huge and then as soon as they left, Australia was already eagerly awaiting their return. In Melbourne we were lucky enough to see them perform four shows over as many days and people are still talking about. Fast forward to 2016 and Australia is once again blessed to see Kadavar on our shores.

Cross Town Traffic wasn’t playing on the car stereo on Saturday night but was in my head as I stumbled haphazardly through side streets trying to evade capture on the main roads in an unexpected Saturday evening gridlock. Although it didn’t swallow me whole, it did unfortunately mean that I missed seeing Elbrus opening up the night at The Corner Hotel. Continue reading

JOEL PARNELL (THE PARNELLS) Interview, launch gig details & more!

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Paul Dunham.

There are a few reasons why I wanted to do a Q&A with Joel Parnell, firstly, he writes exceptional pieces for Desert Highways, but that’s not the only reason, he’s also an awesome musician and songwriter. His newest creation, The Parnells (with younger brother Michael) are about to release their debut and do a double EP launch with Rathead at The Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar.

I started with what I thought to be a ridiculous first question and Joel (who later admitted he was going to tell me to fuck off but wasn’t sure if I was being serious or not), went along and answered it beautifully.

Anthony Moore: Where does your band name come from?

Joel Parnell: Obviously the band name comes from our last name, which is Parnell. I guess we thought that it would be cool to use it because it has the feel of something like ‘The Ramones’ or ‘The Smiths’, only it actually is our real name. We also hope to bring in other Parnells on future records as most of the people in our family play music. If we have any success with the band, it would be nice to have made our name something to be proud of. Continue reading

TRUCKFIGHTERS, Fuck The Fitzroy Doom Scene, Them Bruins. Prince Bandroom, Melbourne. 09-01-2016. Post #2.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos + live footage Barry Takes Photos.

© 2016. Barry Takes Photos.Swedish fuzz-rockers Truckfighters never stop touring. They were only last here a year ago with sold out shows and Australia doing what we can to adopt them as our own. With another successful run of dates in 2016, it was Melbourne’s turn to once again completely lose their shit over the Truckfighters! Continue reading

ZIPPER DOWN UNDER – ‘Eagles of Death Metal’ Charity Event! Cherry Bar, Melbourne. 02-01-2016.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Adam Russ – Right Eye Media Australia.

The attacks that took place in Paris and especially at the Bataclan on the evening of November 13, 2015 was very close to home for a lot of us. I and a lot of my friends from all around the world go to see Eagles of Death Metal whenever they’re in town. It could’ve been any of us killed. Friends of ours know people that were at that gig and although one of them was shot, they luckily survived. Many of them did not. The scars of all of the Paris attacks run very deeply, as they do with events like this that happen throughout many countries daily. The attack at the Bataclan seems so far removed from everything that Eagles of Death Metal are all about; Peace, Love and Death Metal. Continue reading

RIVER ROCKS 2015 with Cosmic Psychos, Meanies, Hoss, The Casanovas, Mustang, Legends Of Motorsport and loads more! Barwon Club Hotel, Geelong. 21-11-2015.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos and Video Carbie Warbie.

I was ridiculously attending only my first River Rocks festival at the Barwon Club in Geelong last Saturday. It’s strange how you know some things will be amazing experiences but you have just never been before. 2015 was in fact the 8th River Rocks and it had sold out again, which was to be expected with such a massive line up including Cosmic Psychos, Meanies, Hoss, The Casanovas, Batpiss, Mustang, Legends of Motorsport and loads more.

I arrived before doors and even the empty layout impressed me, there was something in the air already and it felt exciting, like the first few Big Day Out’s in Sydney I’d attended, Alternative Nation, and Summersault.

I was asked to cover the day but I also work with, have worked with or are mates with some of bands on the line up, so it wouldn’t be fair to not state this up front. I will therefore do my best to be completely unbiased and give an accurate account of the day.

Continue reading