GEEZER Self-titled Album Review.

Words El Jefe.

At first glance, Geezer made me think of Fu Manchu minus the pop sensibilities a lot of Fu stuff has. A few spins later, and I’m still vaguely reminded of Fu, but there’s a whole cauldron of other sounds bubbling away here as well. But more on that later.

Geezer come from Kingston NY, and formed around an obvious love of Sabbath and all other things imbued with stoner goodness. This trio has a cool take on riff-rock, and the debut LP has plenty of great moments.

They break the ice with ‘Sunday Speed Demon’ and ‘One Leg Up’, foot to the floor rock tunes with gravel rash vocals, a neat rhythm pummel and some savage guitar playing too. Continue reading

BORRACHO ‘Atacama’ Album Review.

Words El Jefe.

Lumbering, fuzzed-out doom with road-rash vocals is something I love. The riff! All those bastard spawn of Sabbath. And I know in my bones that the power-trio Borracho have the same unwavering love for it that I have. Launching from Washington DC, (right next door to Maryland, and we know the level of STONER/DOOM that Maryland has delivered!) Borracho can really deliver on all fronts when it’s time to bring the heavy too. Atacama is the third full length LP they’ve unleashed, and fine evidence that the party ain’t nearly over yet.

‘Descent’ lurches into the blackest of Sabbath’s with a guitar tone that could rattle ya teeth outta ya head, but it’s also a surprisingly tender instrumental. Bells, some lysergic emanations throbbing in the background and easily serves to set the scene for the rest of the album. Continue reading

SUN GOD REPLICA ‘Grandular Fever’ Album Review.

Words Katherine McKenzie.

Sun God Replica are back with their third release Grandular Fever. Considering ‘grandular’ is not actually a word, I was a little perplexed as to the meaning and concept of this album title. Perhaps it’s a play on the virus Glandular Fever? Is it about a fever or virus of grand proportions? The album cover is also not giving away any clues to the title meaning. The image on the cover is a throwback to 1970s psychedelic aesthetics and fashion, dialled up to 11 out of ten, giving the impression Sun God Replica may have raided the costume department of their local theatre company. This however is a pretty good indication of the sounds that are featured on Grandular Fever; fuzzy psychedelic rock and fun vibes that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Opening track ‘Blow Your Mind’ kicks off the album with a ’70s psychedelic inspired number with catchy pop melodies. Upbeat, relaxed and fun is the general vibe with this song, with simple vocals, standard rock drum beats and a guitar solo, this accurately sets up the retro sounding direction of the rest of the album. The lyrics tick the box for abstract, psychedelia references, as shown by the song’s opening lyrics; “I’m a trap door spiderman, I’m holding flowers…” before launching into a chorus with the repeating lyrics of; “Want to blow your mind.” There are also references to going back in time and drugs for good measure.

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THE WATCHERS ‘Sabbath Highway’ Album Review.

Words El Jefe.

They’re called The Watchers. Sabbath Highway is their debut EP. Not too hard to guess what they may sound like with a title like that. Or perhaps it’s just a hint at some influences. Never the less, this EP is an absolute fucking little beast! Hard, dirty biker rock, with some sublime playing and riffmongering. Awesome vocals too, and as is usually the case, can lift a great band (or even a mediocre band) to levels way higher than they could ever hope to achieve with a less than amazing singer.

‘Sabbath Highway’ is a rock solid blast of purebred rock and roll. Straight outta the gate, this fucker just won’t lie down and die. From the opening cockrock guitar blast through to the powerhouse rhythm section, this song has the lot for any discerning rock’n’roll fan.  Continue reading

BRANT BJORK And The Low Desert Punk Band ‘Tao Of The Devil’ Album Review.

Words El Jefe.

So it’s no secret that Kyuss have had a massive influence over the heavy / stoner / desert rock (whatever you want to call it; stoner works for me) scene since their inception in the late ‘80s. Tuning down to C, (although Homme claims he wasn’t familiar with Sabbath. Yeah, I’m skeptical too), and playing laidback heavy grooves. Garcia’s vocals were a huge part of the sound and influence, but it was Brant Bjork’s influence on Garcia that led to this vocal style; during Garcia’s audition suggested he try to sing slower and sang him an example. Bjork also hand a large hand in the songwriting. The rest is (musical) history.

‘The Gree Heen’ opens the ledger on Tao Of The Devil, and kicks off with a slick melodic droney run. Some jazzy drums are a cool touch too. Continue reading

SALEM’S BEND Self-Titled Debut Album Review.

Words Adam Cooper.

When I first received the debut album from Salem’s Bend, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A three piece from the City of Angels conjured up pre conceived notions of what I thought LA was about. What I heard upon first listen was something totally different.

I actually thought I’d been visited by the ghost of Phil Lynott and he’d become mates with Fu Manchu, Blue Cheer and King Crimson. They were in a smoke filled share house, kicking back, head nodding to each other whilst appreciating the beauty of Led Zeppelin 4.

The opening track ‘Balshazzar’ sets the tone for a late ’60s early / ’70s fuzz-a-thon which continues throughout the seven track offering. 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

MOTHERSHIP – ‘Live Over Freak Valley’ Album review.

Words El Jefe.

While on a European tour with the equally mighty Wo Fat, Dallas, Texas power rock trio Mothership, stopped off at Freak Valley and have delivered us their Live Over Freak Valley LP, and fans of heavy music should be grateful they did. Sounding like the bastard spawn of Blue Cheer, Sabbath with Hendrix looking on, Mothership combine heavy-handed riffs with a powerful groove but most importantly sound like they’re having a blast when they hit the stage. The Juett brothers masterfully handle the guitar and bass duties while splitting the vocals between them and drummer Judge Smith lays down some ballsy and fluid drum beats to tie the whole thing together

Opening the set with ‘Hallucination’, an instrumental that starts with a slow crawl but soon kicks in with a galloping riff-fest. They back it up immediately with the behemoth tune ‘Lunar Master’. Continue reading

FRANK BELLO (ANTHRAX) Interview.

Words Joel Parnell.

Clockwise from Left/front: Scott Ian, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, Joey Belladonna, Jon Donias

Anthrax. Clockwise from left/front: Scott Ian, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, Joey Belladonna, Jon Donias

I first discovered Anthrax at the tender, wide eyed age of fifteen. There was an older kid at my school who was heaps metal and gave me a burnt CD of Among The Living. I listened to that thing every goddamn day until my friends were so sick of hearing it that the very mention of Anthrax made them sigh with pained exhaustion. Ten years on, I still pump that shit on the reg.

Needless to say, I was just about shitting myself when I made a phone call the other day and Frank Bello answered. Luckily, Frank is a bloody top bloke and quickly reassured me there was nothing to be nervous about.

Frank Bello: “Don’t be nervous man. It’s me, Frank. You’re talking to a friend.”

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