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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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

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.

BLUES PILLS: ZACK ANDERSON Interview + Lady In Gold Review.

Words El Jefe.

BluesPills2016d_1200x800Based in Sweden, but drawing members from the States, and France as well as Sweden, Blues Pills present as diverse a lineage as their musical influences. Bassist Zack Anderson took the time to speak to me about the new LP, Lady In Gold.

El Jefe: Could you tell me a bit about the new record, recording experiences around it and how you approached it differently to the first LP?

Zack Anderson: The first one was a bit easier due to the fact that we already had the songs written. This time around, we were touring all the time and didn’t have many opportunities to stop and write. Because of this, we also had to work a lot harder to get it together. So the writing process was a lot slower. We’d go into the studio and put a few things down at a time and gradually add to it. This was done over about two years. But the actual recording process was much the same as the first record. We used the same studio and engineer, just spent more time writing and recording. And because the songs were a lot more diverse and had moved away a bit from the late ‘60s / early ‘70s blues rock of the first record, we were a bit worried about how this one would be received. We’ve introduced a lot of soul and Motown, and even folk. Elin (Larsson – vocals) is a huge Aretha Franklin fan (no surprises there! EJ) and added a lot of this into her vocals. So far, everyone has been really positive about it. Continue reading

SPACEJUNK ‘Bite Your Tongue’ LP Review and Gig Launch info.

Words Joel Parnell.

Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘Space’ as “The region beyond the earth’s atmosphere or beyond the solar system” and ‘Junk’ as “Slang: Male genitalia”. These definitions withstanding, the latest offering from Melbourne scuzz-rock quartet Spacejunk is every bit as confronting, fun and perversely entertaining as a thousand half-erect penis’s flailing and jostling wildly in zero-gravity.

Spacejunk’s recorded work plays out a lot like their live set. They pretty much throw you straight in the deep end, no fucking around with softly plucked intros and shit. The atmosphere grows thick in an instant, engulfing you in a fog of violent, chaotic noise. The deep, hellish hum of bass turns your skin to fuzz as the piercing squeal of the band’s collective feedback challenges even the most seasoned of gig-goers to a battle between amp and ear-drum. Under this haze, however, you will find a great deal of musicianship on display. The drum work in particular, is stellar. Sweat drips from every pore of the four-headed rock monster as it thumps, screeches and bellows through the motions of it’s 40-odd minute tirade. 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

THE CULT – ‘Hidden City’ Album review.

Words El Jefe.

The Cult. They were the soundtrack to my life for a couple of years circa ’86-’87. Cruising the “mean streets” of Sydney with my friends Mark and Roberta in a purple Gemini, with Love and Electric almost always on the tape deck. Laughing, stupid jokes and our attempts to form a band, which ultimately failed collectively, but separately we did manage to achieve. Ian Astbury’s vocals and Billy Duffy and his cock-rock guitar histrionics. I hear those tunes now and I’m right back there, rolling into gigs and crashing through life with that teenage abandon. It also seemed to be the end an era, following the Cults ‘87 Australian tour when I saw them play two nights running at Selina’s. When I think back, I don’t seem to be able to recall listening to them very frequently ever again after those two shows. Until now.

The Cult have fluctuated fairly dramatically over the years, with break ups, reformations and about a thousand different rhythm sections, while Duffy and Astbury remain the constant. Drummer John Tempesta (ex White Zombie / Rob Zombie / Testament / Helmet and more) has been wielding the sticks for the last decade while several bass players have come and gone. His trademark rhythmic crunch is present on several tracks on this record. 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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