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

ISAIAH MITCHELL (Earthless / Golden Void) + SEEDY JEEZUS Australian Tour. Sept / Oct 2016.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

The recent Isaiah Mitchell with Seedy Jeezus ‘Under The Influence’ Australian Tour was such a unique one that we thought we’d do a post including all the songs that they covered together, along with an incredible photo gallery from Melbourne’s Stephen Boxshall.

The idea behind the tour was to “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 the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.”

It was an incredible experience to hear so many amazing songs performed by musicians that have been impacted by them. A lot of the songs people knew, and some were new and great introductions to various legendary bands well worth checking out. Below is the complete set list from each gig that they played on the tour.

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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.

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

RAÜL SANCHEZ i JORGE (River Of Snakes, Midnight Woolf, Magic Dirt) Interview.

Words Ian Hawkins.

In a dream one night I found myself at a raging party, when I stepped through a door into a room with a dimly lit pool in it. The water was cool and blue, the tiles red & black. I jumped in and as I floated, suspended in motion, I heard music coming from giant speakers in the side of the pool. The unmistakeable sound of Magic Dirt was pulsating through the liquid, the tone filtered and murky.

Magic Dirt axeman, Raül Sanchez i Jorge has recently put out his second solo record, Masks, (as he also played all the instruments on Midnight Woolf’s original release, it’s counted as his first), and it’s best described as sounding like fragments from a dream.

“Just yesterday I dreamt I was playing with PJ Harvey” Raul tells me when I ask him if he’s hears music in his sleep. “I dream music and about music all the time, I’ve written songs that came to me in dreams, its nuts! The hard bit then is remembering it and getting it down before it evaporates.”

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