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

C.W. STONEKING, Mojo Juju. The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne. 27-10-2016.

Words Will Oakeshott.

The entire journey for this writer to attend this extremely exclusive show was full of pleasant surprises. Conveniently landing on a Thursday night just before an already scheduled trip to the magnificent city of Melbourne; this was the first of many instances of good fortune which thankfully continued as the event progressed. Writer Ron Carlson captured the essence of the adventure best with his quote: “Life is an aggregate of experience, which continually surprises us”.

The first enjoyable surprise came in the form of the delightfully small yet powerful woman known as Mojo Juju who amongst the hustle and bustle of a building and restless crowd made her presence known very quickly. Armed with just a guitar, different to her usual band setup with musician friends and family in tow, Ms. Ruiz de Lezuriaga silenced the audience with a transition in her voice from a sombre Julia Stone-esque fragility to a deafening superhuman bluesy wail that Chris Cornell would seek advice on how to deliver. Mojo’s songs are fortified with soul and heartfelt lyricism showcasing a maturity which musicians strive to achieve for their entire lives. This talent is amplified by her unnerving yet stunning loud-quiet combinations in her music which is seasoned with an almost indigenous effect; in short she has a poppy charm with a dangerous grunt. This was presented impeccably with her compelling rendition of Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’ which somehow shone a blinding light on a dark room and captivated the entirety of the venue. Continue reading

THE ATARIS, Columbus, Dead Joe. Fowlers Live, Adelaide. 09-06-2016.

Words Will Oakeshott.

The Ataris June 2016Maybe it’s just the pathway this writer has been fortunate enough to undertake but ’90s punk is an amazing facet I can include as part of my résumé and upbringing. There is an energy, life-force and rejuvenation which this art-form carries especially within this era of time. For those lucky enough to have experienced this period, they would hopefully also have an instant injection of adrenaline with such a prolific sound and lifestyle. Then again, since Australia has one of the most remarkable surf and skate cultures in the world, essentially this headline band’s touring schedule of our fine nation was more of an enjoyable necessity than an occupation, for all involved.

Local goth-punk trio Dead Joe were called upon to open this event and unfortunately the detriment of an early time-slot equated to only 15 observers being present for their performance. It’s of no surprise or mystery that Dead Joe really like The Misfits, excessively as a matter of fact; this adoration blatantly shines throughout the three-piece’s tracks. Showcasing songs from their LP Carry Me Home which is basically a collection of all songs the band have released in their history; the show was polite but not particularly inspiring (understandably due to low crowd numbers). The addition of Mikey Valentine as a new member is a nice touch though. Continue reading

CHERIE CURRIE, The Babes, Babes Are Wolves. The Gov, Adelaide. 31-05-2016.

Words Will Oakeshott.
Photos Kylie Horwood.

It would only seem suiting that the best way to introduce this review properly would be through the power of sharing a quotation from a prestigious personality whose relevance and prominence is criminally understated. Once known as the most famous actress in the world, Sarah Bernhardt once said: “Legend remains victorious in spite of history”; considering the status of the prominent woman headliner, this aforementioned quote could have been the title of her show.

Locals Babes Are Wolves had the prestigious honour of opening the event and were livid about the opportunity but their stage presence didn’t really reflect their enthusiasm. Their polite rock sat well with the small crowd, but emphasis has to be put on the idea of polite. Unfortunately the pot wasn’t stirred by this rather perfect execution of sound the quartet were able to display; truth be told The Gov is just a bit too much of a grand venue for the four-piece. A more intimate setting is the band’s forte, then again the audience and outfit had nothing but smiles on completion, but then again who could hate a recipe of The Cardigans meets a slight AC/DC influence? Continue reading

JAKE TAYLOR (IN HEARTS WAKE) Interview + Groovin’ The Moo.

Words Will Oakeshott.

Author and strategist Gary Ryan Blair may not be of international notoriety yet, but his deficiency in fame certainly does not impede his intelligence. Whilst this introduction may seem rather off topic to the reader at this early stage, there is reason behind the absurdity. There is a quote by Mr. Blair which reads as: “Advancement only comes with habitually doing more than you are asked”. Certainly this reads as a somewhat obvious “advice statement” to achieve success; but it is possible to uncover further applications to this aforementioned passage.

Byron Bay’s In Hearts Wake are a prime example of adopting the cited statement and translating it into their motif. For instance, when the melodic metalcore quintet entered the studio to record their sophomore album Earthwalker released in 2014, the band did more than what was asked of them, A LOT more. Matter-of-factly the five-piece recorded two full-lengths in secret and followed the wildly successful second record with their third album Skydancer just a year later. Continue reading

HEADS Self Titled Album Review.

Words Will Oakeshott

A matter of days in a studio in the Swiss Alps with two German talented musicians and an adventurous gifted Australian guitarist has equated to the formation of the bands HEADS. and the creation of their self-titled debut album. Recorded live and cut down from thirteen tracks to just six, this type of project is not one for the vulnerable, but one for the yearning to avoid monotony which is exactly what this trio exist by and the chemistry between the three men is unparalleled.

Opening track A Mural Is Worth A Thousand Words enraptures the listener with a thick hypnotic bass-line compliments of Chris Breuer (from famed post-metal outfit The Ocean), it’s rhythm literally sets the pace for not only the band but also the auditor’s heartbeat. Via the throaty grunt vocal delivery of guitarist/vocalist Ed Fraser (Melbourne musician formerly of Cut), the song is awoken and the observer is demanded to be “In It For Good” via the simplistic lyrics. This ultimately conveys the message that Heads instruct you to undertake the journey of their album, which is hard to ignore with the first track which flirts between the gothic post-punk of The Birthday Party and the noise-rock of KEN Mode.

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IN HEARTS WAKE, We Came As Romans, Beartooth, Storm The Sky. HQ, Adelaide. 04-06-2015.

Words Will Oakeshott.

In Hearts WakeThe rarity of all ages shows nowadays added a necessary acknowledgement to this monumental event; particular compliments should be directed toward HQ complex for allowing the youth entry to witness their favourite acts. The matter of contention however with this graceful allowance was the outrageous starting time; for this writer alone upon entry I was only able to see the final song of Melbourne’s sextet Storm The Sky which was fortunately their most recently released single Only One. Arguably the band’s strongest song from their debut album Permanance, a slight departure from their melodic metalcore formula which actually revolves more around a heavier progressive alternative rock, it’s the emotional demeanor communicated by the track that is most captivating. Concluding with only clean vocalist Will Jarratt sprawled across the stage floor singing “Could You Really Lose Me, Cause I Could Really Use Me Now” in excellent rhythm with drummer Alex Trail, it was immensely compelling.

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BORIS, Crypt, Last Days Of Kali. Fowler’s Live, Adelaide. 31-05-2015.

Words Will Oakeshott.
Photos Luke Carlino.

For the last day of Autumn, even the calling of the warm glow emitted from my home away from home, Fowler’s Live, had this scribe feeling somewhat at unease with what may transpire. A show of this nature on a Sunday night has an unfortunate tendency in Adelaide to be met with an undersized audience. It would seem however that Adelaide had no apprehension toward this event, an excellent attendance was in tow, which added further exhiliration to the already intoxicated atmosphere.

Ear plugs were a necessity for opening local act Last Days Of Kali, but in an outstanding nature. The trio who radiate a deafening wall of post-rock / post-metal / instrumental sound easily transfixed the early comers to the venue and lost themselves in their awe-inspiring talent. Barely muttering a word throughout their performance, more impressively barely needing to, their music did the talking at an excellently damaging nature. If indie doom is up your alley, this three-piece are arguably the best in the nation at it, especially with their intricate keyboard addition which arouses another dimension to their soundscape.

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GROOVIN’ THE MOO – Peaches, Wolfmother, You Me At Six, Northlane, Hilltop Hoods, Hot Dub Time Machine, Sticky Fingers, The Delta Riggs, The Preatures, One Day, Meg Mac, Ball Park Music. Oakbank Racecourse, Oakbank, SA. 25-04-2015.

Words Will Oakeshott.
Photos Tim Forbes Photography.

Arriving to Oakbank racecourse, a very familiar scene entered mine (and most likely many other festival punters who were born before 1985) that was of the Green Day film clip for their hit single When I Come Around shot at Woodstock festival 1994. If this clip predates the knowledge of readers here, which it probably would for many of the brave who attended Groovin’ The Moo in South Australia, the infamous video features the band and thousands of fans basically coated in mud due to wet weather. With this in mind, it would be fair to call this festival at this location “Groovin’ The Mud’, but this fact definitely did NOT dampen the spirits of thousands of brave and saturated music aficianados.

Arriving to catch Melbourne’s The Delta Riggs weird their way through a thankfully covered set at the Moolin Rouge tent, it was jam packed for probably two reasons. One being that it was actually sheltered from the rain but still muddier than a swampland; then finally because although this quartet isn’t the most accessible or direct with their fuzz-indie-stoner-punk surfer rock, their show is enough to captivate even if that weird conglomerate of genres is not one’s cup of tea. Preferring their single Rah Rah Radio as it channels Iggy Pop & The Stooges personally, compared to Supersonic Casualties which forces the Riggs to sound like a bad Blur cover band. All-in-all however, a pretty solid opening act to witness and warm up the early attendees.

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