RATHEAD self-titled debut EP review + launch date.

Words Joel Parnell.

Despite being a small rural city with virtually no music scene to speak of, Shepparton is surprisingly chockas with great musicians. While only a measly few have broken the mould and been able to Sheppresent to the wider world in recent times (Australia’s answer to Ice Cube: Briggs, for one), there are plenty of sick tunes banging around in the 3630 if you just take the time to listen for them. One such example is the two-piece skate-punk band Rathead, who are just gearing up to drop their debut EP on April 23rd.

Rathead is Sam McPherson (Platypus) and Taylor Bain (Inedia, System Failure). The boys play the kind of music you would have heard on Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 if only they weren’t 16 years too late (that’s a good thing). Their self titled debut drops in like a drunk Dustin Dollin with ‘Anything’, a song that bleeds melodic charisma while staying true to DIY punk-rock code of conduct. The production is raw as fuck and lends itself perfectly to the band’s stripped back style. Taylor Bains vocal style pays homage to ’80s skate-punk pioneers Gray Matter, yet retains a unique and refreshing tone for a heavy band. One thing that sets Rathead apart from their contemporaries is that they don’t rely on excessive screaming to give their songs an edge, nor do they indulge in any drawn out guitar solos. It’s just no-nonsense, get-to-the-fucking-point punk rock. 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


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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Words Joel Parnell.

Ross Knight is the bassist, co-songwriter and lead vocalist of the Cosmic Psychos, one of the most underrated, yet hugely influential bands in the history of punk rock. Knight’s brazenly regional-Victorian vocals and thunderous, pile-driving bass sound are of iconic status to any punk rocker who knows even half of their shit. Knight is also the only remaining original member of the band, who have 32 years under their belt and are still hammering on as strong as ever.

As I began to speak with the man, I was taken aback by the humble nature of his character. Here I am picturing this rough-as-guts old punk rock bastard, turns out he’s one of the loveliest, most easy going people I’ve ever spoken to. Continue reading

A Basket Of Mammoths, Spacejunk, Hobo Magic. The Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne. 12-08-2015.

Words Joel Parnell.

Having made the all too familiar two hour journey from my front door to The Bendigo Hotel, I questioned the wisdom in having spent the entire time listening to Queens Of The Stone Age’s two best albums (Rated R, Songs For The Deaf… obviously). Perhaps I was setting the standard a little too high for the rest of the music I was scheduled to hear tonight. However, after a couple of beers and a durry or two, Hobo Magic began to cast their gentle musical web over the Wednesday night audience, humbly reassuring me of my position as a man in store for a treat.

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HARD-ONS ‘Peel Me Like A Egg’ Album Launch with Batpiss, Chainsaw Hookers, Flour. The Tote Hotel, Melbourne. 25-04-2015.

Words Joel Parnell.
Photos Daniel Oh – Criminal Indifference.

It was freezing cold and pissing down rain as I made the familiar journey up Johnston Street to The Tote on April 25th. Keen gig goers had already begun to queue outside the door to the band room as a soundchecking Flour buzzed, hissed and thumped from inside…

“This song is called Feral Sow, it’s about… umm.. I dunno…” drawls the bands bassist/vocalist as Flour tear into the B ­ Side of their latest 7 inch. This band bleeds old school punk rock energy and even bicker on stage like an early Ramones ­ “Ok, we’re gonna play one more because Steve is all out of rock and roll for tonight. He needs more speed.” Testament to Flours rapidly growing popularity, The Tote band room was more or less completely full by the end of their set. They finished with their latest single ‘Silverspoon’ for which they’ve just dropped a killer new music video. I actually reviewed Flour playing live a couple of months ago so I’ve already used up most of my clever things to say about them but they kick ass so go check them out.

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4:20 SUPER SMOKE OUT with The Bennies (with DJ SnesMega), Mesa Cosa, Curse OV Dialect, Weedy Gonzalez, Big_Rimz420. The Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne. 20-04-2015.

Words Joel Parnell.

A cloud of smoke hovered over The Bendigo Hotel on the night of April 4th as The Party Gods smiled on the benevolent creatures gathered inside and chucked shakkas in approval of what was going down.

No, the bathroom had not been set on fire again. The occasion was to be marked by something far more righteous: The Bennies 420 Super Smoke Out!

First off I’ve got to say that I completely missed opening hip hop act Big_Rimz420. The Metro train system had failed me and I arrived a few minutes after they’d finished. Sorry guys, I’m sure you were sick. Next time.

The band with the coolest name ever, Weedy Gonzalez, set an ominous tone as they took the stage amid candle-lit amps and a haze of eerie green fog. As the band burned slowly through such doom laden classics as ‘Song 2’, ‘Song 4’, ‘Song 3’, ‘Song 1’ and the brand new ‘Song 5’, great wofts of pungent smoke billowed from deep in the crowd, setting off the venues seemingly redundant smoke alarms. Spliffs were shared openly between audience and band until all I could see was a blur of smoke and green lights. Despite having only played a handful of shows, Weedy G are tight as a nuns vajayjay and have quickly garnered a reputation as one of Melbourne’s most solid troops of smoked out doom-mongers. Keep an eye on this bunch.

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WATCHTOWER ‘Radiant Moon’ EP Review.

Words Joel Parnell.

As the first blob of sludge drenched riffery makes it’s appearance in opening track ‘Radiant Moon’, my heart shudders with anticipation as my sensory perception adjusts to the unmistakable sound of DOOM.

Melbourne Doom Metallers WATCHTOWER read like a page straight out of The Unholy Book Of Iommi Worship. Huge stoner rhythms carry Nico Guijts pained soaked, growling vocals like a 30ft tall, grim as fuck juggernaut from hell. Clocking in at a casual 9:04 minutes, ‘Radiant Moon’ is a slow burning descent into the abyss that’s perfect for a night in with that filthy, psychotic whore Mary Jane.

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