‘A COMPILATION FOR EDGAR’ Various Artists – Wild Animals Records.

Words Anthony Moore.

One of my favourite labels is another indie operation here in Melbourne called Wild Animals Records. With releases from Raul Sanchez i Jorge (Magic Dirt, River Of Snakes, Midnight Woolf, Electric Magus), Bonnie Mercer, Lost Talk, The Frees, Shepparton Airplane and more… with that list, and the incredible, unique DIY touch added to each one, obviously everything they do is gold.

This release is no exception. A Compilation For Edgar is a 24 track goldmine of live music recorded in pubs around Melbourne from an incredible list of bands! It’s limited to only 53 copies and comes in very cool packaging. All the proceeds are also going to Edgar’s Mission, an animal sanctuary in Lancefield, VIC (near the Macedon Ranges).

I asked the guru behind Wild Animal Records, Dan Williams, a few questions about the release…

Anthony Moore: How did this compilation come about? Continue reading

COMA WALL ‘Ursa Minor’ EP Review.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photo Tom McKibbin.

Some songwriters just seem to suit who you are and match your musical personality so perfectly. For me, John Frusciante, Adalita Srsen, and Craig Westwood, among others, all do this. Whether as a part of their respective bands – being loud and more extreme sounding, or when paired back, solo and just more chilled, I know I’ll dig anything they do.

Which brings me to this release. Coma Wall is the acoustic alter-ego of Oxford, UK sludge doom band Undersmile. This release is a bit of a nostalgic trip for Hel (Sterne – vocals, guitar) and Taz (Corona-Brown – vocals, guitar) who wrote the songs in the band that predated Undersmile called Ursa Minor (hence the name of the EP). The songs date back to around 2006/2007, with these demos recorded in 2012. The songs were recorded live with bass and string overdubs added later. Continue reading

DESERT HIGHWAYS CONTRIBUTORS TOP 10 LIST’S (+ MORE) FOR 2018!

Here’s a few of the Desert Highways team’s Top lists for 2018. Thank you all for your support again throughout 2018, it’s very much appreciated! Also a massive thanx to all of our contributors. Very proud to work with such an incredibly talented group of people!

Mark Ireland – Writer.

Best gigs 2018:
Power TripBendigo Hotel.
Roger WatersRod Lavar Arena.
MAMMALCroxton Bandroom.
Streaker Gate Benefit GigGasometer.
Meredith Music Festival: The Presets, Billy Bragg, Little Ugly Girls.
The Stems, Even Northcote Social Club.
Boogie Festival: Cable Ties, Clowns, The Southern River Band, Birdcloud, Cash Savage.
Golden Plains Festival: Mogwai, Baker Boy, Black Angels.
Stiff Little FingersCroxton Bandroom.
Download Festival: NoFx, Hot Water Music, Prophets of Rage, Arch Enemy.
BeckMargaret Court Arena.
David ByrneMargaret Court Arena.
The Demon Parade – Psych FestThe Tote Hotel.
Fuck The Fitzroy Doom Scene, El Colosso Sookie Lounge.
ShameThe Tote Hotel.
Future Of The LeftThe Old Bar.

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RIVER ROCKS REHAB 2018 – Magic Dirt, Cosmic Psychos, Hits, Totally Unicorn, The Chats, Grindhouse, Hobo Magic, Future Tongues, Shanty Tramp, Meatbeaters, Jelly Mammoth. The Barwon Club Hotel, Geelong. 18-11-2018.

Photos Stephen Boxshall.


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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

ELECTRIC MAGUS (RAUL SANCHEZ) Interview.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.

Renowned Australian musician, Raul Sanchez, has created an enticing reputation throughout his career that has been lingering in the public eye since the ‘90s. From his early days of playing in various garage rock bands that included The Bugbears, Muffcake and the much loved Magic Dirt, the Melbourne based guitarist has also shared vocal, guitar and songwriting roles in most of the bands he has played with. Currently playing with the likes of Tex Perkins’ supergroup, The Ape, Sanchez is also a part of the line ups that make River of Snakes and Midnight Woolf. With these influential bands having distinctively various sounds, one could begin to wonder what his solo album might sound like… And in 2015 Sanchez produced those sounds on his own instrumental album to answer the thoughts of those wondering punters. Released via Wild Animals Records and titled Masks, Sanchez’s first solo output came together over several years. Comprised primarily with guitars, there were also drums weaved through the variety of other instruments and “whatever was lying around the house that would make a sound”. Continue reading

ADAM HARDING (DUMB NUMBERS) Interview + Album Review.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.

Dumb Numbers are back with their latest collaborative showcase that has been self-titled; Dumb Numbers II. Following their 2013 album, this gem was released to the public via Joyful Noise Recordings on August 19. Predominantly formulated by Australian musician, Adam Harding who was joined by a variety of artists, this album of only eight songs has without a doubt created a rad selection of lengthy and transient jams. Joining Harding on this recent release were the ever-alternating line up of musicians that on this occasion included the likes of: Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr. / Sebadoh), Dale Crover (Melvins), David Yow (The Jesus Lizard / Scratch Acid), Murph (Dinosaur Jr.), Bobb Bruno (Best Coast). With each musician bringing their own little zing to the sound, it inevitably has turned into this crazy array of genres that make it quite hard to label, adding to the bonus of how enticing this album actually is. Continue reading

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

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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