Yawning Man Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yawning man

Yawning Man recently finished a plenty-extensive North American tour — I saw them in Brooklyn; they ruled — and were in Europe as recently as last September, so it’s safe to say they’re in high gear at the moment, though one might not know it from the ultra-serene sounds that actually emanate from the stage when they play. The Californian desert rock forebears will return to Europe this summer in genuine working-band-making-a-go-of-it fashion as they continue to support 2018’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here), and we already know that after this run, which features stops at Black Deer Fest in the UK, as well as Stoned from the Underground in Germany, Red Smoke in Poland and Burg Herzberg in Germany, among others, and before they even go, they’ll be in CA this May to appear at their label’s first-ever US edition of its Heavy Psych Sounds Fest. To say they’re keeping busy would be understating it.

But they are. Keeping busy.

I’ll be interested to see what their Fall plans are, if they’ll do another US run or maybe put themselves in full album-cycle mode and start writing again ahead of more touring in 2020. I guess we’ve got some time before we get there. But right now, it seems like Yawning Man are the most active they’ve ever been, and for a band with more than 30 years’ history, that’s saying something.

Sound of Liberation posted the Euro dates thusly:

yawning man euro tour

Yawning Man will be back in Europe next summer! Here are the first dates! More will be added soon.

13.06.19 Amsterdam | Melkweg
14.06.19 Achterhoek | Manana Festival
15.06.19 Liège | La Zone
16.06.19 Bristol | The Lane
18.06.19 Manchester | Rebellion
19.06.19 Glasgow | Audio
20.06.19 Coventry | The Phoenix
22.06.19 Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival
25.06.19 Hamburg | Markthalle
26.06.19 Köln | Sonic Ballroom
27.06.19 Karlsruhe | Alte Hackerei
29.06.19 Vitoria | Hell Dorado
02.07.19 Barcelona | Rocksound
03.07.19 Bilbao | Satelite T
04.07.19 Bordeaux | Astroshøw Open Air
06.07.19 Leuven | Sojo
10.07.19 Cottbus | Zum Faulen August
11.07.19 Wien | Arena
12.07.19 Salzburg | Rockhouse
13.07.19 Erfurt | Stoned From The Underground
14.07.19 Pleszew | Red Smoke Festival
23.07.19 Munich | Free & Easy Festival
25.07.19 Breitenbach | Burg Herzberg Festival

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Live at Bovine Sex Club, Jan. 20, 2019

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Friday Full-Length: Fatso Jetson, Toasted

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

If Nietzsche went beyond good and evil, then surely Fatso Jetson exist beyond weird and normal. They’re often credited as one of the principal founding acts of desert rock, and fair enough, but they’ve also always held a spot on a wavelength of their own, no less comfortable in strains of bizarre prog, manic surf-jazz or punk than in floor-of-hot-coals boogie. Their third album, Toasted, was recorded in 1998 for release through Bong Load Custom Records and was their first outing not to be issued by SST, whose founder Greg Ginn (also Black Flag), as legend has it, signed them on the strength of their first show for their 1995 debut, Stinky Little Gods and its 1997 follow-up, Power of Three. The latter title sums up an essential component of Fatso Jetson‘s strength, as it’s the power of the players involved in the band that’s always made them so head-spinningly good. Others have come and gone over time including family and friends, but the core trio of guitarist/vocalist Mario Lalli (also Yawning Man), bassist Larry Lalli and drummer Tony Tornay (now also of All Souls) has remained at the foundation of Fatso Jetson for the last quarter-century, and they remain an act unto themselves in style and substance alike.

Plenty of bands talk about being open in terms of creativity. Anything goes. Far fewer actually bring that to life in their output, but listening to Fatso Jetson immediately separate wheat from chaff in their listenership as Toasted opener “New Age Android” turns to biting freakout robot sounds on (I think) guitar, or the subsequent swinger “Magma” and the maddening multi-layered solo that would round out if they weren’t actually in control enough to turn back to the chorus at the end, the band make it plain right away that their scope isn’t one to be limited. Not that they’re inconsistent — Toasted, which was produced by the band with Chris Goss of Masters of Reality, flows easily from one song to the next — but that there’s a naturalistic component to what they do and the instrumental chemistry so much on display between the Lalli cousins and Tornay is a key uniting factor in their craft. Through the weighted garage thrust of “I’ve Got the Shame” and into the instrumental “She’s So Borg” that seems to complement “New Age Android” — the lyrics of which could be argued as prescient of the rise of mobile social media culture; self-as-product and all that — Fatso Jetson go where they want to go and have the means to get there, but even the fact that “She’s So Borg” is in conversation with the opener, without actually including words, while hinting toward it in the titles demonstrates just how conscious the band were at the time of what they were doing. Fatso Jetson always had a master plan, it was just on a wavelength all its own.

fatso jetson toastedAt their most frenetic, they are blindingly intense, and even when they lock into a groove as on “Swollen Offering,” they have the ability to utterly blindside their audience with changes. Toasted skronks out with some spoken word in the second half of “Swollen Offering” and pushes into full-on what-the-fuckery before the instrumental “Tutta Dorma” presents a bit of chill, which of course is a setup for “Rail Job” to sprint through its sub-two-minutes with maximum drive, leading to the mid-paced semi-stomp-into-psychedelia of “Procrastination Process” and the return to fits and starts of the instrumental finale “Too Many Skulls.” It’s a side B dense enough to be an entire full-length for most bands, but Fatso Jetson emerge, sweaty perhaps, but otherwise unscathed, and seem to look around after “Too Many Skulls” crashes into its finish and ask, “Okay, so what’ve you got for that?”

That’s pretty much the challenge Fatso Jetson are putting out there, especially in their earlier work — the first three records. Here’s who we are, what’ve you got for it? Though they did plenty of them along the way — including, in this era, with Fu Manchu, The Bloodshot and Fireball Ministry — they do not sound like a band with whom one would want to release a split, because contrary to the narrative of the laid back ideal of desert rock, Fatso Jetson are right in your face, and Toasted has a confrontational aspect to the music that’s unmistakable in its intent. Think of jazz soloists trying to outdo one another, and that might be Fatso Jetson on a bill with whoever. And as amorphous as it is, their style has always been recognizable, and no matter where they’ve taken it, they’ve done so with that core chemistry and no shortage of rough-hewn class that, even in their most willfully abrasive moments, serves as another crucial uniting factor. Plus, man, fuckin’ Tony Tornay on drums? God damn.

After recording Toasted, Fatso Jetson released Flames for All on Man’s Ruin Records in 1999 and Cruel and Delicious on Rekords Rekords (an imprint belonging to Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age) in 2001. They’d put out Live in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2010’s Archaic Volumes (review here) that they had another studio album, and though splits followed with Yawning ManHerba Mate (review here) and Farflung (review here), and Toasted saw reissue in 2012, their next full-length was 2016’s Idle Hands (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds. They’ve grown to meld psychedelic impulses and astro-jazz into their whatever-the-hell-they-want-to-do maturity of craft, and the last album found them bringing in Dino von Lalli (son to Mario; also of BigPig) on guitar to round out a four-piece lineup. As Mario Lalli splits time with Yawning Man and Tornay hit the road last year with All SoulsFatso Jetson have been playing here and there but largely quiet since a late-2016 split with del-Toros (discussed here) in terms of studio work. I wouldn’t call them dormant, since they’ve toured regularly, but there’s been little word of new material kicked around and it may be a few years yet before they get another record together. Or it might be next month. 25 years later, who dare to predict Fatso Jetson?

Thanks for reading, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

I have some cool stuff coming up next week — track premieres for Green Lung and Straytones and a video from Doctor Sax — but there’s other stuff I can’t talk about yet too, so you’ll hopefully indulge me if I don’t do proper notes this week. Keeping secrets, I guess. Not that anyone’s waiting with bated breath to know what I’ll be writing about, but please take my word for it when I say it’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to it.

On Monday morning, The Patient Mrs., The Pecan and I hightailed it out of New Jersey. There was supposed to be a snowstorm that would’ve maybe kept us there an extra day — I wouldn’t have complained — but it dusted, and then was cold, and that was it. Don’t get me wrong, it was pain-in-the-ass cold, but it’s January and you have to live with that possibility. I loaded the car and off we went early in the morning, The Patient Mrs. doing the first shift of driving so I could finish putting together the news posts for the day, because that’s how I do.

She went back to work this week, did The Patient Mrs., for the start of classes for the Spring semester. She’s got tenure coming through this term, which is just the latest of many examples of her next-level utter goddamn brilliance, but it’s academia, so there are all kinds of hoops she’s had to jump through and it’s like a months-long wait for it to actually happen. These people wear robes and do everything slow as hell. It’s like if Sunn O))) could grant degrees.

The Fightin’ Dronies.

That’s what that university’s team would be called.

Anyway.

So we’re back in Massachusetts. I won’t lie, it was nice to come back and get the last four weeks’ worth of mail, but beyond that I’m hardly stoked at the return to New England. Seeing that Pecan get to know my family more and start to interact more with them and just have more space to run around and climb on stuff — which he does constantly; we have to overturn the chairs in the kitchen or he’ll be up on the table; he’s 15 months old today — was a joy. We’ll be back down there for spring break (woo!) in March and then again for at least most of the summer, but yeah. Kind of isolated up here.

At the same time, while I haven’t been looking forward to The Patient Mrs. going back to work, because, you know, I love her and enjoy spending time with her and all that, I have been excited to have more one-on-one time with the baby. He’s a monumental pain in the ass, like, wow, but fun. We read books together and go places and I get him out of the house and he gets me out of the house and some parts are challenging and some parts are a good time and some parts are boring and some parts are heart-racing — did I mention he’s a climber? — but I can’t ignore the fact of how lucky I am to be able to stay home with him, and I feel very much like what I’m doing now in terms of writing as much as I can and balancing that with daddy-time is the kind of work I was meant to be doing all along. He’s a madman, and there are definitely times where I just need to check out for a coupe minutes and get my head back, but that’s all part of the thing. Plus I get to make jokes — mostly to myself — about “dad rock,” and that’s fun too.

Well, it’s about quarter after five, and I expect he’ll be awake before six, so I’m going to punch out and get the day’s first post live before he’s up. I hope you have a great and safe weekend, and thanks again for reading. Really, stay tuned for next week. It’s going to be special.

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John Garcia and the Band of Gold, John Garcia and the Band of Gold: Kentucky and Beyond

Posted in Reviews on January 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

john garcia and the band of gold self titled

The 2014 self-titled solo debut from John Garcia (review here) was at least 15 years in the making. He followed it in 2017 with the mostly acoustic The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here), and with the self-titled LP from John Garcia and the Band of Gold, he completes a cycle of three records in five years that he has already hinted will mark his last run. That in itself gives the 11-song/40-minute John Garcia and the Band of Gold a different context, but it’s also worth noting that as he’s made his way through these offerings — the latest of which would presumably complete a three-album deal with Napalm Records — he’s also presented a different side of himself each time out. True, the first and third LPs share plenty of aesthetic commonalities, but Garcia stepping into more of a bandleader role with The Band of Gold behind him comprised of guitarist Ehren Groban (War Drum), bassist Mike Pygmie (Mondo GeneratorYou Know Who) and drummer Greg Saenz (The DwarvesYou Know Who) is a distinguishing factor.

Much has been made as well of the involvement of producer Chris Goss, the frontman of Masters of Reality who once upon a time helmed the Kyuss recordings that would help solidify desert rock in the mid-’90s. That’s not a minor consideration, and if there’s an effect of Goss‘ contributions here — which, as I understand it, came after the basic tracks were recorded — perhaps it can be heard in the extra heft of a track like the rushing “Popcorn (Hit Me When You Can)” or the low-end push behind Garcia‘s crooning in the quieter parts of second cut “Jim’s Whiskers” earlier on. That’s speculation, but even the association between the two parties should be a draw for fans, who might also note the similarity in cover art between John Garcia and the Band of Gold and Vista Chino‘s 2013 outing, Peace (review here; discussed here), both done in a graffiti-on-concrete style. If there’s an intended relationship between those two LPs, I don’t know, but in addition to having appeared on The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues as “Give Me 250ml,” “Kentucky II” would seem to be a sequel in title to “Kentucky” from Hermano‘s 2007 full-length, …Into the Exam Room. One way or another, there is plenty throughout John Garcia and the Band of Gold for longtime fans to dig into.

“Kentucky II” is one of three songs shared between the last album and this one, actually, with “Kylie,” on that showing up as the penultimate “Cheyletiella” on this and “The Hollingsworth Session” revamped in fully-plugged fashion as “Don’t Even Think About It.” There’s something to be said for the continuity tying the two releases together, but highlights of John Garcia and the Band of Gold like “My Everything” and “Lillianna” are both new and help comprise the central impression of the tracklist as a whole, which is fresh in performance and cognizant of the desert it’s inhabiting, whether it’s through the introductory spaciousness that rolls out in “Space Vato” before that 2:44 instrumental kicks into higher gear and moves quickly into the bouncing groove of “Jim’s Whiskers,” or “Softer Side,” which finds Garcia singing quietly over a wide landscape of psychedelic guitar somewhat reminiscent of his work alongside Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce in Zun.

john garcia and the band of gold

His voice — naturally a central feature on an album that bears his name — has always been well suited to that ultra-laid back vibe, but neither can one take away from the power in his delivery of “My Everything” or the successful middle ground built up in “Chicken Delight,” a sense of tension coming to a head that the swinging “Kentucky II” pays off in its righteous and familiar shuffle. “Popcorn (Hit Me When You Can)” arguably provides the hardest thrust of John Garcia and the Band of Gold, but “Apache Junction,” which immediately follows, is both the heaviest and the most intriguing as regards arrangement, with guitars echoing out late after slamming out a central riff that’s replete with sonic detailing, bass chugging away beneath effects-laced background vocal layers between lyric lines, and the balance of the mix such that Garcia‘s voice is given an opportunity to cut through the tonal presence surrounding, something that he’s been doing in oft-imitated fashion for over two decades. Unsurprisingly, he nails it.

So will John Garcia and the Band of Gold really be his last record? Yeah, probably not. Even if it’s his last “solo” album for some time, he’s proven restless enough in the past that it’s easy to think maybe he’d work again with Dave Angstrom in Hermano or follow-up on the several reunion gigs Slo Burn did in 2017 with more there. Of the litany of projects he’s been involved in throughout his career, new material would be welcome from just about any of them — which isn’t to mention the perpetually-unfinished business with Unida, a band once stifled by contract woes from releasing what would’ve been their breakthrough album. If John Garcia is going to run out the thread on tour for this release and call it a career, though, what a career to call it. It probably doesn’t help pay the mortgage, but the guy’s legitimately a legend who’s influence has thus far spanned two generations, and John Garcia and the Band of Gold finds him in top form, arguably in better control of his craft than he was when Vista Chino made Peace for the intervening years of writing, touring and singing.

If it’s how he wants to go out, he certainly doesn’t owe anyone anything. But the question, ultimately, is a distraction, and a negative one if it takes anything away from appreciating John Garcia and the Band of Gold on its own level. Among the most crucial statements Garcia makes with the third LP under his name comes from that change in identity. He’s still searching. He’s still trying to find just that right place to inhabit that’s not only his own, but as much about the future as about his storied past. If fronting John Garcia and the Band of Gold is what lets him do that, fine. It worked for his one-time bandmate Brant Bjork for a while when he led Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, also on Napalm Records. And if John Garcia and the Band of Gold does make that happen, it’s even less likely this self-titled will be their last outing. But, just like how at any second his voice might punch the listener upside the head with belted-out desert grit, his future is wholly unpredictable.

John Garcia, “My Everything”

John Garcia on Thee Facebooks

John Garcia on Twitter

Napalm Records webstore

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Yawning Man Announce North American Touring with Mondo Generator & Freedom Hawk

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yawning man

Desert soundtrackers Yawning Man will hit the road right after New Year’s in order, presumably, to bring a bit of warmth to some of the harshest hours 2019 will present. The genre-shaping Californian outfit released The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here) earlier this year, and it’s a record that has endured even as others have come and gone since, and typical of the band’s work, one expects it will continue to unfold sides of itself over a longer term than a mere matter of months. Recall this is a band who were practically legends before they had an album out. Still, in their 30-plus-year history, they haven’t ever been especially huge on touring, so even as they become a more cohesive studio outfit, they’re complementing that with a live incarnation. They were in Europe this past summer, and have already gotten a first East Coast stint under their collective belt. As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.

They’ll have Nick Oliveri and his Mondo Generator outfit along for the first stretch of dates, then pick up shortly thereafter with Virginian fuzzers Freedom Hawk, which is badass on multiple levels that you probably already know. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the longest stint Freedom Hawk will have done in the States as well.

Dates follow, as dutifully transcribed from the tour poster by me, for reasons of compulsion:

yawning man tour poster

Yawning Man US / Canada Tour Dates !!

Yawning Man on tour:
01.02 Phoenix AZ Rebel Lounge*
01.03 Albuquerque NM Sister Bar*
01.04 Dallas TX Gas Monkey
01.06 Austin TX Come and Take it Live*
01.07 Lafayette LA Freetown Boom Boom Room*
01.08 New Orleans LA Santos*
01.09 Nashville TN Little Harpeth Brewing*
01.10 Atlanta GA 529
01.12 Asheville NC 27 Club**
01.13 Charlottesville VA The Southern**
01.14 Richmond VA Richmond Music Hall**
01.15 Philadephia PA Kung Fu Necktie**
01.16 Cambridge MA Middle East Upstairs**
01.17 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus**
01.18 Montreal QC Bar LeRitz**
01.19 Ottawa ON Mavericks**
01.20 Toronto ON Bovine Sex Club**
01.21 Detroit MI The Sanctuary**
01.23 Chicago IL Empty Bottle**
01.24 Kansas City MO Record Bar
01.25 Denver CO Hi Dive
01.26 Salt Lake City UT Loading Dock
01.27 Boise ID The Olympic
01.29 Vancouver BA Astoria
01.30 Seattle WA El Corazon
01.31 Portland OR High Water Mark
* w/ Mondo Generator
** w/ Freedom Hawk

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, “Ghost Beach”

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John Garcia and the Band of Gold Post “Chicken Delight” Lyric Video; Playing Planet Desert Rock Weekend Nov. 29

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

john garcia and the band of gold

Later this month, John Garcia and the Band of Gold take the stage headlining the first night of the inaugural Planet Desert Rock Weekend. Put together by Vegas Rock Revolution, it’s an impeccably curated evening celebrating what’s a rare onstage US appearance for Garcia, with performances by Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol which features Hermano‘s Dave Angstrom, and Death in Pretty Wrapping, which has Arthur Seay also from Unida (and House of Broken Promises) on guitar. The idea is everyone kind of gets together and rocks out at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Cafe and Hotel in Vegas, joining Garcia onstage to play tracks from his past outfits and so on.

There’s also a whole weekend of insanity planned (info here), but no question that for US concertgoers, seeing Garcia these days isn’t something that happens all that often. Since Vista Chino went their separate ways, he’s focused heavily on Europe with acoustic tours and festival appearances, and fair enough given that market.

So far as he’s said, this will be his only US show for the upcoming John Garcia and the Band of Gold album.

That album, self-titled, is due out Jan. 4, 2019, via Napalm Records, and they’ve newly unveiled a lyric video — kind of standard procedure at this point — to introduce one of the tracks. Dubbed “Chicken Delight,” the song is not one of the several redux’ed from Garcia‘s last outing, which was 2017’s mostly-unplugged The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here), but instead is all-new and thus far exclusive to this album. Though it’d work acoustic as well. Those curious as to how the reunion might sound between Garcia and producer Chris Goss, who once upon a time produced genre-defining LPs for Garcia‘s band Kyuss, go ahead and take note, because that’s what’s happening here.

A month-long stretch of European tour dates has been announced to follow shortly after the album’s release. You might recall that tour was initially supposed to happen this Fall but was rescheduled to allow for the recording to be done, because, well, let’s face it. If you’re going on tour for a month and you’re about to finish a new record, you probably want to be able to take it along with you. The Jan.-Feb. stint will allow for that.

Those dates as well as more info follow the clip here, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

John Garcia and the Band of Gold, “Chicken Delight” official lyric video

Desert Rock frontman extraordinaire, JOHN GARCIA, has just released”Chicken Delight”, the first single of the new album John Garcia And The Band Of Gold. Today the Kyuss legend unveils the official lyric video for the relaxed groover straight out of the desert!

“Chicken Delight”is the perfect beginning of your California desert trip that opens out to a new album that melts down the whole subgenre to the core! It’s the perfect mix of his trademarked voice and the groovy, laid back and dusty sound that lies within every chord that makes your mind fly away. Over the last almost three decades, JOHN GARCIA’s voice has set the standard for the sound of the California desert and “Chicken Delight” takes it one step further.

Pre-order “John Garcia And The Band Of Gold” here: http://smarturl.it/JGATBOG

Out January 4th

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold Live:
After having a meeting between his musical past and present, by playing on one stage with Nick Oliveri (ex-Kyuss), Dave Angstrom (ex-Hermano) and Arthur Seay (ex-Unida) on November 29 in Las Vegas, JOHN GARCIA will return to an extensive tour through Europe with his Band Of Gold:

Special Show w/ Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol, Death in Pretty Wrapping
29.11.18 US – Las Vegas / Vinyl

European Tour 2019
w/ Dead Quiet
23.01.19 FR – Paris / Le Trabendo
24.01.19 FR – Bordeaux / Le Krakatoa
25.01.19 ES – Madrid / Caracol
26.01.19 ES – Barcelona / Razzamatazz 2
28.01.19 FR – Lyon / Le Kao
29.01.19 CH – Zurich / Bogen F.
30.01.19 IT – Milan / Santeria Club
31.01.19 DE – Munich / Backstage Halle
02.02.19 AT – Graz / Explosiv
03.02.19 HU – Budapest / A38
04.02.19 CZ – Prague / Rock Café
05.02.19 DE – Nuremberg / Hirsch
07.02.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus
08.02.19 DE – Berlin / SO36
09.02.19 DK – Copenhagen / Loppen
10.02.19 NO – Oslo / John Dee
12.02.19 FI – Helsinki / Tavastia
14.02.19 SE – Stockholm / Debaser Strand
15.02.19 SE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers
16.02.19 DE – Hamburg / Gruenspan
17.02.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
19.02.19 BE – Leuven / Het Depot
20.02.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Sal
21.02.19 DE – Essen / Turock
22.02.19 NL – Tilburg / 013
23.02.19 UK – London / O2 Academy Islington

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold are:
John Garcia – vocals
Ehren Groban – guitar
Mike Pygmie – bass
Greg Saenz – drums

John Garcia on Thee Facebooks

John Garcia on Instgram

Napalm Records webstore

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John Garcia and the Band of Gold Self-Titled LP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

john garcia and the band of gold

With the Jan. 4 release of the self-titled debut/maybe swansong from John Garcia and the Band of Gold, the group’s principle namesake will have issued three solo albums more or less in evolving incarnations. 2014’s John Garcia (review here) was a plugged-in desert rocker credited to the man himself, while last year’s The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) brought Garcia together with guitarist Ehren Groban (War Drum), bassist Mike Pygmie (Mondo GeneratorYou Know Who) and drummer Greg Saenz (The DwarvesYou Know Who) and was mostly acoustic in its unfolding. John Garcia and the Band of Gold leans more toward the former, but features the latter band and also reunites Garcia with Kyuss producer Chris Goss (also of Masters of Reality) — who one recalls had some choice words when Garcia embarked on the partial Kyuss reunion with Vista Chino — sees reworkings of “Kylie,” “The Hollingsworth Session” and “Give Me 250ML” from the last record, turning the latter into a sequel to “Kentucky” from the last Hermano record, now 11 years old, and brings those familiar pieces together with a total 11 new tracks available to preorder now.

On Nov. 29, John Garcia and the Band of Gold make their only US appearance — maybe ever? — at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, headlining the first night of the Planet Desert Rock Weekend, and then they’re headed to Europe early in 2019. All dates and info follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

john garcia and the band of gold self titled

New Album JOHN GARCIA AND THE BAND OF GOLD out January 4th 2019!

Pre-Order HERE!

JOHN GARCIA, the Kyuss legend returns with his next incarnation of Desert Rock, John Garcia And The Band Of Gold, out on Napalm Records! None other than ex-Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age producer Chris Goss gave this new groovy piece of dust its finishing touches. JOHN GARCIA takes the next step in his almost 30-year career by combining the strengths of his musical past with the achievements of modern times. It’s once again a distinctive JOHN GARCIA album!

JOHN GARCIA on the new album:
“After a year of heavy stress, starting my own studio, shutting it down, hiring and firing, the drama is finally over. Saved by surgeon Chris Goss, this record is finally done. It is unclear if I will ever be doing this again, so this is it. Here it is, proud and loud John Garcia and The Band of Gold record comes out January 4th with supporting tour thereafter. The Vegas jam is my only U.S. electric show and will prove to be something special. I thank my supporters, you keep me going – Big Love from the Garcia res!!”

You can Pre-Order John Garcia And The Band Of Gold HERE!

After starting the stoner rock movement by establishing Kyuss together with Josh Homme (Queens Of the Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal), Brant Bjork (ex-Fu Manchu), Nick Oliveri (Ex-Queens Of The Stone Age) in 1990, JOHN GARCIA became one of the most heard voices from the desert in Rock History. No doubt that he had massive impact on the desert rock movement by singing in bands like Hermano, Slo Burn, Unida and Vista Chino. Since his debut album as a solo artist in 2014 via Napalm Records, he has further established his very own trademarks.

JOHN GARCIA And The Band Of Gold live:

After having a meeting between his musical past and present, by playing on one stage with Nick Oliveri (ex-Kyuss), Dave Angstrom (ex-Hermano) and Arthur Seay (ex-Unida) on November 29 in Las Vegas, JOHN GARCIA will return to an extensive tour through Europe with his Band Of Gold:

Special Show w/ Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol, Death in Pretty Wrapping
11.29.18 US – Las Vegas / Vinyl

European Tour 2019
w/ Dead Quiet
23.01.19 FR – Paris / Le Trabendo
24.01.19 FR – Bordeaux / Le Krakatoa
25.01.19 ES – Madrid / Caracol
26.01.19 ES – Barcelona / Razzamatazz 2
28.01.19 FR – Lyon / Le Kao
29.01.19 CH – Zurich / Bogen F.
30.01.19 IT – Milan / Santeria Club
31.01.19 DE – Munich / Backstage Halle
02.02.19 AT – Graz / Explosiv
03.02.19 HU – Budapest / A38
04.02.19 CZ – Prague / Rock Café
05.02.19 DE – Nuremberg / Hirsch
07.02.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus
08.02.19 DE – Berlin / SO36
09.02.19 DK – Copenhagen / Loppen
10.02.19 NO – Oslo / John Dee
12.02.19 FI – Helsinki / Tavastia
14.02.19 SE – Stockholm / Debaser Strand
15.02.19 SE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers
16.02.19 DE – Hamburg / Gruenspan
17.02.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
19.02.19 BE – Leuven / Het Depot
20.02.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Sal
21.02.19 DE – Essen / Turock
22.02.19 NL – Tilburg / 013
23.02.19 UK – London / O2 Academy Islington

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold are:
John Garcia – vocals
Ehren Groban – guitar
Mike Pygmie – bass
Greg Saenz – drums

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John Garcia, “Give Me 250ML” official lyric video

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Brant Bjork Posts “Chocolatize” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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Whoever keeps the records of these things, let the record state that when I started the very first episode of ‘The Obelisk Show’ on Gimme Radio, it was with this track. The opener from Brant Bjork‘s new album, Mankind Woman (review here), which was also premiered here over the summer, is a clarion to anyone who’d be so bold as to let a little funk into their heart, and frankly, we should all be so lucky to do precisely that. And of course the video keeps it loose, opening up with Bjork turning on the camera and sitting down next to his record player to check out the test pressing of Mankind Woman, only to pick up his guitar and play along to the song before he, as a full band on drums, bass and guitar, jams out the track in its entirety.

That’s a blast in itself, and of course it ends with him lighting up a joint and shutting off said camera after the song has ended, but there’s more going on in the video than just that. It’s loaded with easter eggs and references. To wit, in the opening shot, when Bjork is sitting in his badass retro living room — look at that lamp! — there are two piles of records in front of the cabinet, and facing out from them are the covers for Bob Dylan‘s 1965 album Bringing it all Back Home, on which the then-folk hero went electric, and the 1970 self-titled debut from Funkadelic, which aside from being one of the best albums ever released by anybody — period — relates to the song via the use of “chocolate,” as that same unit, as Parliament, would soon enough issue 1975’s Chocolate CityBjork might as well be recommending these to viewers, and with Hendrix showing up later on as well, one could hardly argue with his picks.

Note as well the Star Wars action figures in a display case, and the television in the living room where he’s playing bass that has the early Star Trek episode “Shore Leave” on wherein the crew of the Enterprise trips out on some planet’s atmosphere and all conjure various oddities in their mind, for Captain Kirk a certain Cadet Finnegan who used to beat him up at Starfleet Academy. It’s not there for long, but trust me, that’s the episode. Those are both cool inclusions, but perhaps the best of all is the Dylan reference, which continues into the video itself as the song makes its way to the chorus, the trippy visuals of the verse cut out and we see Bjork standing outside switching hats with words from the lyrics on them: “chocolatize,” “right on,” etc. This of course is a nod to Dylan‘s iconic promo video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” much referenced for his holding up signs with the words to the song on them. It’s a smart twist and fits the vibe of the track well. He ends with “love” and “dig.,” respectively. Badass.

One might also spot an open gatefold Black Sabbath LP on a shelf and I’m sure there are numerous others to be found. Either way, this is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year — it’s on that list, to be sure — and the more opportunities to dig into it, the better.

So here’s one. Enjoy:

Brant Bjork, “Chocolatize” official video

After the successful release of his critically acclaimed, thirteenth solo album “Mankind Woman”, BRANT BJORK is now premiering a brand new music video for the track “Chocolatize”. Welcome to Brant’s living room, dive with him into the desert and the psychedelic grooves of his brand new album, your trip starts below!

With an unprecedented sense of groove – the one and only Brant Bjork Groove – “Mankind Woman” is BRANT BJORK’s first ever release on European independent powerhouse Heavy Psych Sounds Records. Already described as his catchiest to date, this 11-track gem presents the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist’s take on 60s and 70s music era. Joined by long-time friend and Low Desert Punk musician Bubba Dupree, Brant Bjork blends the finest of his classic rock, rhythm’n’blues and funk influences to craft a groovy, hook-laden record that adds to a prolific and always heat-warming collection of records from the legendary desert rocker.

Once again, Brant Bjork makes here a record that reminds the listener that it was the ingredients of jazz, blues and funk that makes rock music taste so good.

Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman (2018)

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Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman: Swagger and Soul

Posted in Reviews on September 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork mankind woman

Strip it down. The central mission of Brant Bjork‘s 12th studio album seems to have been to get back to basics, and that means groove. There’s ultra-funk that runs deep throughout Mankind Woman, and in songs like “Chocolatize” and “Somebody,” the godfather of desert rock crafts his most intimate-sounding release in at least a decade, if not longer. It’s a collection informed by the soulful aspects of records like 1999’s mellow-heavy desert classic Jalamanta (discussed herealso here) and particularly 2002’s Brant Bjork and the Operators, which was made under similar circumstances of close collaboration.

In this case, Bjork worked together with guitarist Bubba DuPree (ex-Void, also of Bjork‘s backing group, The Low Desert Punk Band) to write the material and bringing in recurring guest vocalist Sean Wheeler to take lead vocal spots on side B cuts “Pretty Hairy” and closer “Nation of Indica,” former Kyuss/Vista Chino bandmate Nick Oliveri and Armand Secco Sabal (who’s toured with Al di Meola) for bass spots. The result is an 11-track/38-minute easy-flowing LP that discards much of the aggressive edge of 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here) — Bjork‘s two studio full-lengths through Napalm Records, which also issued the live outing, Europe ’16 (review here), last year — in favor of material that is smoother and more laid back.

Sure, the title-track sleeks its way into a Deep Purple (sans organ) boogie in its second half and the fittingly-enough centerpiece “Swagger and Sway” has some element of challenge in the lyrics, “Try to do something about it/I dare you,” but the prevailing vibe on Mankind Woman is more indebted to classic soul and R&B, melded of course with the signature desert rock style that Bjork has made his own over the better part of the last 20 years. Cuts like the shuffling “Lazy Wizards” and “Pisces” early in the tracklisting are straightforward in their style — the latter with a particularly resonant hook — and follow the opener “Chocolatize” (premiered here) in finding a place where something can be heavy and soothing at the same time, empty of pretense but more than a simple run through the motions of Bjork‘s modus.

As Bjork leaves Napalm behind for Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds, it’s easy to read Mankind Woman as the beginning of a new era for his work, and if that’s the case, then so be it. Even Wheeler brings the soul to “Pretty Hairy,” as opposed to the sort of punker spoken declarations of “Nation of Indica” and while funk is ever-present in Bjork‘s style, to hear him directly engage it as he does on “Chocolatize,” “Mankind Woman” itself and “Somebody” is a refreshing readjustment of the balance. It’s the ultimate cliché to say an opener ‘sets the tone’ for the rest of the album, but the chorus, “It’s time to chocolatize our thing/Right on,” seems to be as much a statement of purpose for the collection as a whole as it is a standout hook on its own, and Mankind Woman indeed remains affected by its energy and deceptively complex arrangement of layers.

B-funk? D-funk (for desert)? Either way, as “Lazy Wizards” subsequently unfolds its righteously subdued groove, the impression of “Chocolatize” before it holds firm and makes an underpinning for just about everything that follows, even as “Charlie Gin” dips into garage rock, the later “Brand New Old Times” seems to take on no-frills early-Beatles-gone-fuzz-R&B hookmaking, and the penultimate “1968” unfurls itself with an uptempo swing that would’ve been at home on a second Vista Chino effort, with Bjork himself donning the John Garcia mantle in his vocal approach.

brant bjork

Mankind Woman brings no shortage of sonic variety in moving from track to track, but it’s the overarching fluidity that makes it work so well as a front-to-back listen, the steady flow of the production (helmed by Dupree as well as Yosef Sanborn, who engineered and mixed) helping to unite individualized pieces across the whole work in classic-album form. Not that a record with a song called “1968” on it is exactly missing ties to that era that saw the birth of heavy in rock and roll, but clearly Mankind Woman is speaking to that moment in more than just that one especially upfront manner.

And no complaints for that. With the exception of “Brand New Old Times” — which is the shortest cut included at 2:04 — the songs are by and large longer on side B, with “Somebody” and “Nation of Indica” tapping into the kind of jammy feel that populated some of the longer-form material on other recent long-players, but is quicker in doing so, speaking to the general reining in that seems to be happening throughout Mankind Woman as Bjork effectively resets his methodology. Likely some of it is writing alongside DuPree, but even if Bjork‘s doing so is a one-off rather than indicative of a new direction to be developed over future works, then the point still stands.

Clearly it was time for something different coming off Tao of the Devil, and that’s manifest in these tracks whatever familiar elements they might otherwise contain. For longtime Brant Bjork fans, Mankind Woman should feel like a gift. It taps into a spirit that fell by the wayside as Bjork embraced wider-scale touring — that said, he’s hitting Europe again to support this release — and a more full-band approach, and it does so without moving backwards creatively. It refuses to compromise its soul or dull-down its funkified roll, and it shows Bjork squarely in command of his style, songwriting and performance. Actually, I take that back. There’s nothing square about it.

Brant Bjork‘s legacy doesn’t — or shouldn’t — need to be recounted. From his days drumming and writing in Kyuss to joining Fu Manchu, to the one-off with Ché en route to establishing himself as a solo artist and releasing albums of diverse sound and consistent quality, he’s been nothing short of essential to the process of shaping desert rock into the multinational phenomenon it is today. Mankind Woman is true to this pedigree, but like each of Bjork‘s offerings, it has a personality unto itself and speaks to the ongoing creative growth of an absolute master of the form. Hearing it is only going to make your day better.

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