Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
If you thought the recently-announced Desert Generator fest already looked like an unreasonably good time, sit tight. As it happens, Brant Bjork‘s appearance at the second installment of the festival he’s curating — as well as the pre-party out in the desert the night before, for which Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson‘s Mario Lalli is reportedly bringing the generator to provide power — will serve as the launch point for a coast-to-coast US tour alongside Royal Thunder and Black Wizard.
Bjork, in the company of The Low Desert Punk Band, was in Europe this past Fall, and he heads out in the US supporting 2016’s most-righteous Tao of the Devil (review here), on Napalm Records. If you’re reading this post and haven’t heard that album yet, sorry, but you’re fresh out of excuses. Get on that shit.
Dates follow here as well as the poster by Branca Studio, courtesy of the PR wire:
BRANT BJORK to Launch US Tour at Desert Generator Fest
Support from Royal Thunder & Black Wizard; East Coast dates with Pentagram
Look what the cat dragged in: Low Desert Punk Brant Bjork, king of the sweetest flow and forever kissed by the burning sun of Southern Cali! As the founder of Kyuss, the singer / guitarist / drummer might be the ultimate icon the Desert Rock scene has to offer – but despite all this praise and worship, Brant’s only concern rests in supplying the planet with unpretentious laid-back rock, adorned with hefty jam-outs! Tao Of The Devil is more focused than its predecessor Black Power Flower and boasts a more song-oriented and groovy stoner sound, with a healthy dose of 70s style greatness.
BRANT BJORK: TAO OF THE DEVIL TOUR
with Royal Thunder & Black Wizard 04/07 Mojave Desert CA Stoned & Dusted 04/08 Pioneertown CA Pappy & Harriet’s Desert Generator 04/09 Sacramento CA Blue Lamp 04/10 San Francisco CA Slim’s 04/11 Portland OR Hawthorne Theatre 04/12 Vancouver BC SBC 04/13 Seattle WA El Corazon 04/14 Boise ID The Shredder 04/15 Salt Lake City UT In the Venue 04/16 Denver CO Marquis Theater 04/17 Kansas City MO Riot Room 04/18 Chicago IL Beat Kitchen 04/19 Cleveland OH Agora Ballroom 04/20 Baltimore MD Soundstage* 04/22 New York NY Le Poisson Rouge* 04/23 Boston MA Middle East* 04/25 Atlanta GA Masquerade 04/26 New Orleans LA Siberia 04/27 Austin TX Barracuda 04/28 Dallas TX Gas Monkey 04/29 Albuquerque NM Launchpad 04/30 Mesa AZ Club Red 05/01 Los Angeles CA Echoplex * with Pentagram
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Prior to hitting stages at Freak Valley 2017, Desertfest London and Berlin, and Psycho Las Vegas this Spring/Summer with the reunited Slo Burn, desert rock’s iconic frontman John Garcia will embark on a European tour next month supporting his first-ever acoustic solo album. Released last month on Napalm Records, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) blends new original material with fresh arrangements of classic Kyuss tracks like “Gardenia,” “Space Cadet” and “Green Machine” — staples of Garcia‘s nigh-unmatchable body of work. Since the record was born out of European “evening with”-style tour, it seems only fair he’d return abroad to support it, even as one of multiple international trips being made this year.
The run has been dubbed, fittingly enough, “Coyote Unplugged.” Dates and more info follow:
JOHN GARCIA: Coyote Unplugged Tour 2017!
Kyuss, Slo-Burn, Unida, Hermano, Vista Chino – yes, desert crooner John Garcia may rightfully be considered the ultimate incarnation of stoner rock. His first solo album and opus eponymous from 2014 is followed roughly three years later by The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues, a comparatively relaxed and purely acoustic affair! “Better late than never”, Mister Garcia himself comments on the rather lengthy period of time he invested in his new baby. Offering chilled out renditions of some well-known classics as well as John Garcia’s solo work, The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues seamlessly merges past gems with future, howling hits like ‘The Hollingsworth Session‘ – all you need now is a crackling fire!
John Garcia comments satisfied: “This record is one of the most important of my career, difficult and challenging to do, but worth every minute of sweat!”
Recorded and mixed by Steve Feldman and Robbie Waldman, mastered by Gene “The Machine” Grimaldi at Oasis Mastering in California, ‘The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues’ offers an emotional acoustic ride through John Garcia’s solo work as well as songs by Kyuss in new arrangements like you have never heard before.
Acoustic guitar: Ehren Groban Percussions: Greg Saenz Bass: Mike Pygmie
JOHN GARCIA – Coyote Unplugged Tour 2017 14.03. CH – Bern, ISC Club 15.03. GER – Munich, Backstage 16.03. CRO – Zagreb, Vintage Industrial Bar 17.03. SLO – Nova Gorica, Mostovna 18.03. GR – Athen, AN Club 20.03. PL – Wroclaw, Carpe Diem 21.03. PL – Warsaw, Beerokracja 22.03. DK – Kopenhagen, Loppen 24.03. NL – Hilversum, De Vorstin 25.03. GER – Bielefeld, Heimat + Hafen 26.03. NL – Breda, Mezz 27.03. B – Arlon, L’Entrepôt
[John Garcia releases The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues via Napalm Records on Jan. 27. Please enjoy a lyric video premiere for ‘Give Me 250ml’ by clicking play above.]
It’s hard to say exactly how long John Garcia‘s acoustic album has been in the works. Granted, if we’re talking about this release, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, which teams the singer whose voice inarguably most typifies California’s desert rock movement with guitarist Ehren Groban (War Drum), bassist Mike Pygmie (Mondo Generator, You Know Who) and percussionist Greg Saenz (The Dwarves, You Know Who), it’s a more recent affair, following up on Garcia‘s fully-plugged 2014 self-titled solo debut (review here). But the notion of a Garcia acoustic record goes much further back.
In 1998, after the demise of his former band Kyuss and as the late ’90s stoner rock movement he helped inspire was taking shape — which Garcia would further solidify on the West Coast in Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano and by contributing to other groups and projects in the early ’00s — he provided the closing track on MeteorCity‘s first release, the Welcome to MeteorCity compilation (discussed here) under the guise of J.M.J., with the song “To Believe.” Just to do some quick math for emphasis, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues arrives 19 years later and finds Garcia an entirely different presence, having long since cemented his legacy in the aforementioned acts and pushed ahead through further work with Hermano, the Garcia Plays Kyuss/Vista Chino semi-reunion of Kyuss, who released their lone album to-date, Peace (review here), in 2013, and his ensuing solo outfit. His vocal approach, guttural at times in the true sense of coming from the gut, but able to be sweetly melodic in its croon, has influenced a generation of heavy rock singers while remaining inimitable.
This nine-track/39-minute offering finds him at the top of his game and seemingly delivering as much for his fans as for himself. It brings together the new material in opener “Kylie,” “Give Me 250ml,” “The Hollingsworth Session,” “Argleben II” — an apparent sequel to “Argleben” from Garcia‘s self-titled — and instrumental closer “Court Order” with Kyuss classics “Green Machine,” “Space Cadet,” “Gardenia” and “El Rodeo,” which of course are reworked to suit the acoustic context. Garcia is right to keep the scale weighted on the side of newer songs, and not that they needed to, but the Kyuss cuts earn their place as well owing to the fact that Garcia played them on his acoustic European tour. In any case, one doubts he’ll get many complaints. On The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, they appear in the order in which I just listed them, with “Green Machine” following “Kylie” at the start of the record and introducing the listener to the notion that, while familiar at their root, the arrangements are fair game when it comes to the older stuff; the signature riff of “Green Machine” becomes a sentimental intertwining of string plucks and Garcia‘s verse vocals — practically shouts on the original — are a subdued croon that well earn the late flourish of keyboard after the last chorus.
The pair “Give Me 250ml” and “The Hollingsworth Session” follow, with the former providing a considerable groove for Garcia to ride as he will — a forceful strum and some backing vocals layered in that make it easy to imagine a full-on heavy version. It’s the shortest track here at 2:58, but leaves an upbeat impression that carries into “The Hollingsworth Session,” which stands as the most complex of the pieces making their first appearance here in its back and forth trades of “loud” and “quiet” — all things relative, right? — and proffers a hook that stands up to the triple-shot block of Kyuss songs that immediately follow. Its layered chorus, prominent bass and energetic start-stop groove lead to a winding guitar solo finale that fits well as a lead-in for the album’s well-deserved centerpiece, “Space Cadet.”
Of all the Kyuss one might include on an acoustic outing, “Space Cadet” probably makes the most sense, since the quiet track from 1994’s mega-crucial Welcome to Sky Valley (and yes, before you get all internet-clever, I know it’s officially a self-titled) was practically unplugged to start with, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It just needs less rearranging as compared to the more driving “Green Machine,” or “Gardenia,” which follows. What seems to be a far-back inclusion of organ or keyboard adds to the forward guitar strum, but it’s Garcia himself carrying “Space Cadet,” which is as it should be, and he makes it a highlight. But for the lyrics, “Gardenia” is hardly recognizable for the hypnotic picking of strings, punctuating percussion and quiet, meditative spirit it’s given. “Hear a purring motor and she’s a-burnin’ fuel/Push it over baby/Makin’ love to you” never sounded more romantic.
Just before two and a half minutes in, the vibe picks up a bit with some slide guitar added to the song’s more bouncing end progression, but like “Green Machine” before it, “Gardenia” gets a considerable reworking for The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, while “El Rodeo,” which begins with a foreboding moment of piano before its guitar introduction, seems to allow itself to be a little more fun. Strings or key-strings back the verse, which Garcia doles out in full-force despite the lack of distortion behind him, letting loose in a cadence that brings together the layered lines of the original in an effective, stage-style presentation. Percussion from Saenz backs the section of instrumental pauses in the second half, and the repetitions of the title bring “El Rodeo” to a vibrant finish, leading to the more atmospheric “Argleben II,” which brings piano to the fore alongside the guitar and seems to pull together and swell with each run through its chorus, making for a quick five-minute stretch. It ends on a fade, leading to the closing meditation of “Court Order,” which may or may not actually be included as a result of one.
Somewhat surprising for Garcia — who’s known entirely for his vocals — to cap his first acoustic solo LP with a quick three-minute instrumental, but it may well be that desert rock’s greatest frontman is sending a message of branching out and letting his audience know they should do likewise in terms of what they might expect from him. Given that, as noted, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues has been nearly two decades in the making in one form or another, one hesitates to think of what a follow-up might bring, but one thing to note is that with a catalog as vast as his has been, if he’s looking to blend new material and old on records like this, there is a wealth of songs ripe for reinterpretation. Thinking of tracks like Slo Burn‘s “Muezli,” “Hermano‘s “Brother Bjork” or Unida‘s “Slaylina,” or even Vista Chino‘s “Adara,” there would seem to be little reason a conversation between Garcia and his fans in this manner couldn’t be ongoing. There are numerous contingencies to consider there, including the Slo Burn reunion happening this year — will that result in a studio album? — and persistent rumors of a new Hermano record, which would be their first in a decade, so one can’t necessarily guess where Garcia might be headed following this release. But that’s part of what makes it enjoyable as a moment finally captured, and the realization of The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues should be considered a landmark in one of heavy rock’s most pivotal careers.
Posted in Reviews on November 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan
It happened one day in the Netherlands. Actually it was a night. And Yawning Man were getting ready to play the 2014 edition of Mañana Mañana Fest, but guitarist Gary Arce and drummer Bill Stinson found themselves in need of a bassist. Well, it just so happened that Erik Harbers, one of the festival’s organizers, plays bass in Automatic Sam, so he and co-organizer/guitarist Pieter Holkenborg stepped in to fill the spot. They’d never played together, let alone on stage in front of a fest crowd. But it worked, and one can rightly think of Ten East‘s Skyline Pressure as an outgrowth of that experience.
Bringing the same four parties back — Arce, Stinson, Harbers and Holkenborg — to record in a studio setting with Harper Hug at Thunder Underground, the attempt is capture the same kind of spontaneous chemistry that they wound up showing that night two years ago. The result? Eight tracks and a sprawling 58 minutes marked out by two particularly extended pieces in opener “Daisy Cutter” (13:03) and the later “Sonars and Myths” (14:33) that very much have their root in what Yawning Man do in their desert-defining instrumental soundscaping atmospherics, but arrive somewhat beefed up thanks to the second guitar and a fervent rhythmic push from Stinson and Harbers in the rhythm section.
It’s worth noting that in addition to having taken part in the recently-issued Fatso Jetson collaboration with France’s Hifiklub (review here), this is the third full-length, in three separate outfits, Arce has appeared this year, between Zun‘s Burial Sunrise (on Small Stone; review here) and Yawning Man‘s Historical Graffiti (on Lay Bare; review here), marking the continuation of what might just be his most productive year ever in terms of output.
Not bad for someone who’s been helping shape the scope of desert rock for the better part of the last 30 years. Of those other offerings, Skyline Pressure is probably best compared to the Fatso Jetson/Hifiklub release, since Hifiklub guitarist Nico Morcillo sits in here for side A’s “Planet Blues,” the penultimate serenity of “Stalactite Dip” and closer “Tangled Forest.” But just about anything Arce does is going to be measured in terms of Yawning Man, and that seems all the more fair since Skyline Pressure shares Historical Graffiti‘s title-track, thereby providing a direct line from one offering to the other.
Moreover, it gives a genuine opportunity to examine some of the differences. Ten East, for whom this is their third full-length and first since 2008’s The Robot’s Guide to Freedom, on which Arce and Stinson were joined by Scott Reeder, Greg Ginn, Mario Lalli, etc., is a different project than Yawning Man. That is quickly established on Skyline Pressure and reinforced throughout.
Even as songs like “Eye Soar” or the title-track or the highlight dream-jazz of “Sonars and Myths” veer into otherworldly ambience led my Arce‘s inimitable tone, Ten East remain prone to a more weighted thrust and a heavier undercurrent. Part of that is Harbers‘ personality as a bassist, and part of it is Holkenborg on second guitar — not to mention Morcillo on third — but these factors come together to make it clearer why Skyline Pressure would end up a Ten East record and not a Yawning Man record. However recognizable their origins, quite simply, they’re a different band. It’s true from “Daisy Cutter” — which also has its origins in Yawning Man — onward.
Actually, the initial thrust of “Daisy Cutter” goes a long way in defining Skyline Pressure as a whole, and though the album seems to open to broader terrain especially as it shifts into the back half of the tracklist, with the title-cut, “Sonars and Myths,” and “Stalactite Dip” setting up a bookend return to push in “Tangled Forest,” the places Ten East go are measured in part by from where they came.
“Daisy Cutter” has a wash as those familiar with Arce‘s work might expect, but remains forceful for the bulk of its 13 minutes and finishes noisy, and though the subsequent “Eye Soar” is more soothing, the effect of the opener resonates through it and through “Historical Graffiti”‘s shifts in volume and ending build. I’d say the same applies to “Sonars and Myths,” though the later extended track emphasizes the other side of what Skyline Pressure accomplishes in its fluidity and patience, also grown out of Yawning Man‘s core approach but keyed into a particular joy for experimentation that distinguishes it outright. Both are worth bringing forward at one point or another, and ultimately, both play into Skyline Pressure‘s success in following up what proved so special about that Yawning Man set in the Netherlands.
Whether or not Ten East will continue this collaboration in this form, I don’t know. One still waits for a second Yawning Sons album, and Ten East‘s lineup has always been fluid at least in terms of who sits in with Arce and Stinson for a session. It seems to be a if-it-happens-it-happens kind of scenario. But even for that, it’s fortunate that this incarnation of Ten East were able to come together for Skyline Pressure and capture as much material as they did — it’s not a short journey by any means, either in bringing Harbers and Holkenborg to California to record or in a listener making their way through the nearly-hour-long album — since it’s so rare that moments which seem like they’ll never come again manage to do just that.
Posted in Reviews on October 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
If you want to check Lo Sound Desert‘s credentials as a labor of love, look no further than the fact that it exists. Directed and produced by Berlin-based filmmaker Jörg Steineck, it is the result of a full decade’s labors and not one, but two crowdfunding campaigns, and through a wide swath of interviews, archival footage, old photos and stories, it undertakes an ambitious exploration of what it is about the area outside of Los Angeles that led to the birth of desert rock.
Steineck, who splits the film into two smaller chapters — titled “Backyard Rebellion” and “The Outskirts of Town” — should be remembered from his work on the 2011 documentary Fuzzomentary: A Film About a Band Called Truckfighters (review here). He speaks with figures and figureheads out of the scene that sprang up from punk teens in the 1980s and paints a general portrait of what we now call desert rock as the result of some of the same impulses that gave birth elsewhere to grunge and alt rock, or for that matter to punk itself: bored kids with energy to spend, looking to spend it.
Appropriately, the first voice we hear is Brant Bjork. The former Kyuss and Fu Manchu drummer and head of his own Low Desert Punk Band sets us underway with a discussion of the landscape, but it’s not long before Lo Sound Desert digs its heels into the music itself, which becomes the clear center of attention throughout. Along the way, we hear extensively from the likes of Throw Rag‘s Sean Wheeler, guitarist/vocalist Mike Moracha and bassist/vocalist Nick Nava of Hornss, who trace their roots back to desert outfit Solarfeast, Zach Huskey and Joe Dillon of Dali’s Llama, Scott Reeder (we even get to see his chihuahua, Scooter, in a couple shots), Nick Oliveri, Mario Lalli — who, it seems to be unanimously agreed, started the whole thing — as well as members of acts like Unsound, Nebula, You Know Who, House of Broken Promises, Slo Burn, Half Astro, and so on.
There are a few conspicuous absences — Yawning Man is discussed but Gary Arce never appears, and neither John Garcia nor Chris Goss are there to participate in the discussion of Kyuss — but an interview with Josh Homme (footage from which also appeared in the Fuzzomentary) produces some choice one-liners, and by no means is Lo Sound Desert light when it comes to story.
Rather, it seems the central challenge of the film, perhaps apart from making it actually happen, is that it’s trying to encompass 30 years of rock and roll history into one 90-minute spread. Many of these players could fill that time just with their own story. Certainly Lalli, whose time as a club owner, show-organizer and restaurateur in addition to playing with Across the River, Fatso Jetson, the Sort of Quartet and Yawning Man, is touched upon, but could fill out a feature-length documentary by himself.
And Homme, Bjork, Huskey, Reeder are also fodder for further exploration. Hell, you could do 120 minutes on Kyuss getting signed to Elektra — something touched on, somewhat humorously — and still have enough left over for bonus footage, though for what it’s worth, Lo Sound Desert offers plenty of that as well; about an hour front-to-back divided into smaller clips.
So one imagines that Steineck‘s principal task as sorting all those stories of playing in garages, working shitty jobs — Moracha and Nava win in that regard; I won’t spoil it — finding spaces out in the desert beyond the reach of law enforcement, opening and closing clubs and the rest into a cohesive, linear story. He gives the film the full title, Lo Sound Desert: Two Chapters on Rock Music by Jörg Steineck. Yes, it could easily be eight chapters, or 10, but Steineck‘s success in bringing form to the amorphous life experiences of these players and characters is undeniable.
After an initial inhale giving background on the setting around Palm Springs, Palm Desert and the small towns surrounding, he moves quickly through the evolution of sound that took place through the ’80s and ’90s and which continues today both in the output of desert-based bands and heavy rockers worldwide taking influence from them. The stories told entertain, the music is brash and rough and formative and suitably romantic for that, and while the audience to which Steineck is speaking is expected to have some knowledge of the genre, he does well to balance broad overview and deep-dive personal narrative in such a way as to provide an engaging experience for newcomers as well as longtime converts.
Some interviews lean more toward performance than others, and sometimes it feels like there’s simply too much tale to tell, but through clever editing and interludes, Steineck provides a steady hand to guide the viewer through this barrage of tales of playing out in the middle of nowhere, underage drinking and partying, skateboarding and trying to define what happened in the desert that made desert rock different from grunge or anything else happening at the time.
Several of the answers to that question are practical. Desert rockers tuned lower, allowing for a meatier sound than the post-punk that emerged in the same era elsewhere, but it’s Lalli who ultimately nails the core difference in a bonus feature discussion of what is stoner rock when he says it’s about the jam. Principally, we find out that the freedom provided to these bands via the landscape, via playing outside — the second chapter here centers largely on generator parties and their effect on emerging acts like Kyuss and Fatso Jetson, Yawning Man, etc. — and via an utter lack of expectation on the part of their audience allowed for a freeform approach to essentially recast punk rock in their own image.
That era may have been short-lived, just a couple years, but its effects are broad reaching, as an included family tree of bands in the DVD liner and as the interviews included show. While Steineck joins Huskey and Wheeler and Reeder in looking around at what the desert was and the creative community that flourished there seemingly unaware of the odds it was working against, he also brings a look at the continued vitality of the scene in footage captured from the 2011 Desert Moon Ranch fest, at which Wheeler, Waxy, Fatso Jetson, You Know Who, Hornss, House of Broken Promises, Dali’s Llama and more played.
Though the conversation inevitably doesn’t go as in-depth as that of the history behind these acts and their influence/influences, it does give an opportunity to glimpse modern desert rock as a mature, varied sound that has continued to thrive across a span of years that has seen competing styles like grunge rise perhaps to greater heights of commercial success, but likewise dissipate wholesale. Like the land itself, desert rock has worked on a longer timeline. So be it.
Later on, nods to Homme‘s work as ambassador for the scene and sound in Queens of the Stone Age is acknowledged, and we get to see footage of Fatso Jetson in Germany at Stoned from the Underground, while backstage, guitarist Dino von Lalli (also of BigPig; son to Mario) discusses the rise of a new generation of rockers out in the vast nowhere, working out the same energy as their forebears, perhaps more extreme in style but recognizable in their restlessness for sure. That conversation leaves room for the summary of what “desert rock,” as an idea, ultimately means.
Opinions, as one might expect, vary — but as Lo Sound Desert has made plain by then, that variety is half the point. As much as heavy rock and roll worldwide has taken on genre characteristics over particularly the last two decades in the wake of Kyuss‘ relatively widespread influence, the roots from which this particular branch of it grew seem only to have benefited from the huge sky and open land surrounding.
I don’t know if it’s fair to expect more chapters in Steineck‘s narrative, since Lo Sound Desert itself was such an undertaking. There’s room certainly to ask about what could’ve been in a post-grunge commercial movement for desert rock, which some might argue was attempted and ultimately floundered outside perhaps of Queens of the Stone Age, but among shorter clips of driving through canyons, band rehearsals, technical issues at the Desert Moon Ranch fest, etc., the bonus features also include a fascinating and much needed reflection on what is “stoner rock” and what the difference between that and desert rock might be.
This question, which plainly irks Nebula even in the asking, is core to the feature and if Steineck were ever to engage the larger issue of how the sound translated from the Californian desert into the worldwide underground phenomenon it has become, would be all the more necessary, but even as it’s presented here, it’s one more insight that allows these players a voice they’ve long since deserved to discuss their work and the context of the history it has made and is still making.
In its pace, balance, editing and the clear passion as its driving force, Lo Sound Desert holds a mirror up to one of rock’s most crucial movements of the last 30 years and allows it to speak for itself at last, unfiltered and as raw as a speaker cone with sand blown in it. It should be considered essential viewing, whatever one thinks they already know of its story.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
John Garcia, frontman of Kyuss, Vista Chino, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano, etc., will release his first-ever acoustic solo album, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, on Jan. 27, 2017, through Napalm Records. How far back does this project go? Well, the first time John Garcia was heard doing acoustic solo material was in 1998, with the song “To Believe” that was featured at the very end of the Welcome to MeteorCity compilation — he used the moniker J.M.J., but his voice is unmistakable — so it’s been at least 18 years in the making, and honestly, probably longer than that. About a week ago, Garcia posted on Thee Facebooks that a release was imminent, but didn’t say much about the circumstances or the timing, both of which we now know thanks to the PR wire.
The tracklisting will consist of Kyuss tracks as well as some originals, and you’ll find it after the cover art and recording info below, which just hit the inbox:
JOHN GARCIA UNVEILS FIRST DETAILS OF UPCOMING ACOUSTIC ALBUM!
Cover, Tracklist and Release Date announced!
John Garcia. The living desert rock legend and most distinctive voice of an entire genre, is finally back with a new studio album! Normally you would expect some heavy guitars, pounding drums and fuzzy tunes from Mr Garcia. But not this time, as he is about to release something extremely special and presenting himself stronger and more emotional then he has ever been.
After successful tours all over the world, playing Kyuss, Slo Burn, Hermano and his solo project, John Garcia recently blew away the audiences with a unique live acoustic performance. Now the desert king has unveiled the first and hotly anticipated details about his upcoming acoustic solo album, entitled ‘The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues’ and is set to be released on January 27th 2017 on Napalm Records!
John Garcia comments satisfied: “This record is one of the most important of my career, difficult and challenging to do, but worth every minute of sweat!”
Recorded and mixed by Steve Feldman and Robbie Waldman, mastered by Gene “The Machine” Grimaldi at Oasis Mastering in California, ‘The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues’ offers an emotional acoustic ride through John Garcia’s solo work as well as songs by Kyuss in new arrangements like you have never heard before!
With longtime desert and touring fellas Ehren Groban on the acoustic guitar, Greg Saenz on percussions and bassist Mike Pygmie, ‘The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues’ will be a MUST-HAVE for every fan of the desert rock and Kyuss era, and will come with an artwork every collector’s heart will beat faster:
Dive into some Kyuss classics and John Garcia’s solo project when he plays his tunes acoustic, the track listing of ‘The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues’ will read as follows:
Kylie Green Machine Give Me 250ml The Hollingsworth Session Space Cadet Gardenia El Rodeo Argleben II Court Order
[Stream Fatso Jetson’s Idle Hands by clicking play above. Album is out Friday, Oct. 7 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]
There are not many rules to which Fatso Jetson are not an exception. Think bands invariably stagnate after, say, 21 years past their debut? Nope. Think desert rock is limited in scope? Nope. Think punk can’t be soothing? Nope. The pivotal Californian outfit, who indeed formed in 1994 and issued their first album, Stinky Little Gods, the next year on Greg Ginn‘s SST Records, continue to reinvent the wheels that roll them forward. It’s been six years since Archaic Volumes (review here) classed up the joint in 2010, playing to jazz ideologies with liberal inclusion of sax, and going into their seventh full-length, Idle Hands (on Heavy Psych Sounds), they’ve made it nearly impossible to know what to expect of them through varied work over the last several years on splits with Yawning Man, Herba Mate (review here) and Farflung (review here), as well as a recent collaboration with Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce and France’s Hifiklub (review here).
One second they’re oozing out languid psychedelia, and the next they’re dug into a pocket of angular rhythmic tension. With the 11 songs/56 minutes of Idle Hands, Fatso Jetson offer a little bit of everything and plenty more besides, founding parties Mario Lalli (guitar/vocals), Larry Lalli (bass) and Tony Tornay (drums) joined for the first time on record by guitarist Dino von Lalli (also of BigPig), Mario‘s son. Also, Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag) and Olive Lalli (sister to Dino, daughter to Mario, etc.) provide guest vocals, and in addition to the Lallis and Tornay writing, producer Mathias Schneeberger at Rancho de la Luna reportedly helped solidify some of the ideas within tracks. Ultimately, it is no real wonder Idle Hands sounds as multifaceted as it does.
And yet, that’s not really anything so uncommon for Fatso Jetson. They’ve always broken those rules. Going back to Stinky Little Gods and its 1997 follow-up, Power of Three, they’ve never failed to harness underlying punk rock energy and imbue it with a wide open creative spirit, and whether it’s the starts and stops of opener “Wire Wheels and Robots” or Wheeler‘s takeoff into spoken word on the subsequent “Portuguese Dream,” that’s still very much the case.
But for the fact that they’ve been doing it for more than 20 years, one might be tempted to say it’s a miracle Idle Hands flows as smoothly as it does, but Fatso Jetson always manage to sound like they’ve blown the doors off their own wheelhouse; a band who refuse to fall into a comfort zone. A notion of dreams ties the first two songs together — the chorus begins, “Dreams of wire, wheels and robots…” — but doesn’t seem to be an overarching theme, though symmetry is found elsewhere as Wheeler appears on the second and penultimate tracks, the latter being “48 Hours,” providing a bookend that continues as instrumental closer “Dream Homes” answers the sharper edges of “Wire Wheels and Robots.”
Between the front and back, Fatso Jetson wander vast spaces as they please, dropping choice hooks in “Royal Family” and “Nervous Eater” with a calming or a more shuffling delivery depending on which second of which song you’re hearing, and stretching out over the more extended instrumentals “Seroquel” (6:33) and the later “The Vincent Letter” (6:54), the latter of which finds fluidity in thuds and interplay of lead lines that move Idle Hands into its closing duo. By then, the title-track has fed out of “Seroquel” and into the winding “Last of the Good Times” — part of the fun of the album is trying to guess who wrote what part — but no matter where Fatso Jetson go, the jaded boogie vibe of “Then and Now” or the hi-hat driven push of “Nervous Eater”‘s chorus, they never lose sight of the song, never get crossed up in a way they don’t want to be, and never fail to imbue their tracks with a spirit of performance that lives up to and expands on their storied legacy.
It’s worth emphasizing that while Idle Hands proves anything but idle, it’s not disjointed. Fatso Jetson have basked in dissonance and weirdo excursions over the years, absolutely — 1999’s Flames for All comes immediately to mind, trailed by 2001’s Toasted prior to the more mature and smoothed out Cruel and Delicious in 2002 — but while their latest work clearly has some of those same impulses at its foundation, there isn’t a moment at which it lacks cohesion or when something feels out of place. Of course, given their general breadth of songwriting and everything-fits style, it would be hard for something to be, but however this material was carved out and with whomever at the lead position at any given moment, there’s an overarching sonic personality at work that can be heard in “Portuguese Dream” as much as “Seroquel” as much as “Dream Homes” that is very, very much Fatso Jetson‘s own.
The word “inimitable” comes to mind, and maybe part of the reason they’re so ready to slip into and out of the bizarre is that Fatso Jetson have never really fit in to one idea of what rock music should be. They continue here to toy with the form, and as a summation of the last several years’ of their ongoing progression, Idle Hands delivers their peculiar charm in a batch of quality songs that underscore how special a band they always have been. Further, Idle Hands proves that aside from being one of the essential, formative acts of California’s original desert rock movement, Fatso Jetson are a band who’ve never found reason to compromise their individuality or draw back the reins on inspiration.
Their progression has never stopped and one expects that for as long as they continue to make music, they will keep moving forward on a variety of levels. An infusion of fresh blood here in Dino no doubt has a hand in some of the energy present throughout, but Fatso Jetson are and remain Fatso Jetson, and whether a given listener is a newcomer to their work or a longtime follower, the scope that they encompass is ripe for appreciation.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Hard to mess with this one. Born out of a kind of screwy Yawning Man live set in 2014 where members of Automatic Sam wound up sitting in with Gary Arce and Bill Stinson, Ten East‘s first album in eight years, Skyline Pressure, will be out Oct. 14 on Small Stone. The project has always had a revolving-door lineup, and what bassist Erik Harbers and guitarist Pieter Holkenborg bring to it is well worth capturing in a studio setting. You kind of need the context to really understand how it all came about, though. Fortunately, the PR wire is happy to provide precisely that, in the form of a bio I wrote for the album.
Ten East also have opening track “Daisy Cutter” streaming in its 13-minute entirety, which you can find below, and I think you’ll agree it gives a substantial glimpse at what the record is going for. Preorders are up now.
TEN EAST: Experimental/Jam Rock Project Featuring Members Of Yawning Man And Automatic Sam To Release Skyline Pressure Via Small Stone; New Track Posted
Look, sometimes these things just happen. Desert legends and Dutch heavy rockers sometimes get together on stage and it turns out better than anyone could’ve possibly imagined. It was exacly that when guitarist/desert rock progenitor Gary Arce and drummer Bill Stinson of Yawning Man wound up playing with bassist Erik Harbers and guitarist Pieter Holkenborg of Automatic Sam at the Mañana Mañana Fest (which Harbers and Holkenborg also organize) in the Netherlands in 2014. You can see videos of it on YouTube.
Although the impromptu foursome had never played together before, the chemistry was there. The fluidity was there. As they jammed in and around Yawning Man songs, it was clear the union had a breadth that was only beginning to be explored. Two years later, Arce, Stinson, Harbers, and Holkenborg have come together again, this time as a new incarnation of Arce’s TEN EAST project. They proudly present their album, Skyline Pressure, through Small Stone as the next stage of their collaboration.
TEN EAST was last heard from in with 2008’s The Robot’s Guide To Freedom, which was their second offering behind 2006’s Extraterrestrial Highway. Between the two records, Arce’s co-conspirators have included the likes of Bryan Giles (Red Fang), Scott Reeder (Kyuss, Fireball Ministry), Mario Lalli (Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson), Greg Ginn (Black Flag), and Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu). Harbers and Holkenborg earn their place in this illustrious company across the entire span of Skyline Pressure, from the sandy reaches of “Planet Blues” to the peaceful roll of the title-track, to the subdued sprawl of the fourteen-minute “Sonars And Myths.”
The album was recorded by Harper Hug at Thunder Underground and also features guitarist Nico Morcillo of French experimentalists Hifiklub on select tracks (“Planet Blues,” “Tangled Forest,” “Stalactite Dip”), but for anyone familiar with Arce’s pioneering work in Yawning Man, his mark on Skyline Pressure is unmistakable. The stuff of tonal archetype. And while it started out as one of those things that just happened, the album has captured that spirit of improvisation and natural chemistry that emanated from the stage at Mañana Mañana Fest, and brought it to a lasting document that’s all the more special for the spontaneity that lies at its heart.
Skyline Pressure will see release via Small Stone on October 14th, 2016 on CD, digital and limited edition vinyl. For preorders and to sample opening track “Daisy Cutter” point your browser to THIS LOCATION.
TEN EAST is an experimental/jam rock project based in the Palm Desert and Los Angeles area of the United States. The musicians involved share a common respect for improvised jamming mixed with years of playing and listening to all types of rock, psychedelic, Latin, jazz, blues, surf, and punk music. The end result is an intense, cohesive wall of sound of heavy, dark, instrumental blues, with psychedelic and surf overtones.
The name “Ten East” comes from the highway which leads from the heart of Los Angeles towards the desert cities. The music is an expression of feelings that overcome oneself as they travel the two hours’ time down the length of highway, leaving behind the bustling metropolis and suburban sprawl in the wake of the mesa, mountains, and distant windmills.
Ten East is: Gary Arce: guitars Pieter Holkenborg: guitars Erik Harbers: bass Bill Stinson: drums Nico Morcillo: guitars