Duel to Release Breakfast with Death July 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


As much as I’ve gotten used to following the word Duel in a headline with some geographical region or other the Austin-based heavy rockers will be touring — and no doubt I’ll be back to that in soon enough — I’m glad to see word of their fifth album, Breakfast with Death, come down the PR wire. It hasn’t been that long since 2021’s notably driven In Carne Persona (review here), and even less since their 2023 live album, Live at Hellfest (review here), so cheers to them on continued restlessness. Taking on the first single, “Satan’s Invention,” believe them when they call it a “Thin Lizzy sequel,” and if you can’t get on board with the charge they bring to that, well, you’re probably not reading this in the first place, so whatever. That’s life in the age where everyone curates their own shit.

For the rest of us, “Satan’s Invention” has a little more room in the recording for Duel to unleash that charge, and reminds that while they’ve always been straight-shooters in terms of structure, their output has never wanted for atmosphere alongside its physicality. They are among the finest good-times-in-dark-sounds stage bands the US heavy rock underground has to offer, and their records have consistently brought that electricity to bear. I would expect no less going into Breakfast with Death, as they continue to work to their own high standard.

From the PR wire:

duel breakfast with death

Austin heavy metal revelers DUEL share first track off new album “Breakfast With Death”, coming out July 5th on Heavy Psych Sounds.

Austin, Texas heavy rock spearhead DUEL will release their fifth full-length “Breakfast With Death” this July 5th on Heavy Psych Sounds, with a rip-roaring first track streaming right now.

Look who got up on the wrong side of the bed! “Breakfast With Death” is the fifth studio album by Austin Texas stoner metal riff dealers DUEL: nine angry, blistering tracks flexing the faster and heavier side of the thunderous foursome. Every song is a beer-soaked banger capturing the ferocity of the band’s legendary live performances.

About this fist-pumping new track, the band comments: “I don’t believe in the devil! Hell is a place here on Earth! Satan’s invention is a 4-minute Thin Lizzy-sequel rocker exploring the evils of man and the illusions of life. The countless lies we are fed from birth to death. All at a beat you can dance to!”

New album “Breakfast With Death”
Out July 5th on Heavy Psych Sounds (LP/CD/digital)

Shop preorder – https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS311

Bandcamp preorder – https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/duel-breakfast-with-death

Side A:
1. Ancient Moonlight
2. Satan’s Invention
3. Chaos Reigns
4. Fallacy
5. Pyro
Side B
6. Berserker
7. Tigers of Destruction
8. Greet The Dead
9. Burn The Earth

Recorded and mixed by Jeff Henson at Red Nova Ranch
Produced by Jeff Henson and Tom Frank
Mastered by Alberto de Icaza
all songs by DUEL

Tom Frank – lead vocals & guitar
Jeff Henson – lead guitar & backing vocals
Patrick “Scooch” Pascucci – Drums
Drew Potter – bass & backing vocals



Duel, “Satan’s Invention”

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Ripplefest Texas 2024 Completes Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 8th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

This is one of the best lineups I’ve seen for a US-based heavy fest in the 15-plus years I’ve been running this site. I don’t know what else to say about it, honestly. For the fact that Ripplefest Texas is bringing Dozer over alone, let alone any of the other Euro acts involved who have, say, been to North America in the last 20-plus years, it’s astonishing. And not just bigger bands like Dozer and Truckfighters or Mars Red Sky and Belzebong, but Domkraft and Kal-El, bands you know if you’re into this thing but that haven’t been around as long and aren’t as ‘huge’ in the whatever sense that applies in underground music.

And it’s not like they’re skimping on within-US geography either. Of course the desert is well represented, and Texas has a significant presence as it invariably would, but with Gozu and Leather Lung headed out from Boston, Borracho traveling from D.C., Temple of the Fuzz Witch from Michigan, Robots of the Ancient World from Portland, Oregon, and so on, they’ve got all the corners and between pretty well covered. La Chinga coming from Canada. Demons My Friends giving Mexico a nod. It is extensive.

And quality. I don’t know that I’ll be there to see it, but I’d imagine that for most who get to be, it’ll be the stuff of legend. Congrats to Ryan Garney and Lick of My Spoon for bringing it into the world, and safe travels to all involved:

Ripplefest Texas 2024 poster sq

Here it is! The lineup for RippleFest Texas and the amazing art by Simon Berndt @1horsetown 🤘🔥❤️

We still have a few surprises left but this roster is stacked! Don’t miss your chance to see the world’s best heavy music at the largest family reunion of the year. Plus this is the ONLY premier festival that has absolutely ZERO OVERLAPPING so you can see every second of every band! Get your tickets now and we will see you in September!

Tier 2 tickets are almost sold out and the price increases on Monday so get your tickets now:




Plus the best light show in the business by @themadalchemistliquidliteshow



Mars Red Sky, Live at Rock in Bourlon 2023

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High Desert Queen Post “Time Waster”; Palm Reader Out May 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 2nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Check out High Desert Queen, bringing hot-shit riffs and plenty enough for the whole class. If you were concerned of a sophomore slump from the Austin-based four-piece, I would think that between the first single “Ancient Aliens” and the C.O.C.-style groove of the today-unveiled “Time Waster” — the succession of one to the other could hardly be more appropriate; I definitely wasted a lot of time watching that show — there’s some measure of relief and rightly so.

My big question going into Palm Reader was how the band would internalize all the time they spent on stage in the wake of their Ripple-issued 2021 debut, Secrets of the Black Moon (review here), and I think you can see in both the self-awareness of the self-tag ‘Texas desert rock,’ employing the state as both an aesthetic entity and geographic locale, the drive toward recording live in the studio, and the resulting big, energetic and engaging sound of the tracks they’ve put out thus far, the answer to that is beginning to take shape.

I’ve got a track premiere slated for April 30, and not that I think anyone’s waiting for it, but I’ll review then as well — that’s a month before the record’s actually out, so still dumbass-early — but I can’t think of much one might ask an American heavy rock band to be that High Desert Queen either aren’t now or aren’t on their way to being.

From the PR wire:

High Desert Queen

High Desert Queen share “Time Waster” single from forthcoming Magnetic Eye Records debut

Album preorder: http://lnk.spkr.media/high-desert-queen-palmreader

HIGH DESERT QUEEN’s sophomore full-length “Palm Reader” is bursting with raw energy and radiates the feeling of 666 diesel horses thundering loud. The album is crammed with cool vibes, ripping leads, and a ton of desert fuzz with a focus on great songs rather than trying to stay confined within a corral of a particular style.

This untamed attitude took its creative high energy source straight from touring. When the band from Texas returned home after six weeks travelling the roads of Europe with the legendary FATSO JETSON and watching them improvising jams every night, they had also taken notes. Although a bit worn from the road, HIGH DESERT QUEEN could hardly wait to start recording. Not focusing overly on how parts were played, allowing themselves imperfections, and ditching the click, the music started to flow like never before. In the very first studio session after the tour, three new songs emerged.

Working within a live framework and mindset, the band from Austin, Texas hit the jackpot and “Palm Reader” bears witness to that claim. In more than one way, HIGH DESERT QUEEN have always been a bit different and much more than ‘another desert rock band’. Formed in Houston, Texas by singer Ryan Garney and guitarist Rusty Miller in 2019, the duo soon recruited drummer Phil Hook (MONTE LUNA) and relocated to Austin in 2020.

With the addition of Rusty’s daughter Morgan on bass, the band hit the ground running. The lone star shone bright when these four got together as desert rock had already endured a long rather dry spell of stagnation and was parched for an injection of fresh sounds.

HIGH DESERT QUEEN had what it takes to kick the scene into gear again. Their vast musical influences ranging from grunge to funk, old school metal to doom and much more provide an ideal foundation for new ideas and a rejuvenating approach to the genre. Their thunderous, fuzz-drenched anthems are delivered with a healthy dose of groove and catchy melodies, and get a massive boost from an emotional intelligence in their music that’s hard to find. The newly-minted sound is linked to the rich heritage of their environs, inspiring the style tag ‘Texas desert rock’.

Hard work and their obviously burgeoning talent resulted in an fast rise for HIGH DESERT QUEEN, beginning with their first record deal arriving thanks in part to their being hand-picked by ZAKK SABBATH’s Rob Blasko. Their debut full-length “Secrets of the Black Moon” arrived in 2021 and was immediately heaped with praise in the US and Europe in 2021, which kicked the doors open to touring and invitations to prestigious festivals both domestic and abroad. In March 2022, the Texans embarked on their first tour in support of SASQUATCH on the US West Coast.

Only two months later, HIGH DESERT QUEEN hit the roads of Europe as a headliner in June 2022, with a return to the other side of the Atlantic with FATSO JETSON in 2023. Underlining the fast rise of this live monster, the newcomers were booked for Desertfest London (UK) and Berlin (DE) and the Truckfighters’ Fuzz Festival (SE) among many others.

Answering the exponentially multiplying requests for new material from their steadily growing following, HIGH DESERT QUEEN flanked their live activities with the “Turned to Stone Ch. 8” split release with BLUE HERON, and contributed a track to “Best of Soundgarden Redux”, the latest instalment of the bestselling Magnetic Eye Records Redux series.

With “Palm Reader”, HIGH DESERT QUEEN have made a quantum leap in their evolution as the Texans found the perfect balance between the well-loved legacy of the desert rock genre and carving out their very own path. Fueled by the power and spirit of live music, this album rocks as hard and honest as can be done.

Release date: May 31, 2024
Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Style: Texas Desert Rock

23 MAR 2024 Austin, TX (US) The Lost Well +The Obsessed +Howling Giant +Gozu
24 MAY 2024 Lafayette, LA (US) Freetown Boom Boom Room
25 MAY 2024 Houston, TX (US) White Oak Music Hall
26 MAY 2024 Arlington, TX (US) Division Brewery
30 MAY 2024 Austin, TX (US) The Far Out Lounge
31 MAY 2024 Bryan, TX (US) The 101
01 JUN 2024 San Antonio, TX (US) The Amp Room
02 JUN 2024 New Braunfels, TX (US) Guadalupe Brewery
13 JUL 2024 Erfurt (DE) Stoned from the Underground Festival
26 JUL 2024 Neuensee (DE) Rock im Wald Festival
21 SEP 2024 Austin, TX (US) Far Out Lounge, RippleFest Texas

Ryan Garney – vocals
Phil Hook – drums
Morgan Miller – bass
Rusty Miller – guitar



High Desert Queen, Palm Reader (2024)

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Album Review: Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol, Big Dumb Riffs

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

rickshaw billie's burger patrol big dumb riffs 2

It’s hard to argue with a song called ‘1800EATSHIT.’ Even harder when it’s so damn catchy. Yeah, it’s a little counterintuitive to think of a record called Big Dumb Riffs as refined, but with their third LP, Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol are so clear in their intention and they deliver on it thoroughly enough to make it undeniable. Issued through their own Permanent Teeth Records, the album strips down the Austin, Texas, three-piece’s approach, honing in on tonal character, structure, attitude and, as “1-800-EAT-SHIT” assures, a solid amount of fuckery. Yes, they already their own beer.

The record takes place across 11 songs that span just 23 minutes, and could just as easily position itself as an exploration of the intersectionality between the masculine and the dumbassed writ through lunkheaded hardcore chug, nü-metallic palm-mute dissonance and the Primusian bounce that inspired it — looking at “Papa Pop It” for the latter and “Brat” for the former — stoner riff idolatry and hooks strong enough to hold them up despite the weight of tone emanating from Leo Lydon‘s eight-string guitar and Aaron Metzdorf‘s bass. Both of these dwell in a monolithic low-end space, but with such short songs and make-it-a-party tempos made all the more propulsive through Sean St. Germain‘s drumming, the momentum that opener “Clowntown” sets forth in its initial cycles of tense, head-down chug and subsequent sprint-out is unrelenting through the duration despite slamming into a wall of Even Heavier® brand mega-chug in the metalcore-style breakdown of “Peanut Butter Snack Sticks” on side A.

One thing to understand: Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol know what they’re doing here, and they’re doing it consciously. The short runtime, which is less than many EPs in a heavy underground that often prides itself on longform construction, becomes an advantage. On Big Dumb Riffs, the longest inclusion is closer “In a Jar” at 3:39 and seven of the 11 songs are under two minutes long. They get in, hit hard, make their point, get out. They are not lazy, as the sneering ’90s-style circle-mosher “Whip it Around” clearly demonstrates across its devastatingly efficient 55 seconds, leant a sense of freedom by dropping the pretense of being about anything other than the physicality being conveyed, which is all the more effective since it’s about headbanging, itself a physical act.

Light on flourish by nature and aesthetic choice, they offer a sneering, sometimes-aggressive stance through Lydon‘s vocals and lyrics like, “Stop being a bitch, like your mother,” in “Papa Pop It” or just the screamier backing lines shouting the title later in the penultimate “Blue Collar Man,” which answers both the meaner-sounding distortion of “Peanut Butter Snack Sticks” and the Claypoolish underpinnings noted above following the gets-up-and-runs “Bastard Initiated,” where they foster a similar clenched-teeth tension to that of “Clowntown,” working quickly in a no-bullshit-and-playing-at-being-all-bullshit manner that those who picked up what Rob Crow put down with Goblin Cock should find refreshing. Three dudes in the band means a total of six middle fingers. They all seem to be up here, however busy their hands might otherwise be at any given moment.

As much as Big Dumb Riffs is what it tells you it’s about — i.e., riffs, big, dumb — and as much as Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol have put into making it a fun listen, which is absolutely is, there are also some fairly dark themes. I haven’t actually seen a lyric sheet, so pardon if the quotes aren’t exact (I’m happy to correct whatever needs it), but “Body Bag” is the rolling centerpiece that kicks in after “Whip it Around,” and it and “Papa Pop It” both seem to be about suicide on some level. The verse in “Body Bag” tells the story of a protagonist who takes their own life after “Trying to be mama’s little twinkle in her eye,” and, “His father didn’t want him in the first place but he came in first place,” opening to its catharsis in the stuttered, “Ma-ma-ma-ma-mama, I’m about to have a heart attack” and concluding with, “I loved you but you didn’t say it back,” as the backing vocals join in for “You’d better put him in a body bag,” and they ride the chug through a last chorus around that line for another minute or so.

Outwardly poppier (go figure) and likewise grim in substance, “Papa Pop It” is framed as an imperative: “Papa pop it/Papa pull it/Do it,” and what’s happening there is someone telling, almost daring, their father to kill himself. Between these, the ultra-catchy fuck-you of “1-800-Eat-Shit” — which will no doubt be a sing-along on however many tours the band does for the record — as well as the pointedly-mom-voiced “You love it!” that oozes mockery next to a line about nostalgia being a sack of shit, the taunt in the repeated “Whatchu gonna do about that?”s of “Brat,” and the fact that “In a Jar” despite its turn toward patience and more peaceful, semi-doomgaze-comedown feel, is about murder, the vocals delivering the lines “Keep my hands…/Wrapped around your throat,” like wistful post-punk before rolling into the chorus that makes it plain with, “I’m gonna fucking kill you,” without departing the subdued-in-context last-minute drawl. “Blue Collar Man” encapsulates working class disillusion in the single lyric, “But it wasn’t the plan for the blue collar man” — daring to have a point and make it — and both “Clowntown” and “Bastard Initiated” execute their willful arrogance with a decidedly negative bent.

And I’m not sure who or what “El Sapo” (“the toad”) is about, but its 49 seconds of mute-chug and concluding gang shout come across like homage after the fact. What one might take from all of this is that while Big Dumb Riffs directs itself toward truth in advertising, there’s complexity in how it goes about that, and while its songs are short, they want nothing for persona or narrative. That St. GermainMetzdorf and Lydon accomplish this side-by-side with their stated goal of simplifying their sound even from where they were on 2022’s Doom Wop (review here) isn’t to be understated — it makes that act of breaking a thing down to its most essential parts a creative progression — and whether you take it on with that in mind or you put it on just to blow your speakers and pummel your brain with its chunky-style depth of frequency, fair enough. It feels like Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol have arrived at the point they’ve been working toward for the last seven years, harnessing primal rhythm and uniting around a single sonic purpose with a deceptively multifaceted confrontationalism. Fuck around and find… yourself?

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol, Big Dumb Riffs (2024)

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol on Facebook

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol on Instagram

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol on Bandcamp

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol website

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol links

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Cortége Premiere “The Relentless Sun” From Under the Endless Sky EP Out May 10

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 15th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

cortege under the endless sky

Based in Austin but generally found rambling through one open-highway tour or another, Cortége encapsulate a particular vista with their latest EP, Under the Endless Sky. Out May 10 as a self-release from the avant heavy post-Americana outfit — who in 2021 had two offerings on Desert Records in featured in the Legends of the Desert: Vol. 2 (review here) split with The Penitent Man and the prior short release Chasing Daylight (review here) — it resides very much in the band’s sphere of sounds that resonate traditionalism in their cinematic Westernism while also serving as the studio introduction for multi-instrumentalist April Schupmann, whose trumpet is a standout high-end complement to founder Mike Swarbrick‘s low frequency bass VI and the cymbal wash from drummer Adrian Voorhies as “Under the Endless Sky, Pt. 2” sweeps in following the two-minute sounds-of-outside-plus-synth opener “Under the Endless Sky, Pt. 1” in a near-immediate showcase of the dynamic that’s manifest in the band’s sound since Schupmann joined in 2021.

Those first notes resonating from “Under the Endless Sky, Pt. 2” are presented with a starkness that calls to mind Angelo Badalamenti‘s work on the tv show Twin Peaks, which is also in the wheelhouse of alt-universe Americana, so fair enough. Eight years on from their debut EP, Cortége for sure have a defined modus they’re working from, but Under the Endless Sky emphasizes what the true appeal of the band has become, which is their evolution toward that ideal. The process of becoming. “Under the Endless Sky, Pt. 1” is barely there at the start, with some rustling and wind chimes on a neighbor’s porch, layers of drone, a rattle, a vague threat looming before piano emerges to clear the air, soon joined by keyboard in the transition to the second part. One might wonder why Cortége would bother including an intro at all to an 18-minute release, but the easy answer is because it matters, especially when mood is so much of the point.

The tubular bells in “The Relentless Sun” — premiering below, and the only one of the included pieces not titled as part of the “Under the Endless Sky” procession, which I’d call a ‘cycle’ were it not so god damned pretentious to do so — will be familiar to those who’ve encountered Cortége throughout their tenure, but what emerges from that churchy beginning, bolstered by melodica from Schupmann as well as the drums and surrounding percussion, is a klezmer-esque bounce. With a bassline you could liken to Fugazi more than Morricone (gotta change it up, right?), what sound like handchimes for melodic flourish and choral keyboard, “The Relentless Sun” is only a little over three minutes long, but it brings new ideas to Cortége and finds a playful moment as it passes through its middle en route to the sharp turn at 2:24 when the bass returns. Tone and crash echo in the stops, and the drum fills between are tense, but Cortége have bigger fish to fry, aesthetically speaking, than just a volume-burst payoff.

Waiting on the other end of the final crash and wash of “The Relentless Sun,” an image of which you’ll recognize if you’ve ever driven across the Great Plains surrounded by the titular ‘endless sky’ itself that seems to touch the ground on all sides of you, deep blue with maybe some high clouds mercifully breaking up a monotone in which one just might drown — ironic since the ocean’s promise of escape is so far away — is “Under the Endless Sky, Pt. 3,” which embarks on a lumbering roll in the drums and bass. Punctuated by tolling bells, synth and a melody that’s there in layers of keys and maybe-piano, it is most evocative for being somewhat vague and unknowable, and made huge by virtue of the bass, drums and its depth of mix.

cortege (Photo by Bryan Haile)

That Cortége could construct such a feeling of place isn’t a surprise given what they’ve done over the course of their two albums and various other offerings — I think they’ve discovered the EP format suits them, and it does, but there’s nothing to say a third full-length couldn’t or wouldn’t happen — but the mature grace with which they execute the eight-minute focal-point of the release isn’t to be understated, and neither is the breadth of the arrangement as horns and keys harness grandiosity with the rumble of bass still beneath like gravity stopping it all from floating away. As “Under the Endless Sky, Pt. 3” rolls into its second half, some flourish of keyboard circa 4:30 steps out as more X-Files than Gunsmoke — not a complaint; I want to believe… in an expanded sonic palette — and over the course of the next minute, shift toward a droning stretch with the bells and thud/crash/wash of drums holding out. It becomes increasingly obvious they’re not coming back.

And just in case you thought they forgot or that they’d leave a plot thread unresolved in the otherwise so mindfully immersive sprawl, “Under the Endless Sky, Pt. 3” caps by fading out that last crash-laced synth/bass drone and returning briefly to a reprise of the EP’s intro, going so far as to include the windchimes again, which I swear to you I’m not imagining, however much that breeze seems to keep blowing after the track has actually stopped. There’s a lot to take in for a release that’s under 20 minutes long, but Cortége are that much more able to let the listener process what they’re hearing by conveying a sense of overwhelm — as surely the state of being Under the Endless Sky will do — without actually being too much or doing more than the songs seem to call for. More textured and progressive than they’ve yet been, and maybe more patient, which is saying something, Under the Endless Sky establishes this semi-new incarnation of Cortége in the band’s oeuvre while expanding the conceptual parameters there included.

In its overarching atmosphere and in the adventurous courses of its individual pieces, it shows Cortége‘s commitment to ongoing creative growth and leaves a trail behind of hints as to where that may be headed. Hitting play again to go back through Under the Endless Sky for another round, I can only look forward to discovering where it leads.

“The Relentless Sun” premieres below, followed by more info from the PR wire including your dates Swarbrick will do with Destroyer of Light, for good measure.



Preorder: https://cortege.bandcamp.com/album/under-the-endless-sky

Instrumental, post-western, retro-futurism innovators Cortége will release their new album titled, Under The Endless Sky, worldwide on May 10, 2024.

Cortége (pronounced kor-‘tezh) is the French word for funeral procession. The band was co-founded in 2012 by Mike Swarbrick, who holds a degree in Mortuary Science. Originally rooted in doom, Cortége expanded into the realms of drone and electronic soundscapes. Drawing from early electronic composers, progressive rock icons of the ’70s, instrumental music, film score elements and the cowboy psychedelia-drenched guitar twang of famed Lee Hazelwood discovery Duane Eddy, the band’s sound continued to evolve and draw influence from the aesthetic of the old West. A hallmark of the trio’s sound is their use of tubular bells both in the studio and live.

Austin-based drummer Adrian Voorhies (Humut Tabal, Canyon of the Skull) joined the band in the fall of 2017. By 2021 April Schupmann (Sniper 66) joined on trumpet and percussion. Cortége will appeal to fans of Bell Witch, Earth, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Spindrift and Federale.

Under The Endless Sky was recorded at Red Star Mule Barn Sound Studio in Austin, Texas, and engineered by Sam Whips Allison. “The name of the album, came from touring and driving across the plains in ‘big sky country,'” says Mike Swarbrick.

The band has shared the stage with acts such as Mdou Moctar, Rezn, Hippie Death Cult, The Well, Duel, The Schisms and Dead Register. Cortége plans to tour and perform frequently in 2024. They are confirmed to play Surf by Surf East in Austin, Texas on March 2, 2024 at Hi Sign Brewing.

Under The Endless Sky track listing:
1. Under The Endless Sky part 1
2. Under The Endless Sky part 2
3. The Relentless Sun
4. Under The Endless Sky part 3

Sam Whips Allison: Engineering
Matthew Barnhart: Mastering
John Pesina, Bryan Haile: Photography
David Paul Seymour: Logo
April Schupmann: Layout
Rosie Armstrong: Saxophone
Kurt Armstrong: Trombone

Mike Swarbrick of Cortége on tour with Destoryer of Light:
4/10 – El Paso @ Rosewood
4/11 – Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
4/12 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Usual Place
4/13 – Oceanside, CA @ The Pourhouse
4/14 – Palmdale, CA @ Transplant Brewing
4/16 – San Francisco, CA @ Knockout
4/17 – Portland, OR @ High Water Mark
4/18 – Seattle, WA @ Substation
4/19 – Boise, ID @ Realms
4/20 – Salt Lake City @ Aces High
4/21 – Denver – @ Black Buzzard
4/23 – Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
4/24 – Oklahoma City, OK/Wichita, KS @ TBA
4/25 – Tulsa, OK @ Whittier Bar
4/26 – Van Buren, AR @ Iron Horse Records
4/27 – Little Rock, AR @ White Water Tavern
4/28 – Arlington, TX @ Growl

Cortége is:
Mike Swarbrick: bass VI, synthesizers, tubular bells, piano
Adrian Voorhies: drums
April Schupmann: trumpet, melodica, percussion

Cortége on Bandcamp

Cortége on Facebook

Cortége on Instagram

Desert Records on Facebook

Desert Records on Bandcamp

Desert Records store

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White Dog Post “F.D.I.C.”; New Album Double Dog Dare Out April 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

white dog

If you want a sense of some of the changes in White Dog‘s sound as the Austin-based ’70s-style heavy rockers make ready to unfurl their second full-length, Double Dog Dare, on April 5 with the backing of respected purveyor Rise Above Records, you don’t need to look far. The cover art is below. Check that logo. Then go ahead and dip back to their 2020 self-titled debut (review here) and take a look at that one — to make that easier, click here to pop out the image (click again to close) — then go ahead and listen to “F.D.I.C.,” streaming at the bottom of this post. Definitely some departure from the boogie and a bit of Southern-ish pastoralism in the melody of the new single, and the aesthetic of the new cover bears that out. Perhaps a little more ’74 than ’71, but then, time marches on.

A partially revamped lineup brings Jake LaTouf to the lead vocal role and Oscar Favian to keyboard, but personnel is only part of the shift being discussed here, and southbound seems like it might be just one of the directions Double Dog Dare ultimately heads. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to hearing this band do a radio jingle. They’re west of the Mississippi River, so I assume the call letters start with ‘K.’

The PR wire puts it all together:

white dog double dog dare

Texan Rockers WHITE DOG Drop New Single “F.D.I.C.”

New Album ‘Double Dog Dare’ Out April 5th via Rise Above Records

Pre-Order HERE: https://riseaboverecords.com/product/double-dog-dare/

Texan rockers WHITE DOG share “F.D.I.C.” the first single from their upcoming new album ‘Double Dog Dare’ which is due out on April 5th via Rise Above Records.

Returning after three years with their second studio album, ‘Double Dog Dare’, WHITE DOG has been reveling in a state of creative flux and is poised to share their revelations with the world.

“To say that we’ve gone through some changes in the last three years would be an understatement,” says drummer John Amoss. “After the release of our debut album, we had to make some tough decisions, one of them being the decision to replace our friend and original frontman, Joe Sterling. We also knew that we wanted to add organ and keyboards permanently. It took a long time to find the right players but finally, enter the new kids, our singer Jake LaTouf and Oscar Favian on keys.”

Recorded over a period of eight days at Stuart Sikes Audio (with engineer Andrew McCalla) in Austin, ‘Double Dog Dare’ takes all of their debut album’s deftly assembled ingredients and allows them to fly free, liberated from expectation. At times mellower than its predecessor, at others strident and ferocious, these new songs showcase WHITE DOG’s organic development, with elements of everything from wistful southern rock to crusty-eyed jazz rock finding a place. Somehow even more fluid and fiery than before, this band is growing and expanding before our ears.

“We learned a lot from recording our first record,” says John. “I’d say the biggest difference this go-round was that we were more focused and aware in the creative process. Early on we agreed that we wanted to add elements of southern music to the mix while still maintaining the core of our original sound. I’d be lying if I said everything just fell into place easily! We put our hearts and souls into these tunes. So in the end we felt like we were going into the studio with a solid group of songs.”

From thrilling, souled-out opener “Holy Smokes” to the gritty country rock of “Glenn’s Tune” and the meandering psych-prog blowout of album centerpiece “Frozen Shadows”, ‘Double Dog Dare’ is alive with great ideas and heartfelt authenticity. With a settled and refreshed line-up of Amoss, his guitarist brother Carl, bassist Rex Pape, guitarist Clemente De Hoyos, new vocalist Jake LaTouf, and keyboard maestro Oscar Favian, WHITE DOG have transcended their original ethos and have become an even richer and more addictive proposition. Both avowedly true to the bone and blessed with a gift for mischief, they have made an album that stands shoulder to shoulder with the classic records that inspired it, while also bringing the Texans’ uniquely skewed view of the world to the party.

“The subject matter of these songs is pretty eclectic, to be honest” notes John. “Let’s see… there’s a song about a bank heist and another one about the Vietnam War. Then there’s one about draining an old lake! ‘Glenn’s Tune’ is about Rex’s late father. Hell, we even did a radio jingle. So yeah we are kinda all over the place ha ha ha!”

‘Double Dog Dare’ Track List:
1) Holy Smokes
2) Double Dog Dare
3) F.D.I.C.
4) Glenn’s Tune
5) A Message From Our Sponsor
6) Frozen Shadows
7) Lady of Mars
8) Prelude
9) The Last ‘Dam’ Song

Still unique and rocking with abandon, WHITE DOG has undergone upheavals and transformations, and ‘Double Dog Dare’ is the scintillating result. Now free to peddle their incendiary wares, they will return to the stage with their strongest material to date, and a newfound enthusiasm for giving The Riff the respect and imagination it deserves.

“The plan right now is to get on the road as much as possible in 2024,” John states. “The touring that we have done has yielded really good results but there’s a whole world out there that we would like to see! What better way to do it than playing music with your buds? Currently, we are way beyond ready to release this puppy and to tour, tour, tour! We are always writing and evolving as people and as a band. Who knows exactly what tomorrow will bring? What we do know is that we love each other like brothers and we love making music together.”

White Dog are:
Carl Amoss – guitar
John Amoss – drums
Oscar Favian – keys
Clemente De Hoyos – guitar
Jake LaTouf – vocals
Rex Pape – bass



White Dog, “F.D.I.C.”

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High Desert Queen to Release Palm Reader May 31; “Ancient Aliens” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 5th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

High desert queen (photo by @staceylovett)

I’d put the sophomore full-length from Austin, Texas, heavy rockers High Desert Queen, titled Palm Reader, among the year’s most anticipated LPs quickly enough. The four-piece issued their debut, Secrets of the Black Moon (review here), through Ripple Music in 2021 and immediately set about maximizing its impact with stage work. Tours in the US and Europe featured stops throughout 2022 and 2023 at Truckfighters Fuzz Fest (review here), Desertfest in London and Berlin, Ruination Festival, Esbjerg Fuzztival and others, and they have kept a steady social presence as well, with frontman Ryan Garney booking tours and running Ripplefest Texas under the banner of Lick of My Spoon Promotions. They have done more to push themselves and heavy rock in the last three years than most, and on top of that, the first record laid out a desert-informed take on heavy that was rife with personality.

Ahead of returning to Europe in Spring 2023, they released the Turned to Stone Ch. 8: The Wake (review here) split LP with Albuquerque’s Blue Heron, and they’ll venture abroad again this summer as confirmed by appearances at the venerable Stoned From the Underground and Rock im Wald festivals slated among the tour dates below, following the regional — mostly Texas — stint they’ll do around Palm Reader‘s May 31 release on Magnetic Eye Records. No doubt more tour dates will follow, and suitably enough, they’ll perform at this year’s Ripplefest Texas as well, alongside DozerMars Red Sky and what’s taken shape as one of the strongest heavyfest lineups I’ve ever seen in the US. They might tour around that too, even though they’re from Austin. Some bands just keep busy.

But future tour plans are secondary to the album announcement and first track streaming of today. “Ancient Aliens” — if you, like me, can see the guy from the History Channel in your head right now, we’re probably also hearing it said with the same sense of wonder — opens Palm Reader by building up around its riff and pushing through a multifaceted but accessible groove with what feels like energy born of and born for the stage. If live considerations were a factor in the songwriting, fair enough. I get big C.O.C. vibes off the guitar tone, but it’s got a modern and less-Southern forward roll to go with its hook and ample proportion of sound. If Palm Reader isn’t already among your own most anticipated 2024 albums, by the time they’re done riding that nod it might be. And if you need any more display of charm or effort-at-engagement or whatever it might be to get on board, the “Ancient Aliens” video is — inevitably — a They Live parody.

Info from the PR wire:

high desert queen palm reader

HIGH DESERT QUEEN release first single ‘Ancient Aliens’ and details of new album “Palm Reader”!

Texas desert rockers HIGH DESERT QUEEN release the video clip ‘Ancient Aliens’ as the first heavy single taken from their forthcoming sophomore full-length “Palm Reader”, which has been slated for release on May 31 via Magnetic Eye Records.

On further news, HIGH DESERT QUEEN announce the first set of many planned live dates for 2024. Please see below for all currently confirmed shows.

‘Ancient Aliens’ is a tongue-in-cheek video take on John Carpenter’s cult movie “They Live” that illustrates the difficulties for musicians in dealing with shifty managers.

HIGH DESERT QUEEN comment: “Our first new single ‘Ancient Aliens’ was also the first song that we recorded for the new album”, guitarist Rusty Miller explains. “When we just returned home from our 2023 summer tour, we were all still a little beat up and road worn. At the same time, we were completely fired up to be in the studio. Playing shows every night for six weeks gave us exactly what we needed for the new album. Our engineer Casey Johns did a great job capturing the raw energy and dynamics of our band with this song. We recorded it live without a click track and no overdubs to make it sound just how we play it live on stage.”

1. Ancient Aliens
2. Death Perception
3. Head Honcho
4. Palm Reader
5. Time Waster
6. Tuesday Night Blues
7. Solar Rain

Guest musician
Emma Näslund (GAUPA) – vocals on ‘Death Perception’

Recorded by Casey Johns at Yellow Dog Studios, Wimberley, TX (US)
Mixed & Mastering by Karl Daniel Lidén at Studio Tri-Lamb, Solna (SE)

Cover art & album design by PabloRR (72826). Photo by @staceylovett

23 MAR 2024 Austin, TX (US) The Lost Well +The Obsessed +Howling Giant +Gozu
24 MAY 2024 Lafayette, LA (US) Freetown Boom Boom Room
25 MAY 2024 Houston, TX (US) White Oak Music Hall
26 MAY 2024 Arlington, TX (US) Division Brewery
30 MAY 2024 Austin, TX (US) The Far Out Lounge
31 MAY 2024 Bryan, TX (US) The 101
01 JUN 2024 San Antonio, TX (US) The Amp Room
02 JUN 2024 New Braunfels, TX (US) Guadalupe Brewery
13 JUL 2024 Erfurt (DE) Stoned from the Underground Festival
26 JUL 2024 Neuensee (DE) Rock im Wald Festival
21 SEP 2024 Austin, TX (US) Far Out Lounge, RippleFest Texas

Ryan Garney – vocals
Phil Hook – drums
Morgan Miller – bass
Rusty Miller – guitar



High Desert Queen & Blue Heron, Turned to Stone Ch. 8: The Wake (2023)

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Destroyer of Light Post “Cruel World”; Final Album Degradation Years Out April 5; Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Texas’ Destroyer of Light are ending their run with their upcoming sixth album, Degradation Years, which they’re introducing with the lead single “Cruel World,” an immediate showcase of the progression that’s made them so underrated for more than the last decade. I could go on and on about that, but maybe it’s moot as they unveil what will (allegedly) be the last Destroyer of Light US tour and present the melancholy post-’90s Ozzy melody of “Cruel World” (yes, that’s a compliment) and its melancholy-but-accessible roll.

Guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca notes below in laying band to rest that he and the other members have started taking on different projects — Slumbering Sun‘s debut got some hype last year, Suspiriorum have a debut EP out, and Temple of Love just posted a new single at the end of January — so it’s not at all the last they’ll be heard from, and who knows where their respective paths may lead over the next few years or more. But no one who knows what they’re talking about is ever going to tell you Destroyer of Light didn’t put in their time, and right up to 2022’s Panic (review here), they never compromised on their progression and desire to explore ideas beyond doom’s borders, and they never put out the same record twice. I fully anticipate that will prove the case on Degradation Years as well, and “Cruel World” offers a strong case in that regard.

Good band. Even if they won’t be around anymore as Destroyer of Light, I’m glad they’ve got one more record coming and are getting to finish on their own terms. That is something not everyone gets to do but they have more than earned.

From the PR wire:

destroyer of light degradation years

Destroyer of Light to Release New Album, ‘Degradation Years’, April 5

Austin Doomwave Band Ascends to New Heights; U.S. Headlining Tour Dates Announced

Hear New Track “Cruel World”

Destroyer of Light creates heavy, heaving doom metal with entrancing guitar harmonies and haunting, ethereal vocals rife with soul, and grit. The Austin-based band, which formed in 2012, will release its new LP, ‘Degradation Years’, on April 5. ‘Degradation Years’, Destroyer of Light’s sixth full-length LP, showcases the unit delivering massive, loud music that is also and beautiful, moving, crushing, and kinetic. The record was recorded at Austin’s Orb Recording Studios (Grimes, The 1975) and mastered by James Plotkin (Voivod, Botch, Thou).

‘Degradation Years’ is the follow-up to Destroyer of Light’s 2022 LP, ‘PANIC’. ‘Degradation Years’ is advanced by the new single, “Cruel World’, which DoL vocalist/guitarist Steve Colca describes as “a tribute to longtime Soundgarden singer, Chris Cornell,” and “an emotional song for me to write as I’m a huge Chris Cornell and Soundgarden fan. His death had an affect on me as his lyrics always spoke to my sadness and depression.” Stream Destroyer of Light’s “Cruel World” now at this location.

‘Degradation Years’ track listing:

1.) Cruel World
2.) Waiting for the End
3.) Perception of Time
4.) Failure
5.) Man with No Name
6.) Blind Faith
7.) Where I Cannot Follow

Pre-order ‘Degradation Years’ at this location:

‘Degradation Years’ is an evolution into newer territories for Destroyer of Light while retaining the band’s core elements,” Colca continues. “I grew up listening to a lot of 90s alternative music and those influences show up more in my songwriting here, and we just decided be care free with the direction. You’ll also hear a lot more vocal harmonies, catchy choruses, and some callouts to some of my favorite vocalists. The album cover was inspired by Placebo’s ‘Without You I’m Nothing’; I wanted to lay it out there for people to see and digest what they feel it represents. ‘Where am I?’ ‘What am I feeling?’ ‘What am I writing down?’ The back cover and the band photo are a nod to Soundgarden’s ‘Down on the Upside’. What I love about this is it looks like the band isn’t getting along, they are distant from each other. Almost like it’s hinting that this was the end.”

“Which leads to the next news that Destroyer of Light is going on indefinite hiatus,” he continues. “When we found out that Mike was moving to Atlanta, Penny, Keegan, and I decided to talk about our future. Both Keegan and I felt that our songwriting was heading into different directions and we’ve done all we could with Destroyer of Light. Plus, all three of us have other projects that we want to focus more attention on. I have Temple of Love, and they have Slumbering Sun. Also, I am in Tits Out!, Suspiriorum, and Penny is in The Flood. We have one final album to deliver to you, and we felt like this was the way for us to end it proper. So, we give you ‘Degradaton Years’, one final tour, and a local Austin show to close everything out. We appreciate all the support over the last 12 years, it means a lot.”

Destroyer of Light will kick off a U.S. tour in support of ‘Degradation Years’ on April 10 in El Paso, TX. The 17-city run will wrap on April 28. A full listing of DoL tour dates is as follows:

Destroyer of Light tour dates:

April 10 El Paso, TX @ Rosewood
April 11 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
April 12 Las Vegas, NV @ The Usual Place
April 13 Oceanside, CA @ The Pourhouse
April 14 Palmdale, CA @ Transplant Brewing
April 15 San Francisco, CA @ Knockout
April 17 Portland, OR – High Water Mark
April 18 Seattle, WA @ Substation
April 19 Boise, ID @ Realms
April 20 Salt Lake City @ Aces High
April 21 Denver, CO @ Black Buzzard
April 23 Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
April 24 TBA
April 25 Tulsa, OK @ Whittier Bar
April 26 Somewhere, AR @ TBA
April 27 Little Rock, AR @ White Water Tavern
April 28 – Arlington, TX @ Growl

Alongside Steve Colca, Destroyer of Light features Keegan Kjeldsen (guitars), Mike Swarbrick (bass), and Kelly Turner (drums).



Destroyer of Light, “Cruel World”

Destroyer of Light, Panic (2022)

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