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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Mario Lalli & the Rubber Snake Charmers Premiere “Swamp Cooler Reality” from Folklore From the Other Desert Cities

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 12th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

mario lalli and the rubber snake charmers folklore from the other desert cities

Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers hit Australia in the company of Stöner in Fall 2022, and their debut full-length, Folklore From the Other Desert Cities, was recorded on Sunday, Nov. 5 at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse. The show was featured on a streaming series called ‘Desert TV’ the audio issued on notably-limited cassette through Northern Haze before the band — spearheaded of course by namesake Mario Lalli, of Fatso Jetson, Yawning Man, etc. — signed on to release it March 29 through Heavy Psych Sounds. There are differences from the set video/live tape to the four-song/38-minute Folklore — some editing to let it flow as an album and shape songs, the mix/master from Mathias Schneeberger, etc. — and the result is an engrossing, sometimes lush, sometimes spacious, exploration of desert psychedelics. Lalli himself holds down bass in place of Nick Oliveri, who’d have been on the tour as part of Stöner but for visa issues as frontman/lead-poet Sean Wheeler informs at one point while introducing the band, and Brant Bjork and Ryan Güt, both also of Stöner, rounded out the lineup on guitar and drums, respectively.

I was lucky enough to see the semi-conjoined outfits together in Sept. 2022 (review here) before they headed Down Under, and the setup was much the same. That night, it was Lalli, Wheeler and all three members of Stöner on stage to jam, hypnotize, reach into the ether and give Wheeler‘s desert-punk bohème proclamations the textural setting they deserve. The Rubber Snake Charmers took the stage first and Stöner closed out. Super-casual. And the who-knows-where-we-might-end-up-but-let’s-go approach of the project that was so vivid that night in Jersey resonates in the loose sway and swing throughout Folklore From the Other Desert Cities, which transitions mid-jam between “Creosote Breeze” and “Swamp Cooler Reality” (note the video for the latter premiering below), mid-lyric between “Other Desert Cities” and “The Devil Waits for Me,” and puts its side flip between two standalone spoken lines from Wheeler. Clearly the intention is that the album should be taken as a whole — said the dude premiering a single track; I take what I can get — and it has more than enough fluidity between its two sides to support that experience. You can get lost in it, and I’m not about to tell you that you shouldn’t.

Some crowd noise at the outset of “Creosote Breeze” places you in the room, but a humming e-bow guitar and underlying drone silence most of the conversation. Güt gives a quick cymbal wash and they shift to a meditative riff laid out by Lalli as their true launch point. What unfurls from there does so with a chemistry that shouldn’t shock anyone familiar with the players involved — Bjork and Lalli‘s storied history in the Californian desert scene, Güt‘s near-decade drumming with Bjork between Stöner and Bjork‘s solo band, and Wheeler‘s long involvement with the Palm Springs weirdo underground in fronting Throw Rag, and so on — but they’re not so much riding pedigree here as they are pushing themselves outward, and that’s the whole point. This record, this amorphous band, wouldn’t exist without the creative passion that so clearly fuels it. The chance to tap something not yet known and see what you can make. That first riff in “Creosote Breeze” is almost surprising with a kind of brooding vibe, but they open it up cosmic and are funky long before the eight-plus minutes allotted to the track are done.


Schneeberger is credited with keys, and as the band settles into a roll before the guitar steps back circa 6:40 to let Wheeler start his next spoken recitation — he weaves back and forth between singing and spoken word, and it’s not always perfect and that’s why it works — they seem indeed to be dubbed in as part of the molten wash, but that feels fair enough for Folklore From the Other Desert Cities being based on a live set and presented as the band’s debut album. It’s not supposed to be easy to categorize outside of itself. You might say that’s how ‘desert rock’ happened in the first place; it wasn’t already another thing. “Creosote Breeze” entrances and “Swamp Cooler Reality,” mid-groove at its outset, finds its own way to build on that movement. Standout lines from Wheeler give impressionistic visions in rhythm as Bjork clicks on the wah and the drive gets accordingly funkier. They’ll mellow out a few minutes later, as one would expect, but that’s fleshed out with synth or other effects and some self-gathering-style meander comes together around the bass and drums to an open but satisfying finish of its own, “Other Desert Cities” kicking in either immediately or after the platter flip, depending how you’re listening.

But the vibe is set and the this-night incarnation of Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers carry it through to the finish of “The Devil Waits for Me,” Wheeler steering them into a desert-themed take on the blues classic “In the Pines” that allows for no sleep whatsoever. The longer-form trip they’re on in terms of the whole set has plenty of space for that kind of thing, but it’s not like they’re doing a cover or something — it’s the immediate pursuit of inspiration and the moment captured in the recording. A thing that happened that day. A short while later, in “The Devil Waits for Me,” they seem to purposefully submerge in volume, fuzz and the underlying earthy groove, but not before the whole Gold Coast crowd gets invited back to L.A. for what one assumes would be a party worth the requisite travel.

If you didn’t see them on the tour that produced Folklore From the Other Desert Cities, the recording represents well the untethered spirit that seems to be at heart in Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers and expands on it in how the material is delivered structurally and sonically. At the same time it’s their debut, it’s also right in its moment, and by it’s very nature, whatever Lalli and not-necessarily-the-same-company do next will likewise stand on its own. What one wonders is if how much Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers appreciate that they themselves are part of the folklore they’re portraying, even in this new form and modus, just by getting together and weirding out. Hasn’t that always been the idea?

Enjoy the video for “Swamp Cooler Reality” below, followed by more info from the PR wire:

Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers, “Swamp Cooler Reality” premiere

The first release from this band of pioneering Desert rock musicians captures the band and its purest form exercising the desert born ethic and approach of rock improvisation, psychedelic and flowing, heavy and explorative.

1. Creosote Breeze
2. Swamp Cooler Reality
3. Other Desert Cities
4. The Devil Waits For Me

Recorded live at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse, Gold Coast Australia by Guy Cooper and mixed and mastered by Mathias Schneeberger at Donner & Blitzen Studios, California. The band’s first release features BRANT BJORK, SEAN WHEELER, RYAN GUT and MARIO LALLI, capturing the band in a engaging special performance in Gold Coast Australia.

The album will be issued on March 29th on vinyl, CD and digital via Heavy Psych Sounds. Enjoy!

Mario Lalli – bass and vocal
Sean Wheeler – vocals and poetry
Brant Bjork – Guitar
Ryan Güt – Drums
Mathias Schneeberger – keys

Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers, Folklore From the Other Desert Cities (2024)

Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers on Facebook

Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

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Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers to Release Folklore From the Other Desert Cities March 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Announced last week as signing to Heavy Psych Sounds with intention toward a debut album, Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers, will release Folklore From the Other Desert Cities on March 19 as their recorded debut. The four-jam outing was recorded in Gold Coast, Australia, as part of a video stream for Desert.TV that you can see below, and was originally pressed to a limited-to-50-copies cassette called Forgetting Out Loud by Northern Haze Records.

I’m pretty sure ‘Other Desert Cities’ is what it says on some highway sign or other — the 101? the 10? — but the bottom line here that you’re getting a couple of Californian desert rock’s most primo ambassadors caught in the act pursuing their integral diplomatic function. And if you’d be like, ‘well how come they’re releasing a thing under a different name when it was already out and why would I buy it when I can stream it and and and…,” relax. They’re releasing a thing under a different name because it’s worth releasing and they wanted to give it what they felt would be a representative package for CD/LP distribution in more than 50 copies — that’s not a rag on Northern Haze at all; those tapes are beautiful and I could spend hundreds of Canadian dollars on that site if only I had them — and you should buy it even though you can stream it because that’s how everybody keeps getting to do what they do. You gotta put the coin in the hat.

Here’s the info and the video, which, duh, is groovin’. Have fun:

mario lalli and the rubber snake charmers folklore from the other desert cities

Heavy Psych Sounds to announce MARIO LALLI & THE RUBBER SNAKE CHARMERS – ‘Folklore From The Other Desert Cities’ !!!

New super-band featuring desert rock legends Mario Lalli, Brant Bjork, Sean Wheeler and Ryan Güt !!!

The first release from this band of pioneering Desert rock musicians captures the band and its purest form exercising the desert born ethic and approach of rock improvisation, psychedelic and flowing, heavy and explorative.

The foundation of Mario Lalli’s grooving heavy bass lines and meditative themes with a intuitive guitar work with Brant Bjork and percussion of Ryan Güt set the scene for Sean Wheeler’s poems and songs capturing the dark and beautiful stories and images of life in the Mojave desert of Southern California.


1. Creosote Breeze
2. Swamp Cooler Reality
3. Other Desert Cities
4. The Devil Waits For Me

Recorded live at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse, Gold Coast Australia by Guy Cooper and mixed and mastered by Mathias Schneeberger at Donner & Blitzen Studios, California. The band’s first release features BRANT BJORK, SEAN WHEELER, RYAN GUT and MARIO LALLI, capturing the band in a engaging special performance in Gold Coast Australia.

Mario Lalli – bass and vocal
Sean Wheeler – vocals and poetry
Brant Bjork – Guitar
Ryan Güt – Drums
Mathias Schneeberger – keys

Mario Lalli & The Rubber Snake Charmers, Live on DesertTV, Gold Coast, Australia

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Ripplefest Texas 2023: Complete Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

I don’t feel the need to even really say anything here. The lineup speaks for itself. And those who go to this year’s RippleFest Texas will also speak of it, for years, probably in a similar way people now talk about having been at this or that Emissions From the Monolith when that was going on in Ohio. The stuff of legend, in other words. Yeah, you can put on a fest and try to make it cool and fun, or you can do something like this and make it the highlight of everybody who attends’ year.

Kudos to Lick of My Spoon Productions and Ripple Music on a job well done. This will be something special. Bands have been leaked out one at a time at intermittent daily intervals, but the final lineup is out as of today, and it’s stunning. A blend of generations, a reach from on end of the country to the other, and a swath of the heavy underground all rallied in one place for a few days, pre- and after-parties included. Fucking a. If you’re attending, count yourself lucky.

As seen on socials:

Ripplefest Texas 2023

Here it is! The full lineup for RippleFest Texas #3! This will be one for the ages with a stacked lineup and lots of special treats in between. Get your tickets now!

Amazing art by @1horsetown

* playing the Pre-Party
+ playing the Afterparty

King Buffalo, Acid King, Brant Bjork Trio, Sasquatch, Wo-Fat, Fatso Jetson, Mondo Generator, Unida, The Well+, The Atomic Bitchwax, Telekinetic Yeti*, Duel, Forming the Void, Hippie Death Cult, High Desert Queen*, Avon, War Cloud, Rubber Snake Charmers, Spirit Mother+, Kind, Nick Oliveri, Thunder Horse, Royal Sons+, Restless Spirit*, (Big) Pig, Fostermother, Dead Feathers+, Rainbows Are Free, Warlung*, Sun Voyager, Red Mesa, Dunes, Tia Carrera+, Mr. Plow, The Heroine*, Michael Rudolph Cummings, The Absurd+, GoodEye*, Red Beard Wall, God Damn Good Time Band+

Plus a “Legends of the Desert and Friends” jam session to close out Saturday night!

And as always, the visuals by The Mad Alchemist Liquid Light Show

All-Access passes are SOLD OUT! All we have left are 2 Day Passes and Pre/Afterparty tickets available. Many more bands to be announced! Get your tickets now before the full lineup is revealed and the ticket price goes up!


King Buffalo, “Regenerator” live at Sonic Whip 2023

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Former Man’s Ruin Artists Pay Tribute to Frank Kozik

Posted in Features on May 15th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Some of the best heavy rock records of all time were released through Man’s Ruin Records. We’re talking about pivotal, genre-defining releases that continue to resonate some 20-plus years later, which in rock and roll time is an eternity. Some bands are still active and contributing, and some have left it behind, but in light of the sudden passing last week of artist and label-founder Frank Kozik, it felt right to take a look at that portion of his life he spent fostering bands and some of the impact that music has had on, at this point, two subsequent generations of heavy.

I’ve told this story before, but maybe in 2004, I was at SXSW in Austin, Texas, meandering off 6th St. in order to find a show happening in a record store. Went under the highway bridge and all that to get to Snake Eyes Vinyl. I don’t think it’s there anymore, but at the time they were hosting bands as part of the whole SXSW thing. They moved bins and so on to make room for amps, or had artists play outside; I sat on a hill and saw Kylesa on the back of a trailer on a sunny afternoon; Drunk Horse and Saviours shared the ‘stage’ inside, etc.

The narrative in my head is that I was waiting for either Drunk Horse or Saviours — I honestly don’t remember — to go on, did some shopping in the interim, and stumbled on a motherlode of Man’s Ruin CDs. Some I had, many I didn’t, but with the label defunct two years prior, the stuff was already becoming rare and, on eBay, not cheap. I grabbed a stack that was no fewer than 10 discs — including Drunk Horse — and made my way to the counter to pay, only to find out that they belonged to Becca, the woman who ran the store. She was visibly sad to be parting with them.

I said that it was okay, I would give them a good home and take care of them. And I did. I still have them the better part of two decades later. It tells you the kind of connections that listeners made to the music that Kozik put out that, even when she had decided to sell them in her shop, it was hard to let go of those albums. Kozik’s work with Man’s Ruin was special, and the heavy underground has worked on a label-as-hub model since, whether it’s imprints like Small Stone, Ripple Music, Heavy Psych Sounds, and so on. Not only is Kozik’s output through Man’s Ruin still relevant aurally and visually, but it continues to shape the structure of heavy rock’s promotional and distribution apparatus. One does not generally think of a small business as influential.

Yet here we are. Some of the below was hoisted from social media, and some folks I hit up direct or through PR, but through it all, the spirit of thankfulness is palpable, and I’ll add my thanks to that, because there’s no way I’d be sitting here writing this sentence right now if not for Frank Kozik and Man’s Ruin Records. Heavy music owes him a debt it can never repay.

Thanks to all who took part in this, and thanks as always for reading.

man's ruin records cat logo

Lori S. from Acid King:

Wow (#128558#)(#128546#). Um…. Don’t know what to say . Man’s Ruin and Frank were a huge part of my life and always will be . Thank you for releasing our records creating a scene that didn’t exist and for the endless amount of cool artwork that will be on planet earth way longer than all of us R.I.P.

Sometime like, 94-96 I went to visit my friend, Tim Moss in San Francisco. While running around we stopped at Man’s Ruin where he introduced me to Frank Kozik and Frank being the nice guy that he is, let me grab a bunch of posters. I was freaking out. His label opened my ears to so many bands who later would become family. His art has always been a part of my life. Below is one of the prints he let me take and it was the very first piece of art we hung at Jackalope. Oh shit and then that amazing Man’s Ruin fest at the Troubadour w/ Scott Carlson, Lori Joseph, Rich Hay, Scott Reeder and lord can only remember who else (#128514#). Thanks for everything, Frank. Rest easy.

Fatso Jetson:

Our music and art scene has lost a true godfather, Frank Kozik believed in the unique music from our desert and was responsible for some of the most influential recordings, all were released on his Man’s Ruin label. From Kyuss to Queens of the Stone Age, Brant Bjork, the Jack Saints, Desert Sessions….the list goes on and on. We are so grateful and honored to be part of his history. Thank you Frank …Fatso sends love to you and your family brother. God Speed.

Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Ché, Fu Manchu, solo):

I was having dinner with Frank Kozik one night in SF and he asked me if it was true that I was going to record a solo record. I said yes. He said he wanted to put it out. The result was Jalamanta. That was in 1999 and it was my first solo release. I had no idea then I’d still be releasing solo records 24 years later. Thank you Frank for believing in me and all the other artists and bands you believed in. It takes one to know one. Frank was, still is and will always be… a true artist. ❤️BB

Eddie Glass of Nebula:

Frank was such a cool dude and played a legendary part in the scene when it was coming up. It was so cool being on his label because he would design the covers and the Sun Creature EP came out perfectly. He will be dearly missed.

Amanda Topaz from Begotten:

Frank Kozik was a friend at a time in my life when it was really hard to be my friend. His unexpected death makes me incredibly sad an my thoughts are with his wife Sharon. Although I Haven’t seen him in twenty years I am so grateful for his generosity. I don’t think cats now realize the extent of what he gave us because now the Spotify AI Algorithm picks out what you listen to every day, AI makes your music videos for you, for all I know AI is generating your riffs for you too. But back then in New York, finishing up music school where I was lucky enough to have one of Coltrane’s bass players as a teacher – and he would tell us – We can teach you how to play the music but you have to understand that it’s the soul of our generation – we created it in the streets and in the clubs -. Imagine then as a lost child hearing THE MELVINS for the first time – this sound from the Bay Area all the way across the country – for the first time at 1 in the morning from some cd bought in an underground record shop in a back alley with a group of friends. Or the desert sessions. Or Acid King / Kyuss / Nebula/ High on Fire. It was life-changing. This was the sound of OUR generation. Kozik handed it to us on a Man’s Ruin platter. Didn’t make a dime off it – he supported the company with poster and art sales as far as I know. And he was nice enough to give our big ugly maroon 89 Chevy van the name, “La Guappa”.

Lou Gorra of Solarized (also Halfway to Gone):

Frank was a brilliant artist. We all know that. I was so incredibly humbled when one of my favorite artists of all time signed my dopey little band to one of the coolest labels of the twentieth century. My time making records for Man’s Ruin was short lived, but the memories I made during that time will remain with me for the rest of life. I’m so incredibly sad that there will be no more new Kozik art for the world to love, but I’m tearfully grateful that my music can be referenced in his monolithic legacy, even in the most minuscule way. Thank you Frank. RIP

Darryl Shepard (ex-Roadsaw, currently Kind, etc.):

Seeing as how Craig and I were both in Roadsaw and we both play on this record, I feel this should be posted here as well: Not enough can be said about Frank Kozik. His artwork defined a subculture. His record label Man’s Ruin kickstarted the global stoner rock underground into high gear. The heavy underground rock scene would not exist the way it does now without his involvement. That is not hyperbole. Roadsaw was fortunate enough to release a 7” on Man’s Ruin. We went to his art studio in San Francisco while on tour and met him while he was screen printing the covers. We played the Bottom of the Hill that night and he personally dropped off the records at the club so we’d have some to sell. An absolute legend in the art and music worlds. R.I.P. Mr. Kozik. And thank you.

Sergio Ch. of Los Natas (currently Ararat, Soldati, solo, etc.):

Frank gave me the opportunity of my life. He believed in my work and shared it to the world. Got me into the big leagues just trusting some guys from Argentina and their love for music. I wouldn´t be standing where I am right now if not for is help, art and determination. I remember after recording album Ciudad de Brahman, back in San Francisco 1999, we piled into his truck and took a ride, just pumping the album’s mix cassette tape into the car’s player. He looked at me right into my eyes in a stop light and told me, almost breaking in tears, “Sergio, your music has spirit. Never give up. I am old and tired but you must keep doing what you do.” A few [years] later, Man’s Ruin Records announced their closeup and I got a huge UPS box right at my home in Argentina, including the one inch tapes from Natas’ Ciudad de Brahman album. along with a release rights letter from Frank. What a gentleman. Will miss you Boss, thanks and love foreva.

Erik Larson of Alabama Thunderpussy:

I didn’t know Frank Kozik as well as I would have liked to, but the fact that I knew him at all is nothing short of fantastic. When we met, I was just some Metal-Punk from Virginia, and yet the man showed me and Alabama Thunderpussy nothing but encouragement throughout the years we had a working relationship. I could always count on a no bullshit opinion from him. Frank didn’t seem to tolerate bullshit. His whole approach to Man’s Ruin Records seemed to be a testament to that viewpoint, and a ‘pay attention to what’s important right now’ attitude that kept things exciting, challenging and precarious all at once. I think it is safe to say Alabama Thunderpussy would never have achieved as much as we have, had it not been for that first opportunity Frank Kozik gave to us. I’m forever grateful to him for that.

Jim Hogan of Solarized (currently Defiance Engine):

When Frank Kozik ran Man’s Ruin Records, he helped our band, Solarized, more than any other label we ever dealt with. He offered a 50% profit split, made us store posters, and he made custom screened posters for when we toured. Eventually the label folded, but he helped hundreds of bands, and he and his crew released a whole lot of great albums. His poster art, his custom vinyl toys, and his record label were nothing short of amazing. He was the only guy we ever knew who got interviewed by Newsweek. He was an outstanding human being and he is truly a brother lost.

Reg Hogan of Solarized (currently Defiance Engine):

We send our heart felt condolences to Frank’s family and friends…Frank did more to elevate scene awareness, with his passion and love for the music, than most of the music industry. We are grateful he took a shine to our brand of Jersey swamp rock.

Arthur Seay of Unida:

Was an honor to have Frank release our Unida record ‘Coping with the Urban Coyote’, which really put us on the map and allowed us to tour Europe and caught the attention of the majors lol. He was a true artist, gifted, talented and crazy as fuck.

Jason Casanova of Tummler (currently Sasquatch):

Frank was the man. Not only for his art, but his vision for Man’s Ruin and the music scene that it created. I can’t thank him enough for giving my old band Tummler a shot at putting out a record back in the heyday. The smoking bunny will live on forever. RIP dude. You rule. – C

Johan Rockner of Dozer:

RIP Frank Kozik ❤️

He signed us back in ’98 and released our two first albums In the Tail of a Comet and Madre De Dios. He was one of those who believed in us, which we are forever thankful for. Without him Dozer would not be were we are. We met him in Stockholm at his exhibition “the Stockholm job”, a really cool and down to earth kind of guy.

Ben Ward of Orange Goblin:

Sad news this morning that the legendary artist Frank Kozik has passed away. Frank did some great artwork for Orange Goblin over the years and his label, Man’s Ruin Records, was responsible for some of the coolest releases in various genres from the mid to late ’90s. His artwork lives on forever and Frank will be remembered as a kind, funny, intelligent and humble man with a very unique style and he will be missed. Condolences to his family and friends. Thank you Frank, RIP.

Sons of Otis:

RIP Frank Kozik(#128128#) Mad visionary. The ONLY label that ever paid us.

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Burque Rock City Fest Adds Brant Bjork, Yawning Balch, Fatso Jetson, Year of the Cobra and More in Second Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Two things to immediately note in this second lineup announcement from Burque Rock City 2023. One, it’s Brant Bjork solo, which means Stöner are still on the backburner as he and Nick Oliveri dip back into their own stuff. Two, this will be the first live performance from Yawning Balch, which is the amalgam of Yawning Man and Bob Balch of Fu ManchuYawning Man recently brought in Greg Saenz on drums ahead of their European tour, and presumably he’ll do this gig as well, though I suppose it’s always possible Bill Stinson could sit in for it. One way or the other, jams will be had.

I’m hopeful for a new Year of the Cobra album, if not this year then next. They had some exciting growth pre-pandemic and toured like mad, and have been somewhat quieter since, but hopefully this Fall they’re back at it hard. Tenderizor were — I’m not sure if they still are — affiliated with hometown Albuquerque weirdo heroes Leeches of Lore, so that’s a cool local tie, and Red Mesa features Roman Barham, who is organizing this fest and is a co-founder of Monolith on the Mesa of which Burque Rock City is an offshoot, maybe just for this year. Bringing in Fatso Jetson only enhances the desert vibe, and Electric Citizen will be on hand to lend their particular take on classic heavy. With Ojo Malo and Nomestomper and Street Tombs filling out, it’s a solid announcement for the two-dayer; a kind of conceptual preview for the likes of RippleFest Texas and Desertfest New York in substance if not geography. A lot to like, is the bottom line.

Tickets are on sale now, early-bird style. Dig it, and check out the TubeVision show I stumbled on from Brant Bjork, 2003 in San Francisco. Bros.-era. 20 god damned years ago. Pretty badass:

Burque Rock City 2023 second poster


Burque Rock City Is Happy To Announce Another Round Of Bands For August 4th & 5th Downtown ABQ At The Historic El Rey Theater & Insideout Bar

Burque Rock City Would Love to Welcome:

Brant Bjork * Yawning Balch * Year Of The Cobra * Fatso Jetson * Electric Citizen * Tenderizor * Street Tombs * Red Mesa * Ojo Malo * Nomestomper

First Wave of Amazing Bands Previously Announced:

Weedeater * Pike Vs The Automaton * Belzebong * Early Moods * High Desert Queen * Thunder Horse * Sorcia * Prism Bitch * Coma Revovery

Get Your Early Bird Tickets NOW!! Once Full Lineup Is Announced, Tickets Will Go Up!

Early Bird Day Pass-$100:

Early Bird 2 Day Pass-$200:

Roman Barham, co-founder of Monolith on the Mesa, has been quietly working on Burque Rock City Fest.

Branching south from the Monolith On The Mesa tree is Burque Rock City Fest in Albuquerque, NM At The Historic El Rey Theater & Insideout Bar On Friday August 4th & Saturday August 5th 2023.

More band announcements & more exciting info soon.

Brant Bjork & The Bros., Live at Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA, Sept. 7, 2003

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Review & Track Premiere: Fatso Jetson and Dali’s Llama, Legends of the Desert Vol. 3 Split LP

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 16th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

legends of the desert vol 3 fatso jetson dali's llama

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Fatso Jetson’s ‘Night of the Living Amends’ from the Legends of the Desert Vol. 3 split with Dali’s Llama, out March 24 through Desert Records. Preorder available on Bandcamp here.]

New Mexico imprint Desert Records launched its ‘Legends of the Desert’ split series in 2020 by bringing together Palehorse/Palerider and Lord Buffalo (discussed here and here), and Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 (review here) followed, with The Penitent Man and Cortége resting side-by-side in furthering the stated objective of honoring a new generational interpretation of who and what ‘legends’ means and the notion that ‘desert’ as applies to music doesn’t just have to mean ‘sounds like Kyuss.’ With Cali desert scene co-progenitors Fatso Jetson and perpetually undervalued grit rockers Dali’s Llama on Legends of the Desert Vol. 3, the series pivots toward two different kinds of legends.

Fatso Jetson arrive after releasing Live From Total Annihilation (review here) last year through Ripple Music in collaboration with All Souls, marking a noteworthy return with their first new material since 2016’s Idle Hands (review here), having played live shows and toured all the while, conditions permitting. They are legends in an underground sense and a band around whom the ‘generator party’ narrative of off-grid punk birthing a new generational interpretation of heavy has rightly coalesced, with guitarist/vocalist Mario Lalli — also of Yawning Man and lately the improvisational unit Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers — as ambassador for band and scene alike, surrounded by family with cousin Larry Lalli on bass as always, son Dino Von Lalli on guitar and the not-actually-related-but-might-as-well-be-at-this-point Tony Tornay (also of All Souls) on drums. As a unit, they are largely unfuckwithable and have been for some time.

The perpetually DIY Dali’s Llama formed more or less concurrently to Fatso Jetson in 1993, and have over the years approached desert rock from alternately bluesy, country, punk and gothic angles (among others), the founding duo of guitarist/vocalist Zach Huskey and bassist Erica Huskey likewise unpredictable conceptually and reliable in terms of songwriting and performance across a wide discography, the last installment of which was 2021’s Dune Lung EP (review here), which was itself a follow-up to 2019’s umpteenth full-length, Mercury Sea (review here). Here as on those two releases and others prior, the band operates as a four-piece, with Joe Dillon on guitar and backing vocals and Craig Brown on drums, presenting four songs in complement to Fatso Jetson‘s own and showcasing some of the aural diversity — looking at you, banjo-as-sitar on “Rarified” — that’s part of what makes them so recognizable.

Dali’s Llama get the longer side, as their four cuts weigh in at 22 minutes. Fatso Jetson‘s four are shorter on average — 17 minutes total — but they go first, with Mathias Schneeberger on keys and the instrumental “Night of the Living Amends” as the opener and longest piece of side A nestling comfortably into a signature Fatso Jetson groove; part surf rockabilly, part punk, smoothly toned and loosely exploratory, finding the place where solid ground and psychedelia meet. On the subsequent “Angels Flight,” they bring in vocalist Sean Wheeler (also Throw Rag and a regular with The Rubber Snake Charmers) to join Mario on vocals, but the hypnotic and immersive effect of “Night of the Living Amends” remains even as the first verse starts. Almost before you realize it, they’ve pulled you into the proceedings with them and are underway.

fatso jetson

Dali's Llama

“Angels Flight” feels like a semi-revisit to/fleshing-out-of a progression from “Jolting Tales of Tension” off of 2010’s Archaic Volumes (review here, discussed here), with lyrics from Wheeler overlaid and pedal steel from Gar Robertson for a differentiated wistfulness. Gentle in its delivery compared to some of the band’s output, it’s a highlight melody for Legends of the Desert Vol. 3 and precedes the forward shove of Tornay‘s kick drum on “Todas Petrol Blues,” another smoothly executed instrumental picking up from its fading-in guitars with a burst of energy sustained through a winding sans-vocal chorus and rumbling to a finish before the three-minute “One of Seven” digs into a more traditional hook, the mellow verse giving over to the rousingly catchy lines “One of seven days/I let the hammer swing/I let the hammer swing.” If you’re thinking that’s a tune about being in a band that practices once a week, you might be onto something.

That song’s straight-ahead rocker vibe, still fleshed out with Fatso Jetson‘s interplay of guitar, gives Dali’s Llama a suitable lead-in as they launch side B with “Coyotes in the Graveyard.” Zach and Erica Huskey, Dillon and Brown set out with a fuzzy roller of a riff and Zach‘s bluesy vocal delivery, immediately set to their task of craft. Heavy and laid back in kind, “Coyotes in the Graveyard” is traditional in structure and somewhat darker in atmosphere, but that’s a wheelhouse for Dali’s Llama, and “Lizards” highlights an even thicker tone in the guitars and bass, while the chorus, “Where I’m from there are no wizards/Where I’m from there’s only lizards,” positions them decisively in the desert. They get their point across in paying homage to the landscape itself, and the line transitioning to the hook, “Here the water is the king,” seems to call back to “King Platypus” from 2008’s Full On Dunes (review here) while of course crowning another creature. Long live the lizard.

The previously-mentioned “Rarified” is next, with more of a swing amid its central chug and the start-stop riff behind the chorus before the noted banjo-inclusive break, unexpected and welcome as it is with a comparatively minimal feel during that stretch before a cymbal wash and drumroll brings a solo and chorus return that feels all the more forceful for the subdued place the song has just been. The longest inclusion on the split at 6:22, “Rarified” uses its time well, and gives over to the readily Sabbathian stonerism of “Hypnotic Wind,” with a more forward vocal from Zach and languid movement into its more open chorus. Like much of what Dali’s Llama do, it’s a manipulation of style with a solid structural foundation beneath, accounting for the doomier elements of “Coyotes in the Graveyard” and tying together their side as an EP unto itself with a late push and cowbell-on-board big rock ending.

Geography aside, what Fatso Jetson and Dali’s Llama most have in common is their lack of pretense about who they are. In a true spirit of rugged individualism, these acts of long-standing come together for Legends of the Desert Vol. 3 not necessarily to celebrate their prior accomplishments, but to demonstrate to anyone who might encounter the release the self-determined attitude that got them where they are. In a genre that is underrated as a whole, they deliver arguments in favor of this through their efforts, and like mystical tales known to a select few, their respective legends continue to grow. Maybe there are wizards out there after all.

Fatso Jetson on Facebook

Fatso Jetson on Instagram

Fatso Jetson on Bandcamp

Fatso Jetson website

Dali’s Llama on Facebook

Dali’s Llama on Bandcamp

Dali’s Llama website

Desert Records on Facebook

Desert Records on Instagram

Desert Records on Bandcamp

Desert Records store

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Desertfest Berlin 2023: Crowbar, Greenleaf, Messa, Fatso Jetson & More Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Desertfest Berlin killing with their 2033 lineup it is no real surprise, but I’ll take it, and this third announcement crosses genre bounds with the likes of Crowbar, Greenleaf, Messa, Plainride and Fatso Jetson, The Great Machine — not to be confused with The Machine, who are also pretty great — and the increasingly ubiquitous High Desert Queen, whose inevitable Spring tour announcement feels all the more immanent as time goes on. As with its London counterpart, Berlin is flagship Desertfest in Europe — what one hopes New York will become as the brand expands perhaps to other US locales, potentially even the desert for which the fest and genre are named. These are future considerations, but let it tell you something that a decade after first being established, the forward potential for Desertfest remains so vital and so much a part of what it is. Berlin fosters that hope here, which is something to appreciate on multiple levels.

Mono, Mr. Bison and Perilymph round out the round, as the PR wire confirms and assures there’s still more to come. Awesome:

Desertfest berlin 2023 square poster again



⚡️ Full Line-up:


Weekend tickets for Desertfest Berlin 2023 are on sale NOW via the link in our bio or

The new venues for the 2023 edition will be Columbiahalle and Columbia Theater Berlin (with additional outdoor space & stage).
Address: Columbiadamm 13-21, 10965 Berlin.

Desertfest Berlin May 19th – 21st 2023 will take place at Columbiahalle and Columbia Theater (with additional outdoor space & stage) this year.

Event page:

Greenleaf, “March on Higher Grounds” official video

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