Orquesta del Desierto to Release Remixed/Remastered LPs in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 18th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

There’s a lot of information here, but if you’re not already familiar with Orquesta del Desierto‘s two albums, 2002’s self-titled and 2003’s Dos, the relatively short-lived project with the duo of Dandy Brown (also Hermano, The Fizz Fuzz, solo work) and Pete Stahl (Goatsnake, earthlings?, Wool, Scream) at its core might indeed require a bit of context. Intentionally fluid in their lineup with a stylistic openness that speaks to the heart of desert-weird like Master of Reality at their most oddball or the earliest pair of Man’s Ruin-issued Desert Sessions LPs, Orquesta del Desierto pushed further into quirk and became very much the manifestation of their own niche, while incorporating personalities like Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson, Yawning Man, etc.) and Alfredo Hernandez (Kyuss, Ché, Avon, etc.) and growing willfully more open in songwriting between the first and second albums.

Adventurous as they were, both Orquesta del Desierto and Dos were rife with genre transgressions, and perhaps that’s part of what’s kept them as something of a secret for the last 20-plus years, but what ‘heavy’ and what ‘desert’ mean and include has ballooned in that same span of time, so I’ll be curious to see how both LPs are received when Heavy Psych Sounds issues newly-remixed/remastered versions in June. So far as I know they’ve both been out of print for some time — though I did find a 2023 digipak edition of Dos on the Alone Records Bandcamp page, so not by any means completely lost to the ether — and like a lot of what’s being revisited from the turn-of-the-century heavy rock movement, they’re well worth exploring again for heads old and new to their work.

The more open your mind can be in the approach, the better off you’ll be. From the PR wire:

orquesta del desierto

Cult desert rock project ORQUESTA DEL DESIERTO (w/ members of QOTSA, Kyuss, Hermano) to reissue full discography on Heavy Psych Sounds; preorders available!

European label Heavy Psych Sounds Records welcomes legendary desert rock collective Orquesta del Desierto — the Palm Desert project founded by Dandy Brown and featuring former members of Kyuss, Yawning Man, Queens of the Stone Age, Goatsnake and more — for the reissue of their “Orquesta del Desierto” and “Dos” albums in a brand new remixed/remastered version this June.

Orquesta del Desierto stands alone among the many unique bands to come out of the Mojave Desert over the last thirty years. While the desert is often associated with purveyors of down-tuned, maximum decibel rock, shortly after the new millennium began a fresh sound associated with the southern California desert was ushered in.

For fans of the band, the story of how Orquesta del Desierto came into existence has circulated through desert rock circles for decades. It is a story that actually began thousands of miles away from southern California and has its roots in a recording session that took place in the America’s Midwest. Shortly after completing the recording of Hermano’s Only a Suggestion, producer Dandy Brown accepted the invitation of legendary singer John Garcia to leave the bitter winters of northern Kentucky and to continue their collaborations in the warmer climate of the Coachella Valley.

Dandy Brown recently turned the collections over to renowned engineers Harper Hug (John Garcia, Vista Chino, Brant Bjork) and Jason Groves (Supafuzz, Asylum on the Hill, Floraburn) for complete remixes and remasters of the Orquesta del Desierto catalog for a spring reissue on HPS Records. After an extensive search to find the best home for the albums, Orquesta del Desierto is proud to have Heavy Psych Sounds Records reissue both remixed and remastered “Orquesta del Desierto” and “Dos” collections available on vinyl this June, with preorders available now at www.heavypsychsounds.com.

orquesta del desierto orquesta del desierto

“Orquesta del Desierto” reissue (remixed & remastered)
Available June 7th on Heavy Psych Sounds – PREORDER: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS308

About the album

Recorded at the Green Room Studio in Palm Springs in 2001 and released on the seminal desert rock label Meteorcity Records in 2002, the band’s debut album immediately gathered critical acclaim for its ability to forge a new dynamic in a genre that was rapidly filling with groups cloning the heavier sounds of Kyuss.

Produced by Dandy Brown. Recorded at the Green Room, Palm Springs, California. Engineered by Mike Riley. Remix and Remaster by Jason Groves at Sneak Attack Studios, Lexington, Kentucky. Design and Photography by Dawn Brown.

orquesta del desierto dos

“Dos” album reissue (remixed & remastered)
Available June 14th on Heavy Psych Sounds – PREORDER: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS309

About the album

Unable to tour as a group due to commitments to other projects but fueled by the success of the debut release, Brown immediately turned to booking another recording session for the band. Hoping to further expand the group’s dynamic sound, Brown and Stahl solicited song contributions from Mike Riley and Country Mark Engel for the second album. While the core of Brown, Stahl, Riley, Engel and Lalli remained intact for the second session, the group’s diverse approach benefitted from the addition of drummer Adam Maples (earthlings?) and percussionist/drummer Pete Davidson. Additionally, the group was joined at famed Joshua Tree studio Rancho de la Luna by pianist Tim Jones and Bill Barrett on trumpet.

Released in 2003, Dos was immediately embraced as a “… compelling fusion of Latin stylings and psychedelic-tinged blues that is a real alternative these days” (cosmiclava.com). Bolstered by similar acknowledgements and reviews of their second album, Orquesta del Desierto committed to a series of performances throughout southern California and a European tour in 2004. Joined by drummer Bryan Brown, these shows have become legendary among the fans who were able to attend the band’s only active period of live performances.

Produced by Dandy Brown. Recorded at Rancho de la Luna, Joshua Tree, California. Additional Recording at the Green Room, Palm Springs, California. Engineered by Mike Riley. Remix and Remaster by Harper Hug at Thunder Underground, Palm Springs, California. Design and Photography by Dawn Brown.

By the end of 2004, with their two releases achieving overwhelming critical success but realizing that the members of the group were spread too thin with obligations to other projects, Brown decided to disband Orquesta del Desierto. Returning to their catalog years later, though, and considering the limitations of the technology used to capture the band’s two albums, Brown turned the collections over to renowned engineers Harper Hug (John Garcia/Vista Chino/ Brant Bjork) and Jason Groves (Supafuzz/Asylum on the Hill/Floraburn) for complete remixes and remasters of the Orquesta del Desierto catalog.

Orquesta del Desierto is
Pete Stahl
Dandy Brown
Mario Lalli
Country Mark Engel
Mike Riley
Pete Davidson
Adam Maples
Alfredo Hernandez
Sean Landetta Carrillo
Bryan Brown
Tim Jones
Bill Barrett
Jackie Watson
Emiliano Hernandez


Orquesta del Desierto, Orquesta del Desierto (2002/2024)

Orquesta del Desierto, Dos (2003/2024)

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John Garcia Announces US Tour Dates; Playing SXSW This Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

John Garcia and the Band of Gold 6 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Here’s a concept that’s pretty easy to get behind: John Garcia US tour dates. Desert rock’s founding frontman will appear next weekend in Austin, Texas, at Fiesta Destructo, which I’ll just assume is part either officially or tangentially of SXSW, and in May, will start out in the Midwest on a trip bound for the Eastern Seaboard that hits up into Montreal before turning south to cap in Philly and Brooklyn.

John Garcia and his solo band were last in NYC in the latter half of 2022 for Desertfest New York (review here), and have been gigging regularly on the West Coast, which is fair enough. At the bottom of the post you can see a video taken last November, and as the press release below also reminds, Garcia will play material from across his storied career, which means Kyuss tunes along with his solo stuff, probably Hermano‘s “Kentucky” or an older track and, if you’re truly blessed, “Pilot the Dune” or “July” by Slo Burn. However it shakes out, given the catalog Garcia‘s got to draw from, you’re probably not gonna leave the venue pissed off.

Tour dates came down the PR wire, as booked by Tone Deaf Touring:

john garcia tour

🌴JOHN GARCIA (ex-KYUSS) Announces North American Tour, Performing Classics from KYUSS, SLO BURN + HERMANO

American desert rock pioneer and former KYUSS frontman JOHN GARCIA will be embarking on a North American East Coast tour this spring, in which he will be performing classic songs from some of his iconic bands – KYUSS, HERMANO + SLO BURN! GARCIA will be supported by blues-rock guitarist JARED JAMES NICHOLS, psychedelic rock duo TELEKINETC YETI, and blues rockers LEFT LANE CRUISER.

The trek will kick off on May 15 in Madison, WI and will conclude in Brooklyn, NY on May 29. The full itinerary can be found below while ticket links are available HERE: https://tonedeaftouring.com/jgkyuss

Prior to the tour, JOHN GARCIA will be performing a FREE show in Austin, TX on March 16 with support from MIDNIGHT.

JOHN GARCIA North American Tour Dates
(w/ Jared James Nichols, Telekinetic Yeti, Left Lane Cruiser):
03/16: Austin, TX @ Fiesta Destructo [FREE SHOW]*
05/15: Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
05/16: Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall [On sale Fri, 3/8 @ 10:00 A.M.]
05/17: Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall
05/21: Pittsburgh, PA @ Jergel
05/22: Detroit, MI @ Crofoot Theatre
05/23: Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
05/25: Montreal, QC @ Club Soda
05/27: Hampton Beach, NH @ Wally’s [On sale Fri, 3/8 @ 10:00 A.M.]
05/28: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer [On sale Fri, 3/8 @ 10:00 A.M.]
05/29: Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
*John Garcia w/ Midnight ONLY


John Garcia, Live at The Belasco, L.A., CA, Nov. 17, 2023

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kamil Ziólkowski of Mountain of Misery, Spaceslug, O.D.R.A., Etc.

Posted in Questionnaire on January 3rd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Kamil Ziółkowski of Mountain of Misery

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kamil Ziółkowski of Mountain of Misery, Spaceslug, O.D.R.A., Palm Desert, Etc.

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

When it comes to issues related to playing music, which is probably what the question is about, I define myself as, on the one hand, a drummer in several bands, but also a creator of music, and the creation of music, the creative process itself, is what I like the most. The symbiosis between several people functioning as a band is something wonderful and the resultant of their actions creating a common creation gives great satisfaction. The love for playing and creating music began when I was 16 years old and that’s when I started playing bass, a year later I switched to drums and it stayed that way, it’s what I identify with the most.

Describe your first musical memory.

It’s hard to single out any specific memory, music has basically always accompanied me. I was lucky that my father listened to broadly understood rock music, and this type of sounds accompanied me from childhood. Bands like Black Sabbath, TOTO, Marillion, Genesis and so on, they shaped me as a person and as a guy who would play music in the future. I started collecting music on physical media when I was 7, back then it was still cassette tapes, first it was… Roxette (!), then things like Def Leppard, and finally grunge, mainly Pearl Jam, then Soundgarden and this was the time I consider it “forming me” as a listener. I love and listen to these bands to this day.

Describe your best musical memory so far.

As a listener, it’s a concert by The Cure, which I love and was at in concert years ago. As a musician, it’s probably the entire period since 2008, when I finally managed to create good things, then the bands I was in were formed and their functioning gave me a lot of fun, I’m talking about Palm Desert and O.D.R.A, and a few years later Spaceslug appeared, the band from which I am probably best known on the broadly understood underground scene.

When was a strongly held belief tested?

You’re asking if I ever doubted playing music. If so, the years between 2006 and 2008 were such a dead period that I was seriously considering selling the drums and calling it quits. Then there was a big revival, as I mentioned above, from that moment on I can’t imagine the moment when I would stop doing it. I would feel an incredible emptiness inside myself if that happened.

Where do you think artistic progress is leading?

Progress can only be assessed from the perspective of time, 50 years ago everyone could also be surprised and announce the end of something when it turned out that progress contributed to something good. I think that artistic progress always goes in the right direction, after all, it is art, right?

How do you define success?

Success is doing something for a long time that gives you satisfaction.

If we evaluate it in hindsight and are satisfied with it, then we can say that we have achieved it.

The scale of success depends, of course, on our expectations and perspective, and is different for everyone.

Have you seen something you wish you hadn’t seen?

Yes, the internet is terrible. I won’t go into details, but I didn’t realize how far can go people to satisfy their sexual “needs” ;)

Describe something you haven’t created yet but would like to create.

Simple, something original enough to take your breath away… And on a more down-to-earth level, in strictly musical terms, I would like to create rock music supported by string instruments, specifically violins.

What do you think is the most important function of art?

Bringing beauty and happiness to everyone who wants to interact with it.

Something non-musical you’re looking forward to?

I can’t wait for my first trip to the United States in next month (January) . Although I’m going there to play a concert with Spaceslug, I also treat it as a journey to the big world, to the place from which I have drawn culture since I was a child, the world with which I was so fascinated, and finally, after many years, such an opportunity arose for the first time.




Mountain of Misery, In Roundness (2023)

Mountain of Misery, Anthem of Sadness (2023)

Spaceslug, Memorial (2021)

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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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Fatso Jetson and Dali’s Llama Pair for Legends of the Desert Vol. 3 Split

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Desert Records‘ split series Legends of the Desert has never seemed more aptly named with Fatso Jetson and Dali’s Llama on this third volume. I’ve heard none of it, but the former outfit are progenitors of the Californian desert rock style and an influence to more bands than you or I can count, and the latter are longtime practitioners of the sand-hued arts, persistently underrated in their expansion around the core desert sound and tonality to vibes bluesy, goth rocking and beyond. Both proven entities in my mind.

The label has launched a Kickstarter as of today that’s serving as preorders for the various editions to come, and below they present the respective backgrounds of the bands as probably the best case for supporting the project. Legit. There’s a video below that features new music snippets, but honestly, if you’re not already on board based on the personnel alone — both acts who’ve long since established trust and a series that’s proven its mettle across two to-date volumes — I’m not sure what to tell you. The argument makes itself.

I’ll hope to have more to come as we get closer to the release. For now, this comes from the PR wire:

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

Legends of the Desert: Vol. 3

The third volume features two old school veterans of desert rock, Fatso Jetson & Dali’s Llama. After kicking off the first two volumes with new bands, it was due time to work with veterans of the Palm Desert scene.

The artwork is done by artist Joshua Mathus of Phoenix, AZ. He is commissioned to do all the album artwork (front and back covers) for the entire series.

Fatso Jetson is an American desert rock band from Palm Desert, California, formed in 1994 by Yawning Man and The Sort of Quartet members Mario Lalli and Larry Lalli, along with Tony Tornay, and Dino Von Lalli (son of Mario). Fatso Jetson have remained an active force in underground rock for almost 25 years. They are often credited as originators of the desert strain of stoner rock made most famous by their younger neighbors Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age. While musically similar to some of their stoner brethren, Fatso Jetson incorporates a variety of musical influences that includes punk, art rock, blues and psychedelic hard rock.

Dali’s Llama is a desert rock band from the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area of Southern California. Dali’s Llama was formed in 1993 and released their first album that same year. The band, started by the husband and wife team of Zach and Erica Huskey, have remained the only two original members from the beginning. Zach is the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, and Erica is the bass player. Dali’s Llama has released 15 albums so far. Their music is in five films, including being featured in the desert rock documentary “Lo Sound Desert”. They have performed and/or toured throughout the southwestern United States, including the ‘Stoner Hands of Doom’ and ‘Doom In June’ fests.

KICKSTARTER – LEGENDS of the DESERT: Vol. 3: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/desertrecords/legends-of-the-desert-vol-3

The kickstarter campaign launches on Friday, Dec 9th…and offers 4 stunning vinyl variants. Other rewards include the “Desert Rat” guitar pedal, test pressings, custom print/poster, and vinyl bundles.

SUPPORT THIS PROJECT!!! There are many exciting rewards.

Four (4) stunning vinyl LP variants.
Test pressings of the LP
Desert Rat guitar pedal from Fowl Sounds
Custom screen-print poster 12×12
Bundles of the rewards (save $)

SIDE A: Fatso Jetson
Night of the Living Amends 4:54
Angels Flight (feat. Sean Wheeler) 4:45
Todas Petrol Blues 4:21
One of Seven 3:03

SIDE B: Dali’s Llama
Coyotes in the Graveyard 4:21
Lizards 6:09
Rarified 6:19
Hypnotic Wind 5:19

The music in the video features sound clips of 3 of the 8 songs on the album.
The first sound clip is “Coyotes in the Graveyard” by Dali’s Llama.
The second sound clip is “Angel’s Flight” (feat. Sean Wheeler) by Fatso Jetson.
The third sound clip is “Lizards” by Dali’s Llama.

This is the soundtrack to the New Wild West. The focus of the Legends of the Desert series is to provide a modern perspective to the antiquated ‘Wild West’ we have etched in our brains. These songs and tales are not told by the same ol’ perspective of the white male Cowboy. These are narratives told by those who never got their stories heard. We will hear from musicians, artists, Natives, outlaws, desert rats, desert dwellers, cactuses and mesas, ravens and roadrunners, snakes and endless skies.

The bands are curated by label owner, Brad Frye. The requirements for bands to appear on the Legends series must hit certain criteria (besides making original & amazing desert rock music. Bands must be located geographically in the American Southwest. The states within this boundary include: California (southern part), Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. The bands have to be currently active. They also are in line with the Legends series ethos of offering an updated perspecitve of Wild West. Fuck John Wayne and all the outdated Wild West bullshit that we have been fed by movies and media.

Desert Records has already released Legends of the Desert Vol: 1 & 2. Both releases were successful and were met with great excitement.




Fatso Jetson & Dali’s Llama, Legends of the Desert Vol. 3 promo

Fatso Jetson & All Souls, Virtual Volumes Split (2022)

Dali’s Llama, Dune Lung EP (2021)

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Full Album Premiere & Review: Brant Bjork, Bougainvillea Suite

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 26th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Brant bjork Bougainvillea Suite

[Click play above to stream Brant Bjork’s Bougainvillea Suite in its entirety. Album is out Friday through Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Cheers to whatever circumstances in the universe resulted in the usually-on-drums Ryan Güt getting an organ. Bougainvillea Suite is by somebody’s count the 14th studio album by Brant Bjork, and perhaps more crucially, it is the first since May 2020’s Brant Bjork (review here), an interim in which the multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and desert rock figurehead has released two long-players as guitarist/vocalist as part of the trio Stöner with fellow Kyuss alum Nick Oliveri (also Mondo GeneratorDwarves, etc.) and the aforementioned Ryan Güt (on drums) in 2021’s Stoners Rule (review here) and 2022’s Totally… (review here). Because Stöner have been touring since about three months before it was actually safe for things to open up, Bougainvillea Suite — the thorny bougainvillea vines depicted on its cover art by Bjork and Mario Lalli (Yawning ManFatso Jetson, lately of Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snakecharmers, which is basically Stöner plus himself and vocalist/performance artist Sean Wheeler) — arrives as something of a surprise.

Led off by the cool start-stop bounce of “Trip on the Wine,” finished by the jamming Bo Diddley cover “Who Do You Love” (Quicksilver Messenger Service also did a version and George Thorogood made it a radio hit), with no shortage of hooks and Bjork‘s charismatic cool laced into the masterfully fuzzed “Good Bones,” the later “Ya Dig,” and so on, Bougainvillea Suite runs eight tracks in a relatively unassuming 41 minutes, and is fairly Stöner-adjacent in terms of sound and style. Güt may be on organ and percussion instead of drumming — Bjork handles vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and other percussion; co-produced with Yosef Sanborn at The Rad Cabin in Joshua Tree — and Oliveri may be relegated to an appearance on guitar and backing vocals on the song-for-our-times, finally-someone-saying-screw-it-let’s-get-high-in-a-way-that-isn’t-somehow-fascist “Bread for Butter,” but “Good Bones” and the subsequent “So They Say” have the laid back swing and swagger that are hallmarks of Bjork‘s work over the last 20-plus years of his solo career, and are composed in such a style that it feels like they could easily have been brought to a Stöner jam and turned into that band’s songs. Ditto “Ya Dig,” which actually it wouldn’t surprise in the slightest if it turned up on a third Stöner album, even more than “Bread for Butter,” which, again, has Oliveri singing on it.

This, however, is nothing to complain about, and while I’ll recognize that ‘Hey, Brant Bjork is writing songs that sound like Brant Bjork‘ isn’t exactly universe-defining insight, there’s no question he’s got a sound. For the last two years, that’s been channeled into getting Stöner going, and Bougainvillea Suite steps aside from that, but it’s largely inarguable, and with Güt on keys, these songs make a distinct impression whether it’s in comparison to the band in which Güt and Bjork also play or Bjork‘s solo catalog as a whole (did I mention 14 albums?). The organ is right there after the first drum fill in “Trip on the Wine,” and it runs a thread through the jabby-snare verses of “Good Bones” and fills out beneath the clever lyrics and telltale wah of “So They Say” before adding to the easy-motion twist of “Broke That Spell,” no less crucial an element than the guitar itself as it plays off the central riff and, especially in the latter, takes its own casual saunter of a progression as a preface for “Who Do You Love” still to come.

Like much of what persists throughout Bougainvillea Suite, that extended closing jam isn’t necessarily new ground for Bjork in terms of aesthetic or methodology, but in context it emphasizes the masterful hand with which he is able to guide the listener through the span of a classically constructed full-length; casual, funky and cool as ever, but not at all unconsidered. Side B, accordingly, is an expansion on the moves and tones established on side A, with “Bread for Butter” both the closest Bjork comes to Stöner and the most outward in terms of social commentary, though the comment is less political — Bjork has never shied away from speaking as a person of color through his music; see 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here), among myriad other examples; there is no sense of whitewash here either — than personal, an almost aspirational reminder to keep one’s head amid the onset of the various apocalypses of the last few years.

Brant Bjork (Photo by Mario Lalli)

Sound advice, and if perhaps that same impulse is behind the willful mellowness that’s happening across Bougainvillea Suite, it would make sense, but Bjork has said that much of the ‘bittersweet’ spirit in these songs comes from his own ups and downs, and that after a stretch that might legitimately be defined as an era of his output, he’ll no longer be making records at the same studio in Joshua Tree. If “Bread for Butter” is trying to take that in stride too, well, it would be in character as well as on theme, and it works in the context of the album itself as well, since Bjork‘s laying out of options, “The Beatles or the Stones,” prefaces the bit of devil-sympathy that shows itself in the acoustic strum and hand percussion of “Let’s Forget,”  a sweet and familiar refrain about the “beauty of now” with the title-line nestled into, “please let’s forget about yesterday.”

In terms of execution, the closing duo of “Let’s Forget” and “Who Do You Love” are clearly shooting for different vibes, the former wistful, the latter a blues jam built on top of cyclical tom runs, but they both bring into emphasis how much Güt is contributing here. “Let’s Forget” is peppered with melodic notes of what might be a Rhodes or at least Rhodes-ish sounds — if you told me it was guitar I’d just throw up my hands and say whatever; there are plenty of other examples to cite throughout the record in making the same point — and while it seems to be obscured before the song is really allowed to come apart following its here’s-another-channel-of-guitar solo (no complaints), the organ in “Who Do You Love” is as essential to defining the personality there as it is to “Trip on the Wine” or “Good Bones” back at the rockers-up-front outset. He’s the secret weapon in Stöner too. Should be used to it by now. While we’re talking about it, I’ll also note that few and far between are the artists who would allow someone else to have such an impact on a ‘solo’ record, and that is something to appreciate.

There’s some amount of reassurance to Bougainvillea Suite in that it reaffirms Bjork‘s commitment to the work he does under his own name even as Stöner continues to tour and will presumably have another LP coming barring disaster — the two so far and subsequent tours seem to have been well received — and its somewhat melancholy spirit speaks both to the times and the personal landmark that it is for Bjork as an artist. In a career more than 30 years deep that has likely seen peaks and valleys enough to make the Rockies blush, the greater comfort one derives from Bougainvillea Suite is knowing that whatever comes, Bjork will figure it out, keep making music, keep going. Longevity, creativity, his own style of craft and performance have made him desert rock’s most formidable ambassador. All of these elements, and more, are present here in ready supply.

Brant Bjork on Facebook

Brant Bjork on Instagram

Brant Bjork website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Brant Bjork: New Album Bougainvillea Suite & Two Reissues Available to Preorder; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

As previously announced, Brant Bjork will release a new album this Fall. As not previously announced, the record is called Bougainvillea Suite and it’ll be out Oct. 28 along with reissues of his second and third solo releases, 2002’s Brant Bjork & The Operators and 2003’s Keep Your Cool, all three of which are available to preorder.

Also not previously unveiled: the new album artwork, the tracklisting, the pressing info, and most importantly, the new song “Trip on the Wine,” with a telltale mellow groove and melody in the vocals to go with its start-stop riff, organ backing, funktuational (that’s funky punctuation, of course) snare hits and catchy hook. There’s a fair amount of open space in the recording, but its three-minute sans-nonsense to-do is a good time and intrigues in terms of how Bjork might be using the studio this time around. Plus it’s got a song called “Ya Dig” on it and I’m interested to know if there are any other lyrics to it. If anyone could pull off an entire track of saying nothing but “ya dig,” I think we all know who that person is.

The PR wire mic dropped this in my inbox like 20 minutes ago, so have at it.

Brant bjork Bougainvillea Suite

Heavy Psych Sounds to announce BRANT BJORK new album BOUGAINVILLEA SUITE + TWO REISSUES – presale starts TODAY

Today we are stoked to start the presale of the desert rock Legend BRANT BJORK upcoming brand new album BOUGAINVILLEA SUITE and 2 REISSUES: KEEP YOUR COOL and BRANT BJORK & THE OPERATORS !!!





*** BRANT BJORK – Bougainvillea Suite ***

– BRAND NEW album of the desert rock Legend –




Trip On The Wine
Good Bones
So They Say
Broke That Spell
Bread For Butter
Ya’ Dig
Let’s Forget
Who Do You Love


Once again Brant Bjork is back with a wonderful new album “Bougainvillea Suite” !!

He’s never missed a shot in the last 20 years. His discography is connected by an imaginary line which crosses different sounds and melodies, but always with the same attitude. In the background you can imagine the Mojave desert where everything started many years ago, but his last record sounds fresh as his debut Jalamanta! Brant says about this album: “This is a bitter sweet record for me. So much change in my life. Some stuff more positive than others. But it’s always a blessing to be able to make a record and get the music out and to the fans. This is the last record to be recorded in my Joshua Tree studio. I’m saying good bye to an era and looking down the road toward new beginnings”

“Bougainvillea Suite” is composed by 8 songs. Produced by Yosef Sanborn and Brant Bjork. Recorded at The Rad Cabin, Joshua Tree, CA.

Engineered and mixed by Yosef Sanborn.


*** BRANT BJORK – And The Operators ***

– 20th Anniversary REISSUE of the BRANT BJORK sophomore album with new cover and coloured vinyls –




Hinda 65 – 5:05
Smarty Pants – 4:02
My Ghettoblaster – 4:48
Electric Lalli Land – 5:11
From The Ground Up (We Just Stay The Same) – 3:41
Cheap Wine – 4:09
Cocoa Butter – 3:13
Joey’s Radio – 4:01
Captain Lovestar – 6:33
Hinda 65 (Return Flight) – 4:57


Brant Bjork and the Operators is the second solo album by desert rocker Brant Bjork. Although titled Brant Bjork and the Operators, Bjork sings and plays most instruments on the album. He is joined by friends Mathias Schneeberger and Mario Lalli to lend guitar and vocals.

After 20 years Heavy Psych Sounds is reissuing this sweat gem with a brand new cover and new coloured vinyl versions !!!


*** BRANT BJORK – Keep Your Cool ***

– REPRESS of the BRANT BJORK legendary album with new cover and coloured vinyls –



Hey, Monkey Boy
Johnny Called
I Miss My Chick
Keep Your Cool
Gonna Make the Scene
My Soul


‘Keep Your Cool’ is the third solo album by the Kyuss- and Fu Manchu-legend, originally released back in 2003 with Duna Records. Full of the soul and funky laid-back grooves BRANT BJORK is known and loved for, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and sweet guitar licks oozing from the great 70’s era vibes, ‘Keep Your Cool’ is still considered as one of BRANT BJORK’s accessible and catchiest records to date. Tracks such as ‘Hey, Monkey Boy’, ‘Johnny Called’ or ‘Gonna Make The Scene’ became classics in the stoner rock scene, taken from an album that belongs to every well-sorted BRANT BJORK record collection.

Heavy Psych Sounds is now giving new life to this gem with a brand new cover and coloured vinyls !!



Brant Bjork, “Trip on the Wine”

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Video Interview: Nick Hannon of Sons of Alpha Centauri & Yawning Sons

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on September 3rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

sons of alpha centauri

UK four-piece Sons of Alpha Centauri are that rare band who are more comfortable outside their comfort zone. Released last week through Exile on Mainstream, their new album, Push, sees the Swale-based outfit’s to-this-point-instrumental approach cast off in favor of working with San Diego-based vocalist Jonah Matranga, whose career spans three decades in bands like Far and Onelinedrawing in the vast realm of post-hardcore and emo/indie. They also, as founding bassist Nick Hannon describes in the interview below, saw drummer Stevie B. decide to sit out the record owing to creative differences on the direction of the songs, which are weighted but indeed in more of a post-hardcore vein, certainly than the band’s 2019 Buried Memories (review here) 12″ EP/remix (which found the band collaborating with Justin Broadrick of Jesu/Godflesh) or the prior 2018 album, Continuum (review here), let alone their 2008 self-titled debut or work alongside Karma to Burn (discussed here) and Treasure Cat and their eventual collaboration with guitarist Will Mecum (R.I.P. 2021) in Alpha Cat, or their work alongside Yawning Man guitarist Gary Arce as Yawning Sons, who earlier this year issued an awaited sophomore full-length, Sky Island (review here), through Ripple Music in answer to that project’s 2009 debut, Ceremony to the Sunset (review here, reissue review here). It is, as Hannon tells it, a manifestation of another part of what makes Sons of Alpha Centauri the band they are.

Sitting in with Hannon, founding guitarist Marlon King, singly-named soundscaper Blake and Matranga is drummer Mitch Wheeler, who has been in Will Haven for the better part of 20 years and also played with The Abominable Iron Sloth. Together, sons of alpha centauri pushthis incarnation of Sons of Alpha Centauri — and it’s worth underscoring the choice to release Push under their own name in terms of how they’re thinking about it stemming from their own earliest ’90s influences — offer nine tracks of crunch riffs that still bear a hallmark atmosphere drawn from their prior work on songs like “Saturn” or maybe the lumbering closer “Own,” but are simply in another direction from what one might’ve expected them to do after Buried Memories or Continuum. I’m sure they could have and may yet produce another LP of instrumental atmospheric and exploratory heavy progressive rock, but as is noted in the conversation that follows, they don’t make it easy on themselves. Whether it’s reconstructing the band and a significant portion of their methodology for Push or the logistical nightmare of bringing in guest vocalists like Dandy BrownWendy Rae FowlerScott Reeder and Mario Lalli to perform on Yawning Sons tracks when Marlon King both can (and does!) sing on the second record, the Sons of Alpha Centauri guys don’t really seem to be into an idea if they can’t somehow make it what at very least seems like it would be a pain in their own ass.

If it needs to be said I’ll be blunt in saying it: Push isn’t really my thing. It’s not where I come from musically, I’ve never been a huge fan of Matranga‘s vocal style. I do, however, deeply admire the band’s willingness to completely throw a wrench in the gears of expectation, to be honest about their own sonic origins, and to realize those in the way they do throughout the songs. One way or the other, this was an album I wanted to talk about, and while we’re telling truths, Hannon and I have been talking for most of this year about setting up a video chat, first for Yawning Sons and then as we got closer to the announcement for the new Sons of Alpha Centauri as well. The unexpected and tragic April 29 passing of the aforementioned Will Mecum provided a third major topic of discussion, as Hannon pays homage to someone who was obviously a close friend over many years. As he tells it, Mecum gifted him with the statue that appeared on the self-titled Karma to Burn album cover. It’s true. I’ve seen a picture to prove it, and hearing Hannon talk about what that record has meant to him over time and how Mecum‘s gonna-do-what-I-want-no-matter-what attitude toward creativity has influenced Sons of Alpha Centauri gives another context in which to engage with Push and the band’s work in general, their openness to collaboration with artists they admire, and their efforts in doing what it takes to make that happen.

Long in the making, this was a good talk, and I thank Hannon for taking the time.

Please enjoy:

Sons of Alpha Centauri & Yawning Sons Interview with Nick Hannon, Aug. 26, 2021

Sons of Alpha Centauri‘s Push and Yawning SonsSky Island are both out now through Exile on Mainstream and Ripple Music, respectively. More info at the links.

Sons of Alpha Centauri, Push (2021)

Yawning Sons, Sky Island (2021)

Sons of Alpha Centauri on Facebook

Sons of Alpha Centauri on Bandcamp

Sons of Alpha Centauri website

Exile on Mainstream Records website

Yawning Sons on Facebook

Yawning Sons on Bandcamp

Yawning Sons website

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Facebook

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