Review: Various Artists, Live in the Mojave Desert, Vols. 1-5

Posted in Reviews on April 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

live in the mojave desert 1-5

Late in 2020, when the project was announced, If you have doubt about http://ppvmedien.de/?health-and-social-care-coursework-help online, When buying the essay from an essay writing service, you are guaranteed: disclosure of any Live in the Mojave Desert sounded immediately ambitious. A series of five exclusive streams, taking bands and putting them out in the Californian deserts, with civilization somewhat visible from the aerial drone shots, but definitely far enough away to have been left behind, to record live sets by Giant Rock (see also: 0 reviews for http://www.klausen.de/?help-with-writing-an-evaluation-essay Read real customer ratings and reviews or write your own. Yawning Man, Wright My Term Paper - Reliable Term Paper Writing and Editing Help - Order Online Essays, Term Papers, Reports and Theses With Discounts High-Quality Term. End of your doctoral degree program with success. 30 Days Money Back. Now, you can 'buy' a PhD thesis for Rs 55000 in Delhi - The shopkeepers claim that faculty from reputed institutes like JNU and DU is hired to. So, feel free to buy essays Live at Giant Rock, the video/LP something of a precursor) and be captured doing so by professional audio and video. The series was successfully pulled off, which was impressive in itself, and it set a standard for heavy acts in this era of streaming that few could hope to match. The intention was concert-film, and the results were likewise.

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A rundown:

Earthless, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 1

earthless live in the mojave desert
(stream review here)

The crazy thing about this series — or one of the crazy things, anyhow — is that if it had been just¬† Help in planning for creative writing portfolio in Australia Business assignment help have too many assignments to be submitted at a time. Even have many Earthless, that probably would’ve been enough to be staggering. Admittedly, it is difficult to hear the audio from bassist¬† Detailed reviews and rankings of Read More Here services from students and experts. See top rated services to make the best choice for your essay writing! Mike Eginton, drummer¬† Mario Rubalcaba and the aforementioned¬†Isaiah Mitchell and not think of the desert at night being lit up by the¬†Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show, drones flying overhead as trippy lights flash and shift with the music, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.¬†Earthless¬†played three songs — “Violence of the Red Sea,” “Sonic Prayer” and “Lost in the Cold Sun” — and that’s enough to make their release the only 2LP of the¬†Live in the Mojave Desert¬†set, topping out at about 77 minutes, with the entirety of sides C and D dedicated to “Lost in the Cold Sun”‘s 39-minute sprawl.

There’s a reason¬†Earthless were the headliners for this thing, and it’s because there’s no one else who has the same instrumental dynamic they bring to the stage — or sand, as it were — and because if you’re going for “epic” as a standard, they’re the band you call. Will¬†Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 1 replace¬†Live at Roadburn 2008¬†(discussed here) as the band’s supreme live-recorded statement? I don’t know, but it sure sounds incredible. “Sonic Prayer” comes through with due sense of worship and “Lost in the Cold Sun” fuzzy grace feels like the kind of thing a future generation might think of as classic rock. Watching, it was easy to get lost in the show, follow the head-spinning turns of guitar atop the ultra-sure foundation of bass and drums, and listening, it’s the same. With an exquisite mix and a vital performance, it’s every bit the best-case-scenario for what¬†Live in the Mojave Desert could and should be.

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Nebula, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 2

nebula live in the mojave desert
(stream review here)

With Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 2, I consider Nebula‘s comeback complete. The band reformed in 2017, hit the road hard, and in 2019 offered up the return studio full-length, Holy Shit! (review here), and toured again for as long as that option was available. They have new material in the works too, and what’s most striking about the trio’s performance the 10-song/48-minute set here is how characteristic it sounds. Drummer Mike Amster (also¬†Mondo Generator, etc.) and bassist¬†Tom Davies strap the listener down while founding guitarist/vocalist¬†Eddie Glass takes off to the center of the universe, and amid classics like that opener,¬†Holy Shit!¬†cuts like “Messiah,” “Let’s Get Lost,” “Man’s Best Friend” and the new song “Wall of Confusion” fit right in. There’s never a doubt, never a question of who you’re hearing. Even the sloppiest moments are pure¬†Nebula.

That’s what they’ve always been — part punk, part heavy psych, part pure go — and¬†Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 2¬†brings that to bear without question. As a follow-up to¬†Holy Shit!¬†as well as the band’s second sanctioned live recording behind 2008’s¬†Peel Session, it captures their inimitable sonic persona and the sense of chaos that their material always seems to carry, like it’s all about to come apart at any second and if it did, fuck it anyway, you’re the one with the problem. It never does come apart here, which I guess is to the band’s credit as well, but this set is nonetheless a full expression of who¬†Nebula are as a group. Now get to work on that next record.

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Spirit Mother, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 3

spirit mother live in the mojave desert

(stream review here)

If one might think of including Spirit Mother in the series as a risk, the risk was mild at best, and as the first of two bands representing a next generation of California’s heavy underground, the Long Beach troupe more than acquitted themselves well in their relatively brief 10-song/33-minute showing.¬†Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 3¬†basks in the violin-conjured atmospheres of the four-piece’s debut album,¬†Cadets (review here), and wants nothing for impact to complement that ethereal sensibility. Their songs are short, and that gives them a kind of proto-grunge edge, and the vocals of bassist¬†Armand Lance, who shares those duties with violinist¬†SJ, add drug-punkish urgency to the procession of one song into the next.

For a band coming off their first album, they are intricate in aesthetic in ways that might surprise new listeners, and that’s exactly why they feature behind¬†Nebula¬†in this series. Hearing them dig into “Black Sheep” and “Martyrs” and “Dead Cells” on¬†Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 3¬†is the best argument I can think of in favor of signing the band for their next studio release, and if¬†Heavy Psych Sounds¬†doesn’t, someone else surely will. Not trying to tell anyone their business, of course, but¬†Spirit Mother¬†are happening one way or another. That combination of air, earth, and fuzz is too good to leave out.

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Stöner, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 4

Stöner live in the mojave desert

(stream review here)

Aired fifth but billed almost inevitably as¬†Vol. 4, the unveiling of St√∂ner, the new trio from Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri with Ryan Gut (also of the former’s solo band) on drums was a bonus to the¬†Live in the Mojave Desert. On-again-off-again collaborators across decades,¬†Bjork¬†and¬†Oliveri nestled into mostly laid-back, stripped down grooves, their stated purpose in going back to the roots of the sound they helped create in the first place. The¬†Kyuss-ness of the central riff of opener “Rad Stays Rad” is no less demonstration of their having done so than the driving punk of the¬†Oliveri-fronted “Evel Never Dies.” The vibe is nostalgic in that song, as well as “Rad Stays Rad,” the gleefully funked “Stand Down,” and “The Older Kids,” but if St√∂ner¬†is about looking back at this point, they’re doing so with fresh eyes.

To wit, “Own Yer Blues,” “Nothin’,” and the 13-minute mint-jam finale “Tribe/Fly Girl” are more endemic of who these players have become than who they were in the early ’90s or before, and that applies to “Stand Down” too.¬†Bjork‘s vocals sound double-tracked on some of the parts (or at least close delay), but he and Oliveri work well together as one would expect, and as a reveal for what these guys had come up with in renewing their collaboration,¬†Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 4¬†offers seven memorable songs that would make anything more seem unnecessarily fancied up. If their calling card is that rad stays rad, they prove it. And I know he’s not the top bill in the trio with Bjork‘s flow and Oliveri‘s bass tone, but¬†Gut‘s contributions here aren’t to be understated.

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Mountain Tamer, Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 5

mountain tamer live in the mojave desert

(stream review here)

Second only to St√∂ner in curiosity factor, L.A. trio Mountain Tamer have always held a darker edge in their sound, and that comes through in the brash 36 minutes, shouts and screams echoing out over fuzzed garage metal in a fuckall that’s punk in attitude but angrier in its underlying core. Guitarist/vocalist¬†Andrew Hall, bassist¬†Dave Teget and drummer Casey Garcia are the kind of band who open the show and sell the most merch when they’re done. The elements they’re working with are familiar and have been all along in their decade together and across their three LPs — the latest of them, 2020‚Äôs¬†Psychosis Ritual¬†(review here), was released by¬†Heavy Psych Sounds — but more even than in their studio work,¬†Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 5¬†brought to light just how much their own their sound really is.

Whether languid as in “Chained” or “Black Noise” or furious as in “Warlock” and “Living in Vain,”¬†Mountain Tamer give¬†Nebula a run for their money in terms of chaos, and easily make for the most pissed off listen of the bunch in¬†Live in the Mojave Desert. The relative roughness of their edge suits them, however, and the rampant echo on the guitar assures there’s still a spacious sound to act as counterbalance to all that thrashing and gnashing. If you can call it balance, I don’t know, but it works for them and they wield their sound as knife more than bludgeon when it comes to it.

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Stream Review: St√∂ner, ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’

Posted in Reviews on March 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Stöner

And just like that, the ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ stream series comes to its apparent conclusion, with the reveal of¬†St√∂ner, a new project that brings together¬†guitarist/vocalist Brant Bjork, bassist/vocalist¬†Nick Oliveri and drummer¬†Ryan Gut. There was no interview in the preceding ‘Couchlock and Rock’ segment, but clips of prior editions from¬†Earthless (review here),¬†Mountain Tamer (review here),¬†Nebula (review here) and¬†Spirit Mother (review here) came across with plugs for impending live-album vinyls and videos followed presumably out of the TubeVision archive of¬†Brant Bjork and the Bros.¬†from 2004 and¬†Oliveri‘s long-running outfit¬†Mondo Generator — which in the shown 2003 incarnation had¬†Bjork on drums and¬†Oliveri‘s fellow¬†Queens of the Stone Age¬†alum¬†Dave Catching on guitar. Not too shabby.

However, the main event was, of course, the main event. Duly dramatic footage of Oliveri, Bjork and Gut walking up to the spot led in, and a quick glance at some lyrics in with the setlist on a clipboard offered a subtle reminder of just how new this outfit is. Over the next 40-plus minutes of playing, Stöner established a feel that was at once familiar and fresh. In our interview last week, Bjork spoke about how the central idea of the project was to strip away any sense of expectation or idea of what it should be, just to go back to the roots of where they started and have fun playing together. Fair enough.

St√∂ner¬†set about delivering on that promise quickly. Their opener, “Rad Stays Rad” — with its hook of “Shit don’t change/Rad stays rad” — might as well be their mission statement, and if they don’t call their eventual studio LP¬†The Birth of Rad, I’ll be a little bummed out. The first lines of the song are a¬†Ramones reference and they’re set to a riff that wouldn’t at all have been out of place coming from¬†Blues for the Red Sun era¬†Kyuss. Locked in that they-made-it-look-simple but still urgent groove, and as much as the songs were new, the parts that made them up were about classic as desert rock gets. That “Rad Stays Rad” was presented in a kind of high-contrast sepia only enhanced that feel.

Room for jams? Oh, most certainly. “Rad Stays Rad” stretched out a bit with Bjork‘s solo section and thereby revealed a little more of St√∂ner‘s dynamic at this early stage.¬†Oliveri and¬†Bjork go way back, to before¬†Kyuss was¬†Kyuss. Let’s call it 35 years, give or take. And¬†Gut is the drummer in¬†Bjork‘s solo band, so they’re plenty familiar with each other from touring together as well. So the¬†new creative relationship in the trio is between¬†Oliveri and¬†Gut, and there were moments in the set — not so much “Rad Stays Rad” or the similarly riffed and well-hooked “The Older Kids,” but later on — where both would watch¬†Bjork for the lead. There wasn’t a stumble from what I could tell watching/listening, and they were as tight as they wanted to be, it was just something you could see a couple times that subtly tipping off the fact that this band hasn’t toured yet. Blah blah circumstances blah blah.

Oliveri took lead vocals for “Evel Never Dies,” a punkier shout with the delivery he’s settled into that’s not quite a scream but not quite sung either. Like “Rad Stays Rad” and “The Older Kids,” there was a sense of nostalgia to the theme, the title of course nodding both at “evil” never dying and daredevil Evel Knievel.¬†Gut took the change in purpose and forward momentum in stride — he’s the secret weapon here; even a change in how hard he hits the snare does much to affect the vibe of a given song — and St√∂ner slid easily into the more propulsive cut, the sun setting around them casting shadows from the joshua trees.

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They returned to the mid-tempo push with the shorter-seeming “Nothin'” and the sky turned duly purple for that and the subsequent “Own Yer Blues,” slower, more languid in the laid-back-heavy tradition of¬†Bjork‘s solo work, but with a chorus worthy of being the first impression the band made (and it was; a video premiered for it ahead of the stream that you can see below). The chorus, “By afternoon you own yer blues,” took a similar perspective as “Rad Stays Rad” and “The Older Kids”; a mature voice speaking from a place of experience, sort of looking back but not in a way that’s trying to retro-fy or capture something lost. Some more guttural delivery from¬†Bjork at the end of the track underscored the point, and though sometimes watching¬†Oliveri play a mellower song is like waiting for a cannon to go off, he nailed it. Dude’s reputation precedes him — blah blah shotgun standoff blah blah¬†Cocaine Rodeo — but he’s the guy for the job, no question.

“Stand Down” and “Tribe/Flygirl” followed. Nighttime. Drones buzzing around dark rocks, dark yellow light. Too cool. You got your dose of funk in “Stand Down” to pick up the tempo from “Own Yer Blues” and “Tribe/Flygirl” brought the St√∂ner¬†jam in fashion that earned the umlaut. Call it mood, or vibe, or whatever you want, but you’d be lucky to get those three in order on side B to close out the record as they happened in the set — well, I guess they will on the live album. In any case, it was right there in those three later pieces that¬†Bjork,¬†Oliveri and¬†Gut seemed most locked in. They’d got through the rock, through the punk and into the headier, stonier fare, and it showed how far out they’re ready to go, even as a brand new band. By the time they brought it down and¬†Oliveri¬†hit the last bass rumble to cap the performance, there was little else to say but “fucking right on.” Coming from anyone else, you would say St√∂ner just sounds like someone pretending they’re these guys. Coming from them, you can only call it honest.

This was ‘Vol. 4’ of ‘Live in the Mojave Desert,’ despite airing after ‘Vol. 5,’ which featured¬†Mountain Tamer. With continued producing/directing by project-creator Ryan Jones, filming by¬†Spearhead Media, audio by¬†Dan Joeright at¬†Gatos Trail¬†Recording Studio in Joshua Tree and a mix/master by¬†Matt Lynch (also of¬†Snail) at¬†Mysterious Mammal¬†in L.A., it was a duly rousing finish. An ongoing business dispute between¬†Jones and¬†Bjork gave the viewing a bittersweet edge, but there was no denying that in this showcase as well as in the other ‘episodes,’ they found their Pompeii out in the desert. Whatever happens with the world outside, with tours being booked again and venues maybe surviving the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’d be lucky to get ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ season two. Until then, we own our blues.

St√∂ner, “Own Yer Blues” from ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’

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