Sunday 29 November 2015


Burn The Insects, a father and son duo from Arizona may have made one of the most diverse albums ever to have graced the desert/stoner scene with their full length release "Droid Intelligence" (released on Twin Earth Records).
The pairing of Mitchell French (bass) and Lucust French (vocals. drums and guitar) have somehow managed to take a mix of desert fuzz and stoner grit and blended it with elements of psych, space,shoegaze and grunge/alt atmospherics that has resulted in a totally unique and exciting sound.

"Hydroponics" kicks off  the album with a fuzz drenched circular guitar riff pushed hard by a frenetic display of drumming and deep pulverising bass work which is then joined by the vocals. Here is where the first surprise comes in, instead of the stoner roar you might be expecting, given the heavy groove being laid down, what you get is quite melodic almost shoegaze/indie in tone. The second surprise is the way these tones fit hand in glove with the wall of fuzz and distortion they sit in front of!
"Concrete Pillow (Pretty Comfortable)" explodes next from the speakers its bass heavy riff circling around and around like a predatory eagle seeking prey. The vocals here take on an almost Alice In Chains feel, the (I assume) double tracking of Lucust French's voice bringing memories of Cantrell and Staley at their finest, giving the tune an almost ethereal feel, a titanic feat given the heaviness of the songs groove.
"A Dinner With Fontaine (Darkest Wheel)" hits the deck running with a Kyuss-like desert groove that then shifts down a gear mid section taking on an almost, but not quite, Colour Haze/Causa Sui vibe only to shift up again to take it to the fade.
The next two tracks "Distorted Seclusion"  and "Through The Fog" slow things down a little but lose none of the intensity of the previous tracks. The former is an infectious groove machine with Mitchell French's bass dominating the proceedings with his heavily distorted riff and the latter being a glorious mix of fuzzy atmospherics and vocal melodies.
"Slow Cooking" once again nods its head towards AIC but adds a little prog-ish complexity to the mix by including a few abrupt time changes to the groove. Its a little disjointed in places but is saved by Lucust French's superb vocal and the quality of the duo's musicianship.
The first thing that came to my mind when first hearing "An Insignificant Planet of Yellow" was fabled, made for tv, 60's beat band The Monkees,  I know its a bit weird but something about the vocal melody and its almost pop sensibilities reminded me of those cheeky moptops, albeit with a lot of fuzzy bass and guitar and a harder rhythms on top.
" A Perscription To Burn" stays in the commercial arena with the band hitting on a stuttering groove over which Lucust French delivers a superb vocal. In a live arena this would be a moshpit favourite!
The album comes to a close with a ripper of a tune in "A Swarm Of Bees" a balls to the wall rock monster that takes off at 100mph and doesn't slow down until the final note. Mitchell French's bass laying a rumbling bedrock for Lucust French to add touches of screaming, buzzing guitar to. Short, sharp and totally addictive it ends "Droid Intelligence" with an almighty bang!

Droid Intelligence is an album you need to hear, an album you need to own and an album you WILL love! Check 'it out....

Thursday 26 November 2015


  Another day and another female fronted band!
Through The Stone are a hot new band hailing from Nebraska and made up of four members... Kate Prokop (vocals), Tanner Ashland (guitar), Toby Wandel (bass) and Wes Graffius (drums). The band have been around in one form or another since 2007 and this year the band entered into the studio and emerged with nine songs of incendiary heavy rock mixed with elements of metal. blues, stoner and psych.

Through The Stone (the album) begins with a short seventeen second burst of controlled feedback before exploding into first track proper "Blind Psyche" a storming blend of old school hard rock and bluesy stoner propelled by stunning ballsy vocals and steered by thunderous rhythms and riffs.
This mix of genres is repeated throughout the albums nine tracks with Prokop's voice supplying a myriad of differing tones and dynamics over the top of a smorgasbord of metal and rock grooves ably metered out by the trio of Ashland, Wandel and Graffius, the guitarist delivering riffs and solos of superb quality and the bassist and drummer supplying an endless stream of  solid beats and pulses. A strong NWOHM vibe runs through this album especially on tracks like "Junkie" and "Blood For Crowns" with their galloping bass lines and musical complexity but tracks like "Decisions, Decisions" and "Buried" show the band can mix it up if they need to. The former is a hard rock blues-rock romp that sees Ashland juggling a little neo-classical shred with pentatonic blues in his solos and the latter an almost epic doom torch song that sees Prokop give a vocal performance that is beyond belief, her voice powerful and strong one minute, delicate and fragile the next.
The album finishes with a folk ballad "Lullaby" a solo vocal from Prokop, that although at odds with the sonic bluster of the rest of the album shows that this band are not just about the riff!
If you can imagine Iron Maiden fronted by a singer with the bluesy power of Janis Joplin blended with the folky finesse of Sandy Denny and you like what your hearing then you gotta check out Through The Stone!

Sunday 22 November 2015

OAK....... Debut EP review

British stoner bands are a little too thin on the ground for my liking, yes the UK can boast that we spawned the mighty Orange Goblin but you would be hard pressed to name many others. We do however have a few bubbling just under the radar and here I am thinking of Essex punk stoners Whoremoan and Welsh bong wizards Dope Smoker. A new band to add to that list is London quartet OAK who have just released their self titled debut EP via Bandcamp.

OAK are not a band to break the listener in gently, no this band go for the throat right from the off with opener "All Above". Starting with a guitar feeding back against a wall of droning fuzz, a thick gravelled howl then rips the air, a signal for the rest of the band to join the fray grooving on a mix of raw edged stoner and  funky psych  all coated with raw edged vocals and peppered with incendiary guitar work. It is a perfect opener and sets the stage for the rest of the EP.
Vocals throughout the EP's  four songs are supplied by Andrew Wisbey his voice a mixture of stoner/sludge roar and southern throaty bellow, infusing the lyrics with powerful and distinctive tones. Behind him the boiler room of Scott Mason (bass) and Rob Emms (drums) supply a wall of rhythmic pulses and beats, solid and locked in tight, driving the music along in a whirlwind of skins and strings. Guitarist Kevin Germain adds to this an arsenal of riffs and licks his wah drenched solo's soaring above and around the grooves and vocals laid down by his fellow members.
Whether getting down and funky ("Queen of This Land") or laying down some doomy sludge atmospheric blues ("Ride With Me") the band never allow the intensity of their sonic attack to drop below eleven. This intensity is ramped up to twelve on closer "Dissolve" a track that sees the funk and rock of the previous tracks taken to another level with Mason ,Emms and Germain laying down a deliciously addictive groove of riffs, rhythms and bass over which Wisbey growls, roars and croons in his distinctive and delightfully unique style.
I have to admit I did not "get it" when first listening to this EP but something about what I was hearing made me hit the replay button and I listened again and then later again,on my third listen I was hooked!
If like me you don't gell with this straight away, I urge you to give it another go, some things you need to live with a while before you truly appreciate them.

Friday 20 November 2015

THE ROAD MILES ~ GOLD AND SHADOWS........ album review

Two things you may have noticed when going through the entries I have posted on Desert Psychlist are my love of the female voice and the respect and admiration I have for music coming from the Greek "underground" scene! So imagine how stoked I was on discovering "Gold and Shadows" the debut album from the Road Miles..... Not only do the band hail from Greece but they are fronted by sublime female vocals, it's a win ,win for me!

"Demons" kicks off "Gold and Shadows"with a deeply atmospheric gothic blues that sees the bands two guitarists Georgie and Mike weaving a glorious tapestry of slides. licks and arpeggios around a backdrop of lightly brushed percussion and tastefully placed bass lines perfectly executed by the engine room of Argyris (drums) and Yannis (bass). Over this moody backdrop vocalist Afroditi lays her vocals, low, smokey and dare I say it sexy she coats the music with a dark delicious warmth of tone and quiet power. The combination of all of the above coupled with the fact that this was recorded "live" in the studio makes this one stunning performance.
"Crossroads" employs the same bluesy grooves but this time the dynamic is slightly more upbeat with the drums laying down some slightly celtic/tribal beats. The song references the crossroads that blues legend Robert Johnson is alleged to have met the devil and sold his soul for unbelievable talent and fame. Afroditi delivers the lines " Road worn suit, wicked smile, Papa stay by my side" slightly monotone thus giving the song a feeling of weary despair and resignation. After the vocals the song then shifts up another gear with the band grooving on a riff that then shifts again only this time into a more psychedelic area with the guitars trading solos and licks and the bass laying down some utterly delicious lines and runs.
"Story's Over" has a kind of Portishead feel in its early stages with heavily effected guitars and jazzy drumming setting a mood for Afroditi to croon an almost mantra type vocal over. Things change at the 1:56 mark when the band move into a more stoner/occult rock groove, the drums, bass and guitars laying down a solid wall of riffs, rhythms and solo's over which the singer repeats the lines "Your own self destruction, Imprisoned to attraction"
"Hey Ma" finds the band heading into stoner blues territory with a stop start riff that has more than a whiff of Jimmy Page about it. At 3:38 it is short sharp and to the point and very good.
"William Blake" closes the album with what is I assume an ode to William Blake the British poet/artist ( I could be very wrong here). Sonically sat within the occult genre yet still holding onto the reigns of the gothic blues horse they rode in on the band take the song on a series of journey's and moods with moments of psych ambience sitting side by side with gritty gnarly stoner/hard rock. It is at times heady psych, at times gnarly stoner/occult but at all times stunningly brilliant!

The band describe themselves as a southern gothic blues band  and the "gothic" tag may put some people off, don't let it! These are some seriously good tunes no matter how you tag them.

CHERRY GRIND ~ A ROOM WITH A VIEW.......album review.

Australia is fast becoming another of those countries that can be relied on for producing good quality  music especially when it comes to the alternative and underground rock scene. Although not yet quite up there with Sweden and Greece there does seem to be, apart from saltwater crocs, sharks and box jellyfish, something in the water down there.

Cherry Grind hail from Adelaide and are a four piece hard rock band consisting of Sam Patsouris-Vocals, Guitar, Peter Cerlienco-Vocals, Bass, Jack Stevenson-Lead Guitar, Vocals and Zach West-Drums. Having teased us with two tracks of excellent groove laden hard rock'n'roll in 2014 the band have now delivered on the promise those two tracks held by releasing their first full length album "A Room With A View"

Mention the words hard rock and Australia in the same sentence and the first thing that will come to most peoples minds will be AC/DC, maybe Airbourne or for those more up on the Australian hard rock scene... Electric Mary. Well although there are elements of all those bands within the grooves of "A Room With a View" the vibe I get more than any other is that of British band Rainbow. When I say Rainbow I don't mean the dungeons and dragons era of  Ronnie James Dio I mean the Graham Bonnett, Joe Lynn Turner years when the band shifted from 70's heavy rock to a more commercial  melodic sound. It is no surprise to then find that the man Cherry Grind chose to oversee the production of their first album is ex Rainbow and Ozzy bassist Bob Daisley!
" A Room With A View" manages to find a balance between melody and mayhem that will please those that like their rock "classic" and classy and those that like a little grit in their grooves. Songs like "No One Home", "The Gap" and "Tombstone" bump and grind with the best of 'em but are infused with superb lead and harmonised vocals and are both catchy and kick -ass in equal measure. If you want down and dirty rock'n'roll then "Turn'n'Burn" and "The Fool" fit the bill nicely with chugging riffs, throaty lead vocals and soaring lead guitar work underpinned with solid rhythms.. Elsewhere "Sunlight" delivers the obligatory ballad and avoids cheesiness with the power of its performances. "She's Moving" closes the album with a slightly southern country rock groove that, to these ears, has a touch of Bad Company meets Jo Jo Gunne vibe going on, gloriously groovy and totally addictive.
If you like late 70's melodic rock full of hooks and melodies but still hanker for the grit of the earlier period of that decade than you can not go far wrong if you decide to give these guys a listen, I don't think you will be disappointed!

Friday 13 November 2015


One thing that we never, ever talk about in the "underground" rock scene is dancing!!!!! It's ok to vigorously  nod your head, form a circle and slam into your neighbours or leap up and down flicking the devil's horns but when it comes to busting a few shapes's a no no.
 Endless Taile disagree and have released their second EP "Telemetry" consisting of four songs that will not only have you tapping your feet but sliding and spinning on them too!

"Telemetry" begins with "In Everything" a barnstorming mix of stoner and psych married to a funky undercurrent that lyrically extols the joys of music and its part "in everything". Vocalist and bassist Dusty Tru wails above a backdrop of funky, yet rocking, rhythms and incendiary guitar solos, his voice powerful and soulful, his bass low and sassy.
"Don't Cha Wanna" swings by next with guitarist Jake McAteer laying down a deeply addictive guitar lick against some solid rhythm work from Tru and drummer Zach McAteer. Tru's voice again is superb here and is ably backed up vocally by the two brothers, the three voices coming together in perfect harmony between chorus and verse. Jake McAteer also lays down a sweet guitar solo before the songs conclusion that swaps flash and indulgent for tasteful and retrained with perfect note selection and a ton of feel.
"Sweet Marmalade" strays into Humble Pie territory with the trio hitting on a slightly bluesy soul groove that sees Tru doing his best Steve Marriott impersonation over an impossibly groovy backdrop. Zach McAteer keeps the song grounded with some incredible funky percussion and locks into a tight groove with Dusty Tru's  gnarly bass, allowing Jake McAteer free reign to riff, solo and add little touches of colour and texture to what is an already heady and wonderfully delicious mix.
"Lazer Face" closes "Telemetry" with a spacey romp that sees the vocals take on a more psych/shoegaze dynamic. The band here hit a groove that is more akin to Canada's Quest For Fire than the aforementioned Humble Pie and it is a groove that sees Tru and the McAteer brothers flexing their musical muscles slightly outside of the funky soul rock of the previous three tracks and instead going for a more straight stoner/psych approach. It does stand slightly apart from the rest of the EP but shows that these guys have more than one string to their bow and that whenever/if these guys get round to releasing a full album things could get very interesting indeed.

Check it out here... oh and pull the blinds/curtains, you wouldn't want to be caught DANCING!!!

Friday 6 November 2015

LYSETTE ~ LYSETTE.... debut album review

The beauty of the "underground" scene is it's globalization, the internet has given the rock listener unlimited access to music from all over the world via sites like Bandcamp, I-tunes, Spotify etc. meaning we are no longer just restricted to what the big hitters are releasing in the USA and  the UK. These days you are just as likely to be grooving along to something from the Far East as you are from the America's and thanks to this breaking down of the international musical borders I am now listening to an album from a Slovakian band called Lysette!

Lysette hail from Bratislava, Slovakia and are a quartet comprising of Roman Barkovci (guitar/voclas), Veronika Procklová (vocals), Igor Kuličenko (bass) and Thom Corbeaux (drums) who specialise in doom/occult grooves spliced with elements of grunge and sludge/stoner grit all of which can be heard on the bands self titled album "Lysette".

The album begins with a short intro cleverly titled "Intro" a bass heavy sludge workout that then segues into second track " Torn"
"Torn" introduces the voice of Veronika Procklová for the first time, her slightly accented delivery a sweet contrast against the hornets nest stirred up by the band behind her. Barkovci joins her vocally for the second half of the song his clean voice harmonising behind Procklová at first but going full sludge roar for the songs darker last quarter, the contrast between the two voices giving the song a nice feeling of light and shade,
"The House Of Low Culture" starts with a gentle guitar arpeggio over which Procklová' lays a powerful gothic tinged vocal, the song then takes an almost prog metal direction with Kuličenko and Corbeaux laying down a superb mix of rhythmic dynamics and Barkovci peppering everything with intricate, and at times, brutal riffs and licks as well as adding his mighty sludge roar to the mix.
The next three tracks "Wildfire", "Heavy, Slowly, Lonely, Mine"  and "Dirty" explore the more grunge side of the bands sound moving away from the heavy sludge aspects of the previous tunes  and instead utilising the sort of loud, quiet, loud dynamics, often used by Nirvana, but adding a little prog complexity and musicality to the grooves.
"From Outer Space To Inner Peace" is another short 1:00 instrumental that is used as bridge into the next song....
"The Rat Countess" sits very much within the "occult rock" spectrum with its catchy verses and chorus swinging back and forth over a glorious dark almost "celtic" groove that is further enhanced by some exemplary drum and bass work from Kuličenko and Corbeaux.
"Enter The Void" stays in the "occult" arena but this time adding a touch of psychedelic doominess to the already dark grooves as well as a slight folk-ish meter to the excellent vocal.
"Outro" brings the album to a close with a superb mix of stoner fuzz, doomy occult grooves and space/psych interludes, all coloured with great vocals and outstanding musicianship.

Check these guys out ......

Monday 2 November 2015

CANNAHANN ~ NN....... album review

Excuse me if I get a little over excited during the course of this review but "NN", from Germany's CANNAHANN, may be, for me, the album of 2015!
The quartet hail from Würzburg / Bad Neustadt, Germany and are made up of (here we go with the first names only info again) Ralf :guitar & vocals, Daniel: bass &vocals, Markus: drums and Mike: guitar & vocals.

"NN" opens its account with "Mess" a slow burning instrumental that slowly develops it's stoner groove only to end after 2:21, more of an intro than an actual track it nonetheless acts as a snapshot of what CANNAHANN are all about....atmosphere, dynamics and monster riffage!
"Rev" kicks things off proper with  a full on assault on the senses, a wall of  fuzz and distorted riffage competing with clean and gravel thick vocals beneath which the bass and drums lay a blanket of rolling thunder.
"Drowning Mountain" follows in much the same style with throaty vocals woven in around infectious moshpit filling riffs and rhythms, well that is up until the 2:03 mark when things get a little more interesting. The dynamic shifts from all out stoner attack to smoky psych ambience laced with touches of doomy atmospherics and folky vocal inflections that slowly builds layer by layer before falling back to a choppy droned guitar fade out.
"Slow Grow" is a mesmerising stoner blues choc full of scorching guitar solos and intricate rhythms that are further enhanced by the excellent use of vocals. Slurred jazzy crooning sits side by side with throaty stoner/sludge bellows creating an atmosphere of intensity that twists the songs bluesy root around turning the whole thing into something exciting and quite special.
"Hey Turd, How are You" grooves along on a slightly QOTSA vibe with the vocals sounding as if they are sung through one of those funnels used in songs from the 20's, it's quirky rhythmic desert groove only broken by the occasional hardcore screamed vocal.
"Incoming Beast"  is a mostly instrumental workout (there is one very brief screamed vocal interlude) with a slightly eastern motif running through it. Short sharp and effective it sits perfectly mid album as reminder that CANNAHANN can jam as well as rock.
"All The Things" rocks out on bed of fuzz with a mixture of clean and screamed vocals, special mention should be given here for the excellent rhythm work displayed by the bassist and drummer who keep it simple but effective throughout the songs 3:44.
"Tell Me Your Story" begins with a slightly 80's gothic feel  before going full sludge monster torch song. If I have one complaint with this song it is that at 2:08 the tune does not really have a chance to develop so suffers as a result.
"Orbit Awesome" closes "NN" with a killer, its sandy desert groove chugging and throbbing with fuzz and distortion over which the vocals are delivered in a variety of tones and styles. If you can imagine QOTSA's Josh Homme, dueting with the Rou Reynolds of British post-hardcore band Enter Shikari and with Spelljammer's  Niklas Olsson on backing vocals then you might get an idea of how powerful a force CANNAHANN are vocally as well as musically. Stunning stuff!
This is a stunning debut from a band who I expect and want to hear a lot more from in the future, check 'em out....