Written by Charles Nickles
I’m not quite sure how we managed to miss the glorious return of Desertfest NYC in the first year we decided we were over the plague, but it probably has something to do with something lame like work or panic or whatever.
But nuts to that now. We’re all in on Desertfest NYC in a big, big way and to celebrate the coming fire and dust we went ahead and put together a little playlist for you with a brief play-by-play of the bands slated to lay Brooklyn to waste in September because if you live under a rock like I do, you miss out on some of life’s better things.
You’d think that after all my years in Astoria, SOME stoned soul would’ve caught a whisper of my grift and hipped me to 1000 Mods but όχι! and so I’m coming in deaf and dumb to these Grecian fuzzlords. It’s the thud you know from the town you don’t and it’s righteous enough a riffage as any to get this grease fire started.
We’re gonna go ahead and do capital BORIS here because I’m gonna blithely assume the band comes at Desertfest with the crazy Heavy Rock (2002, 2011, or 2022) EXPLOSIOOOONN!! but who really knows with these noise-happy psychonauts? Their set could just be “Feedbacker” splayed out in its entirety and we would be grateful for the opportunity to wonder at Wata’s sonic warpath.
For someone who is too old to cut themselves anymore, I am, like, STUPID stoked to finally see Godflesh. Or maybe I’m the target demographic? I don’t know and I don’t care. This band is fuckin legion and responsible for more dreamless apocalyptic visions than any of the knuckle-scraping Stygians plying their trade in this endless Reaganite hellscape.
Back in the no-go 90s, I used to think Monster Magnet was full of shit with their sweaty leather come-fuck-me stance and so I wrote them off like a “nice guy” goon in favor of Pavement or Pear Jam or whatever sincerity brokerage got girls at the time and though I don’t know that I’m wrong about the band taking on their image with a decidedly lascivious wink, I do think I missed out on a few decades of good old bad time RAWK n roll.
If I’m not mistaken, this is some D&D cosplay party rats against death doom band which, you know, could NOT be more topical for this city.
Aaaaaaaaaah yeah, buddy. This is the motor city death trip kick. Heavy is as heavy does biker meth hoover sax riffing thunder and raaaaaagggeeee, rage, RAGE against the dawn. Goddamn hella fuckin stoked on this one.
Saw this band in Texas, circa 2011 and they straight up ruined me. Know it’s been a minute but time don’t mean a goddamn thing when you’re talking no wave, no fun asphalt psych experimentalism.
Clouds Taste Satanic
Kick back, breathe deep, die.
OH SHIT! I had no idea the dude from Parts & Labor had a psych band that was releasing songs dedicated to the planets in our solar system but now that I am it feels silly to listen to anything else because the cosmos is nothing if not fraught with maddening joy.
Is it okay to call things “hard rock”? I fear it sounds like a putdown when you consider the seemingly endless microgenres metal’s invented but, in this case, it’s not…like, AT ALL. Lo-Pan is a hard rock band in the variety of bygone jams you’d be stoked to sing along to with your pops at a tailgate after a few cold ones.
Did you know that Melvins have been a band for forty fucking years? FORTY! YEARS! These ever-ready noiseniks have been shelling out their pisstake KISS meets TG on antifreeze chug-a-lug FUCK YEAH! (or fuck me) shtick since before a good chunk of bands on this bill were even born and ten bucks says they lay most of them to waste.
Scathing sludge destruction ripped straight from the burning maw and delivered with humorless conviction and absolutely ridiculous fervor by a duo (A DUO!) from Germany. Guitar, drums and screams. That’s it. That’s insane to me. But I guess if you were born pissed, stayed pissed, got pissed enough two dudes will definitely do.
A little bit country with a whole lot of doom and just enough of a high concept quality to keep from falling into the abyss of American also-rans who heard Kentucky and decided art ended there. Pretty stoked on this one.
UK riffers rolling out the hits with the better-time heavy of those young desert shit-kickers who made it big on our nation’s new dependance on CBD oil.
Saw them at Desertfest 2019 and they fuckin RULED. Like RULED so hard and so fast it’s an embarrassment to commit their Texan heat stroke to wax and play it back like, “Oh, you should hear this band.” Fuck that. Go see Duel.
Yes, I may be drunk but it really does feel like Brant Bjork should be rightfully recognized as the prodigal son of the Palm Desert. I mean, the dude has done it all from folk to funk to fuzz from everyone from KYUSS to, well, half a dozen plus bands he’s led, joined, or produced all of whom bear some hallmark of the dust from which he sprang like a fuckin zeitgeist to teach the world what it means to be high as fuck and lost in wonders of nowhere.
Valley of the Sun
Once more, Ohio comes in clutch with the RAWK. What is it about that state? I mean, I’ve been more times than I’d care to relate and never once left feeling like the gods of thunder had graced me with their riffage. Maybe I should’ve made time for Cincinnati.
Another band I caught at Desertfest 2019 and totally crushed my fuckin skull with their hot-licked, half-insincere homages to the great recklessness that was Brooklyn in the age of Kokie’s and Sweetwater (man, fuck them doilies) and reasonably affordable rent for a rat’s nest (comparably, of course) when you could get wasted for cheap and party for days and you didn’t have to worry about gentrification because the L train was never running.
Ooooooooh, this is gonna be a good one. Heavy psych with the big long frills that collapse like color wheels into a sonic expansion that borders on atonal krautrock freakout but somehow always manages to maintain some deep-seeded and welcome melody.
Spellbook was Witch Hazel for those keeping score but the band and the celestial party doom haven’t changed a goddamn bit except for adding some more guitar players and rightfully losing one just the other day on account of some disturbing allegations which I guess doesn’t say so much about the rock Spellbook purvey so much as it does about them as people looking to do the right thing in this very wrong time and place.
Damn, man. I think Truckfighters are a party band. Sweat-stacked, callous-handed, fuzz-muscled heroes who level out the kind of TOTAL fuckin rock and roll that calls for acres of excess and a life proudly cataloged in regrettable tattoos.
Heavy, heavy, heavy in the way only a band from Chicago can be. Noisy, nerdy, damaged, bombastic, and undeniably human, Djunah rocks the noise gate like nobody’s business and offer a reckoning with each and every goddamn track, and though some of their poetic allusions may be lost on me and my outdated oeuvre, the soul of these songs resonates deeply.
Heavy, heavy, heavy in the way only a band from Liverpool can be. Noisy, nerdy, damaged, bombastic, and entirely alien in their oeuvre. Now I’m not talking E.T.s or U.A.O.s or U.U.O.s or whatever the fuck the lizard people up the chain of the new world disorder are keeping from you. I’m talking alien as in other, obtuse, un/sur/urreal like some decidedly less-oily, autoerotic beefcake fantasy churned into near-tectonic riffage.
Ooooooh SHIT! It’s Mondo Generator, babeez! The heavy-hitting, water-starved cocaine rodeo riders RETURN to BK after too many years not being the best goddamn blasted past-punk lunatics to make a racket since Dicky Moist died or went straight or retired from roofing or whatever. WHATEVER! This shit’s gonna be the shit and if you miss it you’d best tell your momma you fucked.
Dude’s microphone stand is a fuckin scythe. What else do you want?
Death-obsessed Philly dirtbags (I say that with love) rock all kinda horror homages with their relentless skin-tight doom squalor without reveling in the kind of kitsch that leaves you wondering if you’re the asshole for liking them.
HELL YES, HEAVY TEMPLE! There was a minute I felt like I was seeing this band so often I should have Princess Nighthawk on speed dial but then I realized I have no concept of space and/or time (even before the plague days) and such intimacies would be creepy as fuck if not dumb. Me aside, this is gonna be the good time, get high rolling-thunder lupine shit that DEMANDS all your due praise.