dinsdag 31 mei 2011

Fred Drake – Sky Party


Fred Drake – Sky Party
Cholla – 2004
Ambient, Psychedelic
Waardering: ****





The end of this first edition of the Rancho De La Luna month is approaching; the fun is almost over; but there are so many gems and diamonds left untouched. And with the prospect of at least five Rancho releases this year among which the new Dearly Beloved and Flash Lightnin; we can safely conclude that there will be many more Rancho De La Luna months to follow. For now we will leave this May month with one last post; before diving head first in the festival season. So; without further ado.
As we come to the end of this first edition of the Rancho De La Luna month we can only end this righteous, just and on a high note. So let’s pay homage once more to the man that started it all: Mr. Fred Drake. As we already stated while discussing his other album Twice Shy; he moved to the desert to make these albums. “Few people get to realize their dreams,” his parents note, “but Fred did. From the moment he 'found' the Rancho, magic began to happen. The acoustics were great, but the 'milky way' overhead was wonderful!” Inspired by that vast expanse of sky -- and the music of great ambient artists like Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois -- Fred experimented with a variety of soundscapes, creating a large collection of instrumental and electronic works. A selection of these, the Sky Party's twelve pieces recorded simultaneously to Twice Shy come together with surprising strength and unity, forming a meditation on Cosmic Harmony.
“For almost nine and one half years Fred lived and worked in this place he loved. He considered the Rancho his home first and his studio second. Perhaps that was part of the magic that was happening. At any time of the day or night you might find him out on the patio surveying the clouds or the stars, or down at the corral talking to his beloved horse 'Kashmir',” his parents say. “The desert nourished both Fred's creative spirit and his soul. The music he wrote there bears out the creative inspirations he received, and the man that matured there bears witness to the fullness of his soul.” On June 20, 2002, Fred died as he lived -- with grace and dignity, surrounded by friends in his home in Joshua Tree. This, his second solo CD, is but another piece of the lasting legacy he left behind. “His spirit lives on in his music, the continuation of the studio, and in the heart of everyone who had the privilege to know and love him.”







Or as long time musical compadre Fred Quinn would say: “The beauty, sadness, spiritual grace and optimism of a gifted soul whose life would be too short found its purest expression in the pieces Fred recorded under the pseudonym, the Sky Party. Without words, Fred's ambient music - inspired by the Brian Eno axiom that ambient music should be as ignorable as it is interesting - served as the soundtrack to his time in his beloved desert. Fred would often visit the national "monument" in Joshua Tree, hide his boombox in some rocks a distance from his campsite, light some sage, nag champa incense, his other favorite smokes and listen to the quiet sound of Eno's 'Apollo' or 'On Land,' filtering through the silhouettes, with the boombox set on 'loop' for uninterrupted play... This is the way this music should be heard; quietly, revealing its nuances over time, with respect to (mind)set and setting. While Fred has no say in how he will be remembered, he will continue to be revered for his kindness, his long stories, naturally standing in a perfect first position, cigarette in one hand, coffee in the other, his subtle wit, reflected in the titles of his pieces, his Rancho and his music, recorded in the hours between midnight and dawn, when his many friends had stopped showing up or calling on the phone. There, in his "House of The Moon", filled with colorful little lights, Fred would light the candles and the smoke, have a cup of "cowboy candy" and create the sounds heard here. At sunrise, he'd take Kashmir, his Arabian stallion, for a ride through the desert. A reel of tape, which Fred used to say, "started out blank," entrusted with carrying these ethereal sounds through space, for some unknown amount of time, past his own. Now, we can carry these sounds with us everywhere we go, and with them, an expression of Fred's great spirit…”









maandag 30 mei 2011

Bluebird – Blue Bird EP


Bluebird – Blue Bird EP
Revelation – 1997
Rock, Pop, Psychedelica, Garage, Stoner, Jazz
Waardering: ****



As we approach the end of this Rancho De La Luna month we are pleased to inform that the record has been returned and we can share this absolute gem. Bluebird was founded when bassist/trumpet player/vocalist Jim Brown and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Bryan Lee Brown where still kids. The Brown brothers began playing together back then just to pass the time, and eventually ended up performing as an improv-rhythm duo in Los Angeles in the mid-'90s. Vocalist/percussionist Sam James Velde and guitarist Barry Thomas, an old friend, joined the Browns and added a little more structure to their still-spontaneous performances. The group edged toward becoming a full-fledged band, and Bluebird's mix of psychedelic heaviness and pop melodicism made its recorded debut in 1997 with a self-titled, six-song EP released on Revelation; the following year, they delivered High Atmosphere for Lovitt. In 2000, the band found a fifth member in Shelby Cinca, formerly of Frodus, who arrived just in time to help record Bluebird's full-length debut, The Two, which was released later that year. Cinca left and was replaced by guitarist/vocalist Paul Figueroa before the band recorded its second album, Hot Blood, which arrived in late 2002 on Dim Mak. In 2003, the band issued a split EP with Dead Meadow courtesy of Buddyhead magazine, as well as the Black Presence EP, which was released by Dopamine. The band returned to Dim Mak for the Falling Back to Earth EP, which came out in 2004. But today we only pay homage to the self-titled EP from 1997. Recorded at the Rancho De La Luna at the end of 1996 with help from Dave Catching who also joined in for Black Presence and with production and mix assistance by Scott Reeder the EP sports a heavy but poppy sound that is free in form recalls grunge and sometimes seemingly spins out of control. It’s High Energy Rock’N Roll that honors that time old jazz-adagio to let the musical spirit take you wherever it may lead... Buy the ticket...

vrijdag 27 mei 2011

Farflung – A Wound In Eternity


Farflung – A Wound In Eternity
Meteor City – 2008
Stoner, Space, Psychedelic
Waardering: *****


Today’s post for the Rancho De La Luna month is a different one than initially planned; due to the fact that our bass player has borrowed the record which was planned for today and apparently has not returned it yet and I had totally forgotten that fact. So; henceforth we delve into the brilliant universe of Farflung! And although most of everyone out there will also know about this one; I guess this is something that needs to be done as well. For it is a true diamond! Founded originally in 1992 as Helianthus the band went to quite some line-up changes the first two years before settling on the way better and superb name of Farflung in 1994. A year later they released their first full-sized album 25,000 Feet Per Second. Many years and a couple of albums follow until releasing the 9 Pin Body album in 2002; going on a European tour with Earthlings? and deciding to take a break. What followed was the forming a few other projects among which Suns Lungs featuring members of Farflung, Nels Kline Trio, and Bluebird. And in 2007 the guys get back together and are invited by Dave Catching to record their new album and genuine masterpiece A Wound In Eternity at the Rancho De La Luna. “The vibe in the desert is always right and at Rancho the cosmos began to fall into place. We recorded a bunch of jams but the track silver shrimps hit the mark for us. That was the first one we truly completed in about 4 years.” Said Tommy Grenas. Recorded during various recording sessions at the Rancho and finished at their own studio it marks the return of Farflung and a successful tour in Europe together with WhiteHills and a brilliant show at Roadburn followed. They were supposed to play at the Baroeg in Rotterdamn, Holland tonight; but I believe the show got cancelled. Which is a shame; but I already knew I could not have gone since I have to attend an Amplifier show. But enough useless banter; it’s Farflung time! So let’s take a ride into A Wound In Eternity!

donderdag 26 mei 2011

Misdemeanor – Five Wheel Drive



Misdemeanor – Five Wheel Drive
Meteorcity – 1999
Stoner, Punk, Garage
Waardering: ****


Today we visit the country where all the women are beautiful, the air sweet, the water in the lakes pure and the fish taste like pure gold. I am ofcourse referring to a lovely little place called Sweden. Cause for today's Rancho De La Luna month post we celebrate the fact that the Rancho had the pleasure of welcoming no less than five Swedish females into the house. No wonder that without any hesitation or a moment pause Brant Bjork and John Garcia came running to join in with the sessions and recording. Garcia even sings backup vocals on the last track. And I guess everyone will probably know Misdemeanor and their Five Wheel Drive EP from 1999; but still, everything worth doing, is worth doing right; so it had to be dealt with. It also features Fred Drake on keyboards and besides cooking Dave Catching also helped in on the production side. Misdemeanor recorded the album in three days back in February 1998. They were actually on a holiday tour across America and stopped to visit their friends from Kyuss and Fu Manchu. Brant was the one that convinced them to take three days out of their schedule to record. And as Vera stated: “Warming your vocal chords in the sun besides an amazing array of cactuses is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.” Jenny, Mia and Jempa founded the band in 1992 with another guitar player and a never-ending search for a vocalist. But in 1994 they found Vera and with Vera came hang-around Sara that soon picked up the second guitar they needed. Their mixture of retro like rock music, that punk soul and a grunge sauce gets a little more of a stoner treatment on this EP. It’s what they themselves want to refer to as Sabbath-Punk. And I can only agree…

woensdag 25 mei 2011

Outrage - Deadbeat



The Deadbeat video by the Japanese band Outrage. Shot by John Pirozzi at Joshua Tree and the Rancho De La Luna surroundings...

Outrage – Cause For Pause


Outrage – Cause For Pause
JVC – 2004
Stoner, Thrash, Metal
Waardering: ****


On this lovely Wednesday in the year of our lord 2011; while the sun is out giving us once again a briljant spring day we will visit the land of the setting sun. Yes; for todays addition to the Rancho De La Luna month comes from the land struck by earthquakes and nuclear meltdowns in recent history. We are talking about Outrage. And old Japanese metal band that had its first release in the mid eighties. Formed in 1983 as a fourpiece the band started out playing mostly NWOBHW covers before making their own kind of metal. The band has made a dramatic shift over the years from sounding like classic Metallica-esque thrash metal to a more hardcore originated sound. Very aggressive and heavely influenced by punk icons Ramones. The album Cause For Pause is no different; except that it adds a dash of stoner to the mix and by then the band had been stripped down to a trio. After this album however the singer that left in 1998 returns because of the 25th anniversary of the band and since then they have released a new; their tenth, full-sized, self titled album. Cause For Pause was recorded in december 2003 for a complete month at the Rancho and not only features twelve hard driving kick ass songs. It also sports a videoclip of the song Deadbeat recorded at the Joshua Tree park and around the Rancho. And features a short documentary called The Funny Days In Joshua Tree. A lot of other Rancho buddies delivered their arts for the album. Tony Mason and Bingo did most of the recodring. Billy Bizeau most of mastering. John Pirozzi shot the Deadbeat video and Martin Cox did the photo’s. Weirdest song might be the cover version of The Who’s I Can See For Miles. They are clearly singing it phonetically. But the band and the friends they brought along were blown away by the Rancho and the surrounding area; and the endless views. Hence the cover. Or as KK said: “Luna has changed my notion of time and space…”


(KK)

dinsdag 24 mei 2011

Victoria Williams – Musings of A Creek Dipper


Victoria Williams – Musings of A Creek Dipper
Atlantic – 1998
Folk, Pop, Singer-songwriter
Waardering: ***


For today’s addition to the Rancho De La Luna month we revisit one of those lesser-known recordings done there once again. Soon after Fred founded the Rancho a few big names entered the studio which brought friends along; who brought friends along, who brought. Well; you get the idea. One of those friends was Vic Chesnutt who entered the studio himself in 1996 and brought with him Victoria Williams. She then returned two years later to record her own album Musings of A Creek Dipper; featuring Fred Drake as tambourine magician and background singer. It also features the song Kashmir’s Corn; a song she wrote for Fred’s horse and lifelong compadre. During the sessions she also improvised a song about loving the Rancho with all her heart and never wanting to leave. Unfortunately that has not been caught on tape. Victoria Williams's dreamily melancholic folk-pop and her high-pitched, oddball voice has always made her sound like a Southern version of Joni Mitchell or Neil Young. On Musings of A Creek Dipper, a loose cycle of songs about illness, death and the hallucinations in-between, she finally justifies those lofty comparisons. It's as strange and anachronistic as all of Williams's albums. With one song that's unabashedly nostalgic for the days when trains crossed the countryside and another that suggests the daily newspaper as a modern evil, Musings registers as a vote to preserve the village green and its old ways of living and old ways of dying. The opener, "Periwinkle Sky," is a musing on the opposite attractions of the country and the city, and for most of the album, while staying somewhere in a rural zone, Williams balances soft, pillowy acoustic arrangements with urbane touches like trumpet solos and cello lines. They add just a hint of modern color to a timeless album whose characters seem to be biding their time awaiting, heavenly salvation while dealing with the drudgeries of daily life. Musings was her fourth studio album. The singer-songwriter strips her music down to the bare elements: It's all about the sun, rain, food, and hummingbirds. What's truly remarkable about these songs is how they manage to radiate a sense of wonder without sounding cloyingly precious. She remains on the lookout for everyday magic, and this album runneth over with appreciation for nature's simple gifts....She's unapologetic about her lazy pace and sappy disposition, spinning take-it-or-leave-it tales of cozy cabins and pretty clouds...

maandag 23 mei 2011

Run Run Run – Endless Winter


Run Run Run – Endless Winter
Song and Dance – 2006
Rock
Waardering: ****



And the weekend has come and gone and there was no time to rest or provide a weekend break record for this Rancho De La Luna month we are having. It was a whirlwind of liquor and an endless parade of weirdness. But we’re not here to talk about all that crap; that’s not why we are here. We are here to talk about a four / five piece indie rock band from Los Angeles called Run Run Run. It is the brainchild of lead singer/guitarist Xander Smith, formerly of Otherstarpeople. The band was formed after some rousing recording sessions with the late Fred Drake at Rancho de la Luna. During these sessions enough material was recorded for a couple of albums and the first of this was released later that year. After this ok enough debut EP called Drizzle in 2003, Run Run Run`s first full-length effort has a little more meat on its bones, though admittedly it`s a pleasure that feels caught in a tension between 1969, 1989, and the present. The line of descent that runs from the Brian Jonestown Massacre to the Warlocks and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has resulted in a southern California psych rock style that seems convinced that nothing much has happened since Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer were the mayors of Sunset Strip, and it grows wearying to hear the same moves redone, however enthusiastically. Run Run Run, though unable to shake that jones completely, also bring in a guitar pop glaze that recalls more recent forebears from the U.K. plus an appreciation of crisp, punchy delivery that ensures the band doesn`t always want to sound like it`s still the Vietnam War -- calling a song "Wire" might well have been a tribute. At its most brisk, Endless Winter has an enjoyable kick -- "Wait Up for You" has a sweetly killer arrangement for the chorus, while songs like "Try" and "2 A.M." find them doing an Interpol move with choppy riffs and steady but tense rhythms. It also manages a neat trick by getting better as it goes along, so credit to whoever sequenced it -- by the time "Song and Dance" appears with its queasy drones and neo-shoegaze cascade, both band and album are on a total roll. Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising moment is the album`s one cover version -- Mazzy Star`s hushed early-`90s classic "Fade into You," which Run Run Run actually transform into a new arrangement that sounds like them instead of simply cloning the original. They haven`t nailed a perfect album, but Run Run Run are in a good place to get to somewhere new down the road. But that something new has jet to appear. For their 2009 album Pico wasn’t really able to get the blood boiling…


vrijdag 20 mei 2011

Creature With The Atom Brain – Transylvania


Creature With The Atom Brain – Transylvania
Munich – 2009
Rock, Groove, Psychedelic
Waardering: ****



And once again today we add another Belgian connection to the Rancho De La Luna month. Creature With The Atom Brain is the project of Aldo Struyf who is better known for his work with Millionaire and Mark Lanegan. And it was during the recording of Bubblegum that he first set foot in the Rancho. And till he released the second full-sized album to the CWTAB project called Transylvania he saw his work on Bubblegum, where he plays synthesizer, as his best work yet. “My Best album would be Bubblegum. Although my participation is limited, I think it’s the best album I played on because of the wealth of great musicians appearing on it, and Mark’s superb songwriting and singing.” He then got Mark to sing on their first full album called I Am The Golden Gate Bridge which also featured some help from Chris Goss. And this second album was mastered completely by Goss and Ed Monsef at Goss’s new studio The Hacienda and again features a vocal part by Mr.Lanegan. The project got started at one point in time as something to do in the cold and dark winter months. It released two mini-LP’s The Snake and Kill The Snake before making their first record. And those might have been extremely experimental. I Am The Golden Gate Bridge took that experiment added some stoner and ran with it. Transylvania is better in every way. More psychedelic than the former and less stoner. Dark guitar-lines and freaky passages. Once named after a song by Roky Erickson and now then really in their footprints. The musical pallet is grand and exquisite. From Arabic and Mediterranean rock to jazz and prog from the sixties; from pure rawness to intense beauty. More than once the compositions lead to Goosebumps! (And the fact the guys talked mostly about food and cats during the entire process is not audible at all!)

donderdag 19 mei 2011

Drums Are For Parades – Psychosis



Drums Are For Parades – Psychosis


Another small thingy for the Rancho De La Luna month and the Belgian connection; a new song by the Belgian band Drums Are For Parades featuring Chris Goss in this case. It was back in 2009 when Goss already professed his wish to work with the guys from Drums Are For Parades in the future. “Drums Are For Parades deliver a sound I haven’t heard since Kyuss. It’s hot swinging lava!” He exclaimed back then. And now his wish has come to pass. For a project called Imperium where Drums Are For Parades are artist in residence at the Brussels club Ancienne Belgique. And during which they get to invite all kind of other artists to do a song with them. Henceforth they recorded the song Enjoy Your Psychosis with vocal parts and some guitarlines by Chris Goss. Pre-recorded by the band the song functions as a playground for Goss. It took him only a week to do his part. On another sidenote; the friendship stems back from Piet Dierickx’s Soulwax days. Cause he was the drummer back then…

Soulwax – Leave The Story Untold


Soulwax – Leave The Story Untold
PIAS – 1996
Rock, Alternative, Post-Grunge
Waardering: ****


Another Belgian connection to the legendary Rancho De La Luna studios comes from a band that has not actually set foot in the studios. For it did not exist yet. Belgian born Soulwax recorded their 1996 album Leave The Story Untold with the help of master alchemistic producer Chris Goss in his Monkey Studios, which at the time still existed. It was also the studio where the Kyuss freaks hung out a lot and the first album of Queens of The Stone Age was done. On a sidenote; the studio still exists and was bought by a huge fan of Goss who might be turning it into some kind of museum some day. Since Goss has that magical something, that alchemistic glint in his eyes; all the other producers, mixers and studio ground covered by the Soulwax gang was begotten for only a small portion of the normal price. Sound City studios was again one of the studios visited. And with their razor-sharp guitar and jumping rhythm section we get dragged along on savage melodies with enchanting melodies. With dashes of Black Crowes and a definite love for pop the album features a collection of beautiful and intense rock songs with roots in the American scene of seventies electric blues bands to which Soulwax added their love for contrasting atmospheres, odd combinations of rhythms and lyrical imagery. With their music they manage to float from postgrunge, to metal and middle of the road pop; without turning into a pastiche or a clown with long pointy shoes…

woensdag 18 mei 2011

Millionaire – Paradisiac


Millionaire – Paradisiac
PIAS – 2005
Rock
Waardering: ***


A second Belgian connection with the Rancho De La Luna studios is ofcourse found in the person of Timmy ‘Tipover’ Vanhamel. He not only played along on the first Eagles of Death Metal record Peace, Love And Death Metal from 2004 and fed Josh Homme’s inspiration with his own band Millionaire and their first album Outside The Simian Flock; and especially with the song Pretty Thug. He also had Josh Homme produce their second album Paradisiac, which was partly recorded with the help of Alain Johannes. We can also hear Aldo Struyf on the record and as we all know: he’s responsible for those wonderful Creature With The Atom Brain albums. But let’s jet back to Paradisiac. Most of it was recorded at the fabled Sound studios in LA and parts at the Rancho; ofcourse the tweaking was certainly done at the Rancho. But then again, it sounds like it was recorded at the crossroad of chaos, panic, beauty and sex. Much harder and less funky then their first album it was guided by the hand of Mr. Homme. He decided which studio’s to use in LA and where to practice and from what time to what time. But also made sure like a protective big brother that nobody else interfered with the recording process. In the end the guys wished they would have had more time in the studio and more time to experiment. Although one listening to Paradisiac for the first time after hearing Outside The Simian Flock might think that the entire record is one big experiment. It is raw like Motörhead, heavy like Monster Magnet and savage like Rage Against The Machine; and all that is dosed with electric spices and freaky sampling. Aah yes; too bad the guys decided to go their separate ways after this…

dinsdag 17 mei 2011

Hulk – The Codeine Sessions


Hulk – The Codeine Sessions
Collaborate – 2006
Stoner
Waardering: ****


And since we posted a band from Belgium for this weeks weekend break. I guess it’s the right time to talk about the Belgian connection. The Belgian connection to the Rancho De La Luna ofcourse. Cause quite a few of those guys have set foot in the Rancho. Let’s start with the rockers called Hulk; or Hulkk as they were also called at one moment in time. Their album Cowboy Coffee & Burned Knives from 2005 was recorded at the Rancho and featured guest performances by Brant Bjork, Chris Goss, Jesse Hughes & David Catching; who also did the production. They also recorded enough extra songs for an EP entitled The Codeine Sessions which they released a year later. Again sporting performances by Jesse Hughes, Brant Bjork, Dave Catching and Chris Goss. They might push back their original Hulk sound a bit; which might cause distress among their fans; but in this way give us a taster of what the Palm Desert sound might mean. Keep Talking is their true Hulk rock song; Gimme Some Skin featuring Jesse is a pure Eagles of Death Metal song and the others also give the feeling your listening to some kind of project featuring the best of the best. And this is alright too! But ofcourse the band were responsible for all the tracks themselves and in good Rancho fashion the residents just dropped by on occasion or by accident and started jamming with them. And this they hope to do again some day singer Renaud Mayeur professed…

Naughty Mouse – Naughty Mouse


Naughty Mouse – Naughty Mouse
Self released – 2011
Stoner
Waardering: ***


Due to work and concert stuff I have forgotten to post the weekend break album to this Rancho De La Luna Month we are having; so here goes nothing… The guys from the Belgian Naughty Mouse released their first EP counting three songs last year. Did those three songs remind on occasion a bit too much of Queens of The Stone Age. Well; their full-sized album does just that even more. Nothing wrong when it is done with this kind of quality. Though it gets a bit annoying from time to time. For instance when we hear The Mute which surely has to be meant as a second part to The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret by QOTSA. The five of them seem to want to bring and ode to everything that has something to do with Palm Desert stoner. And since I am known to dig odes and everything Palm Desert it can get my approval. If more people will get a hotflash from this album; and how long it will actually stay warm is the question though. Cause the original is almost always better…

Smith and Pyle - Its Okay To Be Happy



Smith and Pyle - Its Okay To Be Happy
Urban Prairie Records – 2008
Rock/Country/HonkyTonk/Alternative
Waardering: ****


So the weekend is over and the Queens of The Stone Age show absorbed. The first part of the evening was definitely good. Hearing the self titled record performed in its entirety. Although the crowd was awful and the night ended prematurely with them only adding five extra songs. Still; heard some good stuff. So; let’s continue with the Rancho De La Luna month with another ‘weird’ but excellent album! The American Smith and Pyle exists out of two lovely ladies who are mainly known by their acting career consisting of several movies and television series. Shawnee Smith has gotten known in recent years thanks to her Amanda Shaw roll in the Saw movies. Her musical career started around the year 2000 with a little known band called FyDollahHo, which also featured the current Metallica bassplayer Robert Trujillo. Which turned out a pretty decent record called Untied in 2001. Heavy hardrock with a little spat of Americana. Missi Pyle; the other of the name giving duo has gotten known by her supporting roll in the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory featuring Johnny Depp where she plays Mrs.Beauregard; the mother of the girl that needs to be first place at everything. In the musicworld she’s still largely unknown. But together they form the alternative country band Smith And Pyle. Their first album It’s Okay To Be Happy from 2008 was recorded at Rancho De La Luna with guidance of Chris Goss. The entire album is filled with sparkling rocksongs heavy laden with country and humor. It’s a perfect album for summer days and festival glades…

vrijdag 13 mei 2011

Grinderman – Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man


Grinderman – Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man


Another different thingy for the Rancho De La Luna month today. The remix Josh Homme did of the song Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man by Grinderman. Lovely done. Which might mean the chance that Nick Cave will enter the next Desert Sessions just became a bit bigger. I mean he already worked with UNKLE and after meeting each other after a Grinderman show in L.A. last year things sort of gelled; I guess… I hope… Cause those two together would be pretty bad ass… Right?!



Grinderman – Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man



The Desert Sun - Desert Rock Short Documentary




The Desert Sun - Desert Rock Short Documentary


Blogger was down the entire day... So here's a last minute addition before we prepare for The Queens Of The Stone Age shows... Today we’re doing something different in this Rancho De La Luna month. We will view a four-minute short documentary about what Desert Rock might be. Filmed at the Rancho De La Luna studio we see members of Fatso Jetson, Gram Rabbit and co-owner Dave Catching discuss desert rock. Mario Lalli; he da man!









donderdag 12 mei 2011

Midget Handjob – Midnight Snack Break at The Poodle Factory


Midget Handjob – Midnight Snack Break at The Poodle Factory
Epitaph – 2000
Rock, Punk, Spoken, Avant-garde
Waardering: ****


Yeah! There’s a kick ass poodle on the cover! Indeed. Los Angeles is surely a freak magnet and has emanated some strange sounds, even by Hollywood standards in past years; seering from seedier clubs and galleries on the east side. The clang of pots and pans, pounding water jugs, blasting saxophones and an eerie western slide fill the night air. In the middle of this cyclone of noise sits a strange little man perched on top of a broken TV set reading from a scroll of papers like a post-apocalyptic Moses in dread locks. The guilty party calls themselves Midget Handjob, a name whose pronunciation is almost as foul as the images it conjures up. Midget Handjob is one of the rarest of musical anomalies. Spoons and forks sloshing around together in a pot keeping perfect time creating eleven mind blowing and bone chilling tunes. Recorded in the high desert of Southern California, in the studio at Rancho De La Luna with producer Tom Grimley, Poodle Factory almost didn't happen as the band encountered an earthquake. But former Black Flag and Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris makes light of it. When the “tumbler” hit, he laughs, he didn't even get out of bed. “What the hell for?” he asks. “I've lived my whole life in California, so an earthquake is hardly a new experience for me. All these people were convening in the parking lot of the motel, freaking out because we had lost power.” The power came back, of course, and Poodle Factory was back on track. Pleased with the results of Midnight Snack Break at the Poodle Factory and grateful to have his health back, Morris reveals, “I'm hoping that this record does well enough that Epitaph allows me to do another one. [Epitaph owner and former Bad Religion member] Brett [Gurewitz] pretty much understands that it's important to keep me busy and this record was really inexpensive to make. Over the years, the Circle Jerks were really good to Bad Religion, so it looks like things are starting to come full circle, pun intended.” Morris' verbal blitz received augmentation from Frenchman John LeBear (Saxophone) plus ex-members of Clawhammer (multi-instrumentalists Jon Wahl and Chris Bagarozzi), Lutefisk (percussionist Brandon "Quazar" Jay), the Geraldine Fibbers (percussionist/guitarist Kevin Fitzgerald) and Detox (guitarist Tony Malone), all of whom appeared on the album. Unfortunately; so far no second album has appeared but the poodles still roam free… Like a demented flee infested plague…

woensdag 11 mei 2011

Post Stardom Depression – Sexual Uno


Post Stardom Depression – Sexual Uno
Will Records – 2000
Rock, Garage, Grunge, Retro, Space, Hard
Waardering: ****


Today’s Rancho De La Luna post is a band that got drafted to go on tour with Queens of The Stone Age after playing only nine live shows. Without a demo and looking to record a few songs Josh suggested they’d go see Chris Goss and enter the Rancho. And Post Stardom Depression did just that. Their songs are diverse and flit between metal, blues, soul, post-grunge, and hard rock. Time changes, interesting arrangements, and Jefferson Angell's vocals, which are dark and moody, but also soulful and bluesy, color the band's debut EP Sexual Uno. Angell is a captivating frontperson whose voice is an unusual blend of Joe Cocker, Chris Robinson, Mark Lanegan, Ian Astbury and Scott Stapp of Creed. The theme of this recording focuses on the chasing down of a female muse, which translates into lyrics that paint pictures of self-deprecation, lust, longing, and superficiality. “Drown in a Dream” and “Suntan Lotion” are the two shining moments of the set and best demonstrate this theme. The first boasts music that is cynically dark and creeping, while the latter resembles an alternative Southern rock number. With all of these varying elements, Post Stardom Depression still has to carve out a defining sound for themselves, however. Sexual Uno is a display of musicians in progress -- and they are so close to being -there-, too. The band possesses plenty of winning qualities -- provocative lyrics, interesting music, and a dynamic lead singer -- that poise Post Stardom Depression for future success. The next order of business for them should be to polish off their act. If they do that, subsequent works promise to be quite impressive. Post Stardom Depression could have had some winning albums in their future. Unfortunately the 2003 album Ordinary Miracles which also featured some Chris Goss produced songs although most of it was done by Jack Endino and the 2005 Prime Time Looks A Lot Like Amateur Night record were the last we would ever hear. For they called it quits; the jig was up - for good. Post Stardom Depression officially broke up in 2007, following a show at the Sunset - leaving a gas trail of sex-drenched rock, dysfunction and unrealized potential behind them. Two of the members are now currently working on a project called The Missionary Position; which sounds promising to say the least.

dinsdag 10 mei 2011

The Bangkok Five – Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive


The Bangkok Five – Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive
UMVD – 2006
Rock, Stoner, Garage, Punk
Waardering: ****


We continue the Rancho De La Luna month with another piece of excellent punk energy. A band which will probably also be lesser known but has a couple of serious strings running towards Rancho. I am referring to The Bangkok Five. This typical LA band is lead by Nik Frost and has had some seminal Rancho players in the band. For instance the first drummer of The Bangkok Five who were then called LowFive was Nicky Lucero; the Queens of The Stone Age drummer from the Rated R period and who also played with The Flys and Masters of Reality. And Peter Perdichizzi who ofcourse also played with The Flys and Goon Moon offered his guitar-duties to LowFive. Chris Goss helped produce their record back then and Dave Catching provided new guitarplayers when the first ones decided to leave. Their Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive album from 2006 is pure punk attitude and full of energy. It’s down and dirty rock ’n roll with the justified amount of fun. The sound on the entire records bears mentioning. From the gigantic tone on the riffs, to the responsible use of electronic elements and samples, the band has nailed the production on this record thanks to Sean E and Ryan Boesch. The guitars jump right out into the front of the mix, as they should, and everything else falls into place around them. Add to that well-balanced song writing that features paint-peeling guitar in just the right ratio to more spacious arrangements and you've got a killer album. Leather jackets and guitars transcend any kind of trend if the music backs it up. A bled-together mix ensures that chaos reigns supreme, but the individual instrumentation is still solid. Little guitar and drum fills pepper the recording and keep things interesting on repeated listens.

maandag 9 mei 2011

The Giraffes – Prime Motivator


The Giraffes – Prime Motivator
Crustacean Records
Rock/Punk/Metal/Stoner/Surf
Waardering: ****



Now that the weekend break is over we can continue along with posting all that wonderful Rancho De La Luna affiliated stuff. And since we have already addressed some of the starting points it is now time to take a look at the possibly lesser known stuff to which the magic soul of the Rancho will inevitably lead. For instance; the fourth album Prime Motivator by Brooklyn based band The Giraffes. (Not the Seattle one) Prime Motivator was recorded at Rancho De La Luna and masterly produced by Dave Catching. And without a doubt we can claim this is their best album to date. A lovely mix of punk, metal, rock, surf, rock ’n roll and a dash of stoner brought to you by four crazy guys. Although the band has been reduced to three on a lot of occasions due to the mysterious heart condition suffered by singer Aaron Lazar. Powerful riffs and pointy guitar-licks interchanged with metal chords and surf waves. Add to this some background vocals by Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes and Melissa Auf Der Maur and we can enjoy a classic and very hot summer rock album. Dave Catching together with Ed Monsef show once again what kind of magical stuff they do so well. A dastardly album filled with great songs, which are all chuck full with energy, aggression and mild psychosis. So let’s stay tuned for the new The Giraffes album Farewell, Fat Astronaut about to be released… For that one must surely be just as wicked!




zondag 8 mei 2011

Banderas – Beast Sounds and Parlour Tricks


Banderas – Beast Sounds and Parlour Tricks
Self released / Suburban – 2008 / 2011
Rock, Dune Boogie, Garage, Stoner, Sleaze
Waardering: ****


And another weekend break record. Although their is a small link towards Rancho De La Luna. For Dave Angstrom who we know of Supafuzz, Black Cat Bone, Candy Says, Devil May Care and his new band Asylum On The Hill is the man who is promoting the hell out of there guys. And he is also ofcourse the guy from Hermano; which features John Garcia among others. This feel like playing that silly Kevin Bacon game. Anyhoo... Another record I’ve been waiting for; for a couple of years. Recorded in 2008 and only released locally by the six gentlemen of the American rock band Banderas. And now finally their debut-album Beast Sounds And Parlour Trick will see the light of day in the rest of the world. Twelve crazy rock songs that loan stuff from MC5, The Stooges, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, David Bowie and everything that drunkenly sways through the rock’n roll world. It will get the beards waving in the right direction and will let the skirts dance. Catchy, poppy, sleazy and very tasty. The album also features a trippy battleship in the way of the song Madragoria. Freaky shit for these muppets who are a definite live experience. I sure hope they will come to the Netherlands in the near future; together with pusher Dave Angstrom’s and his Asylum On The Hill…

zaterdag 7 mei 2011

Gingerpig – The Ways of The Gingerpig


Gingerpig – The Ways of The Gingerpig
Suburban – 2011
Rock, Hard, Free, Psych, Stoner, Soul, Funk, Prog, Jazz, Blues
Waardering: ****


As a sort of 'weekend break' during this Rancho De La Luna Month I wish to bring you a couple of albums I cannot bear waiting with until june. Cause these are all absolutely brilliant and I've been waiting for all of them for a while now. As for this one for instance: I’ve been waiting for a few years now for the debut album The Ways of The Gingerpig by the Dutch band Gingerpig. For those who saw them during Roadburn Introduces know who they are. Founded by Boudewijn Bonebakker, who used to be part of deathmetal-band Gorefest, his new band is a perfect piece of free rock. With a screaming Hammond we swirl though eight incredible songs. With the sixties and the seventies as banner and with the ghosts of Zappa and Beefheart on their shoulder we are served a mixture of blues, progressive, jazz and hardrock on a plate without edges. And all those different styles are neatly fused together to deliver one perfect treasure chest filled with musical wealth. Tasty bombastic without becoming overwhelming and often chased as if the Devil really is on his heels. And everything recorded analog and live. And then we have conservatory drummer Maarten Poirters who succeeds, without a doubt, in making us forget about former drummer Ries Doms; freakishly good in his fills and even better in space. A truly wonderful debut effort on which the Bonebakker vocals serve as beautiful icing on the cake!

vrijdag 6 mei 2011

Earthlings? – Earthlings?


Earthlings? – Earthlings?
Man’s Ruin / Crippled Dick HotWax – 1998
Rock, Space, Psychedelic, Electric, Ambient
Waardering: ****


Everyone will surely be familiar with Earthlings? but I still felt that something had to be said about this band. For it is the first official group both Dave Catching and Fred Drake were a part of. It also features Pete Stahl who we all know from bands like Wool, Scream, Orquesta Del Desierto and Goatsnake. And on this first record Dave Grohl, Scott Reeder, Victoria Williams, Matina Topley-Bird, Adam Maples, Robert Butler, Tony Mason, Kat, Billy Bizeau, Dave Linn and Esther Swart also join in. Esther Swart provides the second Dutch connection to the Rancho De La Luna. For she is responsible for the Dutch murmur on the song The Dreaded Lovelies. The first one will be addressed in a different post. Earthlings? is also the first release that celebrated all the ‘faulty’ broken equipment lounging around in the Rancho. The result is an ambient mood album that washes over you like a spring tide. That full moon sound that cleanses, makes you float and produces synergism with all around...




Dave Catching at an Earthlings? show at Pappy & Harriets 2010-09-25

donderdag 5 mei 2011

Tex And The Horseheads – Tex And The Horseheads



Tex And The Horseheads – Tex And The Horseheads
Enigma / Bemisbrain – 1984
Rock, (Cow)Punk, Blues
Waardering: ****


When Dean Chamberlain decided to close his Dominion studio, Dave Catching brought the gear Fred had learned to record on out to the Rancho. Dave had already been playing with some great L.A. bands like Tex And The Horseheads and The Ringling Sisters; of which Fred had done some recording. Tex And The Horseheads are one of the wilder exponents and maybe founders of the cow-punk genre. A kin to bands like Gun Club it ofcourse featured Mike Martt who also joined the Gun Club’s last line-up in 1995 and singer Linda ‘Texacola’ Jones who was Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s girlfriend at the time. The Horseheads released two full-sized albums, a self titled one in 1984, Life’s So Cool in 1985 and an EP called Big House III later that year. There is also an official bootleg recorded on the Pandora festival in, Rotterdam Holland in 1986 also featuring a few songs recorded at the Effenaar in Eindhoven Holland a week later. It’s that most raucous of no nonsense rock and can only lead to drug and alcohol abuse; add to this that feeling of travelling down a lost highway with the scent of dead animals and spilled whisky with to top it all off the hysteric vocals of Texacola and you know you are right smack dab in the middle of train wreck waiting to happen… On a side note; Dave’s connection via Tex with the Palm Desert was multiple. The band already played at one of the generator parties organized by Mario Lalli and his band Across The River. And before that they met at some friend’s birthday bash, which featured Across The River and guys from Black Flag. Now those are the freakin birthday parties I would love to go to… Mario Lalli wearing one of those cardboard party-hats. Can you imagine that?



woensdag 4 mei 2011

Ministry of Fools – Color While You Dream



Ministry of Fools – Color While You Dream
Self released – 1989
Psychedelic campfire music, love songs of rebellion
Waardering: ****



Back in the beginning of the eighties Fred Drake and Ted Quinn were playing in a band called Telekin featuring among others artist extraordinary Dean Chamberlain who also founded new wave, power pop/punk band Code Blue. At Chamberlain’s studio Fred was given free range and he stayed for days on end learning himself to record and lay the foundations for his first solo album Cowbells For Cowboys. When the end of the eighties rolled around Robert Allen Floyd and his band Third Eye entered the studio to record and needing a place to crash, Fred offered his couch. Within a day they had written and recorded their first song: Zero Tolerance based on a poem Quinn wrote about the anti-drug war started by Grandpa Bush. Not long after they jokingly named themselves Ministry of Fools in honor of the jesters who expose the Emperor. Together with Quinn they performed as an acoustic trio at the most diverse of events; from burials to protest marches and from the Chinese Consulate to the hippest clubs in Hollywood. A self-made tape made it to the radio station and garnered attention of big record companies. But since they demanded a big showcase the trio decided to ask twenty of their friends along to play on stage and mess with the heads of the executives. Rest assured: they did not get the deal. So they finished recording Color While You Dream themselves and went their separate ways in 1993. With a title taken from a children’s coloring book the album is a mixture of that typical eighties sound and a sixties spirit. It sounds in part decadent and depraved but preaches love, tolerance and understanding. It is highly Beatles inspired psychedelic pop with a new wave foundation. Honest, sincere and lovely!


dinsdag 3 mei 2011

Fred Drake – Twice Shy



Fred Drake – Twice Shy
Cholla Records – 2001
Rock, Folk, Singer/songwriter, Psychedelic
Waardering: ****



Before finding his place in the desert and founding the Rancho De La Luna studios honorable Fred Drake had already been making name for himself in Los Angeles. He played in bands such as Telekin, Ministry of Fools, House of Love, Resurrection and The Shy Party. Released one year prior to his death Fred Drake stated about his solo album Twice Shy: “Although many a moon has passed and many a boy band too, through me, to you, this is the record that I moved to the desert to make.” With only some mastering help provided by Mark Chalecki who has worked with a massive amount of artists. (Earthlings?, Goatsnake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sun0))), Jimmy Eat World, Skee-Lo, Nine Pound Hammer and many more.) Fred Drake arranged, wrote and recorded the entire album by himself. Except ofcourse for the cover versions of I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry and Blue Moon. This solitary achievement not only excels in musicianship it also accomplishes something not many albums can; to set a mood and to paint a picture as if you were there at its conception. It hints at deep sadness and makes one dream and float on ghostly sounds. And when you concentrate on that too much; it just goes. It’s melodic and holds that old cowboy playing guitar around the fire adagio in high respect without ever becoming a cliche. It’s the lonesome desert sound captured and distilled so it can pierce every nerve…


maandag 2 mei 2011

Rancho De La Luna


Rancho De La Luna, an Ode

Speeding out of Los Angeles and heading east for about three hours. Watch the houses, stores and fast food joints diminish and give way to cacti, massive rocks and Joshua Trees. Before long you will feel the intense heat of the desert. A windy warmth that can only be appreciated by a certain type of man and can only breed a certain kind of song. Nestled between all of this is a low house and one filled to the rim with musical mojo and memories. There’s something magical about the Rancho De La Luna studio in Palm Desert. It’s a place where the odd and the strange meet and become perfectly normal. It’s a place where the need to survive is pure and where creativity comes from all directions. It’s where Place Concept flourishes and where you can write and record your best material by a fire pit watching a real coyote chase an imaginary roadrunner. It might be the ghost of Gram Parsons who died of a drug overdose in the Joshua Tree Inn further down the road and whose ashes were scattered in the national park in 1973. Or it might be the residual spirit of the beautiful mixture of all the different souls who spent a day or longer there. Or as Alex Turner once told me: “It’s the location. It introduces possibilities. You don’t feel like anyone’s watching you out there. You dare everything and want to try it all.”


Fred & Kashmir 

Rancho De La Luna was found and founded by the late Fred Drake (1958-2002) in 1993. He was a southern gentleman, a Texan cowboy though born in Taft, California near Bakersfield with a penchant for coffee and a huge love for the Beatles. One and all knew him as The Mayor; and he wanted to have a quiet place outside of LA to do musical magic while battling his cancer. He asked Dave Catching to join him a year later and thanks to a friend who was getting rid of all his old recording equipment the place was quickly filled with loads of vintage instruments. The rest of all the amazing stuff covering floor to ceiling Fred gathered at thrift stores and swap meets. And between all of this is there is a genuine house; with a kitchen where former restaurant owner Dave Catching is cooking his insane meals. And while tracking the bass or drum you’d smell the garlic and herbs. All rooms are inviting and welcoming. Everyone who has ever passed through the doors felt like coming home. It is a true sanctuary of life that opens ones heart and mind. It is truly amazing that such a barren, hostile and unfruitful landscape can house a true oasis that gives birth to a seemingly endless stream of sublime music.



Dave Catching

With all the different people leaving traces of their persona among all the wonderful stuff it is impossible not to soak up that inspiration. Dave Catching bringing the New Orleans vibe, Chris Goss with his New York soul and alchemist spirit. Josh Homme with his genius, punk attitude, humor, intellect and workman’s ethic. Troy van Leeuwen with his pure artistic vision. Ted Quinn’s poetic voice. Alain Johannes’s prowess, intuition and ability. And so many other wonderful people that left an impression on the already magic soul of the Rancho. You can almost feel it growing with every record it gives birth to. Like it is some sort of magical beast feeding on tones, rhythm and melody.




Alain Johannes & Alex Turner

And then there’s La Casa Blanca and The Back Of The Moon studios just behind the Rancho where Tony Mason holds office. Where the good vibe also flourishes. It has a similar operation to that of the Rancho. Both work at creating that wonderful enigma. The fact that everything is possible but you have to make it happen. There are restrictions, not everything is present and they know that the creative mind works best when there are those limitations. Because then your mind needs to do the work and you will need to stretch yourself. There’s something in the amalgam of the wrong location, the wrong house, and the wrong equipment that makes everything all right. The overall approach is to get everything mic’d up, set a nice vibe and afterwards to just go with the flow. Feel comfortable and let the experimentation begin; let it bring you into all the uncharted territories and find them sonic landscapes that brings that solid gold.

Hot tub at Dusk

And then when you need a breather you just go outside and sit in the hot tub, start barbecuing or walk out into the desert. Or like Alex Turner explained: “And when you don’t record you can head out into the national park. And there the magic simply continues. We visited Skull Rock. Listening to Emmaretta by Deep Purple. Singing along together: Emmaretta, did you get my letter. And after that the song kept popping up whenever we turned on a radio. It felt like an affirmation of everything we were doing for some weird reason. And we all felt like that.” And that’s just the daytime. At night the Rancho is this entirely different thing. There’s no light pollution and it seems like you are much closer to the stars. It makes you feel small, insignificant and unbelievably thankful that you are right there in that place at that time in the world; whatever it may mean. And on most night you will see shootings stars. It is highly impossible not to be touched by these experiences. It will point everyone in the right direction. And will leave a mark on your heart, mind and soul. For Rancho De La Luna has that most wonderful and cherished of ‘things’; a direct connection to all the magic of...

 The Great Magnet


Firestick dancing on patio