Desert Wizards — Raven
(Black Widow DW002-2, 2013, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-02-01In 2007 four friends strongly influenced by 70s hard rock and psychedelic music put together Desert Wizards. They self-released an EP in 2008 and then a full-length album in 2010. Based on this release, Black Widow Records signed them and reissued their album in 2011. Now Black Widow has released their second album, Ravens. Desert Wizards are Mambo (vocals, bass, and guitar), Gito (lead guitar and backing vocals), Anna (organ and vocals), and Dallas (drums). Ravens is a mixture of hard rock, blues rock, and psychedelic rock. The disc opens with “Freedom Rider,” that begins with the Easy Rider sound bite of Jack Nicholson’s and Dennis Hopper’s rant about haircuts and freedom. This song is a heavy rock number and though it opens the disc, feels out of place with the rest of the songs. But after five minutes there is an organ solo and the song abruptly shifts into The Doors territory, adding some interest. In my humble opinion, the best tracks on this disk are the psychedelic/gothic western numbers: “Babilonya,” “Back to Blue,” “Vampire Queen,” and the excellent cover of Pink Floyd’s “Childhood’s End” from Obscured by Clouds. The other songs: “Black Bird,” “Dick Allen’s Blues,” “Electric Sunshine,” and “Burn into the Sky” are hard rock, blues, and psych songs that really didn’t resonate with me. The other song of note is “Bad Dreams” that is fairly spooky. This is a mixed bag of music, indicative of a band finding its way. There is a lot of promise of good things to come.
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more