While it may or may not be fair to claim that Palm Desert's latest offers nothing new to the genre of fuzz / stoner / desert rock (more on that front later, read on), it is fair to say that they are standing confidently and competently astride the shoulders of giants, having learned their lessons well from the towering figures of the genre. There ain't nothing wrong with that, not at all. They have perfectly captured the desert rock sound, including the loose feeling of Kyuss and Desert Sessions albums granting the music an organic quality, as though each composition has a life of its own that the band does not even try to control or stand in the way of. They are like the classic writers of a bygone age, receiving broadcasts from on high, merely recording divine communications. Thankfully, Palm Desert's music does not run amok of the band and the songs are generally well behaved. No section overstays its welcome even while each section of music is fully explored and exploited to fullest effect.
It's worth noting that the album was produced by the band's drummer / manager Kamil Ziolkowski who also does the cover photography and provides additional guitars. The multi-talented Ziolkowski does a little bit of everything for the band and always seems to deliver the perfect funk-laced beat with the right balance of cymbal crashes. As producer, always gets the most out of Jan Rutka's bass, whose thick and ropey tones become the focal point of the music, allowing Piotr Lacny's guitar to flow atop and paint pictures. Ziolkowski is also the drummer for Polish sludge band O.D.R.A., whose 'Karl Denke Blües' album is monstrously good as well.
If stoner / desert rock is what you're looking for, well ... you've just found it. Palm Desert speak the language of stoner and desert rock fluently. Kyuss-era Homme-an tone to the guitar and song structures with flights of epic fancy giving a great and greasy, loose feel to the recordings. They've got cowbell in tasteful supply and floor tom marches with heavy crash. They've got everything the stoner rocker is looking for and then some. In the end, it may appear on the surface that Palm Desert's 'Rotten Village Sessions' is a typical stoner album, heavy on the crash and fuzz, paying endless tribute to the greats of the genre, but beneath the desert sand, just under the surface is something truly unique. It may take some digging, but that something will eventually emerge and stand fully revealed to the listener. This band has heart and soul and I think it's fair to say that they are standouts within the genre. This is a terrific album which starts strong and improves with every listen.
Highlights include: "Damn Good" and "Acid Phantom"
Total Run Time: 47:31
From: Wrocław, Poland
Genre: Stoner Rock, Desert Rock
Reminds me of: DSW, Kyuss, Routes, The Shooters
Release Date: January 4, 2013
Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Creating a makeshift desert in your backyard by spilling the sand from the sandbox and/or (unsoiled!) kitty litter, or failing that, evicting the children from the local park and wandering the playground searching hopelessly for water.
Ride With the Devil
Dr. Doom's Lair