Sons of Arrakis release epic debut album

Volume 1 was released on July 15th

Sons of Arrakis are a four-piece stoner rock band from Montréal, Quebec. The group formed in 2019 with a strong affinity for the writings of Frank Herbert. Their name and much of their work reference Dune, the sci-fi series by Herbert. The band refers to their work as “Melange rock and cinematic sci-fi rock.” Melange refers to the hallucinogenic spice drug from Dune. For stoner rock fans who also enjoy Herbert’s work, you’re in for a real sci-fi treat, but for the casual stoner rock fan, don’t worry: You don’t have to be familiar with the book series to enjoy the music, although Sons of Arrakis may make you want to check out the books or movies.

Musically, the band delivers massive doses of seriously groovy riff rock and fantasy lyrics in the vein of bands like The Sword and Telekinetic Yeti. Volume 1, the band’s debut record, was released in July. It’s both epic and brisk, clocking in at a cool 30 minutes with eight tracks. In the past, my friend Nashville Eric and I judged good albums, such as Led Zeppelin III, on their ability to leave you wanting more. Sons’ Volume 1 will leave you wanting more and looking forward to Volume 2.

1. Shai-Hulud 1:33
2. The Black Mirror 3:43
3. Complete Obliteration 4:01
4. Temple of the Desert 4:26
5. Omniscient Messiah 4:12
6. Lonesome Preacher 5:13
7. Abomination 4:37
8. Shai-Hulud (Sequel) 2:19

Frédéric Couture’s vocals are dynamic and high flying, delivered in his own unique style, with catchy melodies. The Black Mirror gives a good example of Couture’s high register. He also executes some nice harmonies, even evoking some Alice in Chains vibes on Complete Obliteration. Lyrically, the album discusses some hefty themes such as philosophy, warfare, religion, and systematic subjugation, all with that subtle Frank Herbert influence. Many of the tracks, such as Shai Hulud, Abomination, Omniscient Messiah, and Lonesome Preacher also reference characters in the Duniverse. Lyrics here.

Alexandre Goulet’s sci-fi graphic design adds authenticity and feel to the band’s mystique

Francis Duchesne on lead guitars along with Couture on rhythm guitars establish an absolutely fuzzy juggernaut of chuggy, progressive riffs with strong heavy blues vibes. They set the heavy bluesy mood on instrumental opener, Shai Hulud, which is also continued on the album closer, Shai Hulud Sequel. There are also awesome dual guitar leads throughout. Listen to Temple of the Desert, Abomination, and Complete Obliteration for some prime dual guitar leads. Complete Obliteration and Omniscient Messiah also feature blazing guitar solos.

Mathieu Racine’s drum sound is groovy and in the pocket. From the very start, the drummer sets the standard for the album with some heavy blues style. Check out Temple of the Desert for an awesome bluesy shuffle pattern. He’s got chops too. Listen to the start and finish of Abomination for some technical and fast drumming, in the vein of Trivett Wingo of The Sword fame. On bass, Vick Trigger is the perfect rhythmic counterpart, delivering track after track of deep grooves, perfectly in sync with Racine’s drum patterns. Get lost in the deep groove of tracks like Omniscient Messiah and Abomination, where the powerhouse pair deliver tasty change-ups and progressive jams.

Official music video for Omniscient Messiah, directed by Arturo Baston. Monster modeled and animated by Albert Calle Joamat

Volume 1 is available for digital download on Bandcamp for Name Your Price! Vinyl is available for $30 and CDs for just over $10. The band’s graphic artist, Alexandre Goulet, did an awesome job of creating Dune-influenced art for the band, and the band has a poster and t-shirts featuring many of the spacy designs on their merch page. An interview and live acoustic recording of the band was recently featured on a podcast by The Stoner Rock Army‘s The General, Eric Varasifsky. Also, check out Distorted Sound Magazine’s article, which goes in depth (SPOILERS) regarding the band’s direct Dune references.

Electric Mountain release high voltage desert rock album, Valley Giant

Valley Giant was released on May 27, 2022

The week, The Sonic Sofa travels to Mexico City for desert rock band Electric Mountain’s second full length release. The power trio burst onto the scene in 2013 with their classic rock influenced stoner rock sound, infused with plenty of high octane desert riffs. They put on a loud, headbanging show and have shared stages with Elder and Blackwater Holylight. Electric Mountain released their Self-Titled debut album in 2017. After a two-year hiatus, they’re back with their sophomore full length, Valley Giant, and it is well worth the wait.

Valley Giant was released in May on Electric Valley Records. It features beautiful extraterrestrial landscape art by Adam Burke of Nightjar Illustration. The album is nine tracks, clocking in at 46 minutes, though some streaming platforms include a tenth track, The Man. Throughout the record, the musicians blend a riffy blend of desert rock guitars and melodic vocals with a growly, driving rhythm section. What makes the album awesome are all of the extended, stoner rock turnarounds and classic rock breaks. It opens with short, heavy-blues intro, The Great Hall, and is a non-stop action ride until the lengthy and spacy closer, A Thousand Miles High. Filled with headbangers from start to finish, the album only slows down for a slight breather on the acoustic, At Last Everything, which also features some tasty vocal harmonies and hand percussion.

Electric Mountain formed in 2013

1. The Great Hall (Intro) 2:38
2. Outlanders 3:53
3. Morning Grace 5:14
4. Void 4:09
5. A Fistful of Grass 6:32
6. Desert Ride 5:00
7. Vulgar Planet 5:09
8. At Last Everything 4:31
9. A Thousand Miles High 8:41

Guitarist/vocalist Gibran Pérez pumps out the jams with fuzzy, heavy-blues riffs, and scorching solos infused with plenty of wah-pedal and phaser, and caps it off with clean, melodic vocals, that I felt like were reminiscent of early Sabbath, and possibly even Corrosion of Conformity. Drummer Max Cabrera keeps things solid and driving with some absolute balls to the walls drum beats and fills. Listen to the end of Outlanders for some Bonham-esque fills, and check out Desert Ride for some driving, desert rock drum-power. Jorge Trejo’s bass tone really stands out on the album, with a beefy tone, often spaced out with heavy wah-pedal action. Check out Morning Grace for a fat, fuzzed out bass tone, and listen for some compelling leads during on A Thousand Miles High.

You can find Valley Giant on Bandcamp. The digital album can be downloaded for $7. It is also available on CD for $7.50 as well as beautiful transparent purple or plain black vinyl for $23. Check out Electric Mountain’s social media for news and announcements.

Blue Heron set to release debut album, Ephemeral

Ephemeral will be released on May 27th

Blue Heron is a four-piece desert rock band from Albuquerque, NM. Their debut album, Ephemeral, will be released in late May. The group deals out a psychedelic mix of grungy heavy metal, with strong desert rock vibes and rhythms.

Ephemeral, featuring beautiful artwork by Mirko Gastow, is set for a May 27th release. The eight track album clocks in at a very listenable 47 minutes. It’s heavy from start to finish, with the exception of a few quiet interlude tracks that give short breathers between headbanging and breakdowns.

1. Futurola 5:22
2. Sayonara 13:20
3. Push the Sky 4:39
4. Infiniton Field 2:20
5. The Buck 6:19
6. Black Blood of the Earth 7:14
7. Where One Went Together 2:02
8. Salvage 5:53

Futurola music video by Dedisuseno

There’s plenty of driving, desert rock guitar, like on opener, Futurola, and even some High on Fire flavored riffage, like on Black Blood of the Earth, which also features a heavy, Sabbath-worship ending. Keep your ear out for plenty of spacy guitar solos, especially on the epic, 13 minute track, Sayonara, and even some reflective acoustic work on interlude track, Infiniton Field. Fans of Kal-El and Dozer will aprove.

The bass is impressive, with a full, in your face sound. It creates a solid, rhythmic counterpart for the drums, often taking the lead when the guitars are spacing out. Fans of Kyuss and Clutch will appreciate the complexity and driving rhythm. Check out Sayonara and The Buck for excellent examples of the growly bass tones and competent leads.

The drums are solid and driving throughout, featuring bluesy patterns and plenty of heavy breakdowns. There’s plenty of tasty tom work and cymbal accents, notable on Push the Sky, and a crisp sound shines through on closer, Salvage. Black Blood of the Earth has a definite stoner metal drumming sound, which fans of High on Fire and The Sword will appreciate, and don’t miss the shuffle pattern for the heavy blues ending.

The vocals are unique and diverse. Most of the album features melodic vocals with a throaty, aggressive delivery. Several of the tracks, including Sayonara and Push the Sky, have some edgy hardcore vocals at the end. Fans of John Garcia, Neil Fallon, and Matt Pike won’t be disappointed. Lyrical content ranges from mortality and the fleeting nature of existence to mythic fables about deposed gods and failed civilizations.

The album will be released by Kosmik Artifactz and Seeing Red Records. You can find the band on social media. Pre-order the digital album on Bandcamp for $6 or vinyl for $25, with supplies shipping on May 30th. Check out the merch page for bundle deals on their album and Black Blood of the Earth/A Sunken Place EP from 2021. Also, check out the music videos for Futurola and Push the Sky. Definitely keep an ear out for more from Blue Heron.

The Sonic Sofa gets REUPHOLSTERED!

Graphic artist Wina Obake specializes in art with trippy sci-fi influences

When I started The Sonic Sofa, I threw together a hasty photo of my sofa and added some words to create my logo. About a year later, I finally decided to com-mission some professional art to make the blog even more awesome. Finally, I’m proud to present to you, the reupholstered new look of The Sonic Sofa.

I had an idea of the look I wanted to achieve: a sci-fi feel, plenty of desert/stoner rock influence, and obviously a comfy sofa. I was introduced to an artist named Wina Obake who specializes in the kind of look I was going and after checking out her work, I knew that I had found the perfect artist for the project. She was able to turn my vague ideas into vivid reality, and I’m so proud of the results. Please check her work on Instagram and Kichink and consider supporting her by buying art. She can also be contacted by email at pzicho.mustard@gmail.com.

The spacey new blog header by graphic artist, Wina Obake

In the months to come, please look for more big changes to The Sonic Sofa. I’m not going to give too much away, but the second season of the podcast is going to get an update, the blog is going to start having more content each week, and we are currently coming up with ad free ways of monetizing the blog. Stay tuned to the big changes in the second year of the blog and as always, go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.

Become one with the sofa…

Album Review: Brant Bjork’s Jacoozzi

Brant Bjork is a name that is almost synonymous with desert rock. He’s a multi-instrumentalist from Palm Desert, California, so prolific that he has an entire wikipedia page about his discography. He was a founding member of Kyuss, playing on seminal albums such as (Welcome to) Sky Valley and Blues for the Red Sun. He also played for a time in Fu Manchu, recording albums such as California Crossing and No One Rides for Free. In addition to his work with other bands, he also has an impressive lineup of solo releases.

His newest album, Jaccoozzi, was released on April 5, and is being advertised as a sort of lost album. The album was recorded in 2010, but immediately shelved. This was because Bjork had decided to tour with John Garcia and Kyuss Lives, but also because Bjork’s time in the studio did not go as expected. Bjork had gone to a house in Joshua Tree, CA to record material for his next solo album, but personal life changes as well as feeling burned out from extensive recording and touring caused him to change his plans. Bjork decided to scrap his original project and focus on creating improvised jams. While his sound engineer ran tape, Bjork laid down his drum beats first and then layered the songs with bass and guitar tracks, as well as occasional organs. The whole album is swingy and groovy and except for the final track, completely instrumental. There are plenty of jazzed up, psychedelic, desert-rock patterns that serve as jam tracks for Bjork to creatively elaborate on and explore. The album features some driving tribal beats and percussion, crunchy extended riffs, tasty guitar leads, and a fat bass sound. Whether you’re out grilling in the backyard, road-tripping through the desert, or chilling in the hottub, Jacoozzi will make for an awesome summer soundtrack.

The first track, Can’t Out Run the Sun, is a nearly eight minute song, built around the concept of a driving, tribal drum beat and heavy delay effects on the guitars. There are plenty of psychedelic, trance inducing patters that develop as the song adds guitar layers throughout.

The second track, Guerilla Funk, introduces hand percussion and a crisper bass sound, and funking it up as the name implies. Bjork’s heavy cymbals, completely allowed to ring out on the recording, sound so good, paired with the huge, ringing drum sound. The track clocks in at 7:20.

At half the length of the first two tracks, Mexico City Blues is a smooth, 12-bar based song that features drums beats with a slightly Latin feel. The tasty guitar leads make this one perfect for a twilight drive through the high desert.

Bjork explores a solo instrumental drum track on Five Hundred Thousand Dollars. It’s a 43 second bash fest on the drums that completely grooves. Black and White Wonderland slows things down with a very solid rhythm pattern between the drums and bass, paired with a very listenable guitar riff.

Oui picks up the pace with plenty of wah pedal and driving, tribal patterns on the drums. The whole track plays like a psychedelic surf song. Mixed Nuts follows it up in a laid back, jazzy way. There are some tasty bell taps on the cymbals, and some great harmonies between the bass and guitar.

Around the half minute mark, Lost in Race features a heavy bass riff, a great return of the hand percussion, and a huge drum sound. Organ tracks add a cool counterpoint melody throughout the song, sometimes dissonant, but adding to that improvised, jazzy feel.

The four minute track, Polarized, brings in several cool heavy psych elements, including, a backwards drum track, very fuzzy, feedbacky guitars, and a detached sounding piano line, that lays down the palpable rhythm melody of the song. The high pitched piano and guitar tones contrast nicely with the deep bass and dub-like drum beat.

Do You Love Your World? is the only track on the album with vocals. The song has a great classic rock sound and Bjork’s vocals, though a little quiet in the mix, sound clear and heartfelt. Perhaps this bit of vocal musing was a remnant of Bjork’s original material that carried through to, or maybe it was just something he came up with at the moment.

The important thing to remember is that this is an improvised jam album, halted before fruition, and presented in raw form, so if that sounds good to you, check out Brant Bjork’s Jacoozzi and get ready to groove.

Tour Dates

May 25 Pappy & Harriet’s – Pioneertown, CA

June 19 Hirsch – Nuremberg, Germany

June 24 Musikbunker – Aachen, Germany

June 25 Centralstation – Darmstadt, Germany

June 26 Musik Zentrum Hannover – Hanover, Germany

June 29 Austria Rockhouse – Salzburg, Germany