Desert Daze is returning to Joshua Tree’s Institute of Mentalphysics October 12th-14th with a whole new cast overflowing with magical musical miscreants… Buy tix here, and don’t miss ListenSD’s top ten to bands to catch!

Friday, October 12

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile

Individually, Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett are two of modern folk rocks most engaging songwriters. Tunes like Vile’s ‘Waking On A Pretty Day‘ & ‘Never Run Away‘ and Barnett’s ‘Pedestrian at Best‘ & ‘Anonymous Club‘ showcase their penchant for thought provoking hooks. The single track released from their forthcoming collaboration, ‘Over Everything‘, doesn’t reinvent their sound in the least. It does, however, feature enough of their distinctly flowery yet blase insight to feel fresh.


Ariel Pink

Ariel Pink’s outsized influence has given rise to an avalanche of lofi bedroom pop projects, as legions of surf rock bands trade in their BOSS Distortion Pedals and Thee Oh Sees pins for Super Chorus’ and Homeshake t-shirts. His catalogue is steeped in forward thinking compositions that resist definition, and ‘Feels Like Heaven‘, the latest offering from the weirdo dream pop auteur boasts all of the sugary, off kilter melodies fans have come to expect of him in his decades of relentless output.


La Femme

La Femme’s 2013 full length, Psycho Tropical Berlin, was one of my favorites of the past five years. This Parisian quintet mix surf rock guitar licks with dreamily layered electronics to create a vivacious and pulsating sonic front. Songs like ‘Antitaxi‘ put their frenetic, haunted house style of psychedelic synths on full display, whilst tracks like ‘It’s Time To Wake Up‘ demonstrate their otherworldly hypnotic swoon. Their live show is NOT one to miss.



John Maus

John Maus, a former cohort of Ariel Pink, is back, releasing his first new track in six years, announcing two brand new full lengths, and embarking on his first string of shows in nearly as long. His particularly infectious brand of self described medieval synth pop is both manic and sedated, effortless and pained as in the politically tinged ‘Rights For Gays‘. His upcoming Soda Bar show is sold out, so don’t miss this rare chance to see him live, an experience widely known to be as memorable as it is unsettling.


Saturday, October 13th


If you ever wanted to know what it would feel like to ride the white horse of the apocalypse, stoned out of your gourd on doomsday, well look no further. Sleep is Odin in the pantheon of stoner rock and will most certainly prompt head banging and bloodlust. I might add that considering the recent cataclysmic events, Sleep might just crack a hole in the desert floor and send us all down to Valhalla.


John Cale

Founding member of The Velvet Underground (need I say more), collaborator and producer of such acts as Brian Eno, The Stooges, Nick Drake and Patti Smith, this man is an icon. With such a plethora of inspirational music ranging from rock n roll, electronica and avant-garde there’s no telling what direction his performance will take. I pray to sweet baby Jesus we see either Terry Riley or Iggy Pop join him on stage.


The Make Up

Post-punk, garage, gospel crooners of sociopolitical insanity, The Make-Up are pure bedlam. Their performances can be described blandly as a fury, and intellectually as a participatory experience with the aim to destroy any ego or individualism between audience and performer. This will be an illuminating experience, one of uncontrolled bravado, political romance, and human sweat.


Terry Riley & Gyan Riley

Microtonal, minimalism, tape loops, drones and the American avant-garde movement; if you aren’t aware of these words and their importance to American music then please take a crash course by treating yourself to this performance. Terry Riley’s “IN C” is credited with launching minimalism, changing America’s musical landscape and directly inspiring Phillip Glass, Steve Reich, The Soft Machine, and countless others. Oh, and he will be performing with his son who happens to be a virtuoso guitar player with his own list of achievements.


Sunday, October 14th


Seeing Spiritualized is a unique experience. There’s something about the ebb and flow of Jason Pierce’s songwriting that allows for all sorts of heady out of body experiences, see Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space for example, one of only a handful of albums to earn realize it’s name so completely. Formerly of the seminal garage(?) art(?) rock(?) band Spacemen 3, Pierce dials back the tripped out fuzz and puts his knack for orchestral, ethereal pop compositions on full display, though he’s not scared to flash his true colors from ti, like in the 2012 anthem ‘Hey Jane‘. 7 full lengths in and, ladies and gentlemen, we’re still floating.


Formed in the ruins of the iconic psych drone band Spaceman 3, Spiritualized is the work of master mind/tour de force Jason Pierce. The 1997 album “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space” is, without a doubt, one of the greatest achievements in rock and roll music, a beautiful harrowing tale and a sonic masterpiece. Uncompromising, soulful, orchestral and piercing, this music was made for the quicksand of narcotics usage and the ecstatic astral-projection of a religious revelation.


Weyes Blood

While I want to write about Allah-Lahs vintage beachside pop here, I feel that Weyes Blood’s cultured sentimentality is really the only thing to prime you for Spiritualized. At her core, Natalie Mehring, or Weyes Blood, is a pop songwriter with dreamy folk tendencies, not entirely dissimilar to a Lana Del Rey type. These songs however really cut. As if they were exhumed from the depthblack well of a human life lived, and genuinely understood. Sometimes I like to cry. Give it a shot, it’s good for you.


Written by Jakob McWhinney & Rory Morison