Album Review: Legends of the Desert Vol. 3 By Fatson Jetson & Dali’s Llama

While amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Desert Records premiered the Legends of the Desert series.

I’m assuming that the fine readers of The Third Eye have heard of Desert Records and their Legends of the Desert series, which, as of March 24th, is now up to 3 volumes in total! The newest addition features two old-school desert rock bands, Fatso Jetson and Dali’s Llama. For those of you who haven’t heard of the series, please read on, and you will find yourself informed and up-to-date by the end of this review.

About Desert Rock and the Legends of the Desert Series

Desert Rock is a genre that blends elements of heavy metal, 70s hard rock, psychedelia, blues, punk, alternative, grunge, and many other genres. It has been known to feature distinctive drum beats, western vibes, a propensity for free-form jamming, and trance-like or sludgy grooves. Certain artists in the genre could write soundtracks for Clint Eastwood-styled western movies, pulling it off with as much success as Ennio Morricone, albeit with a bit of a psychedelic twist.

While amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Desert Records premiered the Legends of the Desert series, which focuses on precisely what the title implies, desert rock and the exciting bands at the top of the scene. With their third volume, the label has brought in two bands that collectively have about 60 years’ worth of musical experience. First is Fatso Jetson, who supplied four brand new songs, and on the flip side, we have Dali’s Llama, who also contributed four completely new songs.

Side A: Fatso Jetson

Fatso Jetson was formed in Palm Desert, California, back in 1994.

Fatso Jetson was formed in Palm Desert, California, back in 1994. They are often credited as one of the bands originating desert rock, an offshoot of stoner rock.  While having similar musical aspects to some stoner rock bands, Fatso Jetson brings in a mishmash of musical influences, including punk, art rock, blues, and psychedelic rock.

“Night of the Living Amends” starts the party right by giving us something indicative of their sound. There’s a jamming feel that flows through the song, and it hits all the check marks that are a part of the sounds of the scene as it makes its way to the end. There are no vocals present, but the music more than makes up for their absence.

“Angels Flight (feat. Sean Wheeler)” has the “western desert with a bit of psychedelia” style that I find extra appealing. The vocals are performed with such skill; their tone and the way they mesh with the music is superbly fitted to the overall feel. This is the best track on Side A; so much about it is perfect for me.

“Todas Petrol Blues” begins with a Dave Grohl-esque driving drum beat that supplies just the right amount of oomph, powering the track ahead expertly. There’s a lot more of the psych elements of desert rock going on, but Fatso Jetson never loses touch with the fact that’s what they do, and they do it exceedingly well.

“One of Seven” begins with a vibe and groove that is utterly fantastic. It’s one of those songs that demand multiple consecutive listens, as it’s an earworm that won’t go away anytime soon. While it doesn’t necessarily sound like these bands, I can still hear that fans of Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, and even Nirvana will pick up on what Fatso Jetson lays down here.

Side B: Dali’s Llama

DALI'S LLAMA sprouted from the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area of Southern California in 1993.

Dali’s Llama sprouted from the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area of Southern California in 1993. They were formed by guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Zach Huskey and his wife/bassist Erica; they have remained the only original members since the group’s inception. Their music has been featured in documentaries and feature films, and the duo has its own record label, Dali’s Llama Records.

“Coyotes in the Graveyard” starts with more of a hard rock sound, starkly contrasting the Fatso Jetson side of the album. There’s almost a droning, hypnotic feel to the verse riff, pulling listeners in for the ride. Between the badass riffs, the phenomenal bass playing, and an impressive guitar solo, this track is a hit from the get-go!

“Lizards” pulls even more from the heavy ends of the desert rock spectrum, something that didn’t disappoint me at all. Zach applies his distinctive vocal style, which has an almost country effect but also not, it’s hard for me to describe, but it’s fantastic nonetheless.

“Rarified” is on par with the first two tracks on this side of the record but with an identity all its own. I love how upfront and in your face the bass seems to be, it doesn’t overpower the guitars, but it’s still prominent in the mix. The psychedelic-flavored middle part is amazing, with its banjo parts almost seeming to mimic a Sitar, adding an exotic yet western vibe to the entire section. Coming out of that with a hard-hitting guitar lead was a stroke of brilliance, reminding the listener that Dali’s Llama is here to rock!

“Hypnotic Wind” is the closing track and sees Dali’s Llama doing something a bit different. The guitars have an incredible tone, the vocals are performed expertly, and the short section where the bass is featured is incredible and reminded me of Golden Earring. The cowbell in the last section was a nice added touch, making me envision Christopher Walken asking for more cowbell on that one classic Saturday Night Live skit.

Final Thoughts

I wasn’t more than a casual fan of the desert rock scene when the series’ second volume was released in 2021, but the sounds of the bands involved, Penitent Man and Cortége, were more than enough to pique my interest in the genre. 2020’s inaugural edition of the series featured Pale Horse/Pale Rider and Lord Buffalo and furthered my interest in desert rock all the more. My point is that this series is an excellent introduction to this great brand of music and that this third volume will introduce people to two of the band’s that have helped to shape the genre while also serving to reintroduce them to longtime fans who may have drifted away from their music.

Legends of the Desert Vol 3 is available now on CD, digital, and vinyl formats via the Desert Records Bandcamp page and their website.

Support Fatso Jetson by finding them on Bandcamp or social media (Facebook, YouTube).

Support Dali’s Llama by checking out their Bandcamp or Facebook.

This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now-defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.

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