This is Stoner.

This is my new favorite band.

They are every band stuck in a dive bar, a little too drunk, a little too high, with WAY too little appreciation being shown for what these cats are laying down. They are every uncle who has been in 12 different bands and is WAY too old to keep doing this shit, but fuck it, it’s all they know how to do. They are every kid that grew up… even though they didn’t want to. So they didn’t.

They are me. They are you. They are every missed opportunity and every dumb luck win.

They are actually a 3-piece, two of which, started Kyuss. Kyuss… along with a few other select musicians and bands from the Palm Desert, CA area pretty much invented a whole sub-genre of rock. Some called it, ‘Desert Rock’. ‘Doom, Psychedlic, and Space’-rock are often used adjectives. Some even dubbed it, ‘Stoner Rock’. They would (in)famously drag generators out in the middle of the desolate sands and throw fuzzed-out groove rock shows to crazed desert dwelling chemical people. Or so the legends say…

They still had to pay $250 for this practice space.

To break it down in detail… Brant Bjork was a drummer who founded Kyuss. In Stoner, he sings and plays guitar. Nick Oliveri plays bass in Stoner, just like he did when he was also in Kyuss. Ryan Gut comes from a band called Hammerface, but more recently from playing with Brant Bjork’s live band. And because I guess it’s mandatory to mention, Kyuss also had Josh Homme, who formed the very successful Queens of the Stone Age (which also included Oliveri), who has nothing to do with Stoner, Homme that is, Oliveri IS in Stoner. There was also a band called Vista Chino in there with Oliveri, Bjork, and John Garcia (who was also a founding member of Kyuss as the vocalist)… and y’know what, this could go on forever. The Palm Desert scene is probably one of the most gloriously incestuous music scenes to ever exist, with many bands and a flowchart that would take a math degree to follow.

So about Stoner.

In 2020, Bjork, Oliveri, and Gut, got way too high after jamming around, and one of them (they can’t remember which one) said as they half talked/coughed through a light-obscuring cloud of smoke… “Wouldn’t it be cool to just like… name your band… Stoner? Just strip that shit straight down. I mean… just lay it down, man. Heavy. No bullshit… just… fucking…. ‘Stoner’… (……..)” and the room went silent. And someone else said, “That’s fucking genius man… I WANT to be in a band called Stoner”…. another voice faintly murmured in awe…”Me too.” and wham, bam, the world just changed man, and one of the universe’s most deadliest bands was formed.

Scientists have proven the earth lost about .000666 degrees of its tilt at that moment… just from the sheer mass generated from the IDEA of what this band could create/demolish with this vision.

Which was somehow caged into an album. And that album is called, “Stoner’s Rule”. Because of course it is.

Not sure if it’s intentional, or it’s just what happens when you let Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri alone in a practice space with enough good weed. They are gonna cut grooves so ridiculously thick, they leave tracks across your soul.

This has such confident swagger. There is no need to dress any of this up. You might get a laid back, juicy ass run that may lose itself for awhile in what may be considered a guitar solo… I just don’t think Bjork is trying that hard, which is brilliant. He’s just letting it flow. When you start peeling back some of the space-ier parts with those serpentine runs going up and down your spine, you can sense the years of talent subverting the intentionally stripped-down foundations that lock most songs in place. They know it’s that undeniably dark and dirty riff that bobs the heads and moves the bodies, pushes the hearts, and creates the magic.

 

All I need to back that boasting is the album’s opener, “Rad Stays Rad”. Got that right.

If you didn’t move your head to that, “Shit don’t change, Shit don’t change, Shit don’t change… Rad Stays Rad.” part, then we aren’t gonna be friends. I wish you well, but if you can’t feel that… you are dead inside my friend and I weep for your existence.

And things just cut deeper as we go. “The Older Kids” keeps it in that zone of not over-thinking it and keeping it cool.

Stoner knows what Sabbath taught them. Stoner remembers they were in Kyuss and knows what that fucking means/meant/will always mean.

Stoner knows more about rock than you will ever know about anything, ever.

Oh, you think they were grinding it down before?… they hadn’t even begun to down-shift.

Witness them dredge the carcass of rock across an aptly named bluesy drink called, “Own Yer Blues”. You got that right Stoner. Take that ugly shit life’s been force-feeding you and own that wreckage. Then wander out into the Mojave Desert, drop some acid, and film a video. The Doors got famous doing weird shit like that. And Stoner are some beautifully weird dudes.

They just grind a greasy rhythm into the dirt. When they do get around to remembering they should probably change keys or something… it’s delivered like a goddamn privilege that they bothered to do so, like… just relax… we’ll get there.

While the over-all sound doesn’t stray from their starting point… (and why would you want it to?), I admire how they can kick out ideas in various lengths. A lot of bands that fall into this general sonic genre, can be… let’s say… a bit self indulgent in the amount of stoner-y jams they would like the listener to wade through. Stoner can offer up songs ranging from under three minutes to multi-layered journeys through the cosmos that take up at least 13 minutes of your attention.

That’s a lot… for a Stoner.

But they hit such bluesy ass dirty boogie jams along the way, each track just delivers. Like the foot-stomping stand-offish, “Stand Down”. Greasier.. it does not get.

“Stoner’s Rule” picks it up and puts it down across seven tracks of some of the most solid rock these ears have ever heard. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this album. At any point or any moment. It knows what it wants to be and does it flawlessly. The last time I got chills like this listening to something for the first time… it was Black Sabbath.

I know that’s a bold statement. My rebuttal… ANY track on this album. And then I walk away from such a silly argument because I know I am right as I psychicly bond you to a chair and surround your helpless body and mind with a top-end, hi-fidelity system, tuned to maximum warp speed… headphones on… proper medicinals applied… As I then I sit directly across from you… eye to eye… and we listen to this…

“We found our tribe…”

Either we walk away as brothers or we part ways as strangers.

 

 

Stoner