Home Read Various Artists | The Desert Sessions Vols. 11 & 12

Various Artists | The Desert Sessions Vols. 11 & 12

Rock ringleader Josh Homme rounds up another ragtag gaggle of jammers.

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WHO ARE THEY? Queens of The Stone Age singer-guitarist and rock ’n’ roll ringleader Josh Homme — who never met a collaboration he didn’t dig — joined by a ragtag gaggle of peers, pals, cronies and casual acquaintances including Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Les Claypool (Primus), Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters), Mike Kerr (Royal Blood), Carla Azar (Autolux, Jack White), Matt Sweeney (Chavez), David Catching (Co-founder of Rancho De La Luna studio), comedian Matt Berry (What We Do in the Shadows), Töôrnst Hülpft and newcomer Libby Grace.

WHAT IS THIS? An eight-song collection of eccentric rock, jammy excursions and general oddball tomfoolery helmed by Homme at his home-away-from-home studio near Joshua Tree. More significantly, volumes 11 and 12 — respectively subtitled Arrivederci Despair and Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels — are the first new Sessions sets in nearly 16 years.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? What musicians do when they let their hair down and keep the tape rolling. Which is to say: You won’t be hearing any of these songs on the radio anytime soon. But you also won’t hear anything else quite like these songs on any of their regular albums either.

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Back to the Sandbox. Or perhaps Too Many Cooks Don’t Spoil This Broth.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On a playlist with previous instalments, which have included contributions by everyone from PJ Harvey and Mark Lanegan to Twiggy Ramirez and Dean Ween.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Freewheeling, immediate, noisy, experimental, shapeshifting, weird, colourful, expansive, eccentric, mischievous.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The lurching crunch of the QOTSA-like Noses in Roses, Forever, sung by Homme; the folksy If You Run; the glam-punky nugget Crucifire featuring Kerr; Homme’s Bowiesque bow during closing ballad Easier Said Than Done.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘It’s about time — but after 16 years, half an hour of new music just ain’t enough.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? A few songs are good enough to bring you back. Meanwhile, the demented Chic Tweetz — featuring the treated vocals of the pseudonymous Hülpft, who is rumoured to be Dave Grohl but sounds more like Ringo to me — is so bizarre you’ll need to hear it more than once just to believe it.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A GATHERING, WHAT WOULD IT BE? A potluck dinner cooked by celebrity chefs collaborating with each other.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? A Desert stream seems somehow fitting.