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High Desert Queen “Palm Reader” Album Review by Luz Figueroa

HIGH DESERT QUEEN Band Members

In an era that has seen a prolific resurgence of psychedelic rock, HIGH DESERT QUEEN stands as a monolith among the dunes of the genre’s vast landscape. Their sophomore release, “Palm Reader,” is nothing short of an odyssey—a compelling journey through riffs that ripple across the sonic horizon like heatwaves. This Austin, Texas-based quartet, consisting of Ryan Garney on vocals, Rusty Miller wielding the guitar, Morgan Miller on bass, and Phil Hook behind the drums, has crafted an album that goes beyond mere psychedelic rock to encapsulate the essence of desert rock, doom, and a dash of blues, establishing a sound that is as unique as it is irresistible.

Right from the opener, “Ancient Aliens,” HIGH DESERT QUEEN sets the tone with a raw, unrefined energy that grabs listeners by the soul and drags them through the sands of their sonic desert. The tracks meander through peaks and valleys of intensity, from the soaring heights of “Death Perception,” featuring a spellbinding cameo by GAUPA’s Emma Näslund, to the sludgy depths of “Head Honcho,” a track that could easily serve as the soundtrack to a high-speed chase across Martian dunes.

The core of “Palm Reader” lies in its diversity. Tracks such as the title track itself show HIGH DESERT QUEEN not just paying homage to their forebearers but pushing the boundaries of the genre. Incorporating elements reminiscent of ROBIN TROWER and PAT TRAVERS, while simultaneously giving nods to the raw, unfiltered essence of the STOOGES, the band showcases their knack for fusing credibility with creativity, resulting in a sound that is both nostalgic and novel.

“Time Waster” stands out as a testament to the band’s venture into the laidback, yet potent realms of stoner rock. Meanwhile, “Solar Rain” closes the album not with a whimper but a tempest, encapsulating the listener in a whirlwind of traditional doom and space rock, leaving them aching for more.

With “Palm Reader,” HIGH DESERT QUEEN has indeed seized their destiny, launching themselves into the stratosphere of the genre. Their work is a beacon for what modern desert rock can and should be; a boundless exploration of sound that refuses to be pigeonholed. It’s a vibrant testament to the band’s growth since their debut, “Secrets of the Black Moon,” and a clear indicator of their trajectory towards becoming stalwarts of the scene.

This album is not just music; it’s a journey—an emblem of freedom that thrives in the boundless expanses of the desert. It’s an invitation from HIGH DESERT QUEEN to lose oneself in the immensity of their sound, and it’s a voyage worth embarking upon.

Rating: 9/10. “Palm Reader” by HIGH DESERT QUEEN is an electrifying leap into the future of desert rock, etched with the echoes of the past and the vibrant pulse of the present. It is a clear signal that the band is here not just to stay but to lead.

HIGH DESERT QUEEN Album Cover

Tracklist
1. Ancient Aliens
2. Death Perception
3. Head Honcho
4. Palm Reader
5. Time Waster
6. Tuesday Night Blues
7. Solar Rain

HIGH DESERT QUEEN have previously announced the first set of many planned live dates for 2024. Please see below for all currently confirmed shows!

HIGH DESERT QUEEN live:
24 MAY 2024 Lafayette, LA (US) Freetown Boom Boom Room
25 MAY 2024 Houston, TX (US) White Oak Music Hall
26 MAY 2024 Arlington,  TX (US) Division Brewery
30 MAY 2024 Austin, TX (US) The Far Out Lounge
31 MAY 2024 Bryan, TX (US) The 101
01 JUN 2024 San Antonio, TX (US) The Amp Room
02 JUN 2024 New Braunfels, TX (US) Guadalupe Brewery
13 JUL 2024 Erfurt (DE) Stoned from the Underground Festival
26 JUL 2024 Neuensee (DE) Rock im Wald Festival
21 SEP 2024 Austin, TX (US) Far Out Lounge, RippleFest Texas

Line-up:

Ryan Garney – vocals
Phil Hook – drums
Morgan Miller – bass
Rusty Miller – guitar

Guest musician
Emma Näslund (GAUPA) – vocals on ‘Death Perception’

Recorded by Casey Johns at Yellow Dog Studios, Wimberley, TX (US)
Mixed & Mastering by Karl Daniel Lidén at Studio Tri-Lamb, Solna (SE)

Cover art & album design by PabloRR (72826) 

Discover “Palm Reader” and embark on this odyssey with HIGH DESERT QUEEN:

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