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John Garcia - The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Label: Napalm Records
Format: CD Download
Released: 2017
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/10

In recent years, the non-Josh Homme members of Kyuss have begun to showcase their Southwestern heritage. Brant Bjork went last year with his "Tao of the Devil" record, and now it's John Garcia's turn, with his new solo release, "The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues". The title evokes images of an old guy with braids telling folktales over the sounds of R. Carlos Nakai's flute - - or a hapless dog in tireless pursuit of a roadrunner - - but don't be misled. The iconic lead voice of Kyuss serves up a plate of cactus jelly, fried iguana, acoustic guitars, and groove. His low-scream, edgy voice was perfect for Kyuss. It's sometimes a bit caustic on this record paired up with quiet backing sounds; this is unfortunately especially prominent in the opening track, which may prove off-putting to some cold listens. Getting past this, however, I think he does a good job of mixing it up on the rest of "Coyote." I've already used the word "groove" once in the first paragraph, and I'm going to say it many more times in this review: Groove, groove. groove. Rooted in Metal, Stoner Rock, and Classic Rock, but stripped down to live-sounding instruments and voice with few effects or post-production accoutrements, Garcia evokes a retro-90s acoustic sound, loaded with groove. Think of the Metal and Grunge bands featured on the MTV Unplugged specials or the first album from Days of the New.


There are earnest singer-songwriters all over the world sitting on stools in little places, playing their little songs while small audiences watch and drink expensive coffee. Having been one of those guys, and having done time in numerous small acoustic venues in the Southwest, I can tell you that this particular scene is here, with its own distinct flavor - - and that's not just the beans and corn. I've become well acquainted with the sound, and John Garcia's newest album is representative of it, at its best. Lots of scenesters mess about with artificial acoustic funk; most fail, but John Garcia does not. It's harder than it seems to do it well. Garcia's grooves are guaranteed to get your head nodding. For Kyuss old-timers, the new acoustic version of "Green Machine" is a can't miss - - for the novelty factor, if nothing else. Groove.


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