Every scene has its unsung heroes. When it comes to desert rock, for every John Garcia, Brant Bjork and Scott Reeder, there are guys like Gary Arce and Mario Lalli, scene stalwarts that have received plenty of underground praise, if not much mainstream recognition. Let’s just say the type of people who buy Small Stone records know who Gary Arce is—and hey, it doesn’t hurt that he’s got Garcia singing on some of these songs, either.
Also contributing under the Zun moniker is Sera Timms of L.A. “dream doom” outfit Ides of Gemini, a band that has really grown on me over the years. Her fare tends to be darker than the laid-back grooves of the Palm Desert scene, but still seems suited to the mellow passages on here.
“Nothing Farther” kicks off this six-song effort with some eerie tones that wouldn’t sound out of place with Ides of Gemini. But it’s Garcia who takes the mic on this one, crooning over the subtle, melodic backdrop. “Into the Wasteland” sees Timms take the lead on a laid-back track where I find myself distracted by the digital-sounding drums. Again, this one isn’t heavy, but it’s still pretty chill.
“All For Nothing” also has its mellow grooves and Garcia vocal slightly disrupted by some overly digitized guitar sounds, though the Timms-fronted “Come Through the Water” closely captures a pretty solid Pink Floyd vibe. The eight-minute “All That You Say I Am” includes everything from tribal drums to steel guitar, and while Garcia is in fine form, this is far from your typical stoner-rock tune!
“Solar Incantation” is driven by thumping bass and pounding drums, as Timms even mentions the desert sun in the first verse. This one could actually be an Ides of Gemini tune, too, though it’s slightly more psychedelic.
And while Garcia obviously gets the stoner-rock cred, I think the tracks I enjoy most here are sung by Sera Timms.