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Ear to the Ground: The Mother Hips’ “Desert Song”

Armed with a quiver of Fullerton’s finest tone machines, the Mother Hips leak a song from their ninth studio album, Chronicle Man.

Photo by Andrew Quist

If you’ve ever wanted to A/B an old silverface Fender with an older blackface one, just go to a Mother Hips show: For more than 20 years now, guitarists Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono have been running both in the form of two vintage Super Reverbs.

Gear geekery aside, what’s more interesting is the palpable musical chemistry that flows between these two rock ’n’ roll lifers. “Desert Song” is the first single leaked from their upcoming ninth studio album, Chronicle Man. Bluhm describes it as “Eco-terrorist reggae stoner rock,” but it’s much more than that.

Bluhm counts off the tune to an audible click-track (hey, why hide it?), and then a catchy, rootsy song quickly blossoms before our ears. The two founding members’ vocal harmonies are braided so closely together they bring to mind magic sibling harmonies like those from the Everly, Louvin, and Wilson brothers. At times you can even hear that third harmonic voice popping out from the two. Oh, and the guitar solo is damn sweet, too. Everything about it—from the lightning-fast melodic runs to the tastefully compressed breakup and the natural tones of old gear being pushed just hard enough to sound slightly dangerous. And really, what's rock 'n' roll without a little danger?