Earlier this week marked the 44th birthday of Josh Homme.
Known as the man behind desert rock band Queens Of The Stone Age, Homme has dipped his fingers into many different musicals pies. From his early days in stoner metal band Kyuss to forming the supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures, with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones, Homme has developed a signature sound. To celebrate the man’s birthday, we present you with these 10 tracks that are guaranteed to set you alight.
10. Spaceship Landing-Kyuss
Josh Homme first came to prominence as the guitarist for desert rock band Kyuss, who were massively influential on the development of stoner rock and metal. Typified by a lo-fi, heavy bass sound and mammoth riffs that led into psychedelic breakdowns, Homme spent most of his time in Kyuss running his guitar through bass amps. Closing their final album, …And The Circus Leaves Town (1995), “Spaceship Landing” shows Kyuss in the finest of forms.
9. Scumbag Blues-Them Crooked Vultures
Another track from the supergroup, “Scumbag Blues”, features one of Homme’s catchiest riffs. Pounding and cheeky, the track moves from funky verses into an ominous chorus. Homme graces us with one of his most out-of-control guitar solos while Jones matches his level on the keys.
8. Turnin’ On The Screw-Queens Of The Stone Age
After Kyuss disbanded, Homme and the former bass player for the stoner rock legends, Nick Oliveri, formed Queens Of The Stone Age. Taking inspiration from the style of their old band, the two musicians added a little extra smoothness and sleaze into the mix. “Turnin’ On The Screw” opens the band’s fifth album and features an industrial tone. A fuzzed out synth and loose guitars are accompanied by disillusioned vocals as they march into oblivion.
7. No One Love Me & Neither Do I-Them Crooked Vultures
Them Crooked Vultures is a supergroup consisting of Homme, drummer Dave Grohl, and Led Zeppelin bass player, John Paul Jones. The band began touring in 2009 before dropping their only album to date. Filled with manic drums, vicious guitar lines and delirious keyboards, the band’s self-titled album did not disappoint. “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I" opens the album with one of the sleaziest guitar sounds Homme has ever produced. The song eventually builds into a cacophony of guitar, drums and bass.
6. Tension Head-Queens Of The Stone Age
“Tension Head” is one of Queens Of The Stone Age’s heaviest songs and is featured on their second record, Rated R (2000). Very similar to the work of Kyuss, the track features Oliveri on vocals who delivers with brutality as he always does. Homme’s guitar work sets the track off though with a variating riff adding punch behind Oliveri’s performance.
5. Freedom Run-Kyuss
Blues For The Red Sun (1992) is, arguably, Kyuss’ best record, and “Freedom Run” is one of their most criminally overlooked tracks. Beginning with a set of strange, instrumental noises that sound like something bouncing underwater, a layered voice repeating the eponymous phrase is looped over and over again, building tension. The intro soon reaches it’s pinnacle, before dropping into an ominous baseline and melting guitar. The band begin another build-up before dropping into one of their grooviest riffs of all time.
4. Elephants-Them Crooked Vultures
“Elephants” is a track as massive as the animal it is named after. Beginning with a very Zeppelin-esque riff, the song’s intro sets a quick pace before slowing down into a funky march. Homme’s guitar shrieks like the trumpet of an elephant as he sings with a disillusioned apathy. The blistering track then moves into a reflective chorus touched up nicely by Homme’s sweet harmonies. The song ends with the same manic riff it began with.
3. Someone’s In The Wolf-Queens Of The Stone Age
Lullabies To Paralyze (2005) was Queens Of The Stone Age’s fourth album, and first without founding member Oliveri. Although it seems that the band lost its aggression after Oliveri’s departure, it manifested itself in other ways. “Someone’s In The Wolf” was one of those ways. Based on a oddly groovy, calculated riff and an almost tribal drum beat, the track presents the sleaze that Homme is known so well for.
2. 50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up)-Kyuss
Another track off of Kyuss’ seminal work, Blues For The Red Sun (1992), “50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up)” has one of the best breakdowns the band has ever produced. Beginning with an introduction of speedy riffing, the song uses the pace of the drums to build dynamics. The band then drops into a classic Kyuss riff before entering a dark verse section. At around the halfway point, “50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up)” completely changes gears and moves onto a softer part complete with longing guitar arpeggios.
1. God Is In The Radio-Queens Of The Stone Age
“God Is In The Radio” features on Queens Of The Stone Age’s, arguably, most accomplished record, Songs For The Deaf (2002). The last album to feature Oliveri, it married the aggression of the bass player with Homme’s late-night groove perfectly. “God Is In The Radio” features a slinking, bluesy beat with eery piano and perfectly fuzzed out guitar. The highlight of the track is the guitar solo. Rising and rising to the heavens, it begins to slide down almost into nothing while backwards recordings of Homme whispering retain the atmosphere. The solo then comes back for one final round before it walks off into the night.
What’s your favourite Josh Homme track? Let us know!
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