Posts tagged with "DECEMBER 2011"

SYNTH SENSE

SYNTH SENSE
SYNTH SENSE Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess lets you in on the secrets to making your synthesizer sounds soar  If you’ve listened to pop music created since the 1960s, there’s little doubt you’ve heard synthesizers at work. Innovators have been trying since the 1800s to create devices to replicate sounds otherwise unavailable to the layman, but it was only in the last four decades that the synthesizer became thought of as an instrument in... 

Ike and Tina Turner

Ike and Tina Turner
  PHOTOGRAPHER NORMAN SEEFF’S 1975 LOS ANGELES shoot with husband-and-wife R&B duo Ike and Tina Turner was among the most memorable of his storied career. “The footage was riveting,” he says. “They performed an amazing version of ‘Nutbush City Limits’ right there in my studio. There was incredible energy and vitality between them.” Seeff recalls that the couple’s contrasting personalities made their interactions all the more... 

APOGEE DUET2 2X4 USB AUDIO INTERFACE

APOGEE DUET2 2X4 USB AUDIO INTERFACE
APOGEE DUET2 2X4 USB AUDIO INTERFACE Mac pro-recording ready to go FOR: Giant tracks from a tiny footprint. Apogee Electronics first turned the recording world on its ear with its brilliantly designed AD/DA converters, and they’ve continued to wrap sonic expertise into a number of smart and affordable products. This second rendition of the ultra-portable Duet is feature-packed and makes for the best USB recording experience we’ve had. The dual... 

TOONTRACK EZDRUMMER LINE COLLECTION

TOONTRACK EZDRUMMER LINE COLLECTION
TOONTRACK EZDRUMMER LINE COLLECTION Get your groove on FOR: Killer drum tracks. Toontrack Music has created a Sweetwater-exclusive drum extravaganza, bundling the world’s No. 1 selling drum program and 11 of its best-selling EZX expansion packs. If you’re a songwriter, engineer or producer with a need to craft loops and/or MIDI-based drums across multiple genres, this massive offering will definitely up your groove factor. EZdrummer’s intuitive... 

BOSE L1 MODEL II WITH TONEMATCH AUDIO ENGINE

BOSE L1 MODEL II WITH TONEMATCH AUDIO ENGINE
BOSE L1 MODEL II WITH TONEMATCH AUDIO ENGINE Pro-quality, smooth and portable FOR: Big sound in small and medium venues. The Bose L1 Model II uses Articulated Array speaker technology to apply Bose’s typical outside-the-box logic to portable PAs. Complemented by a lone subwoofer (you can add more), the offset speaker design of the L1 Model II arrays disperse audio nearly 180 degrees on the horizontal axis while projecting little sound toward the... 

REUNION BLUES RB CONTINENTAL GIG BAG

REUNION BLUES RB CONTINENTAL GIG BAG
REUNION BLUES RB CONTINENTAL GIG BAG Protection you can carry FOR: Shelter for your axe. While we wouldn’t suggest putting your guitar in a gig bag and tossing it off the roof, the video on Reunion Blues’ website demonstrates that the Continental’s creators are confident enough to do precisely that. The RB Continental offers superior protection for your instrument, as well as design features as smart as they are useful. If you’ve ever struggled... 

MARTIN SP LIFESPAN COATED ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRINGS

MARTIN SP LIFESPAN COATED ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRINGS
MARTIN SP LIFESPAN COATED ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRINGS Strings that last FOR: Superior string life. C.F. Martin & Co. have been crafting world-renowned instruments for more than 175 years, so it comes as no surprise that they take their strings seriously. These strings reflect Martin’s hallmark standards of quality, materials and craftsmanship. Strings react chemically to sweat and grime, which coat windings and can kill tone and string life. But... 

PLANET WAVES AMERICAN STAGE INSTRUMENT CABLES

PLANET WAVES AMERICAN STAGE INSTRUMENT CABLES
PLANET WAVES AMERICAN STAGE INSTRUMENT CABLES Get plugged-in right FOR: A solid connection. Noting the lack of manufacturing consistency in the market, Planet Waves set out to design a cable plug that was sure to make a great connection regardless of instrument or manufacturing point. The only part of the cable not manufactured in the United States is the patented plug, which is manufactured for Planet Waves by Neutrik in Liechtenstein. A robotic... 

LINE 6 MOBILE IN iOS INTERFACE

LINE 6 MOBILE IN iOS INTERFACE
LINE 6 MOBILE IN iOS INTERFACE POD in your pocket FOR: Great tones to go. Line 6 has taken its time entering the iPhone/iPad market, but the wait’s been worth it—this is one of the best iOS interfaces we’ve seen. Mobile In utilizes the 30-pin digital connector on the bottom of your iPhone or iPad while supporting up to 24-bit/48kHz digital audio. Mobile POD is a free Apple Store download that includes 32 guitar amps, 16 guitar cabinets and 16... 

YAMAHA MOTIF XF8 WORKSTATION

YAMAHA MOTIF XF8 WORKSTATION
YAMAHA MOTIF XF8 WORKSTATION Powerful, mobile and affordable FOR: Killer keys. The MOTIF XF8’s 88-key balanced hammer-effect keyboard puts virtually everything you could possibly want at your fingertips. The massive library of sounds ensures a vast variety of choices, and the built-in 16-track MIDI sequencer is easy to use thanks to the large display. The 128-note polyphony and an auxiliary set of assignable stereo outputs also make the MOTIF XF8... 

CAD AUDIO EQUITEK E100S SUPERCARDIOID CONDENSER MICROPHONE

CAD AUDIO EQUITEK E100S SUPERCARDIOID CONDENSER MICROPHONE
CAD AUDIO EQUITEK E100S SUPERCARDIOID CONDENSER MICROPHONE High-performance rich vocal tone FOR: Awesome audio. The CAD family of companies has brought innovative microphone designs to a range of markets since the 1930s. The Equitek E100S is the world’s quietest large-diaphragm supercardioid condenser microphone, and boasts a remarkably flat frequency response from 40Hz up to about 4kHz. The end result is a mic that is wonderfully transparent, yet... 

STRING SWING CC01K & CC06 GUITAR HANGERS

STRING SWING CC01K & CC06 GUITAR HANGERS
STRING SWING CC01K & CC06 GUITAR HANGERS Hang ’em high FOR: Guitar stowage. For the past 25 years the folks at String Swing have been in the business of keeping instruments safe and sound. The wooden base plate of the CC01K mounts flush to your wall with the included screws and plastic toggles, insuring your guitar doesn’t make an unplanned stage dive. And if you’re taking your show on the road (or just to rehearsal), the cast-metal frame... 

SUSAN JUSTICE

SUSAN JUSTICE
SUSAN JUSTICE HOMETOWN: New York City INFLUENCES: Tracy Chapman, Death Cab for Cutie, Alanis Morissette ALBUM: Eat Dirt, due out in 2012 WEBSITE: susanjusticemusic.com Aruba-born Susan Justice grew up traveling the world with her itinerant parents and nine siblings as part of a controversial religious sect called the Family, spreading the group’s message through music. “Sometimes we would stay for a few months, but most of the time it was a new... 

KARMIN

KARMIN
KARMIN HOMETOWN: Brookline, Mass. MEMBERS: Amy Heidemann (vocals, guitar), Nick Noonan (keyboards, trombone, vocals) ALBUM: As yet untitled, due out in 2012 WEBSITE: karminmusic.com Nebraska-born Heidemann and Maine native Noonan met and began performing together while attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music. “We were like, ‘We’ve tried all these different things, we should really do something ourselves because nobody is ever going to... 

ALLIE MOSS

ALLIE MOSS
ALLIE MOSS HOMETOWN: Long Branch, N.J. INFLUENCES: David Bazan, the Cardigans, Ella Fitzgerald ALBUM: Late Bloomer, out now WEBSITE: alliemoss.com Having cut her teeth playing guitar (and briefly acting as tour manager) for indie-pop singer and songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, Allie Moss stepped into the spotlight for real when an English telecommunications company contacted her through her Facebook page about using her solo song “Corner” in a TV... 

OTIS TAYLOR

OTIS TAYLOR
OTIS TAYLOR   A self-described musical “reporter” takes a hard look at a broken world   Otis Taylor watches through the window as the snow falls outside. Most would find it serene—a dusting on the mountains surrounding Boulder, Colo., the place he calls home. But not Taylor. “It’s dark and overcast,” he says with a shrug. The bluesman, 63, readily describes himself as a pessimist, one who warns that he has little patience for answering... 

KELLIE PICKLER

KELLIE PICKLER
KELLIE PICKLER The country songbird’s third album offers a shot of something a little stronger   “Where’s Tammy Wynette when you need her?” sings Kellie Pickler on the opening cut of her third and latest album, 100 Proof. The tune refers to a broken love affair, but Pickler might just as well be pointing the question toward modern-day country music itself. As a child in North Carolina, Pickler’s grandparents fed her a steady diet of songs... 

WARREN HAYNES

WARREN HAYNES
WARREN HAYNES A powerhouse guitarist stands alone to put his stamp on a classic sound   Between his very high-profile day jobs in Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers Band, virtuoso guitarist Warren Haynes isn’t lacking for musical outlets. But when he found himself with a batch of songs that weren’t suited to either group, he diverted them to Man in Motion, his first solo studio album since 1993. “They were songs I’d written that I’d... 

HEARTLESS BASTARDS

HEARTLESS BASTARDS
HEARTLESS BASTARDS Erika Wennerstrom aims her latest songs directly at the pain of heartbreak After the end of a nine-year relationship, Heartless Bastards frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom went for a drive. As she made her way across the nation from West Texas to Ohio, she thought hard about what she wanted to express about her experience through music. Once she figured it out, she booked some studio time and got ready to spill her guts. “Then there... 

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS  After almost three decades of cleverness, this duo is still right on track   “We didn’t get into music to meet girls or to strike a pose,” says John Flansburgh, who formed the clever alt-rock duo They Might Be Giants with John Linnell in 1982. “It was about having crazy ideas and taking those ideas as far as we could. A lot of people find the idea of humor in music childish, but what we do is post-adolescent. It’s... 

NADA SURF

NADA SURF
NADA SURF Revisiting the past, a rock trio discovers an unexpected need for speed   In early 2010, Nada Surf treated hometown fans in New York City to full performances of what were then its three most recent albums. The material in question spanned 2002 to 2008—years in which the trio enjoyed a remarkable second act, cultivating a newfound cult success that eclipsed their lone mainstream pop hit, 1996’s “Popular.” Taking stock of the Nada... 

KATHLEEN EDWARDS

KATHLEEN EDWARDS
KATHLEEN EDWARDS  Digging herself out of a familiar hole, with a hand from a new friend  Since her 2003 debut album, Failer, Kathleen Edwards has gradually honed her craft as a singer and songwriter whose finely wrought character sketches teem with both sardonic humor and knife’s-edge emotional danger. “And then part of me felt like I had fallen a little bit too complacent,” says Edwards, an Ottawa, Ontario, native who now lives in Toronto.... 

KATE BUSH

KATE BUSH
KATE BUSH For this pioneering songstress, inspiration literally fell from the sky   “Shimmerglisten.” “Creaky-creaky.” “Boomerangablanca.” The Eskimos don’t really have 50 words for snow, but Kate Bush does. Featuring guest turns from Elton John, Stephen Fry and Bush’s 12-year-old son Bertie, her new 50 Words for Snow album is a quietly riveting meditation on the white stuff. “I started thinking about how it feels when it snows,... 

THE FRAY

THE FRAY
THE FRAY The journey to success was tough—and they have the scars to prove it “This is the first time we got to make the record we wanted to,” declares Isaac Slade of the Fray’s third album, Scars & Stories. The group went through plenty to reach that point. Formed by singer and pianist Slade, guitarists Dave Welsh and Joe King and drummer Ben Wysocki in the early-2000s church-music scene in Denver, the Fray found its secular breakthrough... 

KEITH JARRETT

KEITH JARRETT
KEITH JARRETT After four decades, a piano giant still plucks inspiration from thin air By Jeff Tamarkin Jazz is in part the art of improvisation—and legendary pianist Keith Jarrett takes the concept to its extreme. Up until the moment he presses down the keys, he hasn’t a clue as to how he will begin or what will follow. “There’s this nanosecond, or maybe it’s an eternity, between sitting at the piano ready to play something and actually... 

SEAN GARRETT

SEAN GARRETT
SEAN GARRETT    Does this R&B hitmaker want to change the world through music? Yeah!             By Michael Gallant Atlanta native Sean Garrett grew up the son of an Army man, moving along with his family to wherever his father might be stationed. Everywhere he found himself, including a variety of military bases across England and Germany, young Garrett had his ears wide open. “Living abroad and listening to so many variations of music... 

ANI DiFRANCO

ANI DiFRANCO
ANI DiFRANCO  A hard-driving, hard-rocking modern folk pioneer learns to take her time  For a decade and a half, Ani DiFranco was among the most prolific acts you could name. Between 1990 and 2007, the Buffalo, N.Y., native released 16 studio albums of new material, not to mention a handful of live collections, compilations and EPs. But the latest, ¿Which Side Are You On?, is her first new offering in almost four years—and the primary reason... 

THE LITTLE WILLIES

THE LITTLE WILLIES
THE LITTLE WILLIES Norah Jones, Richard Julian and company take a side trip into the country    “It’s like eating a big bowl of my grandma’s macaroni and cheese,” jazz-pop superstar Norah Jones says of her childhood love for country music. “It feels nostalgic.” Today she expresses that fondness in part with the Little Willies, the group she first helped form in 2003 with singer and guitarist Richard Julian, guitarist Jim Campilongo,... 

ANDY TIMMONS

ANDY TIMMONS
ANDY TIMMONS Interpreting one of rock’s sacred texts, armed with  experience, reverence and blazing guitar    Guitarist Andy Timmons is well aware that it takes a lot of nerve to approach the crown jewel of the Beatles catalog. Nonetheless he and his longtime backing group—bass player Mike Daane and drummer Mitch Marine—summoned up the courage to offer their new rocked-up instrumental rendition of the Beatles’ landmark Sgt. Pepper’s... 

LYLE LOVETT

LYLE LOVETT
LYLE LOVETT  Release Me [Lost Highway/Curb] Release Me marks the end of Lyle Lovett’s career-long run with Curb Records—he first signed with the label in 1985, at age 28. While its hodgepodge of holiday songs, covers, duets, ballads, rockers, swing, bluegrass and even an instrumental initially smacks of randomness, it also points toward the open-minded eclecticism that has sustained Lovett throughout his career. He has never been a conventional... 

GUIDED BY VOICES

GUIDED BY VOICES
GUIDED BY VOICES Let’s Go Eat the Factory [Guided by Voices] This is Guided by Voices’ 16th studio album, but it might as well be their 160th. It’s also their first since 2004, but thanks to comically prolific bandleader Robert Pollard, who spent the interim years releasing solo records and leading various similar-sounding bands, it’s as if they never really went away. The twist here is that Let’s Go marks the reunion of the beloved... 

LEONARD COHEN

LEONARD COHEN
LEONARD COHEN Old Ideas [Columbia]  It’s a funny thing to say about a septuagenarian, but Leonard Cohen has really grown into his voice. What was always a distinctive instrument has deepened on his new album into a resonant purr capable of insinuating itself into the deepest part of you. Old Ideas is only the 12th studio album in a musical career stretching back to 1967, but Cohen chooses his words with considerable care. He’s become more... 

INGRID MICHAELSON

INGRID MICHAELSON
INGRID MICHAELSON Human Again [Mom+Pop]  “I’ve got to say goodbye to the pieces of me that have already died,” sings Ingrid Michaelson on the moody new single “Ghost.” Eschewing the lighthearted sound of her earlier albums, Michaelson has indeed made her most mature and expansive work to date with the deeply personal Human Again. Her albums have become progressively slicker as she’s transformed from coffee-shop singer-songwriter to... 

JOE COCKER

JOE COCKER
JOE COCKER Hard Knocks [429 Records] Joe Cocker’s latest marks a 180-degree turn from his rough-and-ready previous record, 2007’s Hymn for My Soul. Produced by Matt Serletic, best known for his work with Matchbox Twenty, Hard Knocks is spit-shined and glossy to a fault. Comprised mostly of pop-flavored R&B, the album emits an ’80s vibe, and often brings to mind Robert Palmer’s broad-strokes discs of that era. Typical is “Stay the... 

HUGH MASEKELA

HUGH MASEKELA
HUGH MASEKELA Jabulani [Razor & Tie] As far as most Americans are concerned, Hugh Masekela was a one-hit wonder who scored a fluke pop chart-topper in 1968 with his jazzy take on the grooving “Grazing in the Grass,” and hasn’t done much since. In truth, the South African trumpeter, flugelhornist and vocalist has been recording and performing steadily for some five decades now—and if his public profile isn’t as high as it once was,... 

DIERKS BENTLEY

DIERKS BENTLEY
DIERKS BENTLEY Home [Capitol Nashville] Contemporary country success is often about establishing a persona and then reiterating it at every turn. Become the “I’m from the country” guy, the “I love America” guy, the “I love to party” guy or the “I’m free to party in the country ’cause I live in America” guy and hammer that home. Dierks Bentley is a big-tent, big-idea exception to all that. He’s comfortable on stages with... 

SHARON VAN ETTEN

SHARON VAN ETTEN
SHARON VAN ETTEN Tramp [Jagjaguwar] It’s not like she carried her stuff around in a bindle, but Sharon Van Etten did do some couch surfing while recording her third album. Fortunately, the fluctuations of her life outside the studio only seemed to underpin her consistency inside it. Tramp is a masterful collection that broadens the gripping sound of Van Etten’s understated 2010 album Epic. Produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, these songs... 

THE DOORS

THE DOORS
THE DOORS  L.A. Woman: 40th Anniversary Edition  [Elektra/Rhino] Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek idly runs through the chords of his band’s evocative new number, “Riders on the Storm,” a brooding meditation on the inherent madness of humanity, as drummer John Densmore quietly gets a feel for the groove. As Jim Morrison steps up to the mic to prepare for a take, Manzarek’s pattern triggers an unexpected synapse in the young singer and poet’s... 

CRAIG FINN

CRAIG FINN
CRAIG FINN Clear Heart Full Eyes [Vagrant] After five albums with Brooklyn indie rockers the Hold Steady, frontman Craig Finn has made his first foray into solo territory. While Clear Heart Full Eyes is a down-tempo, alt-country departure from Finn’s usual classic-rock oeuvre, this is no throwaway acoustic cop-out. In lieu of electric guitar we find pedal steel warbling to fill in the negative space. The album’s production sounds thin and almost... 

SNOW PATROL

SNOW PATROL
SNOW PATROL Fallen Empires [Interscope] Despite considerable success in the U.K. and Ireland, Snow Patrol’s popularity in America lags behind fellow Brit-rockers like Coldplay. But while Coldplay’s albums have come to feel increasingly hollow in their grandiosity, Snow Patrol’s latest continues to hone the cinematic, downhearted sound that has yielded a string of platinum albums abroad. The band experiments a little here with pounding drums... 

CANDI STATON

CANDI STATON
CANDI STATON Who’s Hurting Now? [Honest Jon’s] Candi Staton earned the title “first lady of Southern soul” for the sides she recorded 40 years ago before turning to disco and then forsaking the secular for gospel music. Her sublime 2006 comeback record, His Hands, begged for a follow-up. Who’s Hurting Now? came out overseas in 2009, but label and licensing complications prevented its release stateside until now. Better late than never—it’s... 

TODD RUNDGREN

TODD RUNDGREN
TODD RUNDGREN Todd [S’More Entertainment] Last year Todd Rundgren delighted fans by performing a series of shows featuring three of his most beloved albums—1973’s A Wizard, A True Star, 1974’s Todd and 1981’s Healing—in their entirety. This DVD captures a run-through of Todd staged in September at the historic Keswick Theater in Rundgren’s hometown of Philadelphia, and it sizzles with the same progressive spirit the original double-LP... 

RHETT MILLER

RHETT MILLER
RHETT MILLER The Interpreter: Live at Largo [Maximum Sunshine]  Covers albums and live records both tend to be mixed bags, so it follows that making a quality album of live covers would be difficult. Rhett Miller, however, is largely successful on The Interpreter, an intimate collection recorded over two nights in 2008 at Largo, before the Los Angeles club changed locations (there are also two studio bonus tracks). Miller plays solo for much of... 

MITCH RYDER

MITCH RYDER
MITCH RYDER The Promise [Michigan Broadcasting Corporation] Detroit’s Mitch Ryder lays down old-school grooves with a vengeance on his first American album in nearly 30 years, singing the blue-collar blues over catchy bass and guitar riffs. Ryder lets out the Motor City funk on numbers such as “The Way We Were” and “Junkie Love,” aided by producer and fellow Detroiter Don Was. Ryder addresses the personal and political with equal ease.... 

THE BIG PINK

THE BIG PINK
THE BIG PINK Future This [4AD] Hyping this follow-up to their stunner of a debut, A Brief History of Love, U.K. duo Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell have talked a lot about the influence of pop and hip-hop. Indeed, synths and samples here fill space once reserved for fuzz guitar and live drums, but the Big Pink was never a traditional rock band. Like its predecessor, Future This points back to 1991, when groups like EMF, Jesus Jones and most notably... 

MESHELL

MESHELL
MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO Weather [Naïve] Meshell Ndegeocello has been pushing the limits of her genre-bending ambition for 20 years, and in the process the agile bassist has gained a reputation as a must-have session player and a solo artist whose skills are matched only by her daring. Produced by the ever-eclectic Joe Henry, Ndegeocello’s ninth album (and first since 2009’s Devil’s Halo) blends pulsating rhythms, atmospheric arrangements and... 

VARIOUS ARTISTS

VARIOUS ARTISTS
VARIOUS ARTISTS Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International [Shangri-La] Featuring 76 Bob Dylan covers from more than 80 artists to celebrate Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary, the four-disc Chimes of Freedom is a compilation whose intimidating breadth manages to bring unexpected acts like Ke$ha (“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”) and Miley Cyrus (“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When... 

LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO

LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends [Razor & Tie] Following quickly on the heels of their last studio album, Songs from a Zulu Farm, this exceptional two-disc anthology finds South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo rounding up many of its stellar collaborations with other artists. After reaping international acclaim for its performances on Paul Simon’s 1986 landmark Graceland, the group continued to stretch... 

THE WHITE BUFFALO

THE WHITE BUFFALO
THE WHITE BUFFALO Once Upon a Time in the West [Unison Music Group] Given his ramshackle narratives and sober sentiments, Jake Smith (a.k.a. the White Buffalo) seems to fit comfortably into the alt-country lineage of Uncle Tupelo and its offspring, Wilco and Son Volt. But if the album title suggests an Ennio Morricone film score, it’s also true that the dark characters Smith imagines are not unlike Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name—fueled... 

JUSTIN ROBINSON & THE MARY ANNETTES

JUSTIN ROBINSON & THE MARY ANNETTES
JUSTIN ROBINSON & THE MARY ANNETTES Bones for Tinder justinrobinsonandthemaryannettes.com   From the Carter Family to Outkast, Robert Johnson to R.E.M., there’s a long, proud tradition of weirdness in Southern music. A key feature has always been contradiction—joy and pain, humor and dread, God and Satan—and there’s plenty to be found on Justin Robinson’s debut album with backing band the Mary Annettes. Previously known for his... 
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