Posts tagged with "JULY/AUGUST 2012"

SENNHEISER XSW 72-A

SENNHEISER XSW 72-A
SENNHEISER XSW 72-A  Affordable cost of freedom The freedom of going wireless all too often means compromising sound and dynamics. If you’ve been looking to cut the cord, we suggest auditioning the Sennheiser XSW 72-A. Designed for musical instruments running at line or instrument levels, the XSW 72-A delivers superior dynamics and lush tone. Tested with a Strat into a vintage Fender amp, we concluded the sparkly highs and rich low end ensured... 

AUDIO-TECHNICA AT2005USB

AUDIO-TECHNICA AT2005USB
AUDIO-TECHNICA AT2005USB CARDIOID DYNAMIC USB/XLR MICROPHONE All-purpose quality and versatility The AT2005USB offers a wide variety of solutions for musicians and audio techs alike. XLR and USB outputs are ideal for both field and studio applications, complemented by a built-in headphone jack with volume control. The AT2005USB performed especially well through our PA, serving up crystal clear tones. Vocals and voiceovers were dynamic, and the cardioid... 

DIRECT SOUND YOUR ESSENTIAL HEADPHONE KIT MADE 4 JAMHUB

DIRECT SOUND YOUR ESSENTIAL HEADPHONE KIT MADE 4 JAMHUB
DIRECT SOUND YOUR ESSENTIAL HEADPHONE KIT MADE 4 JAMHUB Extreme isolation headphone packs Originally designed to complement the various JamHub units, Your Essential Headphone Kit Made 4 JamHub from Direct Sound is an ideal solution for anyone using multiple headphones. Available in five or seven phone packs, the color-coded strain relief and keepers bring order to often chaotic multiphone sessions. Both kits are available with either the EX-25 or... 

TOONTRACK BACKBEATS MIDI

TOONTRACK BACKBEATS MIDI
TOONTRACK BACKBEATS MIDI Righteous grooves—and plenty of ’em Toontrack’s latest expansion pack offering, Backbeats MIDI does not disappoint. Session drummer Stephen Belans accomplished his goal of creating an infectious set of beats and fills to equip classic rock, pop and country songwriters and producers. “I based this purely on what a songwriter might need,” says Belans. The 500-plus files are grouped in rhythmic styles and broken down... 

ELECTRO-VOICE ELX115P

ELECTRO-VOICE ELX115P
ELECTRO-VOICE ELX115P  Even frequency response with volume to spare The Electro-Voice ELX115P two-way monitor delivers rich and extremely even frequency response with plenty of crisp headroom, thanks to the lightweight 1000-watt Class D power amplifier. As a FOH main we found the off-axis projection to be excellent, and were equally impressed when flipping the ELX115P on its side for use as a monitor. Both input channels feature XLR/TRS multijacks... 

PIGTRONIX KEYMASTER

PIGTRONIX KEYMASTER
PIGTRONIX KEYMASTER: MASTER YOUR TONE Call it the missing link between your pedalboard and rack gear. The Pigtronix Keymaster—part stompbox, part signal-routing super-tool—is as good a fit on your pedalboard as it is in your studio rack or live sound rig. Its extremely flexible circuitry and I/O lets you connect anything from hi-Z instrument-level gear to high-quality studio equipment. That means you can run your guitar directly through your favorite... 

NEKTAR PANORAMA P4

NEKTAR PANORAMA P4
NEKTAR PANORAMA P4: KEYS TO CONTROL REASON Whether you’re a serious hobbyist or a professional songwriter, if you want to get the most out of Propellerhead Reason 6 then the Nektar Panorama P4 controller keyboard is just the ticket. Every function and parameter in Reason 6 is fully controllable from the Panorama P4’s remarkably straightforward interface, offering hands-on experience that parallels Reason’s intuitive, analog-style layout. And... 

ZOOM Q2HD

ZOOM Q2HD
ZOOM Q2HD: LIGHTS, CAMERA, AUDIO! In the YouTube era, having the capability to produce high-quality promotional videos is essential. Enter the Zoom Q2HD —the new handy video recorder that not only makes personal video production accessible, it also allows musicians to create HD video with jaw-dropping audio. The Q2HD’s superior condenser mics are arranged in a studio-style Mid-Side configuration, offering controllable, natural-sounding stereo.... 

DYNAUDIO DBM50

DYNAUDIO DBM50
DYNAUDIO DBM50: BIG SOUND ON YOUR DESKTOP There are relatively few studio monitors designed for desktop use, and fewer still that are affordable. Enter the Dynaudio DBM50, which offers superior sound and a compact footprint. The DBM50 adds a slight upward tilt to the brand’s already popular near-field studio monitor design, making the pair ideal for desktop use. They provide a huge sweet spot for monitoring, and when combined with a decoupler such... 

TC-HELICON MIC MECHANIC

TC-HELICON MIC MECHANIC
TC–HELICON MIC MECHANIC: VOCALS DONE RIGHT Plenty of live vocal tools have hit the market recently, and many in the stompbox format. What makes the TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic unique is its back-to-basics approach. Rather than sporting dozens of superfluous effects—that are more fun than practical—the Mic Mechanic provides essential vocal processing including reverb, delay and pitch correction. It also features a unique Adaptive Tone control,... 

TASCAM IU2

TASCAM IU2
TASCAM IU2: FLEXIBLE I/O ON THE GO As portable as it is versatile, the Tascam iU2 lets you record two channels of clear, professional-quality audio anywhere your music takes you. One of the first of its kind, the compact iU2 features hybrid connectivity that includes both a mini USB jack and an integrated 30-pin dock cable, allowing use with both computer and iOS device. A pair of inputs lets you hook up guitars, line-level sources and microphones.... 

LINE 6 STAGESCAPE M20D

LINE 6 STAGESCAPE M20D
LINE 6 STAGESCAPE M20D: MIX MASTER Forget everything you know about conventional mixing and check out the graphic user interface provided by the Line 6 StageScape M20d. This futuristic mixing console offers EQs, effects, feedback suppression and more—all managed by a big, colorful touch screen and a handful of strategically placed controls. Instead of traditional channels and routing controls, the StageScape M20d provides graphical representations... 

UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLO: SUPERCHARGE YOUR DAW

UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLO: SUPERCHARGE YOUR DAW
UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLO: SUPERCHARGE YOUR DAW  You don’t need a pro-studio budget to track with pro-studio DSP-powered plug-ins anymore. The Universal Audio Apollo series interfaces combine their legendary analog sound with their award-winning UAD-2 plug-in technology. Alone, the Apollo’s sound quality and extensive I/O more than hold their own. Sporting up to four SHARC DSP chips onboard, musicians can also track, mix and master in virtually... 

LAUTEN AUDIO ATLANTIS FC-387

LAUTEN AUDIO ATLANTIS FC-387
LAUTEN AUDIO ATLANTIS FC-387: THREE MICS IN ONE Few microphones on the market today deliver the kind of value you get from a Lauten Audio Atlantis FC-387. That’s because Lauten Audio built the Atlantis by marrying a great-sounding capsule with three discrete FET-based circuit paths, each of which offers up a completely distinct character. Set to Neutral, the Atlantis faithfully captures any instrument. The Gentle setting is great for taming shrill... 

DANGEROUS MUSIC SOURCE

DANGEROUS MUSIC SOURCE
DANGEROUS MUSIC SOURCE: ALL-IN-ONE PORTABLE MONITORING Easily one of the most understated inventions to hit the recording world this year, the Dangerous Music Source monitoring station is a major upgrade to virtually any modest studio. Loaded with two discrete mastering-grade stereo signal paths, the Source allows one to send the main mix to monitors while delivering a separate artist mix to headphones. All switching is relay driven, so there’s... 

COLIN HAY

COLIN HAY
COLIN HAY The former Men at Work frontman learns to enjoy life after platinum   In the early ’80s, Men at Work exploded on the scene with such smash hits as “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Down Under.” Quirky new-wave panache and goofy MTV videos propelled the group to global fame and millions in album sales. Yet just three years and as many albums later, the wild ride was over. And the man in the middle of it all, Colin Hay—whose spunky... 

APRIL KRY

APRIL KRY
APRIL KRY HOMETOWN: Hartford, Conn. INFLUENCES: Taylor Swift, Colbie Caillat, Billie Holiday ALBUM: Music Speaks EP, out now WEBSITE: aprilkry.com  Pop-rock singer-songwriter April Kry embarked upon her music career in a traditional setting—growing up singing in the church where her father served as a worship leader. Kry moved around a lot as a child in central Connecticut, and music eased her loneliness. “I found that music was my escape from... 

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE HOMETOWN: Monroe, Ga. (Tyler Hubbard); Ormond Beach, Fla. (Brian Kelley) INFLUENCES: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lil Wayne, Garth Brooks ALBUM: It’z Just What We Do EP, out now WEBSITE: floridageorgialine.com Country rock duo Florida Georgia Line—Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley—has made an auspicious start for a new act. The duo, who began performing and writing songs together while attending Nashville’s Belmont University, has... 

NVS

NVS
NVS HOMETOWN: Toronto, Canada INFLUENCES: Prince, Kanye West, Aaliyah ALBUM: Who Is NvS EP, out now WEBSITE: whoisnvs.com R&B artist NvS (pronounced “envious”) claims her love of music began before she was born. Her father was a reggae musician and sang to her when her mother was pregnant. “He would take his guitar and play his songs to me,” she says. At age 18, NvS enrolled at Toronto’s Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts where she... 

BRANFORD MARSALIS

BRANFORD MARSALIS
BRANFORD MARSALIS  Some call it magic but for this sax genius it’s just “playin’ tunes”  By Jeff Tamarkin  Branford Marsalis has never been one to hold back. The 52-year-old tenor and soprano saxophonist freely says and plays what he wants. So the title of his quartet’s new release Four MFs Playin’ Tunes shouldn’t shock anyone—but it does. “A writer came to the session and asked my least favorite question: ‘What’s the concept... 

JOSS STONE

JOSS STONE
JOSS STONE The neo-soul sensation wraps her vocals around a new set of classics Joss Stone was a nervous 16-year-old kid in 2003 when The Soul Sessions made her a star, thanks to its old-school grooves and the slinky hit “Fell in Love With a Boy,” a vivid reworking of a White Stripes song. Nearly a decade later, the British singer decided she’d like another crack at it. She re-teamed with Soul Sessions producer Steve Greenberg for her latest... 

THE AVETT BROTHERS

THE AVETT BROTHERS
Bob Crawford, Scott Avett, Seth Avett THE AVETT BROTHERS Creative challenges keep these Americana darlings moving forward   One would think a band with as many influences as the Avett Brothers would have an extensive list of dream collaborations or future goals. But the North Carolina-based trio prefers to live in the moment, an attitude that’s helped them deal with the fame that comes after scoring multiple Americana Music Awards and performing... 

REGINA SPEKTOR

REGINA SPEKTOR
REGINA SPEKTOR This quirky Russian-American original lets her art speak for itself     Regina Spektor’s current world tour included two stops in Russia—the homeland she hasn’t visited since her family moved to the Bronx 23 years ago. “It feels incredibly big and emotional and overwhelming,” she said prior to the trip. “I’m also excited to see who will come to my show. Are there fans in Russia?” She needn’t have wondered. After... 

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
Alex Rosamilia, Alex Levine, Brian Fallon, Benny Horowitz THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM For their latest project, the folk-punk rockers go bigger and bolder   Accolades piled up fast after Gaslight Anthem’s 2010 album, American Slang, but the New Jersey band shut out as much of the hype as possible to focus on writing music for their latest, Handwritten. “Really, you just want to make great songs,” says drummer Benny Horowitz. “That’s where it... 

JOHN LYDON

JOHN LYDON
PiL: Bruce Smith, Scott Firth, John Lydon, Lu Edmonds JOHN LYDON   The former Johnny Rotten on PiL, the Pistols and the gift of life    “I can’t be linked to one thing forever and a day,” declares John Lydon. “There’s a big musical universe out there for me to float around in. I love pop music and I love experimental music.” While much of the world never stopped thinking of Lydon as “Johnny Rotten,” the snarling lead singer of... 

CAT POWER

CAT POWER
CAT POWER After years of recording covers, Sun brings her original tunes to light      Long before Cat Power recorded Sun—her first album of original material in six years—she knew there would be an album with that title. “Before I did The Covers Record, I was on tour with these songs that I wrote and some cover songs, playing this Passion of Joan of Arc movie by Carl Dreyer,” says Chan Marshall, the woman behind Cat Power, of her 2000... 

JJAMZ

JJAMZ
Alex Greenwald, Michael Runion, Z Berg, James Valentine, Jason Boesel JJAMZ Five successful artists go from musical friendship to supergroup  It’s a steamy summer afternoon, and Elizabeth “Z” Berg is in a van with the rest of the newly formed band JJAMZ, ready to embark on a 24-hour trip from Austin, Texas, to Billings, Mont. “Well, I’ll get a book read. That’s a positive,” Berg chuckles. “Somehow I am built for tours, which is good... 

THENEWNO2

THENEWNO2
Jeremy Faccone, Frank Zummo , Dhani Harrison, Jonathan Sadoff, Nick Fyffe THENEWNO2 A Beatle’s son forges his own path with a little help from his friends    Dhani Harrison is humble as he discusses the mysterious art of musical inspiration. The son of late Beatle George Harrison plays down his natural knack for finding lively hooks and heartfelt lyrics. “You never know what spark is going to be created,” he says. “Collaborations can change... 

CHRISTIAN SCOTT

CHRISTIAN SCOTT
CHRISTIAN SCOTT Connecting past and present in one genre-stretching collection Christian aTunde Adjuah isn’t just the title of Christian Scott’s new double album—it represents a new phase in the jazz trumpeter’s life. “I felt my experience is indicative of someone who probably shouldn’t be called Scott all the time,” says the New Orleans native, explaining why he now goes by Christian aTunde Adjuah Scott, completing a tie to his African... 

MATT SERLETIC

MATT SERLETIC
MATT SERLETIC Creating big hits takes talent, toil and the ability to thrive under pressure            By Michael Gallant When Grammy-winning producer Matt Serletic steps into the studio to record with the likes of Rob Thomas, Carlos Santana, Aerosmith or Joe Cocker, he brings lots more than a knack for piecing together catchy tunes. Thanks to exceptional talents as a musician, songwriter, arranger and music business executive, Serletic has... 

STEVE VAI

STEVE VAI
STEVE VAI The legendary shredder crosses boundaries to deliver the unexpected   By Russell Hall  Steve Vai is mulling over his process to get songs ready for the stage. “I don’t write my songs and then record them,” he muses. “I build them as I record, which means I have to learn them after they’re finished. My first reaction when I’m getting ready for rehearsals is anxiety and fear. It’s like, ‘Do I really have to learn all this... 

LIVE MICS

LIVE MICS
LIVE MICS Selecting the right microphone for your stage show is crucial to a sound performance “The microphone is the core of everything,” says veteran front-of-house engineer Andy Meyer. “If you don’t have your source properly miked, what good is a $2 million PA or a state-of-the-art mixing console? If the mics are terrible, a great performance doesn’t mean a thing.” It’s a challenge nearly all musicians face, from coffeehouse singer-songwriters... 

NO DOUBT

NO DOUBT
NO DOUBT Push and Shove  [Interscope] When Gwen Stefani sings, “Never, ever, ever gonna be the same,” the opening line on “Sparkle,” a standout track from No Doubt’s first new album in 10 years, she’s not kidding. With its brassy accents and fat-bottom, pop-reggae bounce, the tune recalls the 2002 hit “Underneath It All,” itself a reminder of No Doubt’s roots as the little SoCal ska band that could. But “Sparkle” is the exception... 

AIMEE MANN

AIMEE MANN
AIMEE MANN Charmer [SuperEgo] “Charmer” is less a term of endearment for Aimee Mann than it is a source of curiosity: What are they after, these charming people? What’s their angle? Mann, who made her name as a member of the Boston New Wave band ’Til Tuesday, explores the concept on her eighth studio album, a collection of smart songs drawn from what she calls the “super pop” of the 1970s and ’80s. The sound suits Mann, who’s always... 

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW Carry Me Back [ATO] In the four years since Old Crow Medicine Show’s last studio album, string music has gone from acquired-taste appetizer to semi-standard entrée. While acts like the Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Crooked Still have done their part to push the string-meets-bluegrass-meets-alt-country format ahead, Old Crow’s absence left a thirst not easily quenched. Fans craving new Old Crow will find Carry... 

DINOSAUR JR

DINOSAUR JR
DINOSAUR JR. I Bet on Sky [Jagjaguwar] It sounds like a funny thing to say about a band whose catalog includes the songs “Puke + Cry” and “Pointless,” but Dinosaur Jr. has taken a moony romantic turn on recent albums. Sure, it’s an awkward, mumbling kind of romance, paired with churning bursts of guitar sludge, but the group’s latest is way more tender than the howling odes to alienation found on earlier albums. Instead of pushing people... 

NEIL SEDAKA

NEIL SEDAKA
NEIL SEDAKA The Show Goes On [Eagle Rock] At a time when U.S. record companies dismissed Neil Sedaka as an aging teenybopper, England couldn’t get enough of him. This live set, recorded in 2006 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, is a tribute to both Sedaka’s long career and the willingness of his British fans to accept him as more than a sugary oldies act. His classic hits about the junior prom and turning 16 are here, but so are 1970s-era piano-man... 

MARISSA NADLER

MARISSA NADLER
MARISSA NADLER The Sister [Box of Cedar] Marissa Nadler’s sixth album is a melancholic companion to the self-titled effort she released last year. This time out, the arrangements are more ethereal, and the songs are tinged with a greater degree of sadness, particularly where her voice is concerned. Her woeful vocals are filled with sincerity and lacking in self-pity, and while her spritely voice and fingerpicked guitar remain focal points, Nadler... 

MUMFORD & SONS

MUMFORD & SONS
MUMFORD & SONS Babel [Glassnote] Returning after a multiplatinum, Grammy-nominated breakout album is no easy task, but with Babel, Mumford & Sons fight valiantly against the sophomore slump. The raucous title track gets things off to a strong start, as the U.K. foursome’s tight harmonies and foot-stomping arrangement support frontman Marcus Mumford’s defiant, snarling vocals. Other tunes benefit from a similar formula—Mumford’s anguished... 

BLOC PARTY

BLOC PARTY
BLOC PARTY  Four [Frenchkiss] Following 2008’s Intimacy, Bloc Party faced an uncertain future. After hinting at a breakup and surviving a hiatus, the London post-punk outfit returns with its simply titled fourth album. Alongside producer Alex Newport (the Mars Volta, At the Drive-In), the group refocuses on guitars, ditching the dance influences of their previous two albums. Amid ferocious rock riffs, Bloc Party has found room to explore the kinds... 

THE ENGLISH BEAT

THE ENGLISH BEAT
 BOX SET  THE ENGLISH BEAT  The Complete Beat  [Shout! Factory] The English Beat holds exalted status among fans who continue to cherish the late ’70s British ska revival. During its all-too-brief career, the multi-ethnic ensemble churned out three brilliant albums that set the standard for their peers. The group hit the pavement running in 1979 with a flurry of frenetic, punk-tinged ska hits that were as sophisticated as they were fun. By... 

LAETITIA SADIER

LAETITIA SADIER
LAETITIA SADIER Silencio [Drag City] Just as her longtime band, the sadly kaput Stereolab, developed a singular signature sound informed by myriad disparate influences, Laetitia Sadier has settled into her own crypto-sophisticated groove. On her second solo album, the French-born poli-sci seductress works her usual magic, singing snazzy jazz-pop, lounge and psych-rock songs about the perils of modern living. Only this Nico-like chanteuse could coo... 

YEASAYER

YEASAYER
YEASAYER Fragrant World [Secretly Canadian] Brooklyn synth-poppers Yeasayer have always explored the quirky potential of keyboards. With its self-produced third album, the band drifts away from pop and focuses on the mechanical sounds of its instruments. If 2009’s Odd Blood was a reinterpretation of radio-friendly early-’90s pop, Fragrant World has a much more abstract feel. The songs have dense, lush arrangements, complete with thick programming... 

BILLY JOE SHAVER

BILLY JOE SHAVER
BILLY JOE SHAVER Live at Billy Bob’s Texas [Smith Music Group] This live CD/DVD, Shaver’s first release since 2007, thoroughly reaffirms his outlaw credentials. His best-known songs—“I’ve Been to Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Honky Tonk Heroes” and “Old Five and Dimers Like Me”—speak convincingly of his roughneck lifestyle, while “Wacko From Waco,” one of the two new tunes, addresses the infamous 2007 shooting incident that... 

THE WHO

THE WHO
REISSUE THE WHO  Quadrophenia: The Criterion Edition    [Criterion] Forget Tommy, that convoluted pinball fantasia that for some reason stands as the better known, better loved of the Who’s two rock operas. The real masterpiece is Quadrophenia, a brilliant 1973 album whose equally excellent 1979 film adaptation has finally been given the Criterion treatment. Set in 1964 or ’65 at the height of Britain’s mod craze, the story centers on Jimmy,... 

JERRY DOUGLAS

JERRY DOUGLAS
JERRY DOUGLAS Traveler [eOne] Jerry Douglas became the best-known Dobro player in the world by taking his instrument to places it had never been. Traveler is his most mainstream release to date, but it remains a bold step forward. The album’s guests range from the not-so-surprising Alison Krauss and Union Station, Keb’ Mo’ and Marc Cohn to the more inspired likes of Mumford & Sons, Paul Simon, Dr. John and Eric Clapton. Slowhand’s fervid... 

CITIZEN COPE

CITIZEN COPE
CITIZEN COPE One Lovely Day [Rainwater] It’s difficult to get used to a carefree Citizen Cope. That’s not to say he’s moved away from his acoustic-based, R&B-jazz-reggae-rock sound. His voice still has the kinds of subtle yet intriguing inflections one might hear in a passionate conversation, but listening to songs like “Something to Believe In,” with its upbeat tempo and cheery lyrics, is disorienting at first. It’s much peppier... 

BETTYE LAVETTE

BETTYE LAVETTE
BETTYE LAVETTE Thankful N’ Thoughtful [Anti-] Bettye LaVette’s delicious rasp and emotional delivery make her a top-notch interpreter of songs. It’s a formula that’s worked since 2005’s I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise, and here, she turns in another tour de force covers record. The Detroit native makes these songs her own, occasionally altering lyrics to fit her experiences. On the Pogues’ “Dirty Old Town,” she references the Dodge... 

KIX BROOKS

KIX BROOKS
KIX BROOKS New to This Town [Arista Nashville] After 20 years as one-half of the country duo Brooks & Dunn, Kix Brooks goes solo with this schizophrenic set of midtempo Tex-Mex tunes and pop-tinged ballads. Brooks wrote nine of the 12 songs, and throughout, he examines the life of the modern-day cowboy. There are songs about whiskey and hotheaded women (“Moonshine Road,” “Tattoo”), along with the freedoms and costs of traveling America’s... 

RYAN SHAW

RYAN SHAW
RYAN SHAW Real Love thisisryanshaw.com Sharp suit, buttery voice, record label that abbreviates as D-Tone: These elements will ring familiar to fans of neo-soul music. For sure, Ryan Shaw shares much in common with the good folks at Daptone, the Brooklyn imprint renowned for reviving the look and sound of the ’60s and ’70s. Throughout his second album, Shaw digs deep into the Motown and Al Green grooves he heard growing up in Georgia, and while... 
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