Posts tagged with "November 2011"

PLAYING IT BY EAR

PLAYING IT BY EAR
PLAYING IT BY EAR How the right live monitor can take your stage show to the next level  Whether you’re playing a grungy blues set at a local club or headlining a stadium rock festival, delivering a show to remember is impossible if you can’t hear what you’re doing. What sounds perfectly harmonious to you could sound like a broken chainsaw out in the crowd—and vice versa. So how can you ensure you’re getting the onstage mix that you need... 

John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp was relatively unknown when photographer Norman Seeff shot this 1979 session. “He was very young, kind of baby-faced,” recalls Seeff. “But I was blown away by his vitality.” Seeff was also impressed by Mellencamp’s authenticity, a trait reflected in his casual attire. “It was as if he was saying, ‘This is who I am. I come with nothing but a denim shirt and a cigarette,’” Seeff says. “There was nothing pre-conceptual... 

FISHMAN LOUDBOX ARTIST AMPLIFIER

FISHMAN LOUDBOX ARTIST AMPLIFIER
FISHMAN LOUDBOX ARTIST AMPLIFIER Big tones in a small box FOR: Amplifying acoustic instruments. The Artist is the latest addition to Fishman’s award-winning Loudbox line. Packed with tons of features, this amp will get you heard loud and clear in small venues and beyond, thanks to the robust direct-out feature set. It’s lightweight and portable, but sports plenty of power. What amazed us was the depth and quality of the tones, which are nothing... 

TC-HELICON VOICELIVE RACK

TC-HELICON VOICELIVE RACK
TC-HELICON VOICELIVE RACK Total vocal magic FOR: Studio-quality vocal processing anywhere. The VoiceLive Rack is the latest addition to TC-Helicon’s line of effects processors built especially for vocalists—all designed to produce any vocal sound you’ve heard or imagined. The ability to store and easily recall 10 user profiles based on I/O, input level and EQ help make the transition from studio to stage seamless, especially with the included... 

JBL EON 210P PORTABLE PA

JBL EON 210P PORTABLE PA
  JBL EON 210P PORTABLE PA Power to go FOR: Musicians on the move. The 210P is the smallest addition to JBL’s smart EON line. Weighing in at all of 33 pounds, this portable PA packs a mean punch thanks to the 300-watt Crown power amp. The eight-input mixer conveniently detaches from the back of one of the speakers while the other detachable pod holds the power cord and two 15-foot speaker cables, with room left over for mics and cables. The... 

GRIFFIN STOMPBOX

GRIFFIN STOMPBOX
GRIFFIN STOMPBOX A new level of realism to iShred LIVE FOR: Stomping virtual effects. Griffin Technology’s StompBox was designed to function as a four-button pedal-board controller for Frontier Design’s free iShred LIVE guitar app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and comes with all the necessary cables to get you up and shredding in no time. IShred LIVE itself includes an amp, three pedals, tuner, plus a metronome with the option of a number... 

TOONTRACK METAL MACHINE EZX EXPANSION PACK

TOONTRACK METAL MACHINE EZX EXPANSION PACK
TOONTRACK METAL MACHINE EZX EXPANSION PACK Full metal packet FOR: In-your-face metal drums. Toontrack’s Metal Machine EZX pairs famed metal producer and engineer Andy Sneap with powerhouse drummer John Tempesta (White Zombie, the Cult), creating a metal mosh pit that’s guaranteed to rock your hard drive and rattle your neighbors’ windows. The EZX is a combination of multilayered audio samples and fully editable drag-and-drop MIDI files that... 

TRAYNOR YGL1 GUITAR AMPLIFIER

TRAYNOR YGL1 GUITAR AMPLIFIER
TRAYNOR YGL1 GUITAR AMPLIFIER All tube, all the time FOR: Classic guitar tones. Traynor has been making classic tube amps since the early ’60s, and the YGL1 clearly demonstrates the company still has its mojo. The player-friendly design incorporates a number of smart features that immediately jumped at us. The front panel features the traditional array of controls augmented by a three-way switch toggling among the USA, Pure (tone stack bypass)... 

AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50 STUDIO HEADPHONES

AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50 STUDIO HEADPHONES
AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50 STUDIO HEADPHONES When clarity matters FOR: Critical listening. Audio-Technica’s flagship ATH-M50 headphones are turning the recording community on its ear, earning kudos from noted producers, engineers and artists thanks to their accuracy and comfort during arduous recording and mix sessions. In the era of earbuds, getting your mixes to translate properly to that in-ear environment is increasingly crucial—and the ATH-M50s... 

CASIO WK-7500 WORKSTATION

CASIO WK-7500 WORKSTATION
CASIO WK-7500 WORKSTATION Keys to instant inspiration FOR: Songcraft and more. The Casio WK-7500 Workstation delivers a wealth of features at a price that won’t break the bank. The WK-7500 boasts 800 sounds including pianos from Casio’s award-winning Privia series and a rich offering of drawbar organs. The onboard 17-track song sequencer is perfect for documenting and editing ideas, plus there are quarter-inch mic and instrument inputs. The Song... 

COLLINGS I-35 LC

COLLINGS I-35 LC
COLLINGS I-35 LC Sweet sounds for the open road  FOR: A vintage semi-hollow tone. The Collings I-35 LC is a small-bodied semi-hollow electric filled with tones that sing a song of exceptional craftsmanship. From the moment we opened the case, the faded cherry laminate top, sides and back caught our attention and promised to take us on a unique musical journey. The Lollar Imperial pickups flawlessly translated what was happening acoustically with... 

RAPCOHORIZON DOMINATOR SILVERFLEX INSTRUMENT CABLE

RAPCOHORIZON DOMINATOR SILVERFLEX INSTRUMENT CABLE
RAPCOHORIZON DOMINATOR SILVERFLEX INSTRUMENT CABLE Cables that dominate FOR: A straight line to tone. The Dominator SilverFlex Instrument Cable takes RapcoHorizon’s expertise for crafting stage- and road-worthy cables, snakes and boxes, and wraps it in the highest-conducting metal on the planet, silver. Right down the line, from the Neutrik Valor Chromium jacks to the silver-plated copper conductors and braid, this cable is all about carrying... 

DC VILLAINS

DC VILLAINS
DC VILLAINS Rock trio, comic-book characters, video-game entrepreneurs or TV stars? These guys want it all     If their name conjures up images of scheming politicians or comic-book ne’er-do-wells, the members of the Nashville-based rock band DC Villains don’t mind at all. “Bad guys are often cooler than the good guys,” says frontman Damon Carroll (the first part of the moniker is derived from his initials). “And sometimes the bad guys... 

JUDY COLLINS

JUDY COLLINS
JUDY COLLINS Looking back honestly on the bitter and sweet, in song and otherwise  Not many lives would include enough excitement for three memoirs, but Judy Collins’ is the exception. She has been a troubadour of the ’60s folk boom; accomplished composer; interpreter for the likes of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell; founder of her own Wildflower Records label and relentless social advocate. She was famously the inspiration for the... 

CHRIS THILE AND YO-YO MA

CHRIS THILE AND YO-YO MA
CHRIS THILE AND YO-YO MA Two master musicians (plus two more) throw a genre-busting rodeo The rhythmic cascade of Chris Thile’s mandolin kicks off “Attaboy,” the first track of a new album with the unlikely title The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Thile is known for virtuosity and whimsy, so neither the bluegrass chops nor the album title is a surprise. But 32 seconds into “Attaboy,” a deeper-toned, bowed instrument unexpectedly takes the melody.... 

STANLEY JORDAN

STANLEY JORDAN
STANLEY JORDAN Still reinventing the sound of jazz, with the aid of some talented friends  By Jeff Tamarkin “To me, I’m just playing guitar,” says Stanley Jordan. “Then somebody points out the technique and I remember, ‘Yeah, it’s weird.’” Most musicians would be loath to describe their own performance method as “weird.” But Jordan, who first astonished the jazz world more than a quarter-century ago, is well aware that his trademark... 

JIMMY JAM AND TERRY LEWIS

JIMMY JAM AND TERRY LEWIS
JIMMY JAM AND TERRY LEWIS    The time is always right for this iconic R&B production partnership            By Michael Gallant “Production is about getting it done and getting it to be the best it can possibly be,” says James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III. Over the last several decades he and partner Terry Lewis have racked up a stunning roster of production credits for names including Michael Jackson, Usher, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion,... 

RAY MANZAREK

RAY MANZAREK
RAY MANZAREK From the Doors to the blues, a keyboard legend finds poetry in music   By Russell Hall  “I’ve been lucky to have lots of poet friends,” says Ray Manzarek. “Poets are great to work with.” For example, the legendary keyboardist’s new album with slide guitar great Roy Rogers, Translucent Blues, features lyrics from some of rock’s finest wordsmiths, including Michael McClure, Jim Carroll and Warren Zevon. That string of luck... 

PETER GABRIEL

PETER GABRIEL
PETER GABRIEL  Injecting new blood into familiar songs with his biggest band ever Peter Gabriel has been exploring rhythm for practically his entire life. He played drums in rock bands as a teen, before his legendary stint as lead singer for English progressive-rock band Genesis. Since his departure from that group, he has relentlessly incorporated rhythms from around the world and from the cutting edge of technology into his solo music—be it... 

MARTINA McBRIDE

MARTINA McBRIDE
MARTINA McBRIDE A country powerhouse finds a new attitude south of Nashville   “I don’t claim to be Kris Kristofferson,” says Martina McBride. “I’m still learning to express myself.” After two decades of performing hits written mostly by others, the country superstar co-penned six tracks for Eleven (eight on the 15-track “deluxe edition”). The Kansas native makes other changes, too: The new album finds her embracing styles like... 

LOU REED AND METALLICA

LOU REED AND METALLICA
LOU REED AND METALLICA Two giants of rock ’n’ roll team for a controversial collaboration Lou Reed is the first to admit that Lulu, his collaborative concept album with Metallica, is “not a normal recording by any stretch.” First there is the very idea of the pairing, which left many wondering where the legendary Velvet Underground founder and the iconic heavy metal band would find common ground. Then there’s the subject matter: Lulu is... 

CHRIS CORNELL

CHRIS CORNELL
CHRIS CORNELL  Soundgarden’s frontman strips down to show off his songbook  Seattle native Chris Cornell has lived several musical lives. He rose to fame in the 1990s as the leader of grunge giant Soundgarden, then spent much of the 2000s belting rock hits with Audioslave. That group’s breakup cleared the way for both the resumption of his on-and-off solo career and the return of Soundgarden, now completing its first new album since 1997’s... 

WILLIAM SHATNER

WILLIAM SHATNER
WILLIAM SHATNER  An unlikely music maker’s bold new mission:  to create a sci-fi-concept album William Shatner’s philosophy toward his life and career has served him well. At the very least, it’s kept things interesting. “I’d suggest that saying yes to opportunity is the way to lead your life, with some discretion,” says Shatner, 80. “So I said yes to an album I called The Transformed Man.” That misunderstood 1968 spoken-word effort,... 

RUTHIE FOSTER

RUTHIE FOSTER
RUTHIE FOSTER  Making the time to pour her soul into some of her favorite songs  Ruthie Foster is running a little late. “Pardon my tardiness,” she says. “I was getting a head start on dinner and tending to my six-month-old all at the same time. I keep it challenging when I’m at home.” Multitasking is but one of her talents, although it does have its limits—a desire to help raise her daughter, Maya, who she and her partner, Katie, adopted... 

GYM CLASS HEROES

GYM CLASS HEROES
GYM CLASS HEROES After a much-needed break, a hip-hop heavyweight rocks with a hot sequel Gym Class Heroes fans who feared your favorite hip-hop group was gone forever during the long wait for a new album since 2008’s The Quilt: Co-founder and drummer Matt McGinley feels your pain. “I know the passion I feel for other bands that I get ridiculously excited about when they put out new albums,” says McGinley, enjoying a rare day off the road... 

JOE NICHOLS

JOE NICHOLS
JOE NICHOLS  Can a neo-traditionalist find his way in modern country? It’s all good   Since his platinum-selling debut Man With a Memory in 2002, Joe Nichols’ earthy baritone and easygoing charm have made him one of Nashville’s most reliable neo-traditionalist singers. But the 35-year-old Arkansas native admits those talents were almost dimmed by personal drama at the beginning of his career. “I’ve had a lot of straightening up to do,... 

UH HUH HER

UH HUH HER
UH HUH HER  Post-label living means unprecedented artistic freedom—and maybe a second job  Life without a record label has its ups and downs. After parting ways with Nettwerk in 2009, Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey of Uh Huh Her decided to go the indie route and self-release their sophomore album, Nocturnes. While creativity was never in short supply, funding was. “We were running out of money, so I was like, ‘I need to get a job!’” says... 

M83

M83
M83 Why Anthony Gonzalez left France to seek his fortune in California  Before starting work on ambient pop act M83’s latest album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, bandleader Anthony Gonzalez uprooted himself and moved from his native France to Los Angeles. The essence of his new surroundings seeped into the project, an ambitious two-CD set comprising 22 songs. “Sometimes you need to be driven by something new,” Gonzalez says. “I was surrounded... 

MEGADETH

MEGADETH
MEGADETH After three decades of metal, Dave Mustaine and company still won’t be stopped  Just a few months ago, Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine wasn’t sure he’d ever play guitar again. He experienced crushing neck and back pain when the band entered the studio to record its new Th1rt3en album in May, but soldiered through. While touring as part of the traveling Mayhem Festival this summer, he could barely stand onstage and at one point was nearly... 

FAY WOLF

FAY WOLF
FAY WOLF HOMETOWN: Fairfield, Conn. INFLUENCES: Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Joni Mitchell ALBUM: Spiders, out now WEBSITE: faywolfmusic.com Fay Wolf first drew attention as an actress,  appearing in roles on TV shows from All My Children to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as well as the well-received online series Rose by Any Other Name … (She is classically trained in acting, holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Boston University.)... 

GRAFFITI6

GRAFFITI6
GRAFFITI6  HOMETOWN: London MEMBERS: Jamie Scott (vocals, guitar), TommyD (guitar, production) ALBUM: Free EP, out now WEBSITE: graffiti6.com Jamie Scott had already established himself as an acoustic-based singer-songwriter in Europe and Asia when he met producer and multi-instrumentalist Tommy “TommyD” Danvers—and his music took a surprising turn into electronica-based pop and soul territory. “For me, the unexpectedness of the sound... 

SONIA LEIGH

SONIA LEIGH
SONIA LEIGH  HOMETOWN: Atlanta, Ga. INFLUENCES: Bob Dylan, Melissa Etheridge, Bruce Springsteen ALBUM: 1978 December, out now WEBSITE: sonialeigh.com Sonia Leigh first began playing guitar at age 10, learning chords from her father. “I’d come home every day and practice after school and use his guitar,” she says. “Finally he saw I was getting good and he was actually tired of me using his guitar, because I’d be playing and he’d be wanting... 

JAMES McCARTNEY

JAMES McCARTNEY
JAMES McCARTNEY The Complete EP Collection [Engine Company] There’s something funny about packaging two EPs and calling it the “complete” collection, though it’s accurate in James McCartney’s case. The English singer and songwriter has released two digital EPs, and this compilation is the first time they’re available in physical form. McCartney plays with a jittery seat-of-his-pants sensibility that sets him apart from his famous father,... 

MIKE VIOLA

MIKE VIOLA
MIKE VIOLA Electro de Perfecto [RED] Fifteen years have passed since Mike Viola lent his voice to the That Thing You Do! soundtrack, and he still sounds like the boy next door who dreams of being best buds with Paul McCartney. His writing, though, has gotten dark enough to prevent him from busting the adorability scale. Using phrases like “midlife crisis” to describe Electro de Perfecto would be unfair, if only because some of the subject matter... 

PEGI YOUNG & THE SURVIVORS

PEGI YOUNG & THE SURVIVORS
PEGI YOUNG & THE SURVIVORS Bracing for Impact [Vapor Records] Pegi Young’s late-blooming musical career continues to evolve apace, as her third solo release features a rootsier, bluesier sound than earlier efforts. “Flatline Mama” is a lively tune done up in a ’50s rock ’n’ roll vein, while the gritty, bluesy edge on tunes like “Med Line” and “Gonna Walk Away” recalls Bonnie Raitt. Young convincingly serves up the soul on “Trouble... 

THE MONKEES

THE MONKEES
THE MONKEES  Instant Replay  [Rhino Handmade] In February 1986 MTV ran a marathon of episodes from the Monkees’ 1960s television show, instantly igniting a wave of new interest in an act known during its heyday as a fabricated cash-in on the appeal of the Beatles. But if MTV started the second wave of Monkeemania, the folks at reissue label Rhino made sure it stuck. The next several years saw a series of loving re-releases of the Monkees’ original... 

ADELE

ADELE
ADELE Live at the Royal Albert Hall [Columbia] After issuing two mega-selling albums before the tender age of 21, Adele Adkins has had fans raving about her as the second coming of Dusty Springfield. And she makes a pretty good case for that opinion on this full-length concert DVD recorded at London’s most venerable venue. Adele displays expert pitch and control, and a rare ability to wring visceral emotion out of a simple lyric like “I won’t... 

MARK YARM

MARK YARM
MARK YARM  Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge [Crown Archetype] Never have the people responsible for starting a musical movement been so quick to tear down their own myth. From the moment the sound known as “grunge” emerged from the Pacific Northwest, the sobriquet was universally rejected by the artists to whom it was applied. From well before the moment major record labels began making their way up to Seattle, smelling money... 

WILLIE NILE

WILLIE NILE
WILLIE NILE The Innocent Ones willienile.com If there were a version of the Traveling Wilburys for unfairly overlooked singer-songwriters, Willie Nile could be its very own Tom Petty. A rock ’n’ roll lifer who’s earned endorsements from Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams and just about every other guitar slinger with an opinion worth trusting, Nile has managed a mere seven studio albums since debuting in 1980. Luckily three... 

HIMALAYAN BEAR

HIMALAYAN BEAR
HIMALAYAN BEAR Hard Times myspace.com/himalayanbear The first riff Ryan Beattie rustles up on this seven-song collection—his third album under the name Himalayan Bear—recalls nothing so much as “Floating,” a Julee Cruise tune featured on the classic David Lynch television series Twin Peaks. It’s an apt reference, as Beattie blends his bleak alt-country with the shimmering dread of Lynch’s film soundtracks, dredging up the icky underside... 

CAMILLE BLOOM AND THE RECOVERY

CAMILLE BLOOM AND THE RECOVERY
CAMILLE BLOOM AND THE RECOVERY Never Out of Time camillebloom.com When she’s in somber acoustic mode, singing and strumming over cellist Jessika Kitzman’s slow-bowed moans, Camille Bloom earns a place among such quirk-folk queens as Suzanne Vega, Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls. But there’s more to this Seattle-area songwriter than unplugged self-reflection. On “Running Out of Time” and “Tonight,” guitarist Danny Godinez cuts in with... 

SUGAR RAY AND THE BLUETONES

SUGAR RAY AND THE BLUETONES
SUGAR RAY AND THE BLUETONES Evening sugarrayandthebluetones.com Blues enthusiast John Mayer sometimes pokes fun at himself for being from Connecticut, a place few associate with the genre. Despite its lack of hardscrabble romance, the Constitution State has produced some fine bluesmen. Case in point: Sugar Ray Norcia, a soulful vocalist and powerhouse harmonica blower who years ago “came down with the blues,” as he sings here. Norcia likes his... 

SUMMER CAMP

SUMMER CAMP
SUMMER CAMP Welcome to Condale myspace.com/summercampmusic British newcomers Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley have a thing for American coming-of-age movies. The duo’s debut is a concept record set in fictional Condale, Calif.—the type of sunny L.A. suburb featured in countless beach flicks and teen romps—and as explained in the handmade scrapbook-style magazine that accompanies the album, the songs center on two sets of characters, one... 

DJ CAM

DJ CAM
DJ CAM  Seven inflamable.com DJ Cam revisits the icy, jazzy, sexy cool of ’90s trip-hop, one of the sounds that have defined his long career, on his seventh album. The Frenchman teams with Massive Attack collaborator Nicolette Suwoton on “Love”—an electro-lounge tune complete with vintage organ tones and a martini-shaker rhythm—and newcomer Inlove on “1988,” further showcasing his music’s sensual side. He gets less from his collaboration... 

PAUL BURCH

PAUL BURCH
PAUL BURCH Words of Love: Songs of Buddy Holly paulburch.com Buddy Holly would have turned 75 in September. While a pair of star-studded tribute albums (Rave On and Listen to Me) got most of the press, Nashville singer-songwriter Paul Burch has released a fine disc of his own saluting the late icon. Burch reaffirms the timelessness of Holly’s songs without radically altering the source material, adding and subtracting just enough to make these ’50s... 

ROB GARCIA 4

ROB GARCIA 4
ROB GARCIA 4 The Drop and the Ocean robgarcia.com This disc’s title refers to the Sufi belief that man should submit to things larger than himself. It’s a concept that has always been applicable to jazz, and it hasn’t been lost on drummer Rob Garcia, leader of this Brooklyn foursome. Although Garcia sometimes cannonballs in, asserting his virtuosity with splashes of intense, restless playing, he’s plenty good at going with the flow. On the... 

ALYSSA CARLSON

ALYSSA CARLSON
ALYSSA CARLSON  This Side of Innocence  myspace.com/alyssacarlsonmusic Nashville-based singer and songwriter Alyssa Carlson takes her cues from heroes like John Mellencamp, Mary Chapin Carpenter and fellow native Minnesotan Bob Dylan—her acoustic-dominated settings gently frame poetic and carefully observed lyrics about far-off dreams and close-up heartaches. Producer Neilson Hubbard (known for his work with tunesmiths like Glen Phillips and Kim... 

KORALLREVEN

KORALLREVEN
KORALLREVEN An Album by Korallreven korallreven.se The sound of two Swedes on holiday, if only in their minds, Korallreven has its beginnings in a trip that founder Marcus Joons took to Samoa several years ago. Inspired by the weather, scenery and local Catholic choirs, he partnered with Daniel Tjader—keyboardist for the stellar dream-pop outfit the Radio Dept.—to recreate the tropical vibes. The duo retains the melodic aspects of Tjader’s main... 

JUNIUS

JUNIUS
JUNIUS Reports From the Threshold of Death juniusmusic.com   Proving that metal dudes have feelings—and maybe even listen to Joy Division and the Smiths—Junius offsets violent guitars with epic synths and the sepulchral croon of frontman Joseph Martinez. While “Betray the Grave,” “Dance on Blood,” and “A Reflection on Fire” may read like Slayer song titles, they’re anything but typical metal tunes. This Boston group pouts as... 

HINDI ZAHRA

HINDI ZAHRA
HINDI ZAHRA Handmade hindi-zahra.com Barely in her 30s, Hindi Zahra writes with worldliness beyond her years but indicative of her background. Her life story is all there in her music: a sophisticated jazz-folk hybrid that marries the exoticism of her native Morocco and the metropolitan cool of Paris, where she moved as a teenager to live with her father. Purring like a Middle Eastern Billie Holiday, Zahra dresses down suitors less schooled in the... 
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