Well, the Christmas/New Year period is well and truly over, so it’s time for new CD releases, after about 2 months of reissues and best-ofs. So let’s peer into the crystal ball and see what will be rocking your socks this week. Links to buy each title are at the bottom of this post.
The Empyrean by John Frusciante
The eleventh solo album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist. The Empyrean is a concept record featuring Flea, Sonus Quartet, Johnny Marr (woo!!!), and The New Dimension Singers.
A-LEX by Sepultura
Graar!!! Brazil’s most metallic export cranks it up with this concept album based on A Clockwork Orange. One for fans of brutal metal, citrus fruit, and/or watchmaking.
396 by Chris Duarte
Duarte has always been a monster player with chops out the wazoo. His new album is a collaboration with Japan’s premier blues-rock band, Bluestone Company.
Old Money by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
This new conceptual solo album about exploitative industrialists from the Mars Volta guitarist is said to fit comfortably between his work with The Mars Volta and his prior rock-based solo releases. Sweet.
Last night (January 26, Australia Day, woohoo), I saw Jeff Beck at the Palais in Melbourne. I’ll write a full review for the next issue of Mixdown magazine, but in the meantime here are a few thoughts and observances for anyone who’s interested. Beck’s playing again at the Palais tonight, so CLICK HERE to see if there are still tickets available.
Okay, thoughts in dot-point form cos they’re fun.
· Beck appeared to have a pair of Marshall Plexis on stage, (although only one of them was turned on – I guess the other was a spare) and a Fender combo. My vision sucks at the best of times (but at least I have cool glasses), so I couldn’t quite tell what models they were.
· He played one of his signature Fender Stratocasters for the whole show, and only needed to retune once, about an hour into the gig, despite his frequent and mind-destroying whammy bar use.
· On drums, Mr Vinnie Colaiuta. Frank Zappa’s favourite improvisation buddy, and an important part of why Megadeth’s ‘The System Has Failed’ album is so friggin’ cool. Vinnie threw in lots of double-kick work, and stole the show several times.
· On bass, Tal Wilkenfeld. She’s only 22 and her playing is frighteningly good, especially her solo during ‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers.’
· Beck long ago chucked away guitar picks, and it’s inspiring if not a little intimidating to hear what he can do with just his fingers and a whammy bar. Surprisingly, most of his vibrato comes from rapidly pushing and releasing the guitar’s tremolo bridge with the side of his picking hand, instead of from his fretting hand.
I won’t spoil the setlist for those who are yet to see this tour, but Beck’s playing is as good as ever, and his band is amazing. If you’re in Melbourne and you haven’t already got a ticket for tonight, GO GO GO GO GO!!!
Remaining Jeff Beck Australian tour dates:
27 Jan Palais Theatre, VIC
29 Jan Brisbane Convention Centre, QLD
30 Jan Enmore Theatre, NSW
31 Jan Enmore Theatre, NSW
Out today on DVD is Girls Rock: The Movie, a documentary chronicling an all-girls rock ‘n’ roll camp in Portland, Oregon. The film centers around girls ranging from ages 8 to 18 who have one week to form a band, select an instrument they may have never played, and write a song.
The film features appearances from female rockers Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney and The Gossip’s Beth Ditto.
You can download the track “Global Warming” by one of the bands, Blubird, for free by CLICKING HERE.
I’ll review the documentary soon, but in the meantime, the trailer is below, and you can see the official site HERE.
This week I’ve written a guest post for the Jemsite community blog. The post is about my early days as an Ibanez geek, and how my first good electric guitar sparked my interest in rare or uncommon Ibanez variations.
Thanks to Dan for alerting me to the new website for the new Sterling By Music Man brand, which will be priced somewhere around the same level as the now discontinued Ernie Ball Music Man SUB series.
Former Megadeth guitarist Glen Drover is auctioning his famed ‘Peace Sells’ ESP. I saw Glen with Megadeth four times and this axe always got a strong reaction from the crowd (although I liked his ‘Countdown To Extinction’ model even more).
The listing reads:
This guitar was made for Glen Drover in 2005 and given to him by ESP guitars at the 2005 NAMM convention in California, for the ESP anniversary party. It was also used by Glen for all touring for 2005 and 2006 with Megadeth.
This is an “ESP” version of the LTD Deluxe M1000 and designed to Glen’s specs.
Easily the most popular guitar from Glen Drover’s collection used while in Megadeth.
43mm Neck Width
24 XJ Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Front cover “air brush” of the Megadeth album cover “Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying” on front body and head stock. purple transparent finish on back of guitar.
Seymour Duncan pickups (distortion in bridge, 59 in neck position)
3 way toggle switch
1 volume control, 1 tone control pot.
To honor the sonic legacy of alt/indie rock founding father J Mascis, Fender is supremely psyched to unveil the sparkling-new J Mascis Jazzmaster guitar.
Mascis took the instrument to a new place with his feedback-drenched, distortion-laden band, Dinosaur Jr. This new signature model pays affectionately ear-splitting homage to Mascis, giving the instrument a modern makeover for fans who’ve been clamoring for such a model for years.
With its stunning and unusual Purple Sparkle polyester finish, matching headcap and gold anodized pickguard, the guitar features mods requested by Mascis himself—including an Adjusto-Matic bridge, reinforced tremolo arm housing and a satin-finished neck. The Dinosaur roar comes from dual vintage reissue pickups and the barrage of controls the Jazzmaster has always been known for—a three-position toggle switch with volume and tone knobs and, for this model, a two-position slide switch with volume and tone controls configured as a “lead tone circuit” (up) and a “rhythm tone circuit” (down).
Available beginning in July 2007, the J Mascis Jazzmaster is literally a sparkling new addition to the Fender lineup, in celebration of the adventurous and continuing sonic contributions of the man who has been the model’s constant champion for nearly 25 years now.
This year at NAMM EMG introduced gold and silver covers for their pickups. Previously the only time I’ve seen EMG pickups in anything other than black was on Kirk Hammett’s Les Paul. Other new goodies include a new line of pickups called the X Series, and an Alexi Laiho set which includes his favoured passive humbucker and a gain boost.
Team EMG is back from the 2009 NAMM Show and without a doubt we had a blast. The reaction to our new products was a resounding success. If you haven’t heard we are now offering high quality Chrome and Gold cover caps for our 81, 85 and 60 models which generated considerable excitement.
Besides featuring EMG’s new and existing product lineup, we had some very exciting artist appearances, scheduled and unscheduled, that were just icing on the cake and made our booth THE place to be. Some of the artists hanging out included Kerry King, Alexi Laiho, Steve Lukather, Sergio Vallin, Marcus Henderson and many many others.
Read more here.
There comes a time in the life of every axe slinger when he/she must venture out of the bedroom/garage/New York sewer and interact with other musicians. Maybe even – gasp! – other guitarists. And sooner or later, said guitarist might get bored with the sound of two guitars playing the exact same thing. So what do to? You don’t necessarily have to arrange all your riffs like Def Leppard (“not that that’s a bad thing,” 10-year-old me mumbles), but there are many interesting things you can do to get the most out of a two-guitar band.
First off, CLICK HERE to see the tab/music for this lesson.
Figure 1 is a simple 8th note strum on a Gm chord. Yawn. Figure 2 makes it slightly more interesting by delegating the bottom two notes to one guitar (which chugs them out with some palm muting), and the top 3 notes to the other, played more freely and maybe with some delay and reverb to add a nice reverberous chime.
In Figure 3, guitar 1 picks out a few notes from the Gm chord while guitar 2 chugs out the same 8th note figure as before. Figure 4 is a further evolution of this idea, but more melodic, perhaps used as a main riff between chorus and verse in a vocal song, or as part of the main theme in an instrumental.
Figure 5 steps outside of the Gm framework a little. Guitar 2 (who seems to get all the easier parts in this lesson… poor guitar 2) just strums whole note G5 power chords while guitar 1 gets all Queensryche, playing a higher version of G5 in the first bar then dropping the fifth down for a deliciously evil tritone.
Finally, in Figure 6 we have something Metallica would be proud of, where guitar 2 plays the same G5 power chord while guitar 1 alternates between an open G string (oo-er) and fretted notes. Try playing a different chord for each of 4 bars in this style, and keep the rhythm of guitar 1’s part but change the notes to match (or build upon) the new chords.