Sunday, December 21, 2008

New CDs and Gear

An order from All That Is Heavy for some new releases and freebie came in earlier this month. The Kings Of Frog Island, My Sleeping Karma and Hyatari have all followed up their debut albums with new full lengths. Morkobot have put out their third album (I had no idea of the existence of an earlier album than their last release until recently). For I freebie I chose an album from The Mushroom River Band.

In need of more cabinets for my three bass amp heads, I've been looking at Carvin and Avatar for good "bang for the buck" cabs. Both companies have different products but with Carvin being local I would be able to try before I buy. Carvin doesn't have any 12" driver loaded cabs and Avatar doesn't have any 15" or 18" driver loaded cabs and I wasn't set on why type of speaker configuration I wanted. I tried out all of the Carvin cabinet configurations and thought their BRX10.4 Neo cab sounded the best. It handled the low B of my five string very well and can handle the full output of my BX1200 amp. I still might add a 1x15" or 1x18" to it though and I'd like to get a nice lightweight cab for my Markbass Little Mark II for a more portable rig.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

November Update

A few orders and a trip to the record store resulted in the following additions to the collection:

Blood Of The Black Owl - A Feral Spirit
Hammers Of Misfortune - Fields/Church Of Broken Glass
Earthless - Live At Roadburn
Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling
Hush Arbors - Hush Arbors
Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1
Asva - What You Don't Know Is Frontier
Religious Knives - The Door
Omar Rodriguez Lopez Quartet - The Apocalypse Inside Of An Orange
Giant Brain - Plume
Dozer - Beyond Colossal
Grails - Doomdayer's Holiday
Serpent Throne - The Battle Of Old Crow
Black Mountain - Lucy Brown 7" (latest in the Sub Pop Singles Club)

In gear related news, the VT Bass pedal I had on back order has finally arrived, good as advertised. I also added Electro-Harmonix's Micro POG to my board. I finished my Woolly Mammoth clone, which is currently on my board, bringing a total of three fuzz pedals to my current pedal board. The Tonebender clone has been built on my breadbaord but I haven't made a decision about it yet. I changed out some of the caps with larger values in hope of getting better low end retention for bass, but I didn't get as good of result that I was hoping for. So I need to find a better way to increase bass response, perhaps by adding a tone stack to the circuit and perhaps use different transistors. Currently the Brassmaster clone is on the breadboard but is not working yet so I have some troubleshooting to do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Effects Pedals

Been awhile since I've updated this space. Since the last post I've added a Wilson Effects Bass Q Wah (12 position switch with vintage specs) and a Micro POG from Electro-Harmonix. My Tech 21 Bass Driver DI has been sold and I'm on the wait list for the new Tech 21 VT Bass pedal which is an upgraded Bass Driver but without the DI. I'm also looking to sell my Clone Theory chorus pedal and get a different chorus pedal. I'm also interested in adding an envelope filter to the fix so I can get some funky sounds.

The few weeks I have been buying supplies and components to build some effects pedals. Once I get them in I'll finish up my Woolly Mammoth clone and start on Tone Bender and Brassmaster clones and possible some other types of effects other than fuzz.

At the start of October I have finally started taking lessons which should help me trememdously in coming up with more music compositions.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Releases From ImpRec and Archive

Both Important Records and Archive CD have recently been two of the more consistent labels when it comes to quality releases. In the last month or so, Important has released two albums from Steven Wilson under his Bass Communion banner. The first was a full length CD and the latest is a live collaboration with Pig (who I know nothing about) on vinyl. It's been awhile since they have released a full-length but Conifer also have a new record out that contains some excellent instru-metal with special guest Eugene Robinson of Oxbow contributing vocals on the last track.

Archive has already released two DVDs and with the latest release group have added another four to the discography. The one and only live performance by Khlyst was captured for a short but sweet DVD with more fantastic artwork by Stephen Kasner. Enough footage of Mick Barr, both solo and part of his various duos, was recorded for a double DVD release. Live footage of Suishou No Fune at various shows and jam session at Bardo Pond's Lemur House and a live show from Ai Aso round out the new releases. I also picked up the remaster of Corrupted's long out print CD 'Paso Inferior'.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A New Axe

Since around January I've been on the lookout for a left-handed Rickenbacker 4003 bass. A few have popped up on ebay for ridiculous amounts of money and I've yet to find an online shop that had one in. They seem to constantly going to those on wait lists that can be over a year long.

So when I found one in stock at an online shop and just couldn't pass up the opportunity to own one. My Carvin 5-string is very versatile but there's one sound it can't get and that's the famous sound of a Rickenbacker.

I had to make some adjustments so the pickup cover has been removed. I'm not sure if I will put it back on, but I like the look of it with it attached. My GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) have been heavily relieved by this bass now that have a really nice 4 string to learn, practice and record with.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New 7" Club Releases And A Trade

I'm currently subscribed to two 7" vinyl clubs, one from Volcom Entertainment and one from Sub Pop. Volcom is now on it's fourth volume, a split between Red Fang and Tweak Bird, two bands I know nothing about. Upon first listen I liked the Tweak Bird track a lot and thought Red Fang's contribution was solid. It's always great in a series to hear some good music from bands you've never heard of. Sup Pop's first entry comes from Om, their first recording with new drummer Emil Amos of Grails. I like the new track, especially the b-side dub version. Hopefull this is sign of things to come from Om.

In trade plus money I acquired Earth's "tour only" live CD called Radio Earth that features live versions of songs from the new album plus a previously unreleased track.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Order From All That Is Heavy

Colour Haze's latest album All has finally arrived on double vinyl. Elektrohasch does a great job with their vinyl, making sure that the original analogue recording stays analog. I've been enjoying the album on CD and can't wait to hear it on their best format.

CDs that came included the latest from Peru's La Ira de Dios, Elektrohasch's reissue of Josiah's self-titled album (with two bonus tracks) and Wall Of Sleep's Sun Faced Apostles (as the freebie).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Pair Of New Releases

As part of the URSK series from Utech Records, Runhild Gammelsæter has released her first solo album. The former vocalist of Thorr's Hammer and contributor to Sunn O))) and Khlyst, Runhild shows off her vocal range throughout the album. Musically it's much mellower than her other work and she has a much different approach as the sole musician. There's a good variety of songs throughout which keeps the listener interested.

20 Buck Spin has released yet another album from Black Boned Angel, this time a hour plus single track that starts very minimal and builds and builds til the end. Campbell Kneale is apparently retiring the Birchville Cat Motel project so hopefully this will mean more BBA works for the future.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Trading In The Old For The New

Went down to Lou's Records to trade in some CDs that I'll never listen to again. With the credit for the CDs I was able to pick up some new releases. They had the latest releases from Jandek which I never ordered through Corwood for cheaper so I picked up the lastest live album CD and the double DVD release that includes rehearsal footage that sounds very interesting. The other new releases included a new one from the Melvins, their second with Big Business as the rhythm section. Kayo Dot, despite loosing most of their members have released a jazz-tinged modern prog-rock album - all the metal in their music is finally gone. The lone older release was Ghost's 2004 epic album that I've been meaning to pickup for awhile now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jandek - Ready For The House LP Reissue

Jackpot Records has licensed the first Jandek album, originally called The Units, for reissue on vinyl. The original goes for hundreds of dollars on eBay so the reissue is a huge welcome for someone who has never heard a Jandek album on vinyl. They've done a great job with the release - it sounds and looks great. Apparently on request of Corwood Industries, this is a different version than what was originally released and from the 2005 CD remaster. So the track lengths are different as a result.

I'm curious to see if more of the early Jandek material will get reissued on vinyl in the near future.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Out Of Town Arrivals

It's been a long time coming but I finally put in order to VHF Records for some CDs. The newer releases included the softmore album from Stephen O'Malley's project Aethenor and the latest from acoustic drone quartet Pelt (who includes the great acoustic guitar player Jack Rose). The older CDs all come from Pelt's back catalog.

Archive CD has done a first and released two new CDs that come with 7" lathe cut records containing edits of the material featured on the CDs. Both Paul Metzger and Michael Gibbons (as 500mg) have two track albums of instrumental music. The lathe cuts sound fantastic and have a different sound from the CD versions. A successful experiment from Archive.

It always seems when I put in an order to All That's Heavy that soon after they'll stock more releases that I want. So I ordered from them the softmore release from Ten East and Gary Arce's new project called Dark Tooth Encounter. A CD from Oak's Mary was thrown in as a freebie.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some 2008 New Releases

A couple of packages arrived yesterday with some new releases.

Germany's Colour Haze have released a monster of an album appropriately titled "All". It's lengthy album with quite a few tracks to show their range as a band. It's an album that will take several spins before it sinks in. The debut album from The Freeks has finally arrived. The Freeks are the "all-star" collective of Ruben Romano (Nebula / Fu Manchu), Scott Reeder (Kyuss / Across the River), John McBain (Monster Magnet / Wellwater Conspiracy), Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless), Lorenzo Woodrose (Baby Woodrose / On Trial), Jack Endino (Skin Yard / Earthworm), Jason Corbin (Bartenders Bible / The Casbah), John Cobett (Hammers of Misfortune / Ludicra) and Bernie Worell (Wizard of Woo & Woo Warriors / Funkadelic / Parliament). Should be interesting to hear what they come up with.

Another new release from Three Lobed Recordings is out. Matt Valentine and Erica Elder have a strickly duo LP that features songs with a heavy influence from India and surrounding areas. With the help of some non-Western instruments and a couple of Electro-Harmonix effects pedals, they create some interesting sounds. As a bonus, there's a full length CD that contains a collection of unreleased material from MV&EE with The Golden Road appearing on some of the tracks. As always the final is on 180g black vinyl and this time housed in a thick single pocket sleeve. The CD comes in it's own plastic sleeve with artwork. I'm not a huge fan of the duo but this a solid release.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another One For The Board

I've been reading a bunch of the TalkBass forums recently and it seems everyone has a SansAmp Bass DI pedal or similar pedal on their board or use it as a pre-amp with a power amp setup. It sounded like a box that would give me that tube amp sound without having to buy a tube amp. So I gave it a spin to see/hear what the hype was all about. Playing into a solid state amp you could definitely dial in that tube sound and then some. Being able to use it for some dirt in your signal chain, as a pre-amp or DI box really seems to give the pedal value for the price.

Having only used the stock strings on my Carvin bass, I decided to try some new strings and picked up a set of DR high beams to see how much different the bass might sound with some aftermarket strings.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Acoustic Guitar And Some New CDs

Ever since I got my electric guitar I've wanted to get an acoustic guitar for the times when I don't feel like plugging in and when I'd like to be more mobile. That and I love the sound of acoustic steel guitars.

Being left-handed, I have a limited selection to choose from and music stores tend to carry the really cheap lefty guitars. Thankfully Carvin has a lefty acoustic that I'm able to try out and the price was right for me. I doubt I could find a cheaper lefty guitar that sounds as awesome as the Carvin C250LH.

After a long delay, I finally received my order from Important Records. Short and sweet, Grails have a new album that could be their best one yet. I really wish they could have recorded a track or two more while they had the momentum. Also arriving is another album from Acid Mothers Temple under the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. banner. Usually the heavier material from Kawabata and company is under the Cosmic Inferno name but this release is definitely the heaviest set from the Melting Paraiso which has two 36+ minute tracks on it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

New At Lou's

I went down to Lou's Records on Friday to return a CD I already had (I can't believe this finally happened) and picked up some new albums.

After a long time between albums, Spiritualized have returned to good form with a new album. So far I like it much better than the past two albums from J. Spaceman and company. Opeth have unleashed a new album with their new guitarist and drummer. Their albums seem to be growers so I'm unsure of where this will rank in their discography. Harvey Milk have followed up their 2006 album (my favorite of that year) with a quality new full length. I'm not sure if it will sit atop my 2008 list but it's great to have them back as a band making records again. Lastly, I finally got around to buying Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Murder Ballads which has been on my "to buy" list for nearly a decade. I guess it's better late than never.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Oscillation III, Part 2

Part two of the Oscillation III CD series from Three Lobed arrived on Saturday with three discs. That leaves one final disc to complete the series.

The second set contains albums from Bardo Pond, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth fame and The Micheal Flower Band featuring members of Vibracathedral Orchestra and Sunburned Hand Of The Man. Will all the recordings they do, I expect a quality disc from Bardo Pond. Lee Ranaldo is always doing something different that's interesting. The Michael Flower Band is something I have no clue what it will sound like but a mix of those bands would be interesting. Time to get listening.

Friday, May 30, 2008

SX Bass

After reading about the how good the SX basses were considering their price, I ordered an SX BG-205 fretless from Rondo Music. For $100 they had a left-handed 5-string fretless bass in a black finish. It's far from flawless, but the quality of the instrument for the price is fantastic.

I've never played a fretless bass before as no one caries one around here. So I took the gamble and ordered one to see if I'd like playing a fretless. I love the sound of the fretless but I'm afraid I'd always be out of tune. The BG-205 has lines on the fretboard to help me out with the learning process. If anything this bass could be upgraded with new pickups and a new bridge to make it sound even better.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Heavy Winged - Alive In My Mouth

The latest release from Three Lobed Recordings continues their trend of an LP on 180g black vinyl with a CD of the material with a bonus track. Heavy Winged have a previous release on TRL that featured material released on a pressed CD for the first time. That was my introduction to the trio. Since then I've bought their Archive release 'Feel Inside' and the vinyl-only 'We Grow' LP which I think is their best material to date.

Until now. Side A offers the familiar sound of Heavy Winged with a few new elements/textures to keep things interesting. Then comes Side B which contains the most crushing song they've yet to record. The first half the 16+ minute track is a wall of sound that comes crashing down half way through and then simmers until the end. The CD contains a third song clocking in over 17 minutes alternates between a frenzy of sounds and quieter, moody parts. Chalk up another stellar release from Three Lobed.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Stuff From Lou's

On Friday I went down to Lou's Records to pickup new albums from Boris and The Black Angels that I had pre-ordered. They also had a sale going on and I picked up a bunch albums from Jefferson Airplane, Weather Report, Soundgarden, The Velvet Underground, Rush and Neil Young that have been on my "to buy" list for many years now. I also bought the two full length CDs from Howlin Rain and a Religious Knives disc.

Vinyl purchases included the debut LP from Holy Fuck, a vinyl only release from Gown, Fatso Jetson's live album and a GHQ record they had on sale. A good haul from Lou's.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Couple From Crucial

I ordered up a couple of new releases from Crucial Blast and they arrived today. After reading some reviews and an interesting description of their music, the debut full-length CD from Wildildlife sounds right up my alley. Yet another Nadja album has been released, this time it's not a reissue but brand new material from the duo who both play bass and are accompanied by a live drummer this time around. Can't wait hear where their sound is heading. Both CDs come in high quality mini-LP gatefold sleeves.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Gear And A CD

I went over to Guitar Center today to check out the new line of Acoustic Amplification products. I played their new B200H bass head through their new 4x10 and 1x15 cabs. Sounded good to me but I wasn't able to crank it like I would have liked to. Seems like a great buy for the price and I probably get the amp and a cab if I didn't already have an old Acoustic 370 head and had room for more cabinets.

The minor purchases was a new strap for the Squire bass and some bass and guitar strings.

I've been wanting to get a delay pedal and have been reading up and asking about them on some forums. I wanted something that was analog and wouldn't break the bank so I bought the MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay. It's easy to use and should work great with the rest of my pedal chain.

Arriving along with a book from Amazon is the latest album from bassist Victor Wooten. After the upbeat R&B sould music on 'Soul Circus', Vic has returned to more of a fusion sound. He pulls bits of African, Indian, Middle Eastern and jazz music along with material that might fit on a Flecktones album. 'Palmystery' could end up being his best album to date after repeated listens.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

CDs From 20 Buck Spin

Put in an order to 20 Buck Spin since there was a distro sale and some new releases available. As a teaser for the full length album, the collaboration between Black Boned Angel and Nadja has produced an EP with a 21+ minute track. Can't wait to hear how the full length album will turn out for 20 Buck Spin. The lone new label release comes from Humanfly. They're one of the best bands from the Neurosis/Isis mold I've heard in awhile.

Other distro items include the debut double album from Monarch! and collaborations Fear Falls Burning did with Nadja and Birchville Cat Motel.

Friday, May 2, 2008

ATH Order And More

I had a 10% off coupon for All That Is Heavy distro and put in a good sized order to them. From their Meteor City label I bought their latest releases from Dead Man and Farflung after liking the sample tracks. A couple of solid albums from bands I had never heard off before. I'm trying to get the complete Elektrohasch discography so I got the Sula Bassana and Rotor albums. Amazingly they got back in stock Fatso Jetson's 'Flames For All' and now have Spirit Caravan's 'Dreamwheel' EP back in print. Lastly are pair of albums from Sweden's Graveyard and Burning Saviours.

Utech Records has started a new series with artwork by Stephen Kasner called the Fine Are Series. The first release comes from Skullflower and is features packaging and artwork that rival the many releases from Archive CD. A well done release and some of the better Skullflower material I've heard.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Week's Haul

Arriving earlier in the week was the latest from Three Lobed Recordings. A three-sided LP from Enos Slaughter who features members from Sunburned Hand Of The Man and No Neck Blues Band. The two LPs come on heavy 180g vinyl and a CD of the material is included as well. The music is rather hard to describe as I haven't heard any of the group's previous material. They take acoustic instruments and make a junkyard-like brand of folk music. It's going take more listens to get a handle on what they are doing since no traditional sound structures are used.

From the fantastic distro and label Eclipse Records came a bunch of new releases and reissues. Tompkins Square has reissued a bunch of early material from James Blackshaw that has long been out of print so I ordered the albums I didn't already have. In order to get everything I can get my hands on by Raccoo-oo-oon, I bought my first cassette tape in 13 or so years. The tape is entry number 4 in their Mythos Folkways series. Rounding out the order are a couple of LPs, the latest from Belgium's Silvester Anfang and a pervious CD-R only release from Six Organs Of Admittance.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Guitar Gear

After buying the G400 and borrowing a small practice amp, I've been looking for decent combo amp for practice and recording. I ended up with the Vox Valvetronix AD30VT. At 30W with a 10" speaker, it should be plenty loud for what I want to do with it. It's a hybrid amp with a 12AX7 tube in the preamp section. I don't know how much I'll use the amp modeling and built in effects, but it will be fun to play around with them.

I broke my first string so I needed a new set. I'm trying some Ernie Ball Regular Slinky 10s at the moment with GHS Boomers 10s and D'Addario XL Bright 10s waiting for a try. Also purchased was a strap, SKB case and guitar stand. Should be a good starter setup for me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

While I Was Away And A Trip To Lou's

While being out of town for awhile, I got a couple of packages in the mail. The second release from Volcom's 7" split series features the pairing of Witch and Earthless doing exclusive tracks. I have a feeling it will be my favorite of the series. As arriving were a pair of releases from Profound Lore - Half Makeshift's Omen and Nadja's remastered reissue of Bliss Torn From Emptiness.

At Lou's Records I picked some new releases that came out on Tuesday by Nine Inch Nails, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Torche. I also bought newer releases from Silver Mt. Zion, Dead Raven Choir and yet another Nadja reissue.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My New Axe

After many years of wanting a guitar, I finally decided to buy one. My plan is to learn a how to play a bit from a book and try to figure out some things on my own that I can add to future R³ songs. Will the collection of effects pedals I now have, I'll be able to get some even more interesting noise.

Not wanting to spend the big bucks on a Gibson, but wanting their SG style guitar, I went with the Epiphone G400L.

I still see myself as a bass player but I think learning a bit of guitar will only help in my bass playing. Now the search for an amp begins. It sounds alright through my Acoustic B20, but it's definitely missing that bright sound of a guitar amp.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Religious Knives

After liking their release on Archive, I ordered up two more CDs from Religious Knives, both on No Fun Productions. Each album compiles tracks released on limited CD-Rs, splits, tapes and records along with a few unreleased tracks. Both CDs come in thick cardboard mini gatefold sleeves. I've read that their material has changed a bit since their earlier releases so I'm curious as to what they sound like on these albums.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

DIY Effects Pedal

I ordered the Big Muff Pi clone kit from General Guitar Gadgets after reading some great comments about it. The kit from GGG allows you build six different versions of the class BMP distortion pedal from Electro-Harmonix. I went with GGG Tuned Version and spent four hours soldier and assembling the pedal. Getting the larger enclosure upgrade was a smart decision and made routing easier. I took my time and it worked the first time I fired it up.

I sold my Double Muff pedal after not being thrilled with it so this pedal is going to fill that spot. Compared to the Double Muff, this version of the BMP is of a much higher quality and is very versatile in comparison. With bass it keeps more of the low end in the signal and can still get nasty some nasty tone.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the enclosure. It's still unpainted so perhaps I'll add a sticker to it as paint tends to chip off of molded aluminum. Probably not the best first kit for those who are new to soldiering together electronics, but I'd recommend it for someone who's looking to do an easy DIY project.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Three New Ones From Archive

Arriving yesterday were the latest three new releases from Archive CD.

After releasing the collaboration with Keiji Haino, Sitaar Tah! now have their own Archive release and it's a monster of a track. 40+ minutes of subtle variation with lots of textures from percussion and sitar orchestra. There's even some throat singing added to the mix.

Religious Knives is a name I've been seeing in my search for new music but I never did check them out. So when I heard Archive was doing a live release from them I decided to wait for it to be my introduction to them. Sounded good to me first listen so I'll have to track down more material by them. It's been awhile since I've listened to Double Leopards but I this seems to be a much different project for the duo.

Nadja have (I believe) put out their first live album that features a pair of lengthy tracks from two of their albums from last year. Since it was performed as a duo live, it has a bit more of a stripped-down feel to it.

For distro items I picked up the latest double album from Suishou No Fune and the first pressed CD (to my knowledge) from Silvester Anfang.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bardo Pond's Batholith

Three Lobed Recordings has unleashed a beast of a new album from Bardo Pond. The material itself is not new but a new batch of recordings that never properly got released. Coming in a beautiful gatefold sleeve on heavy duty 180gram vinyl and a pressed CD, it's another impressive package from TLR. Pre-ordering it also got me a bonus disc with a 13 minute exclusive track.

Since it's more dated material, the tracks on here are a bit shorter and more "song-based" which is a welcome after all the jamming they've done in all their side projects recently (not that I'm complaining). I need some more listens for this one to sink in but after a spin the album flows nice as a whole and there's a good variety. It's been a good month for Three Lobed with this and part 1 of the Oscillation III series.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Gear

A couple of new effects pedals and a combo amp have been added to my collection. Although I was only going into Guitar Center to buy some strings I wanted to test out the Jim Kelley Amplifiers' Furr Pedal prototype on some of the amps there. On the rack of small combo amps, I saw something that I didn't know existed, a combo amp from Acoustic called the B20 (it's 2oW amp with a 12" speaker). Some of the forums I'm on have bassists raving about the old Acoustic Control Corp. amps from the lates 60s, early 70s. Jaco Pastorius used an Acoustic 370 back in the day and I've been on the lookout for one if it was a good deal.

I like my big rig but I don't always want to play at that volume so I've had in the back of my mind to get a small combo practice amp. I played the Acoustic, Peavy and Fender combos around the same wattage and price range. But I kept coming back to the Acoustic with it's classic lowercase logo and powder blue piping. I ended leaving with just strings but when I got home to research the combo I found it was $30 cheaper online. So I just had to make an order. I don't know how much the new Acoustic company has to do with the old one, but I hope they start making a reissue of the old Acoustic amps. While being a really cheap amp, I'm surprised by the quality of sound it produces. A real simple, "plug and play" design that works.

For effects I bought a pair of Electro-Harmonix pedals, The Clone Theory Stereo Chorus/Vibrato and the Small Stone Nano (it's a small version of their famous phase shifter). On their own the produce some neat sounds but when working together in series they can produce some really trippy effects. I can't wait to experiment with them in stereo mode and use them on some new recordings.

My Double Muff just isn't working for me so I plan on selling it and getting a new distortion/fuzz pedal or perhaps building one myself. A clone of the Big Muff Pi might an easy project to do.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Important Records

A monster package from Important Records has finally arrived. Coil's The Ape Of Naples has finally received a release on vinyl thanks to a 4LP box set. The original album takes up three one-sided LPs with the fourth LP featuring unreleased songs on both sides. Credit to Important Records for using plenty of packaging to protect the set and shipping the records outside of the sleeves - everything arrived in immaculate shape. This set is HEAVY. The vinyl is on thick red vinyl with the four records housed in a thick box with nice graphic work. In the end it was worth the steep price tag for such a great album.

As coming in the box is the latest(?) from Birchville Cat Motel. It's always hard to keep up with all of Campbell Kneales releases. Also is a double disc live set from Rameses III who put out an excellent EP on ImpRec last year. The first disc features some remixes from live material and the second disc appears to be a suite.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bass Upgrade

The first bass I got when I started out playing was a Squire Precision Bass. Definitely a good starter bass but it has some cheap hardware on it. The wood is solid enough though to keep it around and use a backup to my Carvin IC5WP.

I decided to upgrade it and ordered some new parts. Although it was probably overkill in terms of quality, I replaced the stock bridge with a Leo Quan Badass II bridge, replaced the stock pickups with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound pickups and replaced the stock nut with a brass nut. While they claimed to be direct replacements for a Fender p-bass, it was a bit tight for the pickups and the nut was too long. After some grinding and filing of the nut, it now blends well with the neck. The wiring of the pickups to the potentiometers left a lot to be desired so maybe I'll eventually get around to re-wiring them. A new jack might also be a good idea.

While the action is still high, the sustain has really improved. The pickups definitely have give the bass a better (and wider) tone. So while it's not perfectly setup, I'm happy with the results so far.

I have some new effects pedals and a small combo on the way so I'm looking forward to uses both basses with them now.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Oscillation III, Part 1

The first part of the CD subscription series from Three Lobed Recordings, Oscillation III, has arrived. The first batch includes 6 albums and a silk-screened slipcase to hold all the CDs. The albums length range from long EPs to short LPs. The previous series, Modern Containment, had what appeared to be a decent lineup but after going through the series I found it to be excellent with some of my favorite releases of the year coming from it. Oscillation III has an even better lineup so I'm hoping for it to surpass Modern Containment in quality.

The first batch features albums from GHQ, Jack Rose, Howlin Rain, The Bark Haze, Tom Carter and Vanishing Voice. It's almost too much good stuff at one time. I can't wait to dig into the series in the next few weeks.

Looking forward to part 2 in eight weeks!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Release Tuesday

I hit up Lou's Records yesterday for some new albums that came out in the past month. The newest of the bunch is the latest from Flogging Molly. Been awhile since they've put out a new full-length album so I'm hoping it's as good as their past material.

Last week's new release was a live EP from Porcupine Tree. The live set is actually just Steven Wilson on acoustic and electric guitar and John Wesley helping out on guitar and backing vocals. It's great to hear short versions/stripped down versions of some old PT songs. Definitely an essential release for fans of the band.

The older new releases include softmore albums from Black Mountain and Danava, another solo album from The Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and a long in the making full-length from the instrumental duo 5ive.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mailorder From Tequila Sunrise

After a long time waiting, an order from Tequila Sunrise has arrived. I ordered the LP-only 'A Symphony Of Sound' by The Velvet Underground but unfortunately it was out of stock and another could not be found.

What did make it was an import copy of Flower Travellin' Band's Anywhere on CD and Alexander "Skip" Spence's Oar on vinyl. A couple of old classics that I'm grateful to finally own.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jandek - The Myth Of Blue Icicles

After a delay that should have had it out in 2007, the 52nd Jandek album has finally seen the light of day in 2008. For 0790, we get a studio album by Jandek featuring acoustic guitar and vocals. I've given it one spin so far, but it sounds like there are two acoustic guitars on this album for the entirety. Vocally this album doesn't hit the higher notes of past Jandek albums. There's much less wailing making it sound like a more confident delivery of the lyrics. The guitar playing remains distinctly Jandekian but there are times when it almost becomes conventional in the approach. Overall it's one of the better studio albums this decade from Corwood Industries.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bass Communion's Pacific Codex

The latest release from Steven Wilson's Bass Communion project has finally seen the light of day on Equation Records. Originally I believe it was supposed to be a vinyl release (which makes sense considering their are two tracks that could each take up a side of vinyl), it has arrived on CD and DVD-A mixed in surround sound. While pricey for the limited release, it does come nicely packaged in a nice sleeve with a thick booklet of photography and a mini gatefold to house the discs.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Old And New From Hydra Head And New Not Not Fun

I put in a massive order to Hydra Head for some new releases and some older albums they have recently gotten back in stock.

The new stuff is Pelican's DVD/3" CD package that includes their recent 'Pink Mammoth' 10" plus an extra track on the CD. The DVD is live footage, interview and video. The other new release is from Ocrilim, guitarist Mick Barr's solo project.

Older albums include the softmore album from Isis' Mike Gallagher's solo project MGR, Lustmord's collaboration with the Melvins' Buzz Osborne, Aaron Turner's solo project House Of Low Culture's full length, Oxbow's CD/DVD compilation, and James Plotkin's Phantomsmasher.

From Not Not Fun Records I received the latest CD from The Goslings, a duo that has really created some interesting works recently. I have high expectations for this one. LPs from Family Underground (the description sounded interesting), the latest from Mudboy and a split between Christina Carter (Charalambides) and Pocahaunted came as well. Lots of new music I've never heard before.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Best Of 2007

I've had a list done for awhile now but I've kept forgetting to post my favorite albums of 2007. I managed to form a top 10 but with no order. I don't like including EPs in my top 10 so I did a separate list for them. There's also a long list of honorable mentions.

Top 10 Albums (in no order):

Citay - Little Kingdom

A fantastic album that sounds like it came out in the early '70s. Featuring mellow, acoustic folk-like tracks along with psychedelic rock of the same era.

Clutch - From Beale Street To Oblivion

Now with full-time keyboard player, Clutch have continued their streak of great albums. This album might be their bluesiest to date. They just groove on every track.

Earthless - Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky

Their live show is stunning so it's no surprise they record live in the studio with minimal overdubs. Two long jams and a nice cover of the Groundhogs to end the disc.

Big Business - Here Come The Waterworks

If I had to choose a number one album, I would probably pick this one. It took 4 or 5 listens and then really clicked with me. The vocals do tend to be similar on every track but the hooks make up for it. Love the closing mellow track after they crush you.

High On Fire - Death Is This Communion

I didn't care much for their previous album so this one came as a nice surprise. Better production, a new bass player who brought new instruments to the table and some great hooks make this my favorite metal album of the year.

Raccoo-oo-oon - Behold Secret Kingdom

Although their previous releases have more of a free folk vibe, this album has more of a psychedelic rock feel to it. Some great jams on here thanks to their awesome drummer.

Nadja - Thaumogenesis

Lots of releases from Nadja in 2007 thanks to a bunch being reissued but this was my favorite of the new material. One long track that goes from blissful to crushing throughout.

Witchcraft - The Alchemist

While their influences are still clear, they now have their own identity and it's working great. From more pop sounding songs to a song in Swedish to the epic title track, it's well written album.

Om - Pilgrimage

Nothing dramatically new compared to their previous album but this is their best songwriting to date. Every track is fantastic and has its own identity.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo

This might be my favorite solo album he has done so far. Plenty of variety in the styles of music he pulls from and the playing is top notch.

EP of The Year:
Torche - In Return

This was only a few tracks short of making my top 10. Can't wait to hear a new full length by them.

Rest of the EPs:
Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring
Rameses III - Honey Rose
Bloodhorse - Bloodhorse
Nadja - Guilted By The Sun

Honorable mentions (in no order):
Tomahawk - Anonymous
Oxbow - The Narcotic Story
The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls With Sand
Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound - Ekranoplan
Titan - A Raining Sun Of Light & Love, For You & You & You
Wolves In The Throne Room - Two Hunters
Wooden Shjips - Wooden Shjips
Solace - The Black Black
Six Organs Of Admittance - Shelter From The Ash
Sir Richard Bishop - Polytheistic Fragments
Serpent Throne - Ride Satan Ride
Aluk Todolo - Descension
Reverend Bizarre - III: So Long Suckers
Porcupine Tree - Fear Of A Blank Planet
Neurosis - Given To The Rising
Mammatus - The Coast Explodes
Grinderman - Grinderman
Fu Manchu - We Must Obey
Electric Orange - Morbus
Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today
Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
Do Make Say Think - You, You're A History In Rust
Deathspell Omega - Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
Circle - Katapult
Causa Sui - Free Ride
Buried At Sea - Ghost
Brant Bjork And The Bros - Somera Sol
Bass Communion & vidnaObmana - Continuum 2
Baroness - Red Album

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pair Of AMT Albums And New Stuff From SL

Thanks to the Archive CD distro, the latest releases from Acid Mothers Temple have arrived. The first album is under the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. moniker and is a reissue from a vinyl only album back in 2002 with two bonus tracks. The latest from the Cosmic Inferno version of AMT has an album of new material coming in a nice mini gatefold sleeve with a pop-up.

From Southern Lord came the new CD from Earth which has been in the can for awhile now. When I saw them back in July of last year they were done recording and played a bunch of new tracks. I think they upped the ante with this one.

To celebrate Earth's tour with Sir Richard Bishop, both artists have a new "tour only" split 12" album featuring side-length tracks from Richard and Dylan. Also released was a beautiful picture disk version of Earth's 'Hibernaculum' that comes in a heavy cardboard sleeve. It's definitely one of the better sounding picture disks I've heard.

Friday, February 8, 2008

ATH Order #1

The first order of 2008 from All That's Heavy has arrived. I picked some new 2007 releases and reissues along with a couple of older albums.

They had great deals on the reissues of BigElf's 'Hex' and 'Closer To Doom' that I couldn't pass up. I've been meaning to pick up both of those for years now.

As far as 2007 releases go I bought the new Reverend Bizarre double album which is sadly going to be their final release as a band along with the self-titled debut from The Bakerton Group who is the band Clutch minus their singer/guitar player.

Having just gotten into Reverend Bizarre, I picked up their last album along with a double disc reissue of an older album. For a freebie I finally have Solace's 13 which is now back in print.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Gown's 'For The Maples'

The first release of what promises to be an amazing year from Three Lobed Recordings has arrived. Gown, aka Andrew MacGregor, has teamed up with Sunburned Hand Of The Man for an album titled "For The Maples". Another fantastically produced album from Three Lobed. The LP is on black 180 vinyl and comes with a pressed CD of the vinyl material in a silk screened jacket. And for pre-ordering a bonus CD has been included with a 20 minute track.

Having just spun the record for the first time, I'm loving both sides of it. The first track has some vocals on it but it's nothing but some great jamming the rest of the way out. The second side-long track is a real psychedelic rock burner. Absolutely a fantastic way to start 2008 for Three Lobed.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Blackout Party, Earthless and Blue Cheer at the Casbah, San Diego February 1, 2008

Considering how long the headlining band has been around I was expecting a very diverse crowd (age-wise) and I was correct. Lots of older folks showing up to see the mighty Blue Cheer rock the Casbah. The house music was particularly good which is usually not the case for some shows. Turns out they had Brainticket DJ's spinning some vinyl records from the past and present.

First up was The Blackout Party. Instead of checking them out on the web before the show I decided to let their live show be my introduction to their music. They play a style of country-folk rock music with lyrics heavy on drinking, women and other topics usually associated with country and blues. I like how they have a guitarist doubling on flute and a lap slide guitar player (and apparently they also have a fiddle player). They had some nice jams but ultimately didn't suck me into their set.

Switching gears to first of two power trios for the night, Earhless continues to melt people's faces. Seems like every time I see them they are winning over people in the crowd. Reuben was on fire tonight on the kit. They're using much variation in their jams these days.

Having been around since the late 60s, Blue Cheer have been a huge influence on fuzzy, bluesy hard rock bands. The trio sounded massive with the original rhythm section of Dickie Peterson and Paul Whaley and with fantastic guitar playing from Duck MacDonald. With a mix of classics and new cuts, they got better as the set progressed. They played most of (if not all of) their debut album 'Vincebus Eruptum' with the highlights being 'Parchment Farm', 'Sumertime Blues' and a 25+ minute version of 'Doctor Please' that included a drum solo. 'Just A Little Bit' was the only song from their second album I recognized but it was enough of their classic songs to make me happy. Their new tracks blended in well and while I've only listened to their new album one time, it sounded great. It's great to these veteran rockers showing the young kids how it's done.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Get Your Death On!, It's Casual and Fu Manchu at the Casbah, San Diego January 18, 2008

First show of the year and it was my first time seeing Fu Manchu live.

Opening up the show was San Diego's Get Your Death On!. I knew nothing about them going into the show so I was curious to hear what they sound like. Thankfully their sound is hard to describe. They mix elements of what people would call "indie rock", add elements of Black Sabbath inspired doom along with elements from the "jam band" scene. If I had to guess, these guys like a lot of the same music I do. Looks like they had a friend on "aux percussion" to augment their quartet. I thought they had a couple of great jams. There's a new album from them on the way and I'm looking forward to hear what they do in a studio setting. Great band to open the night.

In the middle was slotted It's Casual from Los Angeles. I knew a little about them going into the gig mainly that they are a duo on guitar and drums and their guitar player is left-handed. After a long delay as the guitar player was having trouble with his monster rig, they were off and running. These two play with a lot of energy and have a strong hardcore punk influence. You would think that a duo would have a drummer with a huge kit to take up all of the empty space but this guy had the most minimal kit I've seen - bass drum, snare, high-hat and crash symbol. That was it. Just the right band to get the crowd fired up before the Fu hit the stage.

I really don't have any excuses as to why I've yet to see Fu Manchu live (other than I was out of town when they played last year) as I've been listening to them for many years now. I've read all about their live shows and seen video footage. Well they definitely were rocking the Casbah last night. The setlist covered much of their discography, with only their first two albums and 'California Crossing' not getting any attention. The crowd was as into the music more than I've seen at any Casbah show. Perhaps due to more Orange County/L.A. presence? 'Saturn III' and 'Hogwash' and 'Anodizer' were the best jams and the highlights of the show for me. Ending the show with 'King Of The Road' was perfect. Not sure if they did an encore (it wasn't looking like it so I left), but the set ended perfectly without one.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Gear And A New Song

On Thursday the M-Audio Axiom 49 MIDI keyboard I ordered arrived. With 49 keys, 8 touch pads, 9 sliders, 8 dials and loads more buttons, it's feature laden controller that will do much more than I'll ever learn.

My goal is to augment my arrangements with synthesizers, keyboards and organs either in a droning fashion, a way to create different layers or perhaps add melodic element to the composition. Having no formal music training and not a clue how to really play a piano, I'll be using very simple patterns.

Two of the plugins that came with ProTools, Reason Adapted and Analog Factory, have some great presets and allow for lots of tweaking so I'm hoping to create some interesting sounds. Eventually I'd like to get GForce's MiniMonsta and M-Tron going for Minimoog and Mellotron emulation but they are not compatible with ProTools at the moment (or at least the ProTools version I have).

There's a new track on the R³ myspace page that utilizes my new microphone and one of the sequenced synth settings in Analog Factory. The song is called 'Orbiting Planet'. I tried experimenting with some different techniques. There's a track of mostly feedback with some slides and random notes played. Another track has recording my 5-string bass acoustically. There's a track with just me blowing into the mic and a track with a simple cymbal pattern. Lastly there is the synth track. I wasn't too happy with the final master as I couldn't quite get the synth mixed into the rest of the track properly.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Releases From Archive and Glass Throat Recordings

Some fantastic looking releases from Archive arrived yesterday in the post. Headlining the bunch is the 2 disc album collaboration between LSD March and Bardo Pond dubbed LSD Pond. The packaging for the release is top notch and includes a booklet for the first time ever for an Archive set. The second new one from Archive is an album from Chinese guitarist Li Jianhong whom I've never heard of before. There was lots of praise for the guy so I also picked up another album by him in the distro. Rounding out the new releases is the latest from Peter Wright. Also picked up from the distro a double live album from LSD March that is limited to 500 copies and comes in a nice heavy stock gatefold-like sleeve with the discs sitting on hubs.

From Glass Throat Recordings comes a double album from The Elemental Chrysalis that was just released on the end of 2007. The double CD comes in the now typical 6"x6" six panel case with the discs on soft hubcaps. After enjoying Ruhr Hunter's 2006 release, I decided to round out the order with the previous two full length Ruhr Hunter CDs.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


As mentioned in my last post of 2007, I've started to do some recordings with an MBox2 Mini using ProTools with the plugins it came with. Going directly into the box, usually through my Double Muff and/or custom "furr" pedal worked well. But what I really want to do is mic my cabinets, so I bought Carvin's CTM100 condenser tube microphone (along with a telescoping boom mic stand).

A trio of demo songs I did in before the start of 2008 are now part of a music project I've named R³. You can go to the obligatory myspace music page, located here, to sample the music I've done.

I have a couple more pieces of equipment coming and I'll have a nice recording setup.