- Rebelution – Bright Side Of Life
- Yim Yames – Tribute To
- Band Of Skulls – Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
- Taylor Swift – Fearless
- Modest Mouse – No One’s First And Your Next
- Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King
- 500 Days Of Summer – OST
- Levon Helm – Electric Dirt
- Dead Weather – Horehound
- Chris Garneau – El Radio
- Most Serene Republic – & The Ever Expanding Universe
- Headless Heroes – The Silence Of Love
- George Strait – Twang
- Devil Makes Three – Do Wrong Right
- Moby – Wait For Me
- Michael Jackson – Number Ones
- Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine
- RX Bandits – Mandala
- Riceboy Sleeps – Riceboy Sleeps
- Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Les Paul, who invented the solid-body electric guitar later wielded by a legion of rock ‘n’ roll greats, died Thursday of complications from pneumonia. He was 94.
As an inventor, Paul also helped bring about the rise of rock ‘n’ roll with multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the tracks in the finished recording. The use of electric guitar gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1940s, and then exploded with the advent of rock in the mid-’50s.
Les Paul has had such a staggeringly huge influence over the way American popular music sounds today that many tend to overlook his significant impact upon the jazz world. Heavily influenced by Django Reinhardt at first, Paul eventually developed an astonishingly fluid, hard-swinging style of his own, one that featured extremely rapid runs, fluttered and repeated single notes, and chunking rhythm support, mixing in country & western licks and humorous crowd-pleasing effects. No doubt his brassy style gave critics a bad time, but the gregarious, garrulous Paul didn’t much care; he was bent on showing his audiences a good time. And of course, his early use of the electric guitar and pioneering experiments with multitrack recording, guitar design and electronic effects devices have filtered down to countless jazz musicians. Among the jazzers who acknowledge his influence are George Benson, Al DiMeola, Stanley Jordan (whose neck-tapping sound is very reminiscent of Paul’s records), Pat Martino and Bucky Pizzarelli.
A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called “The Log,” a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings.
“I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut.” He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a tradition guitar shape.
In 1952, Gibson Guitars began production on the Les Paul guitar. Pete Townsend of the Who, Steve Howe of Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page all made the Gibson Les Paul their trademark six-string. Over the years, the Les Paul series has become one of the most widely used guitars in the music industry. In 2005, Christie’s auction house sold a 1955 Gibson Les Paul for $45,600.
Headless Heroes – The Silence Of Love
The theme of love – in sorrowing heartbreak and in glorious joy – has probably saturated more lyricist’s notebooks than one can care to imagine. So instead of writing anymore, why not just cover your favorites. That the idea two producers dreamed up when they hand-selected a crew of studio musicians to record renditions of slightly under-acknowledged gems. Whether Headless Heroes are tackling the fatalistic despondence of Jackson C. Frank’s “Blues Run The Games” or the innocent optimism of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End”, the anchor to every song is the sonorous voice of indie-folk singer Alela Diane. Her elegiac delivery of Nick Cave’s “Nobody’s Baby Now” will leave nail marks in your skin as its undying mournfulness resurrects the memory of a lost love. Besides the odd-fitting orchestrated pop of “The North Wind Blew South”, this collaboration executes a strong performance throughout.
Listen to: Blues Run The Game
Various Artists – Black Rio 2: Original Samba Soul 1968-1981 (Honest Jons)
Outside of body waxing and soccer, Brazil is famous for its music. And while genres like samba, bossa nova and tropicalia gained international attention and commercial success, other localized styles required the unified efforts of a handful of fans to bring it across the equator to wider listenership. Brazil’s Black Rio movement pinpoints a moment when the influence of American soul and funk cross-fertilized their rhythms as well as their self-identity. Here, on Black Rio 2, London’s DJ Cliffy assembles a collection of tracks that swing from outright funk replication to samba soul that bears minor resembles to its American counterpart. Listen to Som Nossa’s “Pra Swingar”, and you’ll hear immediate mimicking of Kool & The Gangs oversized horn production, while James Brown is stamped all over the Cry Babies quick-paced version of “It’s My Thing”. But even when the tracks miss the album’s subtitled directive -the sunny, percussive bounce of Watusi’s “Oio Gere” seems authentically Brazilian – you can’t argue with the happy groove this collection will set you in. Squeeze it before summer’s last gasp.
Listen To: Som Nossa’s “Pra Swingar”
Wholeheartedly, I will claim Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk album as a favorite. And the recent re-issued that was accompanied by a second disc of album demos stayed on repeat for a number of roadtrips. Thus, I’m excited to see Deerhunter’s Bradford James Cox record a version of “Walk A Thin Line” for his Atlas Sound solo project. I think Huffy would agree.