Posts Tagged ‘Guitars’

Do you crave catchy, early ’60s surf-pop that has shades of My Bloody Valentine soundscapes with baritone guitars, lo-fi punk noise reminiscent of Cloud Nothings, and is fronted by a former journalism student who writes about everything from love and loneliness to weed and lazy cats? If so, Best Coast is your bag. After dropping out of college in New York City in 2009, guitarist/singer Beth Cosentino went back home to SoCal to write songs with her musical collaborator guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno. While the duo flirts with headier influences, they strike a legit, earnest chord with Beach Boys-esque formulaic compositions that boast hummable hooks, chant-able choruses, and memorable melodies that float through the walls of reverb. After two independent releases, Best Coast is poised to take over the airwaves with their Virgin-backed album California Nights, with singles “Feeling Ok” and “Heaven Sent” already getting airplay

Most of our sets are probably an equal split of songs where I play the Squier Vintage Modified Baritone Jazzmaster—it’s tuned A to A—for moodier, more melodic things on our albums like Crazy For You and The Only Place. The Gibson Joan Jett Signature Melody Maker is for all the songs that are in standard tuning and more straight-ahead rockers—I love the crunch of that single Burstbucker 3.

One of the effects I use pretty much all night is reverb. I was using a SubDecay Super Spring Theory, but since then I’ve switched to the Catalinbread Talisman. I mainly made the switch because the Talisman has a lot more tweakable features and is plate-based reverb where the SubDecay was a spring. Two more important pedals on my board that see a lot of action are the MI Audio Super Crunch Box—my main distortion—and the Strymon El Capistan delay. The Electro-Harmonix Tone Tattoo is used for its chorus effect on “Heaven Sent” and the delay portion is for songs that need slapback. (I have it on a loop because the footswitches are too close together.) The Guyatone MD-3 delay is used on songs that need a longer delay time and is in a loop along with the Mr. Black Eterna Shimmering Reverberator since I need to turn both pedals on at the same time for the song “Feeling Ok.” The TSVG Hard Stuff is my solo boost pedal that I use to stand out a bit more in the mix. The Bigfoot FX Magnavibe is used for a bunch of songs often in conjunction with the Lovepedal Babyface Tremolo—it’s perfect because it’s a small pedal but still offers three different waveforms. The Mojo Hand FX Nebula IV Phaser is for the solo on ‘California Nights’—it’s my favorite phaser because it’s voiced like an MXR Phase 90, but has a lot more control and versatility. The big green Mid-Fi Electronics pedal is something I had Doug make for me. It basically houses two of his fuzz pedals in one box—the Fuzz Wall and Psych Byke—and they can be run separate or into each other for complete and absolute mayhem. In the studio during the California Nights sessions, I used so many different fuzzes, but this custom box is really good at getting the various fuzz tones on our new album. The dual Mid-Fi fuzz is looped into the MXR Noise Clamp to cut down on hiss and feedback when I don’t need total chaos. The Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork is set to 1-octave down on leads and to add even more low-end to my sound, I’ll play the baritone, too.

“My primary guitar is the Gold Fender Strat, which I recently got before SXSW, and my second guitar is a no-name T-style model that I found shopping one day. I use the T-style for songs that need a little bigger, bassier sound than the Strat can produce—it was my main guitar until I got the Strat because most of the stuff on California Nights needed a whammy bar. Plus, I absolutely love how it sounds and the gold finish isn’t too bad either,

The signal goes into my TC Electronic PolyTune to the Xotic EP Booster—which is always on to beef up my thin guitar sound, but as you can tell, I don’t turn it up very far. The Mojo Hand FX Bluebonnet is a distortion box that I use on some of the older songs like ‘Summer Mood’ from Crazy For You, since it’s a little darker and has less gain than the Wampler Euphoria, which has now become my primary overdrive because it offers more gain and crunch. The HardWire Supernatural Ambient Reverb—shimmer setting—and the Malekko Ekko 616 Analog Delay are used only on the song ‘California Nights,’ and the Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail—hall setting—is always on.”

 

 

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On the surface, Happyness seems like just another band cashing in on the resurgent popularity of softened indie rock. They do have a familiarity in their music in that they incorporate Pavement’s wit, the pop sensibilities of Neutral Milk Hotel, and the soothing, moodiness felt in many bands of the genre (Sparklehorse comes to mind). While they’re a young band, the London-based trio has an uncanny ability to take you to a completely different frame of mind like the sun-setting easiness that is “Orange Luz.” One thing is for sure, with Happyness you’ll enjoy the journey.

“Our setup consists of a pretty mismatched patchwork of stuff. We self-produced our album Weird Little Birthday using a bunch of cheap gear (a Roland Octa-Capture 8-channel digital interface, an Aria semi-hollow that has this cool, brittle, biting tone and when you drive it, it sounds raw as fuck) and then messed around with various 4-track tape players. For the most part, we just use whatever practice instruments we have lying around and it’s kind of the same attitude live—working with what we can afford that doesn’t suck like crap. That all being said, my main onstage guitar is a 1971 Gibson ES-335 and I also play a Fender American Standard Telecaster to save time changing tunings, so I’ll bounce back and forth during a set depending how we have songs/tunings lined out.”

Our main guitar amps are a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and a Blackstar HT Stage 60 combo, but somewhere along the line we picked up a collection of 15-watt practice amps—like a cheap Marshall combo and a Roland Cube—that we run vocals through when we’re doing stripped-down gigs. We’ll run those practice amps and the front-of-house sound guys hate us when we turn up those combos and insist on running vocals through them. The distortion sound we use for our vocals is a General Motors 1971 Alternator running through a Toblerone box.”

“My favorite thing on my pedalboard has to be the Danelectro Cool Cat distortion pedal—the red one. They’re super cheap and have an awesome, tacky distortion sound that’s really compressed and kind of harsh. We’ve run vocals through it—think: Satan-shouting-through-a-supermarket-PA—and we used it for loads of the distortion sounds on the album. The orange pedal on the board is a JHS Pulp ’N’ Peel Compressor that’s awesome. I keep it on throughout the set and it just softens everything a bit and warms stuff up—like a microwave. Other stomps I have on my board include Electro-Harmonix’s Holy Grail Plus, a Line 6 DL4, TC Electronic’s Vintage Tube Primer and PolyTune, and a Pro Co Rat.”

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I recorded Little Martha in one day with Simon Trought at the old Soup Studio, underneath the Duke of Uke ukulele shop on Hanbury Street, just off Brick Lane in East London. There are no overdubs on the album, which was recorded live with one microphone. Franic Rozycki stopped by to play mandolin on a couple of tracks, but otherwise it’s entirely me playing acoustic guitar. There are no vocals on the album.

I love guitar players. For every songwriter I like, there are a hundred guitarists who impress me. There are too many that I enjoy listening to to mention them all, but there are a few key influences on this particular record that are worth naming: American guitarists like Reverend Gary Davis, Leo Kottke, Blind Blake and Ry Cooder. John Fahey, who started recording in 1959, was one of the first guys to get me hooked on instrumental fingerpicking guitar. He plays with a simple thumb-and-two-fingers right hand technique, nice and slow. His music contains tremendous power and mystery, yet it is easy to grasp exactly what he is doing. He called himself an ”American Primitive”, which in technical terms I suppose is true, but his ideas are very strange and sophisticated, particularly in his synthesis of 20th century European classical music and (American) folk and blues. I cover a number of his tunes on the album, and I clumsily attempt to copy his style a little on the ones I wrote. More than anyone else, the album is a tribute to Fahey and to my love of his music, which I have listened to for 20 years now and still find fascinating. We even copied the simple black-on-white style of Fahey’s Blind Joe Death LP cover when we made the sleeve.

From the age of 9 until I was about 16, this was all I played: acoustic guitar instrumentals like the kind on this album. I abandoned this practise when I started writing songs and formed The Wave Pictures. It was really nice for me to go back to this way of playing that means so much to me, after 14 years playing rock music. I had a lot of fun learning the tunes, developing big blisters on my fingers again, practising for hours in the bathroom where the acoustics are better. And it was a pleasure, as always, to record with Simon. It’s nice to show a different side of yourself every so often. I am so happy I got to make this record and that WIAIWYA records kindly decided to release it.

David Tattersall, August 2012

BIRTH OF JOY - The Musician Leicester Tuesday 25th March

Pumping Drums, Supercharged Organ and Raw Guitars….Influenced By the Blues, Psychedelica, Steaming Rock’n’Roll, Garage Rock this trio will take you back to how bands used to be pulling from bands like the MC5, The Doors, Deep Purple and the Floyd,
with a drummer from the Keith Moon school of Drumming….An Organist that play like the Demonic Characters you see in the movies,and the vocalist Guitarist thats has echoes of Hendix,Gallagher and any other guitar hero you can mention plus the charisma of Morrison as a frontman If you are a musician of any standard this band will amaze you.