Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best Guitar Cds of the Week - Week of 07/19/2011

Rodrigo y Gabriella - Live in France
  It's no coincidence that the discography of Rodrigo y Gabriella contains so many live albums. As fantastic as their studio albums are (and they are fantastic),these two were just meant to get in front of people and BURN. Rodrigo's intense lead work and Gabriella's rhythmic gymnastics are each impressive in their own right,but really,what makes these two into world class musicians are the incredible interaction between the two. Those subtle changes in volume or the emphasis on a particular phrase or note can only come when musician are both very skilled and,wonder of wonders,actually LISTENING to the other musician. They've hopefully long ago surpassed any suspicions that they are merely a flavor of the month that snuck in with a novelty Metallica cover.
  "Live In France",recorded on the world tour for the 11:11 album,starts of with a blistering version of "Tamacun" (the only track that is also on 2008's "Live in Japan") and also features my 11:11 favorite,"Buster Voodoo". Each song manages to top it's studio version in intensity. Whether you are a long time fan or a newcomer to these former buskers turned Irish/Mexican bossa nova metalheads,"Live in France" won't disappoint.


Loads more Cd reviews below...Some top notch jazz fusion,a great week for metal and I publicly admit to a guilt free love of REO Speedwagon...

The John Butler Trio - Red Rocks Revolution
  So who,I can hear you asking,is The John Butler Trio? They are,roughly speaking,in the "jam band" category. That virtualy guarantees two things: 1) They sell approximately a gazillion albums a year by touring,touring and then touring and 2) housewives in Des Moines have never heard of them. Butler's power trio format allows for giant chunks of excellent guitar work. If you can stand some hippy dippy lyrics you're in for a treat. (Example between song banter: "This looks like a great launching pad. It's a huge launching pad out into the cosmos,with these big sacred rocks...and I kinda figure that's what we're doing here,we're all together,we're kinda launching out the good spirit out there...") Sure. Musically,the band takes on the jam band aesthetic of  freely mixing in blues,funk,country,rockabilly and reggae as they see fit. Butler seem to often take inspiration from Jimi Hendrix,offering up everything from clean "Little Wing" inspired picking and tasty wah workouts to distorto-feedback and whammy laden lead work. Hendrix isn't the only flavor here,just check out the country shred fest of "Hoedown" or the slide work on "Treat Yo Mamma". Fans of great rock guitar should give The John Butler Trio a listen.

40 Watt Sun - Inside Room
 Another in the disturbing trend of a release in Europe,then months later, a U.S. release for us cheapskates that don't like import Cd prices.Having already performed on 2006's Watching From a Distance as a member of Warning,Patrick Walker is perhaps doomed to forever compared to that masterpiece. Perhaps he used that doom to inspire "Inside Room",an album that I think will one day be considered it's equal. These are big,plodding ten minute songs that use simple riffs of thick,super distorted guitars to convey loss and longing. This is doom and gloom metal in all it's glory.I also offer up my thanks to the metal gods that it clocks in at about 46 minutes,not overstaying it's welcome.

Abstact Logix Live! The New Music Festival 2010
  Aside from the unfortunate "Abstract Logix" title(the name of the record label),a title that makes this sound like it might be some sort of hip hop collective,this is first class stuff. How's about the likes of John McLaughlin,Jimmy Herring,and Wayne Krantz? Haven't heard of Alex Machacek yet? Believe me,you will. Even the keyboard oriented band Human Element features the stellar bass work of Matthew Garrison. Awesome.

Marduk - Iron Dawn
  After a two year wait,Swedish black metalers Marduk return with the 3 song,WWII themed "Iron Dawn" EP. I hope this is an indication of more material on the way because they seem to be on their game of death and destruction. Using WWII sound effect for texture just adds to the dark vibe.

Manilla Road - Deluge
  As I previously stated a couple of weeks ago with the reissue of "Mark of the Beast",these two albums are easily the reissues of the year for me. This is album number five,from 1986 and finds them in full on epic metal mode. If you prefer your heavy metal on a grand scale "like they used to do it",it doesn't get any better.

Funkadelic - You Got the Funk We Got the Funk
  If you're one of those rock fans who owns Parliment - Greatest Hits (probably right next to Bob Marley - Legend, in your collection) because,you know,you're diverse and stuff,BUY THIS NOW! I am disturbed at how many guitar fans are only familiar with the Parliment side of the P-Funk equation. Guitar fans,Funkadelic is were all the guitar stuff happens! This two Cd set will straighten you out.

Toxic Holocaust - Conjure and Command
   One of my favorites in the wave of "new kids" that are inspired by thrash metal straight out of 1984. Like most of these bands,they know the difference between "inspired by" and "stealing from". Thrash metal hasn't been this good since...well,1984. Available with a "bonus" DVD,for a couple more bucks.

Earl Slick - Zig Zag
  Reissue of Slick's 2003 solo effort. It features some of his A-list singer pals,David Bowie,The Cure's Robert Smith and Def Leppard's Joe Elliot, performing over the great guitar work.

REO Speedwagon - Hi Infidelity: 30th Anniversary Edition
   Alright folks,gather 'round and watch me destroy any street cred,real or imagined, I might have. I love this album. Loved it then,love it now and am irked whenever I hear anyone refer to it as a guilty pleasure. The bonus disc reminds me of two things: 1) These are great songs,with or without the studio gloss. 2) Gary Richrath is a criminally underrated guitarist.

Rush - Roll the Bones (24K Gold)
   This deluxe mastering from Audio Fidelity is both welcome and a bit strange. Welcome,because after all,how many deluxe remasters of the same handful of albums can you have? I don't know about you but I'm all set on "Kind of Blue" and "Pet Sounds",thank you. Strange, because of all the albums further down the list of favorites,you chose "Roll the Bones"? Hmm... This was the Rush album that for me,made me stop buying Rush albums. If you're like me and considering getting this..."eventually",don't wait too long. It's a limited number pressing and will eventually show up on Ebay for big bucks.

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