Sound It Out: film review

Tom Butchart outside Sound It Out Records

Owner Tom Butchart outside Sound It Out Records (click for larger image). Photograph by Jeanie Finlay.

It’s at this time of year, with Record Store Day only a week away, that my interest in vinyl ramps up a notch or two. In preparation for the big day, I’ve been watching favourites from my collection of music documentaries, including Sound It Out, a film directed by Jeanie Finlay about the last remaining independent record store in Stockton-On-Tees in the North-East of England.
(Read more…)

Offset Mastery Bridge: a must for players of Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars

Jazzmaster with Offset Bridge by Mastery

Jazzmaster with Offset Bridge by Mastery (click for larger image)

I have long been a fan of the Fender Jazzmaster. I love its quirky circuit switching, offset waist and range of tones. But I don’t own one for the simple reason that the bridge is a bit crap. Its the only weakness in an otherwise stellar guitar. Recently, however, a chance encounter led me to discover the Offset Mastery Bridge, a beautifully engineered replacement for the stock Jazzmaster bridge. All of a sudden, the acquisition of a Jazzmaster makes perfect sense.
(Read more…)

Light Up Gold by Parquet Courts: review

Light Up Gold by Parquet Courts vinyl album

Light Up Gold by Parquet Courts (click for larger image)

I have a little obsession at the moment. It’s called “Light Up Gold” – the debut LP from Parquet Courts. Formed in 2010 and based in New York, Parquet Courts have recorded one of the finest albums I’ve heard in a very long time.
(Read more…)

Good Vibrations: film review

Good Vibrations - film poster

Good Vibrations – film poster

Highly acclaimed independent film Good Vibrations tells the true story of Terri Hooley, the self-styled “Godfather of Ulster Punk”, who opened a record shop on the most bombed street in Belfast during the height of the Troubles in the 1970s.
(Read more…)

Gibson introduces “undercut, fret over binding” for 2014 models

Finally, after all these years, Gibson introduces undercut, fret over binding. This will be available on all 2014 models – except the Les Paul Traditional. I have never been a fan of nibbed frets, which have been a key feature of Gibson’s bound-neck guitars for generations. They present a number of problems.
(Read more…)

Gretsch Rancher G5034TFT: madness or genius?

Gretsch Rancher G5034TFT

Gretsch Rancher G5034TFT (click for larger image)

Just released, the Gretsch Rancher G5034TFT has got to be the most distinctive looking guitar I’ve seen in a long time. An acoustic with Fideli’Tron™ pickup and a Bigsby® B70G tailpiece with a “wire” trem arm – completely mad, but utter genius.
(Read more…)

Fender Custom Shop unveils Custom Collection models for 2014

1964 Closet Classic Jazzmaster

1964 Closet Classic Jazzmaster close-up (click for larger image)

The Fender Custom Shop has announced its custom collection models for 2014.
(Read more…)

Guitars Rebellion and Fanos in Paris

Guitars Rebellion showroom window

Guitars Rebellion showroom window (click for larger image)

I just spent a wonderful weekend in Paris with friends. We were there to attend the “Vigneron Independant”, a trade fair for indepenedent winegrowers. But while in Paris I took the opportunity to visit Guitars Rebellion, where I met CEO Vincent Beinis and played a glorious Fano JM6.
(Read more…)

Little Hurricane: a sonic tour de force

Little Hurricane: Anthony “Tone” Catalano and Celeste “CC” Spina

Little Hurricane: Anthony “Tone” Catalano and Celeste “CC” Spina (click for larger image)

Little Hurricane is a “dirty blues” duo from San Diego, California. Formed in 2010, the band consists of Anthony “Tone” Catalano, on lead vocals and guitar, and Celeste “C.C.” Spina, on drums and backing vocals. Their songwriting is faultless, their hooks are catchy and their sound is exquisite.
(Read more…)

Tsar Bomba nail it first time out

Tsar Bomba

Tsar Bomba (left to right) Alex, Harry, Harrison and Nick: click for larger version

Last night I attended one of the many Oxjam Music Festival events that are happening around the UK this October. The venue was O’Neill’s, in Kingston-Upon-Thames, South West London. It was a wonderful evening. I enjoyed a bunch of fabulous bands. But the stars of the night were Tsar Bomba, an alternative/indie four-piece from Epsom, Surrey. They just blew everyone away.
(Read more…)