Fat Sound

All about guitars and vinyl – Joe Hoyle


Songwriting, technique and performance

Little Hurricane: a sonic tour de force

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.
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Tsar Bomba nail it first time out

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.
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Stagger Lee by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – a two-chord wonder

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of simplicity. Less is more, and all that. Stagger Lee by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds exemplifies how, in the hands of master magicians, the simplest musical structure can provide a foundation for incredible texture, emotion and narrative. The song, from the album Murder Ballads, is an astonishing work, packed full of pulp obscenity and brutality, built around only two chords – D minor and A minor.

Great drummers do more than keep time

Andy in full flow at Indigo 02
Andy in full flow at Indig02, London, 2012

It’s a rare thing, but occasionally I come across someone with a lust for life who is so packed full of talent and verve they can’t help but carry all around them on a wave of energy and enthusiasm. They have impact and generate affection. Such people are special. They add value. And so it is with Andy.
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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Push The Sky Away – review

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Push The Sky Away
Album cover for Push The Sky Away, by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

It’s been a long time coming, but the 15th album from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds proves to have been well worth the wait. It is, quite simply, extraordinary. Arguably the band’s finest work.
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Cake guitarist Xan McCurdy’s guitar tone

Cake’s guitarist Xan McCurdy gets incredible tone from a basic rig.
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Souljacker Part 1 by Eels – blues without the V chord

Artist: Eels
Song: Souljacker Part 1
Album: Souljacker

At the heart of this simple, instantly memorable song is an infectious rockabilly-esque riff that drives both the verse and chorus. That’s it, really. There’s not much else. Read more…

Cortez The Killer by Neil Young with Crazy Horse – simplicity and tone are everything

In recent weeks, I have become obsessed with Cortez The Killer from the 1975 album Zuma by Neil Young with Crazy Horse. So much so, that I’ve started pestering my son to jam it with me and have ordered multiple copies of the album from Amazon, so I can share the masterpiece with friends who I think will appreciate it. Read more…

Live sound – get your mix right

You spend years learning to play and perfecting your style. You spend hours in rehearsal rooms nailing your tone. You master how to play in time with other musicians. Then you rock up to the gig, tune up, plug in and go for it…and what comes out of the PA sounds appalling.

What went wrong? It’s more than likely that you, or your friendly neighbourhood tech, got your mix wrong. Making sure that you can actually hear the sound you make through stage monitors and that it translates as intended to the audience through the PA is no easy task. It’s the difference between heaven and hell. Read more…

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