The debut album from London-based band layers piercing guitar intensity atop rhythmic finesse to achieve beautifully chaotic power.

Black Midi


The bombastic opener “953,” on Black Midi’s debut,does what an opening track should do. With glorious guitar-driven noise, screeching shifts, and general post-punk insanity, I was absorbed right away and wondered what was coming next. Adrenaline-producing and steeped in chaos, the Deerhoof-esque song sets the scene for the dense and charged numbers to come. Fans of complex movements and arrangements will appreciate this band’s style of energy.

The quartet of under-21 U.K. lads met at the BRIT school, a performing arts and tech institution in London. And, in their few short years together, have been drawing both crowds and hype for their ferocious live shows steeped in improvisation. That youthful energy and inventiveness shines throughout the complex Schlagenheim via their blistering two-guitar assault—joined by doom-kissed crooning and spoken word from guitarist/lead singer Geordie Greep and an incredibly tight, fierce rhythm section driven by drummer Morgan Simpson, whose time-dividing is spectacular. Fahrvergnügen!

Must-hear tracks: “953” and “Ducter”





  • Develop a better sense of subdivisions.
  • Understand how to play "over the bar line."
  • Learn to target chord tones in a 12-bar blues.
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Playing in the pocket is the most important thing in music. Just think about how we talk about great music: It's "grooving" or "swinging" or "rocking." Nobody ever says, "I really enjoyed their use of inverted suspended triads," or "their application of large-interval pentatonic sequences was fascinating." So, whether you're playing live or recording, time is everyone's responsibility, and you must develop your ability to play in the pocket.
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We've reviewed a ton of cool gear over the past 12 months, but these stood above the rest and won our coveted Premier Gear Award.

This year more than 40 guitars, basses, effects, and amps from a diverse group of gear makers earned the coveted Premier Gear Award from our discerning editors. Here is our gear of the year.

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