Rage Against the Machine – XX 20th Anniversary Box Set is a double-CD, double-DVD package ripe with early concert footage (where Morello uses a ‘burst LP on “Wake Up”), seven raw demos of album material, and a 2010 show in Finsbury Park, London.

Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine - XX
Sony Legacy Recordings


Rage Against the Machine was a musical Molotov cocktail: Guitarist Tom Morello’s shredder-DJ fretboard mastery and effects manipulation was the fuse, renegade frontman Zack de la Rocha’s Howard Zinn-approved lyrics and rebel conviction was the gasoline, and the flexible funk-metal acrobats of bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk were the glass bottle holding everything together. Thanks to these incendiary components, Rage Against the Machine still burns as one of the most important albums since 1990.

Rage Against the Machine – XX 20th Anniversary Box Set is a double-CD, double-DVD package ripe with early concert footage (where Morello uses a ‘burst LP on “Wake Up”), seven raw demos of album material, and a 2010 show in Finsbury Park, London. Other unreleased material includes three new songs. “A Mindset’s a Threat” has a slithering “Wake Up”-style riff that dances with de la Rocha’s Rasta-rap delivery, “Auto Logic” bounces like “Killing in the Name” as de la Rocha spits venom. And “The Narrows” rhythmically navigates around Morello’s screeching and scratching à la “Fistful of Steel.” The DVD’s coup de grâce is Rage’s first concert complete with a lone slamdancer wearing a tucked-in polo.

The only negative of this nostalgic collection of must-have metal is the sober reminder that a band as historically impactful as Rage hasn’t made new music in more than a decade. —Chris Kies

Must-hear tracks: “Auto Logic,” “Freedom”

This rare English Tonemaster was made circa 1957.

The Valco-produced English Tonemaster is a rare, lap-steel-inspired gem from the 1950s—when genres and guitar design were fluid.

The 1950s were a peculiar time for the electric guitar. Innovators, designers, and tinkerers were pushing the boundaries of the instrument, while musicians were experimenting with various playing techniques and sounds. There was an evolution of sorts (or de-evolution, depending on your slant) from solidbody “sit-down” guitars, like pedal and lap steels, to “stand-up” or “upright” solidbody electrics. If you look at an early Fender catalog—let’s say from 1953—you’ll see the Telecaster (and Esquire), the Precision Bass, and then a whole bunch of steel guitars. There was a shift underway, and many manufacturers began to blur the lines of what a guitar should look, sound, and play like.

Read More Show less

PRS Guitars and John Mayer officially announce the PRS SE Silver Sky, an affordable version of the original with PRS trademark bird inlays and three single-coil pickups.

Read More Show less
x