Blending ambient shoegaze, space pop, and fierce psychedelia, Williams brings tones of chaos and desperation into a beautifully presented and mystically charged work.

Vinyl Williams
Lemniscate
Salonislam/No Pain in Pop

Grandson of celebrated composer John Williams, Los Angeles-based artist and multi-instrumentalist Lionel Williams (aka Vinyl Williams) certainly had the genealogy in place to become a sonic designer. But with his debut record Lemniscate, the 22-year-old gets way more otherworldly than the elder Williams did when he scored Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Written and performed entirely by Williams, Lemniscate sounds like an extension of the collage art he’s gotten worldwide attention for. Blending ambient shoegaze, space pop, and fierce psychedelia, Williams brings tones of chaos and desperation into a beautifully presented and mystically charged work.

Though Williams delivers something all his own, a lo-fi version of Radiohead comes to mind as an influence for the guitar work in songs such as “Follow in Your Dreams” and “Object of the Source.” “Inner Space” and “Open Your Mind,” on the other hand, evoke thoughts of the atmospheric 6-string style of Archer Prewitt. Paired up with Williams’ haunting vocals and the lush layers of beats, bass, and synths, Lemniscate is a nicely executed collection of spells. —Rich Osweiler
Must-hear track: “Harmonious Change”

A bone nut being back-filed for proper string placement and correct action height.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to change your acoustic guitar’s tone and playability.

In my early days, all the guitars I played (which all happened to be pre-1950s) used bone nuts and saddles. I took this for granted, and so did my musician friends. With the exception of the ebony nuts on some turn-of-the-century parlors and the occasional use of ivory, the use of bone was a simple fact of our guitar playing lives, and alternative materials were simply uncommon to us.

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Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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