JD Simo joins us in discussing the albums we spun the most during the height of the pandemic. Plus, current musical obsessions!
What was your go-to album during quarantine?
JD Simo - Guest Picker
A: There were a lot of records spinning, haha! After doing 200 or so dates a year since 2016, it was a blast for me to get to indulge in my relatively large collection in a deep way. I'm an obsessive vinyl guy. There are two that rose above the rest for me, though. Fela Kuti's Open & Close was a constant. It's one of his earliest albums. After the death of his legendary drummer Tony Allen at the beginning of the pandemic, I did an Afrobeat deep dive that I've been meaning to do for years. I have almost everything he ever recorded now, but this record is just dope!
Fela Kuti - Open and Close (LP)
Secondly, Junior Kimbrough's Most Things Haven't Worked Out. Junior has bit me hard. I mean, it was always there to some extent, but his music has just grabbed me in a way that few others have in my whole life. This record is probably his most fucked up, but it's my favorite. It's not for the faint of heart. I love it so much! That raw, primal trance. I wanna live in this record!
Junior Kimbrough - Most Things Haven't Worked Out (Full Album)
Current obsession: The two styles of these records I mentioned have really opened up a path musically forward for me. Hill country trance blues over Afrobeat type grooves. I made a new record during lockdown that'll come out later this year, and that's the basis for it. To me, it's like they were meant to go together and it just happened naturally. Hillfro we call it, haha! Feels right to me.
Kelly Blanchard - Reader of the Month
A: Emma Ruth Rundle's Marked for Death and On Dark Horses. She's an artist I discovered on a Rig Rundown!
Emma Ruth Rundle // On Dark Horses (FULL ALBUM)
Built To Spill - Carry The Zero (Live in Sydney) | Moshcam
Current obsession: Having fun learning the Built to Spill song "Carry the Zero," mainly because my friend and collaborator Jim Roth (aka Jerms Fuzz) used to be in Built to Spill and showed me the basic chord progression. Jim has produced the last couple of releases for my band Blue Star Creeper and we're finally practicing again and getting ready to play shows here in Seattle and the Northwest. I guess that would be my other current obsession: Getting used to playing as a band again!
Ted Drozdowski - Senior Editor
Photo by Peter Lee
A: David Gilmour's Live at Pompeii album and concert film really helped me remain nailed together. The astonishingly high level of musical and visual performance kept the intention toward creativity in my mind. The empathy of Gilmour's and Waters' lyrics helped my heart. And the guitar tones speak about a thousand things too complex to put in words every time Gilmour bends or hangs a note. There's an understanding within it all that reminded me of my humanity and brought light.
David Gilmour - Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Live At Pompeii)
Current Obsession: Lately, I've been returning to my foundation in the rural hill country and Delta blues of Mississippi, and it's been incredibly rewarding emotionally and in crystallizing my idiosyncratic technique. R.L. Burnside lives, and always will!
Nick Millevoi - Associate Editor
A: Sometime last year, a friend sent me a link to a recording of Kostas Bezos and the White Birds, a 1930s Hawaiian-inspired band from Athens, Greece. I fell in love with the songs and the playing on this record, which have a pretty esoteric combination of influences. While I've gone down a deep rabbit hole in search of similar music, I'm yet to find anything that comes close.
Kostas Bezos and the White Birds - Λαίντυ Γιουκούλελε Lady Ukulele
Current Obsession: I've been going through Todd Rundgren's catalog with as much of a completist approach as I can. It's a wild and weird journey that is full of so many special treasures.
Rig Rundown - Todd RundgrenArticle & photos: http://bit.ly/ToddRundgrenRRDuring a stripped-down tour stop at Nashville’s City Winery, guitarist-producer Todd Rundgren spent nearly 40 m...
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The Tour Collection is defined by a minimalistic, vintage-inspired aesthetic, top-of-the-line components, and a simplified electronics configuration featuring new, custom pickups by Supro.
Available in the collection is the 16-inch-wide double-cutaway DC, the 15-inch-wide single-cutaway SS, and a 14-inch-wide Mini DC. Each model comes in three finishes: Slate Blue, Solid Wine, and Solid Black.
Every detail of the Tour Collection was chosen to achieve retro minimalism. Small diamond fingerboard inlays match 1930s-style diamond f-holes, and an undersized Throwback Scroll-style headstock achieves excellent head-to-body balance. The collection also features satin nickel hardware and custom Vintage Deluxe Grover tuners with a 15:1 gear ratio. Each model also features a simplified two-knob electronics configuration with 50s-style wiring to retain top-end clarity upon rolling off the volume knob. The neck shape in the Tour Collection is similar to the slim C-shape found throughout the D’Angelico line, but with more thickness in the shoulder to allow for snug hand fit as well as extra sustain. Medium Jumbo fret wire and a 12-inch fingerboard radius allow for quick navigation of the fingerboard while also prioritizing comfort for both rhythm and lead playing.
In 2020, Supro and D’Angelico became part of the same family of brands under Bond Audio. At that time, EVP of Product Ryan Kershaw and CTO Dave Koltai began designing custom pickups under the Supro name for the Tour Collection project.
“Supro Bolt Bucker pickups were designed to offer the tone of the most sought-after vintage "PAF" pickups from the late 1950's. Scatter wound, just like the originals, Supro Bolt Buckers utilize 42-gauge enamel wire along with a mixture of Alnico II (neck) and Alnico V (bridge) magnets to provide the perfect balance of warmth and clarity with unrivaled articulation and note bloom.” - Dave Koltai, Chief Technology Officer at Bond Audio.
Introducing the Excel Series Tour Collection | D'Angelico Guitars
All models are available for pre-order and will be in stock this holiday season. US MAP $1499. For more information, please visit dangelicoguitars.com.
The Cream Amp is a handmade low-gain overdrive pedal based on the Electra Distortion circuit.
The Cream Amp was designed to deliver full dynamics amp-like dirt to your clean and crunch amp or to another pedal in the chain without altering your tone too much. To add some grit at low volume or to make your amp sound more full, use the Drive control to set the gain and the Level control to match with your amp.
- Two knobs to control Volume and Drive
- Shielded inputs/outputs to avoid RF
- Filtered and protected 9VDC input
- Daisy-chain friendly
- Current draw: 7.5mA
The Cream Amp pedal is hand-made in Barcelona with carefully selected components and has a price of 100.00€. The pedals are available and can be purchased directly from the Ananasheadonline store.
For more information, please visit ananashead.com.
The Red Sea was born out of the vision to provide complex signal routing options available to the live/performing musician, that up until now, are only found in a studio mixing environment.
Introducing the Red Sea, an all-analog signal routing matrix, designed for countless stereo and mono signal path routing options. The Red Sea was born out of the vision to provide complex signal routing options available to the live/performing musician, that up until now, are only found in a studio mixing environment. The Red Sea has accomplished this in a compact, easy-to-use, and cost-effective solution.
Wet | Dry | Wet
The Red Sea gives you the ability to run a FULL Stereo wet dry wet rig using only 2 amps or just 2 signals to the FOH, while also giving you complete control over your Wet & Dry mix! Use the Blend knob to control the overall mix between stereo wet effects and mono dry/drive signals.
Stereo Dual Amps
Run dual amp modelers if full stereo w/ stereo effects. Gone are the traditional ways of one amp in the Left channel and another in the Right channel. Now use the Red Sea to seamlessly blend between two separate amps in true stereo. Think of this as a 2-channel amp where you can blend anywhere between both amps.
Stereo Parallel FX
Red Sea has two independent stereo FX loops. Use each FX loop to run stereo delay's and reverb's in parallel, where each effect does not interact with each other. Huge soundscapes can be achieved with washy reverbs and articulate delay repeats while being able to blend between each FX loops mix level.
The Red Sea can also do the following routing options:
- Wet | Dry utilizing a single amp
- Clean Wet | Dry | Wet (drives DO NOT run into wet effects)
- Wet | Dry | Wet with dual delays (one in the L channel & other in R channel)
- Parallel Dual Amps (run dual amp modelers in FULL stereo)
- Convert a tube amp's serial FX Loop to a parallel FX Loop
- Stereo and Mono analog dry through (avoid latency in digital pedals)
Stardust V3 was designed to capture the sound and response of 3 distinct amplifier models.
Stardust V3 was designed to capture the sound and response of 3 distinct maxed-out amplifier models. An all-analog signal path with discrete gain stages featuring MOSFET transistors provides juicy overdrive tones with great note separation that clean up to that sparkly sound that we all love and heard in recordings of the past. Set gain and tone and control everything from your guitar. Sparkly clean to crunchy mean are all there.
You can select the amplifier voicing via the onboard toggle switch.
BSM: Voiced after a blackface amp head that was primarily targeted for bass guitar players but got famous for electric guitar classic rock tones.
VLX: Voiced after a chimey 2x10” combo offering the perfect amount of controllable crunch
DLX: Voiced after one of the most popular low wattage 1×12″ combo amps that have found their way in countless recording studios and clubs around the world.
Stardust V3 now comes with top-mounted jacks and soft-click true bypass via a high-quality relay. The pedal has loads of output volume and enhanced headroom provided by 18V DC (boosted internally) so that it can also be used as a preamp going straight into your Power Amp or AudioInterface when combined with a separate speaker simulation device.
Street price: 199 Euro / 199 USD.
For more information, please visit crazytubecircuits.com.