Dan Auerbach poses with the gem he used to record much of Delta Kream: a Kawai Kingston S4T once owned by raw blues slide master Hound Dog Taylor. Note Taylor's name on the headstock, courtesy of the Dog himself, via a plastic-label punch.

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins

On Delta Kream, the Black Keys and veteran slide master Kenny Brown dig deep to honor R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough—"two of the most important American musicians that ever were."

There's no more biblical—New Testament, of course—introduction to the raucous, bouncing, mesmeric sound of North Mississippi hill country blues than the new Black Keys album, Delta Kream. It's essentially the agrestic subgenre's greatest hits: a collection of ripe corpuscles from the catalogs of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Ranie Burnette, Big Joe Williams, and Fred McDowell, plucked straight from the music's thumping heart—as chiseled into its core DNA as the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln are into the granite of Mt. Rushmore.

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Bogner's beastliest amp is made miniature—and still slays.

Excellent sounds in a portable and very affordably priced package.

A footswitchable clean channel and onboard reverb would make it perfect.


Bogner Ecstasy Mini


The original Bogner Ecstasy, released in 1992, is iconic in heavy rock circles. Though it was popularized and preferred by rock and metal artists (Steve Vai and Brad Whitford were among famous users), its ability to move from heavy Brit distortion to Fender-like near-clean tones made it appealing beyond hard-edged circles. Even notorious tone scientist Eric Johnson was enamored with its capabilities.

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Rig Rundown: IDLES

See how chaotic co-pilots Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan bring five pedalboards to mutilate, mangle, and mask their guitars into bass, synth, hip-hop beats, raging elephant sounds, and whatever “genk” is.

Do you hear that thunder? That’s the sound of strength in numbers. Specifically, it's the sound of four 100-watt stacks. (Actually, one is a 200-watt bass tube head.) IDLES’ guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan finally have the firepower to match their fury. (Original members singer/lyricist Joe Talbot, drummer Jon Beavis, and bassist Adam Devonshire fill out the band. Kiernan took over for guitarist Andy Stewart after 2015 EP Meat was released.)

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