september 2013

Knoxville's Royal Bangs teams up with producer/Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney for Brass, an album that combines gritty guitar work with some deliciously fuzzy bass lines.

Royal Bangs
Brass
Modern Art Records

Knoxville’s Royal Bangs prove there’s a whole lot of music happening in Tennessee besides in that other town a few hundred miles down the road. And though it’s a touch difficult to slap a label on exactly what this band is because of the varying styles, tempos, and sounds throughout, their fourth full-length record is still a cohesive batch of tunes that exude energy.

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Catalinbread’s Echorec is one of the first compact stompboxes to specifically attempt to replicate the sounds and functionality of the original Binson model.

Though it’s not exactly a secret among the effects cognoscenti, the Binson Echorec may be one of the most widely heard effects nobody ever heard of. That so many have enjoyed the strange, lush atmospherics of the Echorec—if not it’s name—is thanks largely to Syd Barrett and David Gilmour. The latter’s embrace and front-and-center use of the Binson has, over time, made the Echorec a Holy Grail for Pink Floyd-fixated tone hunters. In Barrett’s hands, however, the Binson’s unusual multi-head design and capacity for convoluted, syncopated, and interstellar repeats helped shape the foundations of U.K. psychedelia. All told, that’s a pretty significant musical impact for an echo generator long since eclipsed in fame by a half-dozen others.

Though the Binson Echorec has been the subject of high-powered DSP and software-based approximations, Catalinbread’s Echorec is one of the first compact stompboxes to so specifically attempt to replicate the sounds and functionality of the original. That’s because the original was a freak of audio engineering so brimming with switches and knobs that it looks more like an old organ or primitive analog drum machine. In short, it ain’t easy to make an Echorec. Yet the relative mechanical and operational complexity is part of what made the Binson so musical and expressive. Though Catalinbread’s take on it performs different from an original, it too prompts inventive approaches, opens up rhythmic possibilities, and sounds excellent.

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Devi’s pedals sound great, and her creative streak yields many unusual tones and control sets. The all-analog Drone F*** Drone combines two of Devi’s most heralded fuzzes, the Bi-Fuzz and the Soda Meiser/Noise Floor.

In the decade since Devi Ever FX burst on the stompbox scene, the delightfully irreverent Portland, Oregon, builder has created a line of fuzz boxes that should make gearheads weep with joy. Used by the likes of Trent Reznor, Depeche Mode, ZZ Top, Wilco, and My Bloody Valentine, her pedals suit just about taste in the distortion/crunch/fuzz realm.

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