Saturday, December 29, 2012

Interview with Brian Wampler

Interview with Brian Wampler, Wampler Pedals

A few weeks ago I sent some interview questions over to Brian Wampler with the plan that he would answer via e-mail, and I would post to this blog. Brian had the great idea of doing a video interview. So Brian and his colleague, Travis sat down with the video camera and Travis asked Brian my questions.

The interview is embedded below. I don't want to spoil the fun, but I will say that I asked about his general thoughts on pedals and pedal making, what got him into it, his favorite classic (or contemporary) circuits, designs he's most proud of, and what's on the horizon. And for those of us awaiting the return of the Cranked AC, be sure to tune into the full video.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Earthquaker Devices Organizer

Organizer Set for Faux B3
I’ve been rocking out with the Earthquaker Devices Organizer a lot over the last few weeks. And I have to say, I’m kind of in love. To date, I’ve been using a Micro POG and the leslie model on my M9 to do faux Hammond sounds on guitar.

With the Organizer, I can do this with just one pedal. For “faking” a B3, I liked minimizing the “Direct” guitar sound on the Organizer and using only the effected sounds (see image to left). It’s a really fun sound

Where the Organizer really shines is in providing a subtle organ pad under rhythm guitar parts. For this, I adjust the direct level on the Organizer all the way up and pull back on the “Up,” “Down,” and “Choir” levels (see image below). To try it on your own, set the controls like the pedal pictured below.

Now run a nice crunchy tone into the Organizer and through your amp. Hit some power chords. Maybe play Baba O’Riley by the Who or something in that vein? Listen to how the Organizer provides weight and a subtle thickness to your rhythm parts. It’s awesome!

Now switch off of that crunchy sound (maybe add some light compression) and play some arpeggiated stuff (I added a little delay and played some Cure and U2 songs). Listen to how the Organizer sweetens things and adds a subtle pad under your guitar. I’m loving the Organizer for playing rhythm on slower songs live (in a band without keys). It instantly makes things sound fuller and more polished (but by no means muddy or busy).

Organizer Set as Organ Pad

Finally, for those Black Keys fans, you can get close to the main riff from Gold on the Ceiling by running the Organizer into your favorite fuzz (I used the EQD Tone Reaper and my old Sovtek Muff). Set the Organizer with the up at noon, the down around 9 or 10 o'clock, the choir and lag at zero, the tone at 1 o'clock, and the direct at 11 o'clock.

The tracking on the Organizer is near flawless. But like any pitch shift or harmony pedal, it's important that you put a well-tuned guitar into it. If your guitar is out of tune, the Organizer can't help with the octaves.


The only complaint I can make is that there is a slight delay between striking a note and when the processed sound comes out. This isn’t a problem for organ pad sounds or mellow rhythm work. It’s a little tough for fast rhythmically intricate stuff. But it’s really short delay and by no means a deal breaker.

If you've been looking for something to add a new dimension to your guitar sound or need to fill in for an organ player on a song or two, I'd recommend the Earthquaker Devices Organizer. Now, if only they'd make a similar pedal with more of a synth pad sound. I'd pick that one up as well.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Strike at the Fuzz Factory

Zvex Fuzz Factory Review

For years, I dreamed of owning a Fuzz Factory. So many knobs, so many great reviews, so many famous users. I mean, how could Nels Cline and Stephen Malkmus be wrong?

I recently acquired one, and while it's a hard beast to tame, there are indeed some amazing sounds waiting to be unlocked. Just be careful using it at really loud volumes until you get the hang of it (more on this later).

First, un-boxing the Fuzz Factory is a real treat. I know I shouldn't care about packaging, but when a pedal comes swaddled in a micro-fiber cloth, I take notice.

Controls

Vol: The Fuzz Factory has a ton of volume on tap. For most settings, it achieves unity gain at around 8 or 9 o'clock.

Gate: This is the control to know. It works like a noise gate, and it will save your ears when your amp is cranked and you adjust the Drive or Stab control and send the Fuzz Factory into self-oscillation.

Comp: Harder attack when turned left squishier when turned right. Gets real thin and "pinched" when turned all the way right. Works with your guitar's volume knob to tune feedback when you get crazy.

Drive: This one is easy, it controls the amount of fuzz. It goes from fuzzy to fuzzier to fuzziest. And they're all good! And it does nothing when Comp is cranked all the way.

Stab: No, this does not turn the Fuzz Factory into a weapon. It tames the beast within. Backing it off much beyond 2 o'clock on the dial gets crazy. If you're not into crazy feedback and wild oscillations, I'd keep the Stab cranked. If you like to have fun and experiment, roll this knob back and get lost in the sonic mayhem!

This pedal was a blast at home and so much fun for coming up with new parts and for recording (I used some of it's crazy sounds on the last track of my bands new album). Sure, it likes Strat and P90 pickups much more than the humbuckers in my main guitar, but no matter what, it kicked out great singing fuzz that cleaned up well when you rolled off the volume on guitar. And with minor adjustments to any of the knobs you could get a huge variety of tones. And that’s not even considering the cool oscillation noises you can get and control with your volume knob.

There's a great chart on the ZVex site with sample settings. I'd recommend taking an adhesive address label, drawing a few sets of five circles and affixing that to the front of your Fuzz Factory. You are going to come up with lots of great sounds. But the controls on the Fuzz Factory are so interactive that you won't find those same sounds again (quickly) without keeping some notes.

For my use, I came up with two main fuzz settings. One that was like a nice Fuzz Face (thick and smooth) and another with a nice upper octave effect. I then mapped out some crazier settings. There's much fun to be had at the extremes of the Fuzz Factory. But spouses, kids, pets, and neighbors will likely disagree. Oh, and if you run phase, tremolo, or some other modulation before the Fuzz Factory in oscillation mode things get even sillier. Don't blame me if you lose a few hours (or days) with this thing.

The Fuzz Factory is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. But like a barrel of monkeys, it can get out of hand quickly and make a real mess of your house. Sure there are some "safe" and classic sounds lurking inside. But the real fun comes when you tweak the knobs and it starts sounding like a tornado of fire engines and screaming banshees. That's when the magic happens.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Interview: Dave Koltai of Pigtronix


A few weeks ago, I sat down with Dave Koltai from Pigtronix to get some background on how he got started, find out who's using Pigtronix effects, and to learn what's coming next.

P90Noir: How long have you been building?


Dave Koltai: I’ve been building since 2001. A college friend got me started. He built an envelope controlled phase shifter from the seminal Craig Anderton book, “Electronics Projects for Musicians.” I loved the sound of this design and asked him to build another one for me. His nickname was “Pigpen.” While Pigpen was constructing the second envelope phase unit for me, I built an optical compressor from the same book, learning how to solder, and all about the various componentry as I went along. This second envelope phase shifter was housed in a 2-space rack, with relay based remote switching and it never worked properly, so eventually, I had to take it all apart and then put it back together. This rather challenging experience was my first taste of modifying, debugging, and trouble-shooting a complex analog design.

The experience with the Anderton designed phase shifter got me all fired up to discover more about building analog pedals. I began researching gear online and used the wonderful resources at GeneralGuitarGadgets.com and built many different musical effect projects. Guided by the GGG website and my good friend, Verne Andru, I began modifying the classic designs to meet my own needs. Eventually I had constructed a whole stable of mutant clones and was playing through this massive pedal board of un-labeled aluminum boxes. I was passionate about making a career in music and had found something that was great fun, and seemed to be my calling. The rest is history.

P90Noir: Do you have a formal training in electrical engineering?

DK: I hold a BA in Music from Middlebury College in Vermont. I do not have an electrical engineering degree. I do, however, have an informal training in musical electronics, that has come from working with Howard Davis. Howard Davis designed the Deluxe Memory Man, Deluxe Electric Mistress, PolyChorus, and many other amazing Electro Harmonix products from their heyday in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He’s been my mentor as a designer and has been Pigtronix chief engineer since 2005. Howard is a truly rare talent in that he creates original circuits from scratch. Howard is absolutely brilliant and can tackle the most complex design challenges, always bringing some unique twist to the project.

P90Noir: So where does the design impetus come from?

DK: My role is at the crossroads of engineering and musicianship. It’s my job that say we need to make “x, y, or z” and then challenge Howard to design it. As a professional guitarist, I’m the guy with the ear for tone and a sense of what is out there and what people want to buy. I know what’s been made and where the unfulfilled sonic niches are left waiting to be explored. Pigtronix is all about finding undiscovered territory and creating unique products that haven’t yet been brought to market. I’ve always wanted to make stuff that stands out and addresses unmet needs of musicians. I’ll leave the nostalgia, retro worship and blatant cloning to others.
The design process is one in which Howard and I work together over a period of months (or often times years) to create a product that meets the standards necessary for production. Some of the best examples of our collaboration in design are the amazingly fast and accurate pitch tracking of the Mothership Synth, the unrivaled sustain of the Philosopher’s Stone and the low-noise, high gain sounds of the Disnortion pedal. Our goal is to get the most performance from a minimum number of parts. Our skills together make a great combination. To succeed in the type of projects we tackle you need a creative engineer and musician with a well-developed and informed ear.
P90Noir: Which designs are you most proud of?


DK: All of them! To me, they are all outstanding accomplishments. As far as production volume goes, the Philosopher’s Tone has sold the most pedals to date. That effect has been adopted by many of my musical heroes. The Echolution is mypersonal favorite to use. That one is an artistic pedal which really takes the concept of a full featured delay to an extreme. It’s my “desert island pedal.” Of all our distortion boxes, I lean on the FAT Drive and Aria pedal the most– those two units are my core sound as a player.

P90Noir: What’s behind the FAT drive?

DK: CMOS (Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) – is the answer. CMOS is intended for use a in digital logic circuits, but you can ram analog audio through it to get amp-like tube sound overdrive.

P90Noir: Is the FAT Drive circuit the same as the overdrive in the Disnortion?

DK: They are similar. The Disnortion has little more bass and a little less gain, the low-end has been trimmed on the FAT Drive so that the midrange is emphasized. Most of our pedals work for bass, guitar, synths, drums or anything else. The FAT is the only one that’s really meant primarily for guitar. For the record, the FAT Drive is not even remotely related to a Tube Screamer or any other overdrive pedal for that matter. It is a unique design that represents the essence of Pigtronix, which is why we call it the FAT Drive. That pedal achieves my principal goal of being responsive to the touch of the player, letting their dynamics and touch shine through a massive wave of distortion.

P90Noir: Who’s touring and/or recording with the FAT?


DK: Brad Whitford & Joe Perry of Aerosmith tour with the FAT Drive. DweezilZappa uses it in his current live rig. David Hidalgo, Louis Perez and Cesar Rojas of Los Lobos all use the FAT Drive in their pedal boards. A lot of the time, I find out about major artists using our gear from pictures on the internet or rig rundowns in guitar magazines. It is always thrilling to know that major rockstars are BUYING my gear.
P90Noir: Can you point to specific song where someone is using one of your pedals?


DK:Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith. That is Brad’s big solo when they play live and I know he is rocking the FAT Drive or Disnortion on this tune. You can hear the Mothership, when Juan Alderete from Mars Volta is shaking a stadium with sub-octaves. Richard Fortus of Guns and Roses – his main delay is the Echolution, and you hear that in most of his solos live with GnR. Josh Klinghoffer in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers has a Polysaturator on his board, but I have no idea what tunes he’s using it on. Andy Summers of the Police used the Philosopher’s Tone on “Walking on the Moon” during their last tour.

P90Noir: What do you listen to and does it impact your designs?

DK: I listen to everything. From classical music to psych rock. I love jazz, particularly Miles Davis’s classic quintets from the 50’s and 60’s. I’m a huge fan of Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, SRV, the Who, the Police and Aerosmith. In short, I am influenced by Debussy and Beethoven as much as Bob Marley and Peter Gabriel.

As for my background, I used to perform with Kurtis Blow in a hip-hop gospel group that played weekly in the South Bronx. In that gig, I was playing with guys who were way out of my league, which is always the best possible situation to be in as it will force you to either get better or get fired. I also played Soukous and Afro Beat music with cats from the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana for several years before Pigtronix got so busy that I had to take a break from regular gigging. Now I am back to playing gigs in an all original project called the Dynamics. I try to bring all of my musical experiences to the table when designing a pedal.

P90Noir: Getting back to the Disnortion, what are the secrets inside of that pedal? What’s the fuzz based on? Is the Octava similar to the Tycobrahe Octavia?

DK: The fuzz is an opamp fuzz. It is Howard’s own design and not based on previous examples. For the Octava, we developed a totally original circuit that was “inspired” by the Dan Armstrong Green Ringer but uses a method of frequency doubling which results in an effect that can handle both chords and single note lines quite well. Most importantly, the Octava circuit is placed in series before the parallel Fuzz and Overdrive sections of the Disnortion. In the original Roger Mayer and Tycobrahe Octavia designs, the fuzz comes first followed by the octave doubler. In our Disnortion, the Octava portion comes first, followed by the distortion sections.

P90Noir: How did you get the idea to do parallel distortion circuits in the Disnortion pedal?

DK: It’s obvious. It’s just a good idea. You get massive distortion and gain without the noise. Its like using two amps, two mics or simply double tracking your guitar, inside a pedal. I am aware of only one other pedal on the market that does this. I am SURE there will be more in the future.

P90Noir: What’s on the horizon Pigtronix?

DK: The Infinity Looper is coming next. It’s the first of some very ambitious pedals that we’ve been working on. It’s a microSD card based looper pedal that records at 24bit / 48khz with tremendous headroom, zero latency and features discreet analog limiting on the front end as well as all analog pass-through. It’s easy to operate, yet tremendously powerful and flexible.
The Infinity’s unique “SYNC MULTI” mode provides a multiplier function allowing the length of Loop 2 to be 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 times the length of Loop 1. The loops can also be run out of sync or even in SERIES, for verse / chorus song structures. Ninja style input split mode assigns Input 1 to Loop 1 and Input 2 to Loop 2, effectively allowing performers to record and overdub separate instruments on separate loops, into isolated amps, simultaneously.
The Pigtronix Infinity also provides a long awaited AUX Loop output intended to send looped audio to stage monitors. This is especially helpful for drummers to hear and stay in time.

P90Noir: It seems like the original Pigtronix stuff is really complex and the new stuff is simple. I mean the Philosopher’s Rock has two knobs and a switch… Why the shift?

DK: Clearly, we’re moving towards a more stream-lined approach. As I’ve gotten better at designing circuits, I’ve come to a point where the challenge is to distill the best elements of a design and put most of the decision making inside the enclosure rather than bringing every parameter out front. By expanding our line to include more simple pedals, we’re trying to give musicians options of how fancy they want to get with their Pigtronix effects, – from the two-knob Philosopher’s Rock to the eight-knob Philosopher King.
Eventually, I want to move into programmable analog designs. Pigtronix is for the guys that want to make a new sound. You can use our pedals to get classic old-school sounds, but you can also make new, original tones and that is what gets me excited. It is true that we live in a digital world, but I insist that the future can be analog even it requires that Pigs fly!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interview with Steve Bragg, Empress Effects

I recently sat down with Steve Bragg from Empress Effects to talk about music, gear, robots, and the wonderful world of guitar effects. We discussed how Steve got started building effects, the "secrets" behind some of the great Empress pedals, and what's on the horizon.

P90: How long have you been building pedals and how did you get started?
Steve: I built my first pedal in high school. It was a Tycobrahe Octavia. It didn't work at all. My friends and I also tried to build a robot. We didn't get much further than the power supply. It wasn't a great start in electronics. In university I got my hands on the classic text Art of Electronics, that's when things started to make sense.

P90: Some of your pedals have pretty complex designs. What’s your background?

Steve: I took electrical engineering in university. During that time, I had a bunch of electronic projects on the go. I built a lucid dreaming inducer, which was a crappy version of the Remee (which I can't wait to get in the mail). First I designed it using logic chips on a breadboard, and it was a mess. Then I learned about embedded programming, which simplified things a lot. It also led to later putting a processor in the Empress Tremolo. Using a processor to digitally control analog circuitry makes things really interesting.

P90: The Multidrive is very cool in that it allows fuzz, overdrive, and distortion to be run in parallel. What was the impetus behind that?

Steve: The idea was pretty simple. Running dirt pedals serially kinda sucks. When you distort an already distorted sound, you end up with a mess. Sometimes that's what you want, but a lot of the time you want a thicker distortion that still responds well to your playing. Since the three subcircuits in the Multidrive are in parallel, they are each distorting the clean input. What you get isn't a mess, but a really nice thick distortion tone.

P90: Are the Fuzz, Distortion, and OD based in the Multidrive based on older circuits or are they original designs?

Steve: The subcircuits aren't based on anything directly. Jay designed the overdrive and distortion circuit from scratch. For the fuzz circuit, he employed the common trick of putting clipping diodes in the feedback path of a transistor.

P90: Which of your designs are you most proud of? Why?
Steve: I've been really happy with my current project. It's a reverb pedal that I'm working on with Jay. He's doing most of the sound algorithms, he knows a lot more about reverbs than I do. I'm working more on the architecture of the pedal. When we did the Superdelay, we were just learning how to code in C. The result was a tangled mess, picture the air conditioning systems in the movie Brazil. Trying to find bugs in the Superdelay code was miserable work. Coding the reverb has been a treat. So it's nice knowing that I'm getting better, or that I can completely delude myself into thinking so.

P90: What kind of music do you listen to mostly? Does what you listen to impact the circuits you design and build?

Steve: It's all over the place. Electronic, rock, orchestral, piano music. I used to be a lot more into rock, but I love dancing like an idiot, and nothing makes me embarrass myself like some fun electronic music, like Ratatat or Daft Punk.

As for affecting the products we build, I'm don't think it has much of an effect. I'm the least musical of our Empress team, I stay more within the realm of electronic design. I do have a couple effects that I've wanted to create for a long time that I think would be really cool. Stuff that might not sell well but hopefully helps really creative people push different ideas.

P90: You guys have some pretty big names using your pedals these days. Can you point to any songs where you know someone used an Empress pedal on a specific part?

Steve: There's a song on The Black Keys Brothers album that I'm sure has the Superdelay throughout.

P90: What’s on the horizon for Empress? Any new pedals we should keep an eye out for?

Steve: Ever since we released the Superdelay, we've had a lot of players say "The Superdelay is great, but I spend most of my time in the tape delay setting." So we've taken the tape delay mode from the Superdelay and put it inside its own pedal. Sounds just as good as the one in the Superdelay, but there's a bunch of extra features. The dry signal is all analog, there's presets if you want to use them, you can control the tempo with tap or knob, it's smaller, and uses less current. And it's $250. That's in production right now and should be ready within a month.

Also in production is our buffer and buffer+. Unlike most buffer pedals, these ones are designed specifically to be the input to and output from your pedalboard. So they provide a large input impedance for your guitar, so it doesn't get loaded down, and a low output impedance for your amp. The buffer+ has a bunch of interesting features: a stompswitch activated boost circuit, an input loading circuit to control exactly how much you want to load down your guitar, an noise filter to help with your noisy pedals, and a tuner out. You can also mute your normal output easily when tuning. The buffer pedals should also be ready within a month.

P90: That’s it for me. Do you want to add anything in closing?

Steve: Thanks for all the great questions! I'd just add that if anyone wants to get in touch with me, especially customers with questions about their pedals, they can reach me at steve@empresseffects.com.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: ZVex Mastotron

Review: ZVex Mastotron

Never has the name of a pedal more accurately described its sound. The Mastotron is a gigantic, prehistoric, hairy beast! And I mean that in the best way possible. With five knobs and one three-way switch, it has all of the tweakability of the Fuzz Factory without any of the unpredictability. It can go from a wall of fuzz to a quest of 8-bit video game synth sounds to a a medium overdrive to the meanest thickest bass fuzz you have ever heard.

The fuzz, tone, and volume knobs are self explanatory. It’s the other two knobs and the three-way  switch that hold the keys to the Mastotron magic. First, about that three-way switch, it’s labeled “subs,” and it controls the amount of low frequencies. Setting it on 3 will rattle the fillings out of your teeth, 2 is a nice middle ground, and 1 removes most of the low-frequencies and leaves you with a thin and cutting tone. The knob labeled “PW” stands for pulse width, all the way left is traditional square-wave fuzz, turned to the right is narrow pulses (the secret to those Nintendo tones). Finally, we have the knob for Relax/Push. This one adds source impedance to the incoming signal and “should be set fully clockwise when using passive pickups.”

Word on the street is that the circuit inside the Mastotron is very similar to the Wooly Mammoth. And I know that Jim James from My Morning Jacket is a big user of the Wooly Mammoth. I can tell you that using the settings in the picture above I was able to rock the lead part to Holdin’ On To Black Metal with a huge smile on my face. With these settings, you have a really rich and versatile fuzz tone that combines the best elements of a few classic fuzz pedals. It has the smoothness of a Muff, the wooliness of a good fuzz face and the attack and decay of a tonebender. Slight adjustments of the fuzz, PW, and tone knobs brings you varying degrees of those sounds.

Let me be clear though, it doesn’t sound like any one of those pedals. It’s more like throwing the three of them in a blender and playing through the results. Or maybe multi-tracking through each of them in parrallel and then blending the three together. It’s a best of all worlds fuzz tone.

But all of that is with the “normal” settings. Start moving the subs switch to the right or left and cranking the dial on the pulse width and you’re opening up a new world of fuzz tones. And that’s even before using (abusing?) the Relax/Push control.

I don’t know why the Mastotron brings out the dental analogies for me, but it does. Setting the subs at 1, the fuzz and tone full up, and the PW all the way to the right makes a sound that is like a dentist drill. It’s not a pretty sound, but it is effective for a part that you want to stand out in a mix. Leaving all settings the same and switching the subs to 3 brings us into serious video game territory. Using the neck pickup and rolling off the tone knob on my guitar had me rocking out to the Super Mario Bros. theme.

So there you have it, many flavors of fuzz in a small package at a pretty reasonable price. It's hard to go wrong with this one. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Cusack Effects Tap-a-Scream

Why does an overdrive pedal need tap tempo? That’s a question I can hardly answer. But I can say that the Cusack Effects Tap-a-Scream is a whole lot of fun.

What is it? It’s the mutant offspring of a tremolo and an overdrive pedal with variable fade in on the overdrive. It has tap tempo, 24 waveforms and controls for depth, color, and feedback.

The Controls:
Rather than detail them here, you should just read the descriptions in the manual on the Cusack website. I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this thing can do.

The Sound:
For me, the beauty of this pedal lies in its uses as a song writing tool and for “ambient” and “sound collage” rhythm playing.  Here’s an example of how I used it. My band is working on our first album (I say that lightly - we're dad-rockers with day jobs). But on one of my songs, the ending is supposed to dissolve into chaos. It’s a straight ahead rock song and then in the coda, it sort of explodes. I recorded a few tracks of feedback, oscillating delay, and synth arpeggiator and slowly faded those in. The problem was that in the context of the song, they came out of nowhere. By doubling the main rhythm guitar part with the Tap-a-Scream doing an almost reverse tremolo sound, I was able to slowly build the chaos. I now have the Tap-a-Scream guitar entering at the start of the coda and then I slowly fade in the other tracks. It's perfect for segueing from the traditional rock sound of the verses and choruses into the noisier Sonic Youth/Wilco sound of the coda.



I'm also a big fan of the Sparkledrive and the Pork Loin where you can blend your clean and dirty sounds. With the Tap-a-Scream, you can have a clean sound with dirty tremolo pulses on top. I dialed in one sound that reminded me of How Soon is Now by the Smiths. I think I sat in my basement and played a four chord progression for about fifteen or twenty minutes just listening to how the pulses emphasized different notes. It's been a great songwriting tool in that way. Each time I dial in a new sound, I come up with an interesting part to go with it.

I know I often end my reviews with a “go buy it” type line. For this one it’s not as cut and dry. I’m really enjoying this pedal. And it has led to me coming up with some really cool parts that I otherwise would not have written. As a songwriting and recording tool, it’s great. But I don’t know if I would use it in a live setting. If you’re a tinkerer and love to get to know the ins and outs of a pedal, this one will provide hours of fun for you. If you are a “set it and forget” type or a traditionalist, you might want to skip this one.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe: Sauteed Sweet Potato Greens

Last week, we received sweet potato greens through our CSA. Sweet potato greens! Who knew? As with all of the new greens we’ve tried in the last few months, I sauteed these in a little butter and garlic. I tossed some of the more tender stems in the mix as well and added some stock to cook everything further.

The weirdest part is that when the greens first hit the butter, it smelled like I was roasting sweet potatoes. As for taste and texture, they reminded me of collards. Only more tender and less bitter.

We served them with grass-fed NY strip and roasted cherry tomatoes with goat cheese. Yum.

Our five year-old loved them and demanded we have them again the next night as part of her "Kindergarten-eve dinner." he next evening, I tried to use some of the thicker and they stayed too tough. So my advice is stick with the leaves and only the most tender of the stems. Here’s hoping we get more of them this week!


Recipe:

One bunch of Sweet Potato Greens
2-4 Tbsp butter
1 smashed clove of garlic
  • Saute until wilted.
  • Test the stems.
  • If they are soft enough, salt and serve.
  • If they are still tough, add a cup of stock, cover, and simmer until they reach the desired level of tenderness.
That’s it. hocofood@@@

Review: Cusack Screamer Fuzz Bass

A few weeks ago, I picked up the new Cusack  Effects Screamer Fuzz Bass. The first thing I noticed when I removed it from the box is the build quality (and sense of humor) of Cusack.

The Look
It’s well known that Cusack make their mini chickenhead knobs in house. What’s cooler though is that they paint their pedals and then use a CNC machine to cut/carve the graphics and even the serial number into the pedals. About that sense of humor: there is a large-mouth bass cnc’d into the Screamer Fuzz Bass enclosure. Bass. Bass. Get it?

The Controls
Level: This controls the output level of the pedal.
Fuzz: This controls the amount of fuzz. All the way left is no fuzz, all the way right is heaven/armegeddon (depending on your feelings on fuzz)
Scream: Left is zero gain, right is a ton!
Clip Selector: This allows you to select either the Standard, Crushed, or Assymetrical LED clipping. I liked crushed for guitar and standard for bass.

The Sound

I’m a guitar player. So the first thing I did with the Screamer Fuzz Bass was to plug my Reverend Roundhouse HB into it and run that out to my Reverend Goblin through a 12’ Eminence Wizard. I set the scream at 9 o’clock, the fuzz around 4 o’clock, and set the level for unity gain. I hit an A power chord and was rewarded with a thick gritty fuzz. There’s something in the fuzz that reminds me of a muff, but the articulation, mids, and note decay sound and feel more like a Tonebender. According to the fine folks at Cusack, the Screamer Fuzz Bass features a new custom circuit built around an op amp. Whatever it is, it sounds great. I spent the better part of the next hour riffing through the Screamer Fuzz Bass. Your Touch by the Black Keys was especially fun to play through it. And it sounded great on some Siamese Dream era Pumpkin riffs.

Later in the week, the Screamer Fuzz Bass came to band practice with me. I used it on a few songs and was impressed by the combination of low-end and cut. It’s a great sound for low-string riffing and power chords but it still works well for leads. Rocking it on a song we call GSRS (Grungy Stoner Riff Song) it sounded like Seattle circa the early 90’s – sludgy and thick with sustain for days.

Next, I handed it over to our bass player and had him rock some fuzz bass for a few songs. Aside from making our drummer cringe (he’s a bit of a traditionalist) it was a hit. It’s amazing how well it keeps the low frequencies intact without resorting to blending in the clean signal. The only other pedal I have heard do this is the Zvex Mastotron (which I happen to have on hand for a review as well).

And boy does the Screamer Fuzz Bass have a lot of volume on tap. In the switch from me to the bass player, one of us must have bumped the level knob up. When our bass player stepped on it, the walls rattled and it felt like the ceiling was going to cave in. I can’t imagine a time when a bass player would need that much boost, but it excels at slamming the front end of a amp.

Dialing back the fuzz and using just the overdrive sounds great on bass and would be great for adding emphasis for a melodic bassline. The overdrive alone was less thrilling to me on guitar (but that’s not it’s stated purpose).

The other thing to point out is just how noise-free the circuit is. For having this amount of gain on tap, it’s amazing how little noise it adds with the gain cranked. I couldn’t hear any added noise with humbuckers.
I can't find a weakness in this pedal. If I had to find a weakness, it would be that the fuzz doesn’t clean up with the volume knob on your guitar. The overdrive section cleans up beautifully when you roll off your volume knob though, so I'm really just splitting hairs at this point.

If you play bass and like fuzz, you should buy (or at least try) the Screamer Fuzz Bass asap. If you play guitar and are looking for something with it’s own sound but somewhere crossed between a Tonebender and a Muff, check it out. It sounds great, is dead silent, and is built like a tank!

Interview: Tom Dalton, FuzzHugger

P90Noir Interview with Tom Dalton, FuzzHugger(fx)

P90Noir: How long have you been building pedals and how did you get started?


Tom: First, I've got to say, hi and thanks! And that P90s happen to be my favorite pickups. Most of my pedals were designed and tested on P90s.

I've been building pedals for...12 years? I started small and slow, with bypass / signal-routing boxes, really just out of personal need, or bandmates' needs—it was a long time before FuzzHugger came into being. But even though things have really grown,  at the end of the day, it's still me painting and wiring pedals. (Though I've got to thank Laura Bennett and Pat Corrigan for painting some FuzzHugger pedals, Inga for shipping and moral support, and Pete for working on some new circuits.)

P90Noir: Fuzz seems to be your forte, what is it about fuzz pedals that you like so much?

Tom: My search for the perfect fuzz was what got me into pedals in the first place. And even though fuzz is just a niche in the overall pedal world, fuzz fans flock together...I think partly because there's a lot to talk about! I'm not sure you could have a whole message board dedicated to delay love (and if there were/is, I imagine there would be 2-3 factions all debating the merits of 3-5 hot delays). There seems to be more set rules about what people want in a delay (it needs to have at least X amount of delay time, or needs to be darkish and analog, or needs to be pristine and perfect)...where there's a whole range of fuzz sounds, and people don't just want one or two (like delay, sticking with the example), but might want a gated fuzz, crunchy fuzz, and overdriven and sustaining fuzz, a crackly and noisy fuzz, an oscillating fuzz (and there's even a huge variety in the oscillation you can produce with different fuzzes). Fuzz covers tones from crapping-out to unbelievably harmonically rich. So there are less set rules with fuzz, what constitutes good, bad, and good-bad.

P90Noir: Which of your designs are you most proud of? Why?

Tom: The first pedal that pops into my head is the Pocket Arcade. It has five modes of all-analog octave up, octave up fuzz, octave down glitch, and controllable oscillation...and it's in a 2.37” x 4.37” enclosure (even just from a layout and switching standpoint, I'm proud of my work there). But I also have to mention the Algal Bloom and AB-Synth, as the two pedals that really kick-started FuzzHugger(fx) and are still drawing interest a few years later. I think that's because they're something different, in a Big Muff and Fuzz Face dominated market.

P90Noir: Looking at some of your pedals, it’s clear that you have an appreciation for square wave, Velcro, and more “extreme” fuzz sounds. What’s your favorite circuit (from another builder), the one that the builder got just right on the first go?

Tom: I definitely appreciate extreme sounds, but they have to be usable...not only fun, but something that can fit into people's music (there is the Magic Meter overdrive, which goes from subtle to extreme...and the Algal Bloom, that's not only a musical fuzz, but can be backed off into pretty overdrives...even the AB-Synth is more controllable—and tamable—than ever in its new v2 configuration). Part of my goal is wide-range controls: if I can make a circuit get a little extreme, I will...but if I can also add a knob to bring it totally down to earth, I'll add that too. It's almost painful for me to know that there's a great knob I could've added but didn't.
Now to your question! (Haha...people who email me can expect long answers.) This is tough, cause I've played so many pedals and have a lot of builder friends, but I'll name the first few that pop out. One is the sadly/apparently defunct Mellowtone's Wolf Computer. After a few minutes of what?!, you learn your way around the controls, and it's a really brilliant and versatile pedal. Another is the *Dr. Scientist Frazz Dazzler...it's versatile and has a really unique feel...it made me smile right away.

P90Noir: I notice that you link to the Beavis Audio statement against batteries. I for one swear that I can feel/hear a difference when using some vintage-style pedals with a battery. I’d love to kick batteries entirely but I love them for these uses. Do you feel like your pedals sound and feel the same with an adapter as they do with batteries?

Tom: First, I recommend everyone reads Beavis' page on batteries. But I think, in general, 9 volts of power equals 9 volts of power (though adapters can bring in extra noise, you can root out the problem or upgrade your adapter)...it's when the battery starts draining that the difference (to me) comes into play, because then we actually have a difference in voltage. A few of my pedals—the ones I think benefit from it—have a voltage knob. Then you can adjust from 9 volts and down. (Or if you have a 12v adapter, from 12v down!) Then, you can dial in the exact response you want in seconds, without waiting for a battery to drain.

P90Noir: What kind of music do you listen to mostly? Does what you listen to impact the circuits you design and build?

Tom: This is a tough one. I'm kind of quiet about my musical tastes, because they're so varied...and I don't want to color anyone's feelings about the genre my pedals are intended for. What I'm listening to doesn't change the pedals I build. When I'm working on a new pedal, I'm thinking cross-genre, more about the tones and usability than the style of music. But on a personal level, here's a quick taste of what I listened to most in the past year: Paul Simon, They Might Be Giants, El-P, early Weezer, the Mountain Goats.

P90Noir: Do you know of any examples where your pedals where used on a specific track by an artist? Who out there is touring with one or more of your pedals on their board? 

Tom: There are so many local, regional, and semi-obscure national bands with my pedals...and I've gotta thank them first (The Boys Themselves, Starling Electric, Oh So, We Were Wolves, Dangerous Ponies, and a bunch more). There are bands out there making amazing music, and the only difference is, they're not famous (yet?). When it comes to the really famous bands, I don't want to exploit them, and I don't know what endorsement deals they might have. But several internationally famous, multi-million-record-selling bands have FuzzHugger pedals on their boards. Apart from those bands, I will mention The Long Winters and The Special Goodness, who you may not have heard of, but have been personal favorites of mine for 10 years...having them play FuzzHugger pedals was incredibly exciting for me.

P90Noir: What’s on the horizon for FuzzHugger? Any new pedals we should keep an eye out for?

Tom: The Phantom Octave is coming back, with a new graphic, and there are always new graphics and one-off finishes popping up. I don't want to say too much, but in 2013, there will be two new non-fuzz FuzzHugger pedals! And non-fuzz doesn't mean boost or overdrive, but somewhere FuzzHugger has never gone before.

P90Noir: That’s it for me. Do you want to add anything in closing?
Tom: Thanks! I'd just like to say that people are welcome to email me with any questions, and also invite people to come post on ilovefuzz.com!

*Author's note: I should be receiving in a Dr. Scientist Frazzdazzler in the next few weeks and will be posting a review. Keep an eye out!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pigtronix FAT Drive

Pigtronix FAT Drive - Review

A few days ago, I picked up the new FAT Drive and Philosopher’s Rock from Pigtronix. I loved the Philosopher’s Tone, so I was eager to try the Rock. I decided to try the Fat on more of a whim. I’m glad I did.

According to the Pigtronix website, “The FAT Drive is an all analog tube sound overdrive. The FAT Drive’s multiple cascaded gain stages enable you to nail sounds ranging from bluesy overdrive to rich saturation, all while retaining musical dynamics and the original character of your instrument.”

That’s pretty much dead on.
Playing the FAT, I immediately thought of a list of other three-letter words that can be used to describe the sound and feel.

AMP – The FAT responds like a good tube amp. Touch the strings lightly and you get clean tones with just an edge of hair on them. DIG in and you get rich grind and gain. Crank the gain on the pedal and you can use the volume knob on your guitar to go from clean to mean and everything in between.

CUT – EQ adjustments on the FAT come courtesy of a variable low pass filter. With the tone knob all of the way clockwise, the filter is out of the circuit and you have a tone that is bright without being harsh. With my Reverend Roundhouse (LP type guitar) on the neck pickup, and the tone control wide open, the FAT delivered a singing lead sound that had just the right treble content for standing out in a dense mix. Rolling the tone back to one o’clock makes for a nice thick rhythm sound, perfect for rock rhythm sounds. And switching to the bridge pickup with the tone and noon, is a beautiful amp-like crunch.

RIP - Flicking the “more” switch up from here brings on a boat-load more gain and sustain but still retains punch and clarity. I’m mostly an “indie rock and alt/country player” these days, but this sound had me immediately rocking the intro of Sweet Child O’ Mine (and channeling the 8th grade me who spent an afternoon some 20 years ago learning the part and rocking it through an Ibanez Roadstar II and a crappy Gorilla amp).

With the Tele, the cut knob did a great job of keeping the bridge pickup from getting harsh, all the while adding a great gritty twang. And in low-gain settings, it had me playing Remedy by the Black Crowes. While the FAT sounds amp-like, it doesn't sound like a specific amp. There's something about the way it transitions so smoothly into distortion that makes me think AC30 or Fender Tweed Deluxe, but it's more of a feel thing than a tone thing.

I'll be honest, I was having so much fun with the Roundhouse and Tele, that I barely played my Strat or P90 guitar through the FAT. With the strat, it adds a really nice FAT drive. And with the P90's, you can dial in a great thick meaty tone that is great for leads and riffs. In short, the FAT allows the sound of each guitar to shine through.

As far as combing with other pedals. The FAT performed well in front of and following various pedals. With light drive, and following a germanium fuzz face, the FAT helped the fuzz to cut a little better. Boosting a  "Marshall in a Box" type pedal, the FAT created a more natural sounding drive from the "Marshall."

It’s a saturated (pun intended) market for overdrive pedals out there. But if you’re in the market for a great sounding and versatile drive or just need a new flavor, I can’t recommend the FAT highly enough. It’s one of the more natural sounding overdrive pedals I’ve come across in a while. GET one.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Henry Clay People Interview: Part One

A few nights ago I spent some time on the phone with Joey Siara, lead singer and guitarist for the Henry Clay People. We talked about guitar gear, some of the tones on their new album (Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives), their live setup, and Joey's favorite guitarists and songwriters.

Here's part one of our interview:

P90Noir: Let’s start with the new album. What were your main guitars and amps for those sessions?
Joey Siara: I was splitting my signal between two amps - a 1975 silver face deluxe that I picked up on tour in Dallas, Texas for $550. It was one of my tour finds. I was using that and a hand-wired AC15. For pedals, I was using the Crowther Audio Hotcake and the Paul Cochrane Tim pedal. My main guitar is a Bill Nash tele (it’s been my main guitar for a few years). Although, I was surprised when I went back and listened to this record. Most of it was an early-90’s Japanese Jazzmaster with lollar pickups. Its brighter than the tele bridge, and I ended up using it more than the tele.

P90Noir: Are there any tones on the new album that you are especially proud of?

Joey Siara: Actually it’s my brother’s (Andy Siara) guitar. He was playing an SG classic with P90s into a little hand-made 15 watt that the guy who owned the studio built. It’s sort of an old Marshally tone. And Andy was using the Crowther Prunes and Custard pedal – that thing is awesome. Since then, I’ve started using one of those in my live setup. It’s one of my favorite pedals. Most of the lead guitar on the record has this broken guitar, really nasty sound. It’s that little home-made amp and the Prunes and Custard.

  P90Noir: I had a Hotcake for a long time and I loved it. But of course, something new caught my eye and I traded the Hotcake. And now I really miss it.

P90Noir: What’s your current live rig?

Joey Siara: Bringing two amps on tour is overkill for me. So now, I have the Top Hat Club Royale. I bought it just before the tour. It’s turned out to be the best amp purchase I’ve made. I really like having a 2x12. Using a 1x12 is tough on stage, because I move around a lot and need to be able to hear it. And I like that the Top Hat has a master volume on it which allows me to not be hated by every sound man out there. For pedals, it’s just the Hotcake and a Prunes and Custard.

P90Noir: Wow, so that’s it for pedals? I'm in a basement band that plays maybe three or four times a year and my board has probably eight pedals. It's a little ridiculous.

Joey Siara: Just those two, and a little Korg Pitchblack tuner. I tried to go simple. At different parts in the band’s history you would have come and seen different amounts of pedals. This is as bare bones as I have been in the history of the Henry Clay People. There’s something about the peace of mind of not having to worry about which pedal to hit. I think, when I play live, I get in my head sometimes in a song of making a choice of this distortion or that distortion. Having limited options helps me keep in the moment and focus on performing and singing.

P90Noir: I notice you use a lot of tremolo. Is that amp tremolo or a pedal? What is it that you like about tremolo as an effect? It always seems to really sync well with the songs. Are you using something with tap tempo?

Joey Siara: A lot of the tremolo is the Deluxe Reverb. There is one song on particular on the record, Those Who Know Better, where I tried to play in between the tremolo pulses so that you couldn’t really hear the attack. That was one of my favorite tones on the record. I played it on a Richenbacher 360 that I’ve since parted ways with. It was one of those guitars you lose in order to pay bills.

P90Noir: Let’s talk about some specific songs. The first of your songs that really jumped out at me was Slow Burn, from Somewhere on the Golden Coast. I love that lead slide part. Do you remember what guitar/effects/amp you used for that?

Joey Siara: It’s a slide part on the SG doubled with a Jazzmaster on the neck pickup. It’s a little Doug Martsch bit.

P90Noir: That answers that question then. The first time I heard you guys I thought “This is awesome, there’s like Pavement, Built to Spill, Replacements, maybe some Dinosaur Jr., but they’re still doing their own thing. I love it!”

Joey Siara: There’s all of those in there. I’m a fan – I’m an indie rock purist. All of those bands kind of inform our sound. I looked and listened and examined what all of my favorite guitarists have played and used to help me find the sounds I want to try to rip off (laughter).

P90Noir: I thought I was hearing a Big Muff on that part, but now I’m guessing maybe it’s a cranked Hotcake?

Joey Siara: That one isn’t, that’s Andy playing. He does most of the leads. At the same though, his setup is usually all the stuff that I’ve bought for myself that doesn’t really suit me. His guitar and most of his pedals I technically at one time in my life bought them. I’m not 100% sure on that. The lead might be a Turbo Rat. It’s one of those pedals that I actually purchased several times. I get one and I get sick of it and then I re-buy it again.

P90Noir: I got through that as well. I think I’ve bought and sold a Boss Blues Driver at least four times. I always think I’m going to like it, but it never works with my playing or my setup. And I’ve probably owned an MXR Dynacomp more times than that.

Joey Siara: You know I’ve had a similar experience with the Big Muff. I think part of my thing is that I love Teles and I love the bridge pickup and I feel like Big Muffs a lot of times, they want you to be hanging out on that neck pickup.

P90Noir: For me and Big Muffs, I always love them when I’m at home practicing. But whenever I take it into the band setting it just disappears in the mix. Finally, about a year ago, I picked up one of the Black Russian Sovtek (last version before they quit making them) Big Muffs and it’s the keeper. It has mids and it has a range of gain that none of the others had.

Joey Siara: Oh yeah, that’s totally been my problem with them too. Being a J. Mascis fan, I ended up getting the green one that was made in Russia. It’s like made out of tank parts (laughter). It’s awesome. I had this guy mod it so it’s true bypass and it has a little more headroom and doesn’t get as lost in the mix. But it takes up such a huge chunk of real estate in my little pedal case that I ended up giving it to our bass player and it has ended up being a huge part of our bass sound, especially on the new record. We split the signal, and on some of the songs it’s mostly the dry signal. But you really hear it on The Fakers and Anymore/Any Less.

Part two of the interview will be posted next week.



Monday, July 23, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything - The P90's First Family Concert Experience

Dawes, at Long's Park in Lancaster, PA

I wrote a few months ago about how Mrs. P90 bought Newport Folk Fest tickets for my birthday and how we were going to take the whole family and how it would be an amazing first concert experience for the P90 girls. Well, about three weeks ago, we got cold feet and sold the tickets.

I was sad to sell the tickets. But considering the weekend would have cost us $2,000+ all said and done, I consoled myself by repeating “I’d rather regret not going, than regret going.”

A second consolation prize was that Dawes (one of the bands we were most excited to see), was playing a free show at a park about 1.5 hours away from our house.

Random – Dawes playing a free show at a park in Lancaster, PA. How did this happen? For my local readers, imagine Centennial Park. That’s pretty much about the size of this park, and the stage wasn’t a whole lot bigger. Either way, I give mad props to the Long’s Park Amphitheater Foundation.

So yesterday, we packed up the blue whale (pet name for the light blue Toyota Sienna that replaced the Arctic Blue Sport Wagon) and headed to Lancaster, PA. We got there about two hours before the show and were surprised to see a crowd had already gathered. We claimed a space near the stage and set off to find food and shade.

We killed some time at a playground and with 30 minutes till show time returned to our spot on the lawn. At this point, the three year-old turns to Mrs. P90 and asks “Is this almost over? I’m ready to go home.” The concept of a live band seems to have been lost on her and since there were roadies on stage and music playing, she though that was “the band.”

A few moments later, Dawes came on and the girls handled it well. They danced, they played, the three year-old climbed on Mrs. P90 and did what looked like a toddler version of crowd surfing. The eldest was bothered by the volume, but this is the girl that is afraid of the intercom in a store.  And she eventually rallied and even spent one song (Coming Back to a Man) on my shoulders up near the front of the stage.

But by the ninth or tenth song in the set the girls were losing their interest and their patience. Like the 21st century parents we are, we handed them our phones and they played with the Easy Bake Oven app.

Were we sickened that our daughters were playing with smart phones while one of the best bands around was playing in front of them? Yes. Were we doing everything we could to catch as many songs as possible? Yes. We have a new credo. We’re reclaiming our lives. We’ve bent to our children’s wills for long enough. They are now old enough to be agreeable and do some things we want to do.

As the band kicked into Peace in the Valley, the three-year old began climbing on Mrs. P90 and doing something which looked not unlike toddler moshing. And at this point, I saw what we refer to as “belligerEmy” flash across her face. I realized that while there may be Peace in the Valley, there would be no more peace on the lawn. We quickly gathered up our belongings and raced back to the blue whale as she cried because she wasn’t holding her blankie. A woman in the crowd even offered her a balloon animal dog to ease her pain. She would have none of it. A threshold had been crossed. We were in the downward spiral of a full on meltdown.

We pulled out of the lot as the band broke into “A Little Bit of Everything.” It would have been nice to hear the last few songs, but being a parent is priority one over being a music fan. And all things considered, I saw one of my favorite bands play eleven songs in the company of my three favorite people. I’d say that accounts for a little bit of everything.

Mojo Hand One Ton Bee Review

A few weeks ago, I picked up the new Mojo Hand FX One Ton Bee fuzz. It’s their take on the Mosrite Fuzzrite circuit – a fuzz I’ve always wanted to try. I’ve been really happy with prior Mojo Hand fuzzes (the Huckleberry and Colossus are my favorite Fuzz Face and Big Muff), so I figured I had nothing to lose.

Aesthetically speaking, the Bee is one of the best looking pedals I’ve seen this year. It has a great yellow anodized aluminum case with a surfing bee.  Really, you can’t go wrong with a surfing bee. And while the name and graphic are clearly an ode to 1000 Lb. Bee by the Ventures, they are also indicative of the furious buzzing fuzz tone generated from within.

Plugging into the Bee, it’s not a smooth or friendly fuzz. It’s gritty, nasally, and jagged. But that’s the point. I hit the low E string and enjoyed the gritty overtones and slow decay. I immediately had to play the riff to Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum. The One Ton Bee nailed it. The other song the Bee makes me think of is Wheels by Gram Parsons. It sounds just like the nasty fuzz on the chorus that plays the single notes at the end of each line. It’s almost like a baritone sax tone on the low notes. It’s such a cool sound that other fuzzes can’t do.

Hitting the Bee with a Tele bridge pickup makes for a slicing tone that could cut through any mix. It reminded me of those old Ennio Morricone spaghetti western tones. It’s not a sound that’s going to fit on every song, but it’s just perfect for some parts. For my own preferences, with the tele, I backed my tone knob back about 30% which provided a perfect balance of thickness and cut.
With humbuckers, the Bee is thick but still piercing. Single notes jump out and chords have ring mod-like buzzy overtones. Rolling back the volume on the guitar makes things a little less fuzzy and reduces the overtones, but it certainly doesn’t clean things up. Rolling back on the tone and volume and playing single notes provides a synthy square wave tone

I wouldn’t recommend the One Ton Bee for a first fuzz pedal. And if you want smooth fuzz, I’d recommend a Muff or Fuzz Face clone. But if you’re ready to broaden your horizons and explore the grittier side of fuzz, I welcome you to feel the sting of the One Ton Bee.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Recording Report

Just a few of the amps available at Invisible Sound Studios
My band spent the weekend at Invisible Sound Studios in Baltimore, MD recording our “debut album.” It was an amazing experience and we got through basic tracks for all 10 songs. We will spend a few weeks at home adding overdubs, keys, and vocals. After that, we’ll head back to the studio to mix and master. We hope to be completed by early September.

We’re still raising funds through our Kickstarter campaign. Please support us if you feel so inclined.

And here are some pictures from the sessions. For those of you that are gear junkies, you may want to brace yourself.

Vox AC15 Reissue and 65 Amps London


Tonebenders, Treble Boosters, and a TS808

Reverend Goblin into Cordavox Rotating Speaker Cab

AC30 Reissue and 65 Amps London

Vintage Deluxe Reverb

'58 Tweed Deluxe - Sounds like the end of the world