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GP Editors' CD & Book Reviews

January 30, 2014
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Doc DePrima
STARS FROM THE DOCTORS CAMERA

When DePrima showed me his self-published photo book at NAMM, I admit I succumbed to a cautious, “Who is this guy?” stance. But DePrima is a certified road warrior, and he even appeared in two late ’70s ads in GP as the unwired guitarist for HME Cordless Guitar Systems. His book is a fan’s homage to the musicians and other celebrities he has met throughout the years and a document of an everyday guy’s life in the entertainment biz. It’s like sneaking a peek into someone’s diary. Super fun. starsfromthedoctorscamera.com —MICHAEL MOLENDA 

 
 

Food
MERCURIAL BALM
Led by British saxophonist Iain Ballamy and Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen, this lineup of Food also includes experimental guitarists Eivind Aarset and Christian Fennesz, Indian slide-guitar master and vocalist Prakash Sontakke, and trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær in various combinations. The ten compositions, which originated as live improvisations, layer extraordinarily nuanced textures over Strønen’s percussive foundations, with Ballamy’s lyrical sax and occasionally other instruments providing melodic focus and direction. The pairing of Sontakke’s plaintive slide-guitar work and Aarset’s atmospherics on the title track is only one of many highlights. ECM. —BARRY CLEVELAND 

 

Greg Friedman
CAN’T TALK NOW
The bouncy, palm-muted clean tones that kick off the opener, “Melancholy Melody,” draw you right in and Friedman’s catchy vocal lines keep you there, setting the stage for the power pop that follows. Great guitar moments abound, including rolling fingerpicking, Abbey Road-esque single-note lines, celestial capoing, and “Wicked Game”-style dreaminess. Populuxe. —MATT BLACKETT

 
 
Laurence Juber
UNDER AN INDIGO SKY
The DADGAD badass is back with another stellar solo acoustic offering. Juber works his multi-part magic on more well-chosen covers, such as “Mrs. Robinson,” “All the Things You Are,” and “Cry Me a River,” as well as on several original compositions that easily sit side by side with the classics. His tone and touch are perfect throughout and his interpretation of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is particularly cool. Highly recommended. Solid Air Records. —MATT BLACKETT
 

Sevendust
BLACK OUT THE SUN
Guitarists Clint Lowery and John Connolly bring all kinds of heavy on this record, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Hard Music chart. In addition to the super-distorted chunk of “Decay” and the snakey, sinewy lines in “Faithless” and “Picture Perfect,” you get plenty of cool surprises. There’s the awesome tones of “Dead Roses,” the 12/8 groove of “Mountain,” several tasty solos by Lowery, and an overall sense of melody and dynamics that is refreshing and engaging. 7bros. —MATT BLACKETT 

 

Soft Machine Legacy
BURDEN OF PROOF
Sometimes sounding more like Weather Report than the Canterbury Scene bands, “progressive rockers” SML (guitarist John Etheridge, drummer John Marshall, bassist Roy Babbington, and sax, flute, and piano man Theo Travis) have crafted a deep, vibrant, creative, and hip album that beautifully fuses bits of Soft Machine’s hallowed past (all but Travis were were members during the ’70s) with more contemporary sounds and approaches, resulting in one of the most satisfying albums I’ve heard this year—and Etheridge’s smart, stylish, and spirited guitar work is superb throughout. Moonjune. —BARRY CLEVELAND

 
The Potion Kings
LEGION
Canadian guitarist Kevin Breit (who has played with everyone from Norah Jones to Bill Frisell to Jane Siberry) goes to town on this mostly instrumental quirky quartet album, laying down whack slide lines, oddly fragmented riffs, fractured auto-filter funk stabs, and warped takes on several traditional styles—all within the context of relatively accessible arrangements. The warbling Latin licks on “Greater Than Mistakes I Make” are especially clever. Latent. —BARRY CLEVELAND
 

C3
MOTION STUDY: MONKEY MATH FOR MODERN MEN
Guitarist Steve Ball and bassist Paul O’Rear, who, along with several guests comprise C3, present an unusual amalgam of influences ranging from the acoustic ensemble side of Robert Fripp (who they studied and performed with) to the harmony vocals of America, Harry Nilsson, and the Beach Boys. A cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Mother of Violence” and a Fab Four takeoff titled “Believe in Tomorrow” round out this adept, astute, and thoroughly enjoyable outing, which comes packaged in a hardcover book with accompanying artwork. Ballistic Music. —BARRY CLEVELAND

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