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Matt Blackett's Faves

January 29, 2014
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Santana
Shape Shifter

Anyone who wanted to see Carlos get back to what he does best—i.e. playing gutsy, ballsy lines with no concerns about pop stardom—is going to love this. The tones, the parts, and the attitude are all old-school Carlos and the dude is killing! He’s soulful, thoughtful, sweet, mean, touching, and dangerous— sometimes all in the same song. There is only one Carlos! Starfaith.

 

 
 
 
Mike Stern
All Over the Place

Stern brings it on this latest release, with his slinky phrasing, cool chorused tone, and deep pocket. He executes gorgeous unison lines with the saxes on “AJ” before launching into an angular solo. He rocks a 3-string n’goni on “Out of the Blue,” plays Danny Elfmanesque quirkiness on “OCD,” and dishes out badass future funk on the title track. For such a nice guy he sure is a bad mofo. Heads Up International.

 

 
 
 
Cocaine
Moustache
On the Mirror

It’s rare that such a great message for the kids is accompanied by such cool guitar work, but Schnick Von Schlutzzz (not his real name) and Bill “Hundred Dollar” Rollins somehow pull it off. They chop up hip rhythm lines and agitated leads on “The Drip,” throw down a sinewy dirge in “Out of My Hands” that could make Nancy Reagan bump and grind, and get all crashed and despondent on “Garbage Bags and Shovels.” No cocaine was wasted in the making of this album. Reversed.

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