San Fernando, CA
“The Straight of Gibraltar”
GP reviewed the arcane GuitViol a while back, and now it’s the focus of Jonathan Wilson and Oscar Islas’ fascinating sonic and melodic excursions. At times, the pitch seems a tad sour—or is that just being “arty?”—but the textures and thematic shifts are very compelling. File this under “Something Different.”
Los Angeles, CA
After a brief “get nervous” intro, “Frankenfingers” kicks in with a couple of low, foreboding swoops, and then shifts into divebombing, metallic splatter, and robotic bleepage before unveiling a yowling melody marked by tremolo-arm punctuations. Oh yeah, there’s a short shred section and a Beatles-esque fade. Monstrous. Heavy. Wonderful.
This is a fabulous celebration of acoustic and electric tones, arrangement shifts, and cagey signal processing—all lightly kissed with elements of flamenco, world beat, rock, blues psychedelia, folk, and jazz. It’s marvelous, almost textbook music production, but Jost has the chops to make this party all about guitar.
Technically, Vallen doesn’t paddle very far from the Steve Vai gene pool, but how can you pass up a guy shredding through a tune like “Sex Muppet”? Only 18, Vallen possesses commanding chops and good tone, as well as a sense of humor—hence, the Kermit-bashing-cymbals mania of the drums. Hot stuff.
Nothing original here, but Lasegue has a smooth, slinky tone that lifts his articulate, sensually phrased melodies into the clouds. When he goes into shred mode, he’s always right on the groove—which is refreshing—and his sense of when to bring in the high tingly bits and harmonies is near flawless.
New York, NY
“The Heinous Mr. Hyde”
This is a picture-perfect soundtrack for a ’60s B-movie on youth run amok. Everything from the garage-y audio to the cheesy organ pads is period appropriate, but guitarist Viktor moves the proceedings beyond mere era emulation by unleashing a rude and vicious riff that would have made Link Wray smile.
“The Sleep Inside”
Sometimes, ya just dig a good pop song where the guitarists are punching and jabbing through the melody and groove in a way that truly lifts things up. In this regard, Elizabeth Elkins and Jeremy Zamora are rock warriors with total command of meaty riffs, feedback swells, dynamics, and churning, crunching chords.
King B. and Queen B.
Harkening back to the roving theater “events” of ’30s Paris, this duo combines dance (Queen B.) and music (King B.), and mixes blues with King’s Russian melodic heritage. “Savitar Boogie” showcases beguiling slide lines—that, at times, sound almost East Indian—and a gently cooking groove. It’s like travelogue music for lost souls.