Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Brace for impact , a review of “Worlds Collide” By The Anderson Council

It was my distinct pleasure to catch The Anderson Council at their record pre-release at Pino’s in Highland Park. This is an album that has been in production for a few years, including a long mixing process for a Vinyl and CD release, both having their unique merits. Having purchased both versions the CD can boast having bonus tracks, one of which featuring Mr. Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame.

The vinyl also has the endearing and beautiful feature of being a splatter paint job vinyl, and being that the recording process was very much analog for this record, what better way to make it carry a timeless sound?In contrast to the band’s previous release, “Assorted Colors” which featured a rich sampling of the bands many lineups and the depth of Peter Horvath’s songwriting over the years. With influences from psychedelic rock, power pop, and an undeniable contemporary edge the band’s new material, both from their previous release and the most record, Worlds Collide has an unmistakable quality of having painstaking effort put into the songwriting with a diverse and endlessly entertaining offering of music with some personal favorites in the track list, but something undoubtedly being to your liking on this release.

There is a wonderfully eclectic mix of tunes on this album reflecting the progression and growth of The Anderson Council, and this album is a harbinger of great things for the band, with tight production and fine tuned dynamics with very strong song writing and arranging making each track worth listening to and retaining the charm that The Anderson Council have featured in their writing.

It is worth noting that the CD release is going to be the best bang for your buck as far as number of tracks received in the purchase, the CD release is also the only way to have a digital copy of the album, meaning that the vinyl does not come with a digital download so this is important to consider in your purchasing options.

I would like to include some recommendations off of the album with a few categories to help you as a listener consider these great songs.

Personal favorites;

Lord Cornelius Plum- a mid tempo retro rocker with great dynamics and wonderfully crafted melodic and harmonic content.

Mrs. Kirkby’s refrigerator- Easily one of my favorites off the album, a quick listen, but also easily one of the more ear wormy tunes on the record, with a strong sense of melody, which is the case for the record as a whole, the version sung by Peter Horvath is my favorite of the two, but the CD bonus track with Peter Noone is also a very entertaining listen.

Amazing- A slower ride than the majority of the album, and one of the longer songs off the album as well, but this is a decadent and well thought out arrangement which features depth in the production and craftsmanship in its lyrics, featuring an explosive  chorus  with a timeless sense of harmony in the vocals, feeling modern while also hearkening back to some of The Beach Boys’ harmonic work.

Gentlemen- a bouncy and euphoric track about having a drink with your loved ones remembering loved ones that cant be there with you, but the tone of the music and the joyous energy of it makes it such a great listening experience.

When I fall- A powerful song that plays with space and dynamics in a greatly enjoyable way. The production on this track uses spacial effects to great success to craft a luscious listening experience.

How Much How Long- A bombastic track featuring great drum, guitar and bass work,  one of my favorite of the high energy tunes on this record,  with a very effective arrangement and finely crafted harmonic content this is one of my overall favorite tracks from the album.

Wrong Way Out- one of the more daring tunes on the album with great reward in its daring use of staccato rhythms and while it is a departure from what I am familiar with from the band it is highly effective in showing the boldness of The Anderson Council’s creative choices on this release.

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Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Before & after: P Bass bridge and tuner mod project

As announced in May I have undertaken the task of modifying my favourite Ronaldo Custom and Fender P Bass.

I experienced very little difficulty in changing the bridge from a vintage style Wilkinson p bass bridge for Mexican made Fender P basses, the Hipshot Kicksass bridge designated as being a retro fit for that bridge type fit perfectly. I am a fan of the way that the new bridge allows to lower the action which was an issue with the Wilkinson bridge because of the larger saddles, the inserts for the Kickass Hipshot bridge made action adjustment much better.

The Tuners caused some issues, the stock licensed by Schaller tuners did not match the route for the hipshot tuners cited as the fit for the MIM fender P bass, but with some work it was able to be completed and not tuning issues have been had with the new hipshot tuners.

Check out the photos and audio examples from this simple but effective transformation.

Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Out with the somewhat modified, in with the newly and fully modified!

Many years ago I picked up a 1992 Made in Mexico Fender Precision bass.  That same night I put a new pick guard and pickup in that same bass (at the time tortoise style pick guard, and a Seymour Duncan QP1 pickup). Even farther along in the bass’ life I also swapped the strap buttons for the fender longing spring loaded system, and soon after a new Ronaldo Custom Neck. The bass would also get a Wilkinson bridge some years ago which changed the character of the sound greatly. Among other important changes that have occurred in the bass is swapping out the stock electronics and the QP1 for a Geezer Butler EMG set and it remained in such a state retaining the following;

Stock licensed by Shaller tuners, maple neck with rosewood board and matching headstock, Geezer butler pickup, Paisley pickguard, Wilkinson vintage style bridge.

 

This is soon changing…As of May 2019 I am going to be doing a both functional and aesthetic change to commemorate my own musical journey progression.  After having recently invested in new hardware for the bass most notably in a new Hipshot kickass bridge and Hipshot tuners!

This modification will be well documented and before and after footage will be made.

Posted in The Publications

Recreating vintage tone with the Tech 21 RK5 v2 Flyrig

As a performing musician and songwriter there is nothing more essential in my writing and performing process than the RK5 fly rig(both the v1 and v2 are staples in my live and studio work). This inspired me to think of how I can best explore the capabilities of the new RK5 v2 and PL1 Fly Rig units.

Links to these products will be included in each piece written and photos of the settings will be taken to help any of our curious readers achieve similar results.

Some tones I am hoping to attempt to recreate with some level of success will include;

1. Sleepwalk- Santo and Johnny

2. Heart full of Soul- The Yardbirds

3. Satisfaction- The Rolling Stones

4. Round Midnight- Wes Montgomery

5. You Really Got Me- The Kinks

6. David Bowie

7. Lake Street Dive

8. Led Zeppelin

9. The Band

10. Real Love Baby- Father John Misty

 

Posted in The Publications

Baby it’s PC Outside

I had been only very recently informed of the recent banning of the song “Baby, It’s cold outside” from radio airplay. I have an interesting history with this song in that it has many chord changes in it which makes it very difficult to play without some preparation, and also attempting a gender-flipped version of the tune in the early 2010’s. I have always found the tune to be ever so slightly “date-rape-y” and the song has some concerning implications without context.

The song originated as a song intended to be sung by the songwriter and his wife at parties, and there are phrases and language nuances associated to a different time where “What’s in this drink?” meant that the drink someone was enjoying was being felt and could be leading to some level of being tipsy. This is not a perfect portrayal of romantic interactions alone between two parties, but considering that I have never looked into the history of the song before this controversy I consider it something learned.

The controversy surrounding the song is based in the current politically correct culture which has valid points in some arguments from my perspective and at other times can be perhaps too concerned with something not pleasant but potentially interesting to discuss. I consider having points of controversy around to be interesting to discuss and also can lead to learning about history and how language in itself evolves. This song can even lead potentially into a conversation where learning about how date rape can occur is a potential good resulting from having something historically relevant and controversial to modern social movements.

It is important to share that rape is not in any circumstance okay, and no indeed always means no. When controversial art exists it should be discussed, contextualized and can be discussed. How does this issue make you, our lovely readers feel?

Posted in The Publications

The tradition of woodwork and wizardry.

Throughout the late 20th century and into the new millennium, new classics were born. This couldn’t be more true of the works of J.K. Rowling and her masterful work on the infamous Harry Potter series. Since the original 7 HP books were published, Rowling has continued to inspire generations of readers to develop and grow an empire of wizard culture. Whether you’re sorted into your Hogwarts or Ilvermorny houses or have just began your wizarding world journey, you’re sure to find similar company. Within the vast fantasy world of HP, we stumbled upon Alivan’s, which is a real-life woodworking group that produces replica and custom magic wands for its customers.

We know what you’re thinking. How the hell is this vintage? Bear with us- the woodworking itself and craftsmanship, as well as the intersection of literature are the draws from the retro perspective. You see, preparing a wand requires a steady hand, lathe techniques, and other tools of the trade. We are sadly in an era that is only just now re-allocating value in intricate crafts and vocations. In Alivan’s case, they capitalized on a high-demand media market that targeted the gigantic fan base of Harry Potter. Using an age-old technique with a new spin (lathe pun intended) is just another brilliant way to mesh the old with the new. In many ways, the literature foundation for this entire fan base is just another call back to the classics. HP could have easily been exclusively movies or online comics, so to have this fantastical world all spawning from books is humbling to us at RRBlog.

Alivan’s in particular is a small group out of Florida that models itself from Ollivander’s wandmakers (featured in books and in movies) that embodies the do-it-yourself spirit of the American dream and the essence of a thriving small business here in the States. The art of woodwork is something dating back far into yesteryear

I am glad to share a few pieces from Alivan’s and you can see the vast range of care and craft dedicated to this style of wood work.

This is a Finnias’s choice wand from the recent Fall grab bag they have offered, the design and notches as well as in the wood grain itself!

Next step is a beautiful limited addition piece from their collection utilizing wood from trees from the actual film set where the Hogwarts castle was set! With a stunning combination of But I believe to be maple for the shaft, and burled oak got the handle, Very much a more detailed piece in comparison to others, but the attention to detail shows very much why it is important to maintain define craft of woodworking and in a greater context as far as my own experience the art of building instruments by hand, be they magical or musical or both.

Next up is a very very special piece, the custom re-creation of my own pottermore designated wand, If you are yet to start yourself into your house or have your wine Sarah Moni done I highly recommend it as it is very entertaining and can serve as a pseudo-personality quiz without necessarily being scientific in anyway. Some interesting trivia regarding the potter more designs themselves is that there is roughly 4 different handle shapes, you can see the attention to detail in the crafting of a round hilt for the handle and lines in the handle itself, You can see the character and ways that these designs can play into the known universe of the novels and films.

And celebration Of the film released today, we are also very glad to present the ash wand, which is the Alivan’s version of the Newt Scamander wand. While not picture-perfect to the noble collection offering this is something that like the others has a great sense of craft involved in the more my new details, the different ridges and curvature is in the wood itself and the paint job, even featuring some silver paint where there’s oyster imitation material in the noble collection one.

 

Check them out at https://alivans.com/ and check out their great offerings! We highly recommend the fall grab bag as well at https://alivans.com/product/alivans-fall-grab-bag/ and don’t forget to say who brought you there 😉

 

Stay curious ❤

Posted in The Publications

The Brooklyn Seltzer boy’s Egg cream kit

 

We at the retro revival have the pleasure of getting to try the egg cream kit from Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, we tried the vanilla syrup and found them very delicious, but feel that individual reaction to the tasty beverage are warranted.

Harpie’s Perspective:

Wow. I can’t quite describe the excellence in quality overall of BSB’s products and recipe that comes right on their glasses. Egg creams remind me of my grandpop, who would routinely make his own with sodas and other ingredients. One sip of this brilliant concoction brought me back to my grandparents’ house. I could imagine myself younger, my grandfather sitting on the third-to-bottom step of their split-level home, offering me spoonfuls of his egg cream-esque dessert drinks as I would whiz back and forth either with a twirling ribbon or my best napkin parachute. This particular variety from the family-at-its-core company, Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, was exceptionally well done with the classic zing of good seltzer paired masterfully with a smooth vanilla cream finish. BSB’s beverage kits are definitely a recommendation I’d share for the foodie in your family for the coming holiday season.

Manny’s reaction;
Rating the kit itself I am very impressed with the seltzer bottle, 32 ounces of fizzy goodness and these are bottles you can keep! The BSB only refill 20 ounce bottles for their subscription service so the egg cream kits give you a 32 ounce antique seltzer bottle with a plastic nozzle, your choice of syrup, two egg cream recipe glasses, and a t-shirt! This was also something that was very fun and simple to do, I can see this being a fond memory for people growing up in yesteryear and warm family moments brought together by Brooklyn Egg Creams. The seltzer on it’s own is also as good as I recall it being during the interview, as a lifelong seltzer fan myself I am a big fan of this product. The egg cream when brought together is a fizzy and delicious burst of smooth vanilla and milky goodness, with the levity of seltzer water and the creaminess of the milk and vanilla syrup,  I would get this for the holidays if you want to bring your little ones back to yesteryear, or to make an older relative feel the warmth of nostalgia and happy memories with this kit.

Check them out at www.brooklynseltzerboys.com/the-product and let them know that the Retro Revival was how you found out about them!