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 Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Swingin’ it with Dandy Wellington

This guy is the real deal when it comes to the authentic Jazz experience. Dandy Wellington takes New York’s jazz scene by storm- arguably, he exponentially grows it. The Retro Revival had a fantastic opportunity to get to know Dandy as an artist and up-and-coming revivalist recently through his majestique Facebook page: Dandy on Facebook.

What I think really does it for us at RRBlog is Dandy’s commitment to his role as a jazz band leader and an authentic image of the 30s and 40s, which was the height of jazz music and its culture. Adorned with formal hats, well-pressed suits and remarkable swingin’ moves in his performances, Dandy’s ability to convey the Jazz Age is second to none. Perhaps in the likeness and image of icons like Cab Calloway, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, and of course, Duke Ellington, Dandy’s style is one that captivates the class in all his audience members.

According to his most undated biography page, Dandy hails from Harlem, one of history’s epicenters of culture, particularly noted for African American music, jazz, and the Harlem Renaissance. What makes Dandy so successful against the grain of an increasingly-streamlined lifetyle is “the classic aesthetic and modern perspective that is Dandy, has, and will continue to be a fixture of NYC and beyond” (http://www.dandywellington.com/about.html).

If you are a fan of Jazz, its modern comtemporaries, or the good old classics like Duke Ellington, Dandy is a sure-to-please performer with the right attitude toward his craft. His events are available via: http://band.dandywellington.com/dandy-live

Posted in Manny's Music Column

Fender Mustang vs. Squier Bronco, short scale bass shootout. 

Recently I picked up a Squier Bronco Bass from The Guitar Boutique in Ridgefield New Jersey. So in a bit of an experiment to see what a modded mid-price Mexican made short scale Bass by Fender sounds like in comparison to a stock Indonesian made Squier Bass. Not a scientific comparison, but simply what extra money into a mid-price instrument versus the stock version of an Eastern made import instrument by the same parent company sound like. 
The current configuration on my Fender Mustang bass is Seymour Duncan PJ quarter pound pickup set, stock tuners, stock bridge, with short scale rotosound flatwound strings.

In comparison the Squier Bronco bass has all stock everything, strings possibly being stock as well. 

Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Re Rigged; Ernie Ball Music Man Luke III

 

The short version, it is a near perfect instrument, it embodies everything I look for in a quality musical instrument. Get one if you can, they are well worth it.

As a side note; I tried the St. Vincent EBMM guitar recently, it didn’t resonate with me, but if I had a daughter that wanted a pro level guitar that would do everything well and would be a high-quality performance instrument for her, as well as being contoured in a unique way for female players, this would be that instrument.