Posted in The Publications

Retro, Revival, and Rebranding!

As the year 2019 cadences into its autumnal season here in the Eastern Corridor, we are preparing at the Retro Revival for one of the most outstanding decades to come! That’s right, the Roaring Twenties are back! But this time, they’ve got a particularly ferocious ‘roar’ about them. Unlike the years of prohibition and the stock market crash of 1928, the year 2020 is already filling with milestones, great events, friendly bonding, and adventure.

What we can tell you right now is that we have outgrown the RRBlog’s mission, which means we have to expand well-ahead of the new year. We have decided that in order to encapsulate the past but continue to advocate exclusively for the best pieces of yesteryear, while complimenting meaningful discussions and challenging the norms- all in the name of a new version of traditional- we have to also include our rambunctious adventures and our rebellious spirits. This means that the Retro Revival has evolved! We are humbled and excited to introduce our readers- new and old;

Retro, Curious, Rebellious: The Revival

You see, we are inquisitive creatures; we question the world as it has transformed into a highly-modern and sometimes inefficient system. We are retro; we sample and implement facets of the ages before ours into today’s world to lead by example. However, we are also rebellious; in order to advocate well for a better tomorrow, we have to break the new norms like we offered to the DORIS group of 2015-16 in pursuit of the change we want to see.

It gives us a broader platform to introduce topics of discussion that have political heat, debate, and even some dissent as they relate back to the way things were. It also gives us a chance to integrate some advocacy on behalf of historic sites, both in need and already supported. We look forward to the chance to bring you something lively, different, and engaging, but all the same retro and timeless.

 

Cheers, darlings.

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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.

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

An Orchid at the Cross Roads

People always tell us to, “lead by example”. It’s a fair way to rise above petty arguments and low-blow fighting tactics. We abandon our sense of ‘getting even’ for a chance at transcending into a greater, generative modality when we model the behaviors we want to see. At least, that’s what the therapist in us bloggers says.

The freedom fighter historians over here have a unique application of it. Since establishing our grassroots ORCHID initiative, it has been a vision of ours to lead the way in illustrating how to integrate multiple facets of the Duke Legacy into projects with creative means. For instance, mental health met horticulture when a proclamation was issued in Franklin Township for the opening of the Sisters Serenity Gardens in Doris Duke’s name just a year ago. Another such example exists at the intersection of anonymous donations and historic preservation as we assisted multiple locations in seeking historic demarcation pro bono. Perhaps the greatest instance of these intersections occurs now, as we find an ORCHID at the Cross Roads.

Just recently, the latest endeavors of ORCHID led us back home, to a literal intersection that is best known for being the cross that draws directions to Belle Mead, Blackwells Mills, Millstone, and Griggstown: it is a lesser-known cornerstone of Hillsborough. Most notably, this darling little nook of Jersey still boasts its original, preserved farmstead, former post office, Dutch residence, railroad remnants (mentioned for its involvement in the Frog War) and schoolhouse. Collectively, this historic district got its name for the very intersection I’m standing on now: The Cross Roads.

So enter the essence of the Dukes: the historic district of Pleasant View never got its designation, where Cross Roads is embodied. Thanks to the magnificent efforts of the DORIS members, it all seems possible now to work on a nomination, but stay tuned for the results of a hard day’s work!

Cheers, darlings~

 

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

The Timeless Quirks of Quilting

Once again, Manny Dylan breaks all records for the best and most thoughtful Christmas gifts. In doing so, he also brought to my immediate attention the underrated beauty of handmade quilts.

I’ll be honest. I’m a duvet person. I haven’t had a traditional quilt in years and since shifting from a quilt to its fluffy counterpart, I never went back. Then I discovered the snuggy joy of queen-sized fleece blankets for twin-sized beds to become a full-fledged burrito. With the gifting of an absolute work of art, a Quilt by Jennifer (see link: https://www.quiltingbyjennifer.com/ ), I have been revitalized and spooned by the thermal cuddles of a quilt.

Quilting as a craft has long been a staple of traditionally-women’s hobbies, dating wayyyy farther back than Colonial America. It is a simple way to take scrap fabrics or specially-picked out fabrics (or both artfully patterned together) and create something new, unique, and cozy as all hell! Quilting also is a form of paying it forward in modern times, often with their patchwork practices resulting in charitable acts, honorary arts, and other homages to meaningful causes and organizations.

These incredibly handmade staples deserve a review and resurgence into the spotlight as the crafting trends continue to grow (both by necessity of today’s economy- in America and abroad- and by desire of more individuals to learn new practices). Now typically it would take about a single column for us at RRBlog to discuss origins and what makes the topic of our discussion so timeless, but the techniques associated with quilting are so ancient that historians can’t trace a single isolated incident where quilting began. From the earliest civilizations that prepared textiles for clothing, the use of fabrics sewn or formed together was often done out of necessity before it emerged as an art form.

Quilts as we know them today were used on beds as far back as 14th Century Italy, where they depicted scenes from myths and sometimes religious references. Their intention remains the same: stay covered and cozy. For a full history of quilts, we did manage to find this rather comprehensive reference from Emporia University: https://www.emporia.edu/cgps/tales/quilte~1.html

So let’s fast forward to Christmas 2018. Manny Dylan strikes a perfect pastiche of Harpie’s favorite things- one being at the forefront of our minds in wintertime- including my blanket burrito-ing habits to stay warm. (Author’s Note: Harpie Lyn is always cold in winter.)

The significance of preparing a quilt as a gift is also rather timeless because of the aforementioned value of the handmade, the thoughtful, the sentimental, and the elaborate methodologies used to build a quilt that is uniquely representative of the recipient. Now, I’ve been blessed for 6 years to be the nerdy bestie of this strapping young sir, and I can attest that he’s outdone himself with this particular gift, especially as the Northeastern Corridor gets slammed with ice and snow this week.

Quilting by Jennifer, I want to extend my gratitude to you for the upkeep of a melleniae-long tradition of art and craft as well as for the loveliest, most custom-made gift I’ve ever received. We guarantee that your quilts will stand the test of time and surely, like quilts from our ancestors, this one is sure to  make excellent conversations as the years go by.

Stay curious & warm!