The Darkest Days Of The Les Paul (Kind Of)

When I got home from the mountain bike park yesterday I saw an email from a friend telling me to watch the above video. “Is that a P-90/humbucker combination in Schon’s Les Paul?” he asked. “I’ve never seen that.” My off-the-cuff response was, “Well, it’s a Les Paul BFG combo, just like my Les Paul Gator.” But that was an obviously ridiculous response because the BFG wasn’t introduced until twenty years after this video was filmed.

So I decided to do a little bit of Internet (and actual book!) research to find out what was going on. The answer ended up being a sort of Seventies synecdoche, incorporating various sorts of concepts and tropes — from guitar-as-tool to Boomer-driven-nostalgia-control to plain-and-simple corporate ignorance.

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In The Blood

John Mayer’s “The Search For Everything” has been released in its entirety. This is probably the standout track. Neither musically complicated nor particularly suited for Mayer’s range, it is nonetheless likely to stir the strongest emotions in its listeners. Lyrics and thoughts below.

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Spotter’s Guide To The April/May Issue Of CityScene Columbus Magazine

My long-time readers know that I can be very protective, even belligerent, when it comes to discussing the merits of an Ohio lifestyle. I was transplanted to the Midwest as a tween-ager and although I despised it in the early years I have come to believe that central Ohio is a good place to live and work. Twenty years’ worth of traveling the country and (occasionally) the world has only served to confirm me in this bigoted, insular Stockholm-syndrome opinion.

With that said, there are a few things I continue to truly hate about Ohio, and the cover of the newest CityScene magazine is a veritable tableau of them. This fellow knew that he was going to be photographed for a piece spotlighting various Columbus-area guitar collectors. He figured that this was the right time for an Ohio State golf visor, a Serbian-issue pullover, and the cheapest watch you can get off QVC between two and three in the morning. I spend much of my life surrounded by people exactly like this. “Male basic bitches” is what Mrs. Baruth calls them, and I have to agree. There is no time in your life when it’s a good idea to advertise that you went to “THE Ohio State University”, although I will concede my younger brother surely holds a different opinion.

Rest assured, however, that I have not chosen to spotlight this fine publication merely so I could express my disappointment with the cover.

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And Now For Some Actual Music From One Of Our Contributors

Let me start with some apologies — I should have put this up a month ago, but I’ve been on a continual treadmill of distraction. I have a couple very solid written contributions from the Riverside Green commenter/reader base as well that will be going up shortly. All I can ask is that all of you be patient with me. I work three jobs and I have the attention span of that lesbian fish in the crappy Disney movies.

The Memphis Motor Co. is a band that performs traditional Eighties-style synthpop. If you like Tears For Fears, Real Life, When In Rome, The Smiths, or anything from that era, you will dig this. One of their frontmen is an occasional correspondent of mine and Riverside Green reader. He gave me a scoop on their EP release a while back and I just sat on it because I wanted to give the music a thorough listen before putting it up here.

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I’m Listening To Music On Spotify And I’m Feeling Quite Guilty About It

I think just about everybody who reads Riverside Green is aware that I majored in Music in school—more specifically, I majored in Jazz Performance. When I was in school, the best textbooks I had were actually compact discs. I scrimped and saved from my part-time job to buy used CDs from “Used Kids Records” on High Street for anywhere from $5-7 apiece—new CDs were out of the question, financially. It was thanks to Used Kids that I learned about off-the-radar saxophonists like Mark Turner, Teodross Avery, Wessell Anderson, and Tim Warfield. I digested their musical vocabulary, transcribed their solos, and regurgitated my learnings through the bell of my horn.

I’ve spent hundreds and thousands of hours practicing the saxophone, writing music, and performing on stages throughout North America and Europe. I’ve been blessed to share stages with some of the biggest names in music. And, for several years, playing the brass bagpipes was how I (barely) paid the bills.

Which is why I’m incredibly conflicted every time that I open up my Spotify app.

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Robin Pecknold Is A (Major Contibutor To The) Genius (.com Music Website) But Maybe He Shouldn’t Be

I don’t like to look this fact square in the eye, but every day brings me more evidence that this entire world is simply a simulation created to keep my brain busy while my body generates electricity for the machines in the Matrix. How else can you explain the fact that several of my favorite musicians — Pat Metheny, Natalie Merchant, Sara Watkins, The Black Keys, and a few others — have all decided to leave their major distribution deals in the past few years and move to Nonesuch Records, my favorite label? It’s far too comfortable a coincidence.

Any doubt I harbored about this theory was depressingly dashed when the Fleet Foxes announced a reunion and a new album to be released on… you guessed it… Nonesuch. This is what video game designers think of as resource conservation. If I’m only interacting with one record label here in the “real world”, the others can kind of fade away into the background, the same way that many video games don’t bother to fully render objects until the player’s point of view focuses on them. Here’s another example of this: The less thought I give to BMW, the less distinct their new models become. It’s been ten years since I seriously considered the purchase of a new 7 Series. During that time, the car has basically faded into a generic shape. Am I right, or am I right? Don’t bother to answer; you only exist inside my head. If I need you to answer it will just happen.

Those of us who signed up for early delivery of the new Fleet Foxes album directly from Nonesuch have already received digital delivery of the the track Third Of May / Odaigahara. It’s an utterly brilliant song, sort of a Fleet Foxes Greatest Hits in just six minutes. As is often the case with the Foxes, the lyrics range from obscure to deliberately private. Not to worry; the website Genius.com exists specifically for people to offer their ideas and theories regarding a song’s meaning. And if you click the link directly above, you’ll be taken to the Genius site for this new track, and you will see that there are several notations that are, for lack of a better phrase, curiously authoritative.

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Introducing Esperanto Audio!

A $1,200 guitar cable. One thousand, two hundred dollars. That sounds insane. There is, however, a certain amount of logic to it. From a strict Veblen-good perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to connect a $15,000 PRS Private Stock guitar and a $10,000 boutique amp with even the nicest $65 Mogami Gold cable. But there’s more to it than that. Since the dawn of electric-guitar time, long cables have been a nightmare. They’re noisy and they actually modify the tone of the guitar.

My friend John Marks has solved these problems by applying the same outrageous materials and processes used in the audiophile world to the humble guitar cable. The precise length is calculate to minimize interference. The materials are all top shelf and roughly equivalent to what you’d get in the very highest-end copper audiophile cables. There’s an oiled wooden block on the amplifier end for reasons that still make no sense to me.

It’s bad-ass and it works better than FourLoko on a first date. Click the jump to see and hear it live.

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Still Like The Letters In Your Name

Wave Two Of “The Search For Everything” is out. This one takes a couple of listens to settle into the groove, which in the words, er, #hashtags of a YouTube commenter is “#unfuckwithable #GOAT”.

The cads and bounders of the world will enjoy the lyrics… this is the kind of song that you could use to start some real drama. Put it on a CD and mail it to the house that your ex-girlfriend shares with some faceless rando. I’m going to get right on that. As soon as I find a place that still sells blank CDs.

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Imaginary Cities

No reason not to take a quick break from weightier matters to discuss something more pleasant. Chris Potter is part of Pat Metheny’s Unity Band. Imaginary Cities is a personal project of his. It’s recorded on ECM and if you are a fan of the label’s predisposition towards airy, abstract jazz recordings then you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great album to listen to when you’re trying to get some (mental) work done. More information here.

“I’ll Keep My Word And My Seat”

John Mayer’s four-song EP is out now. One of the songs is brilliant, two are forgettable, and one is a mashup of other great songs, consciously and ironically performed. I think this is the brilliant one. If you can’t think of at least one woman when you hear this song, you’re dead inside. Lyrics after the jump.

A great big bang and dinosaurs
Fiery rain and meteors
It all ends unfortunately
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
Just wait and see

Parts of me were made by you
And planets keep their distance too
The moon’s got a grip on the sea
And you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
It’s your destiny

Life is full of sweet mistakes
And love’s an honest one to make
Time leaves no fruit on the tree
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
It’s just meant to be

And when the pastor asks the pews
For reasons he can’t marry you
I’ll keep my word and my seat
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
Just wait and see