Jeff ($5 SPECIAL)

SKU: EK86941
Label:
Epic
Category:
Fusion
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""If the voice don't say it, the guitar will play it," raps Saffron on "Pork-U-Pine," the third track on Jeff Beck's minimally titled Jeff. And he does. Beck teams with producer Andy Wright, the man responsible for his more complete immersion into electronic backdrops on his last outing, You Had It Coming. This time the transition is complete. Beck used electronica first on Who Else!, moved a little more into the fire on You Had It Coming, and here merges his full-on Beck-Ola guitar heaviness with the sounds of contemporary spazz-out big beats and noise. Beck and Wright employ Apollo 440 on "Grease Monkey" and "Hot Rod Honeymoon," and use a number of vocalists, including the wondrously gifted Nancy Sorrell, on a host of tracks, as well as the London Session Orchestra on others (such as "Seasons," where hip-hop, breakbeats, and old-school Tangerine Dream sequencing meet the guitarist's deep blues and funk-drenched guitar stylings). As for atmospherics, David Torn (aka producer Splattercell) offers a shape-shifting mix of glitch tracks on "Plan B" for Beck to wax on both acoustically and electrically, and make them weigh a ton. But it's on cuts like "Trouble Man," a purely instrumental big drum and guitar skronk workout, where Beck truly shines here. With a rhythm section of Dean Garcia and Steve Barney -- and Tony Hymas appears as well -- Beck goes completely overboard: the volume screams and the sheer crunch of his riffs and solos split the rhythm tracks in two, then four, and finally eight, as he turns single-string runs into commentaries on everything from heavy metal to East Indian classical music.

The industrial crank and burn of "Grease Monkey" is an outing fraught with danger for the guitarist, who has to whirl away inside a maelstrom of deeply funky noise -- and Beck rides the top of the wave into dirty drum hell and comes out wailing. For those who feel they need a dose of Beck's rootsier and bluesier playing, there is one, but the context is mentally unglued. "Hot Rod Honeymoon" is a drum and bass sprint with Beck playing both slide and Texas-style blues à la Albert Collins, letting the strings bite into the beats. The vocals are a bit cheesy, but the entire track is so huge it's easy to overlook them. "Line Dancing With Monkeys" has a splintered Delta riff at its core, but it mutates, shifts, changes shape, and becomes the kind of spooky blues that cannot be made with conventional instruments. His turnarounds into the myopic rhythms provide a kind of menacing foil to their increasing insistence in the mix. Before gabber-style drum and bass threaten to break out of the box, Beck's elongated bent-note solos tame them. "JB's Blues" is the oddest thing here because it's so ordinary; it feels like it belongs on an updated Blow By Blow. In all this is some of the most emotionally charged and ferocious playing of Beck's career. Within the context of contemporary beatronica, Beck flourishes. He find a worthy opponent to tame in the machines, and his ever-present funkiness is allowed to express far more excess than restraint. This is as fine a modern guitar record as you are ever going to hear." - All Music Guide

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  • One of the great hard rock albums of the 70s.  After Uli Jon Roth left the band he was replaced by Matthias Jabs.  His guitar technique was far removed from the neoclassical stylings of Roth, taking a more traditional hard rock/melodic metal approach.  Returning to the fold is Rudi's brother Michael Schenker.  With streamlined songwriting it all comes together.  A non-stop killer.
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  • "These days, it is one thing just to be able to release an album given the current state of the music business. However, to release said band’s best material while trying to pin down a job, scrap together some funds, have a family, maintain a “normal life” and deal with record companies with a 2014 “business model” is a whole other thing all together.Most bands know that the gold at the end of this rainbow, through all the hard work and creativity, is merely deeming albums a “labor of love” and hope and pray they get enough gigs to make it “worth it” even with vast monetary loss. So is the life of A Sound of Thunder – a snapshot of a hard working band that is both the current and future of this business. Blessed with immense talent upswing that garners a “legion of thunder” to quickly reach crowdsourcing campaign goals, it is actually hard to take any record company offers seriously. Whether or not the band made a pact with the seven princes of hell, “The Lesser Key of Solomon” is A Sound Of Thunder's best work to date and a sleeper album of the year that should not go unnoticed.In stark contrast to “Time’s Arrow” (which listening back now almost sounds Cro-Magnon by comparison), “The Lesser Key of Solomon,” pushes the band in a much more progressive and mature direction over a bed of gleefully evil lyrical content. The style is a unique combination of progressive rock, 90’s W.A.S.P. and an overly obvious dose of eerie King Diamond. Oddly enough, when the Kickstarter edition of opening track “Udoroth” was issued to backers, it was a real stripped down pure metal song in the “Queen of Hell” vein and seemed way more basic metal than what the band has been releasing in recent years. However, when the completed album version hit my stereo it was as if it had been transformed. Choirs, sound clips, and added vocal parts have expanded it into way more than the simple barbaric nature of the pre-release.With longer songs and higher levels of progression all around, “The Lesser Key of Solomon” presents the band's most complex material to date – with a foursome of tracks in “The Boy Who Could Fly,” “Elijah,” “Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb,” and “House of Bones” that stand up to any album released this year and back. “Elijah” is near 10 minutes with so many flowing parts it could really be divided into three separate and distinct tracks, but it is just so damn perfect linked together.Guitarist Josh Schwartz has perfected his craft over the years and each album presents an ever growing talent. On “Lesser” there is more exploration with bluesy styles alongside the usual butchering riffs and soaring, engaging solos that have propelled him into one of the best out there. Sadly though, he is still under the radar of most of the world. Check out the guitar emoting on “Black Secrets” and “House of Bones.” Backed up by the monster rhythm section of drummer Chris Haren and bassist Jesse Keen, the musicianship is absurdly fantastic.Vocalist Nina Osegueda has blossomed into one of the leading front women in the business today (and if you haven’t heard….shame on you). You won’t hear an operatic droning or any glitzy bubble gum pop metal infused vocals that are all the rage in Scandinavia these days. What you get is ass kicking, bold, face-punching power. On “Lesser,” Osegueda really expands her “softer side” (shown last on “Time’s Arrow” favorite “I’ll Walk With You”). Check out the performances on “One Empty Grave” and “Lesser” favorite “The Boy Who Can Fly,” with just the perfect amount of emotion to draw listeners into the same feeling. On top of all that, Nina has clearly re-stumbled upon the King Diamond back catalog, for she adds a huge dose of creepy “sing song-telling” in tracks like “Elijah” (check out 7:34-7:50 for example).Armed with the knowledge that the next album is already nearly completed… I can’t even imagine where this talented U.S. act will take its musical direction. “The Lessor Key of Solomon” already represents the best material the band has released to date, which is exactly how I felt with “Time’s Arrow.” The constant drive to be better coupled with perfect execution makes "The Lesser Key Of Solomon" easily rank among the elite albums released in 2014. Skipping over this album would be a real disservice to truly inspiring and independent music." - Metal Underground
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  • Its been six years since the last release from this Louisiana band.  Years ago I mentioned how much they sound like Porcupine Tree.  Well not a lot has changed in this respect.  If you are a fan of Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree you'll find that Abigail's Ghost drinks from the same well.  In fact, of all the bands that bear the musicial DNA of Mr. Wilson, I would say that Abigail's Ghost do it the best.  So getting this out of the way I'm pleased to say that Black Plastic Sun is the band's best work.  Its what contemporary progressive music should be.  Melodic through out with room for stunning solos.  Overall the album is very dynamic - a nice contrast of heavy guitar driven music and heartfelt balladry.  This is not your father's prog.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • Kick ass new band from Sweden who owe a strong debt to Captain Beyond.  The music is hard driving blues based hard rock with a definite retro feel.  Expensive but worth it!"No doubt Sweden's Captain Crimson were influenced by legendary '70s band Captain Beyond, deciding to name their debut album after the classic track "Dancing Madly Backwards" from that bands self titled debut in 1972. Otherwise though, Dancing Madly Backwards is another great Swedish retro ride, as so many bands from that country are doing a fine job of keeping those '70s sounds alive.Despite the band name and CD title obviously tipping their hat to Captain Beyond, the lads from Captain Crimson also tap into the vibe of such acts as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster, Mountain, Cactus, UFO, Pentagram, Leaf Hound, Grand Funk Railroad, The Doors, and Humble Pie, as well as fellow Swedish acts Graveyard and Witchcraft. Loads of vintage fuzz-toned guitar riffs and solos abound, especially on the thick & muscular "River", the doomy "Lonely Devils Club", and the heavy blues-rock of "Mountain of Sleep". The band delivers some melancholy hard rock/blues on the poignant "Don't Take Me For a Fool", while "Autumn" brings to mind the early, aggressive garage rock of the MC5 and Grand Funk Railroad, complete with raucous, distorted guitar & bass riffs that scream 1969. "Wizard's Bonnet" is vintage sounding heavy rock complete with blistering lead guitar and meaty riffs, while "Silver Moon" and "True Color" could have easily been leftovers from Deep Purple's In Rock album, minus the Hammond organ. The closing title track has some wonderful Black Sabbath styled power chords over intricate rhythms, and the lead vocals have plenty of attitude, which in fact can be said about the entire album.Dancing Madly Backwards is a fun filled ride down memory lane, as Captain Crimson bring back images and sounds of so many great hard rock acts of the past, and do so in a convincing manner. You'll be headbanging and playing air guitar to this entire album, I promise you. Another winner from the folks at Transubstand/Record Heaven" - Sea Of Tranquility
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  • Edison's Children is a collaborative project between Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas and American guitarist Eric Blackwood. The music has a laid back, melancholy feel going more for emotional slam that cerebral intricacies. The supporting cast is worth taking notice - all the members of Marillion are here as well as Andy Ditchfield of DeeExpus as well as Fish's guitarist Robin Boult.
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  • "By titling their third album Fear of Music and opening it with the African rhythmic experiment "I Zimbra," complete with nonsense lyrics by poet Hugo Ball, Talking Heads make the record seem more of a departure than it is. Though Fear of Music is musically distinct from its predecessors, it's mostly because of the use of minor keys that give the music a more ominous sound. Previously, David Byrne's offbeat observations had been set off by an overtly humorous tone; on Fear of Music, he is still odd, but no longer so funny. At the same time, however, the music has become even more compelling. Worked up from jams (though Byrne received sole songwriter's credit), the music is becoming denser and more driving, notably on the album's standout track, "Life During Wartime," with lyrics that match the music's power. "This ain't no party," declares Byrne, "this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around." The other key song, "Heaven," extends the dismissal Byrne had expressed for the U.S. in "The Big Country" to paradise itself: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." It's also the album's most melodic song. Those are the highlights. What keeps Fear of Music from being as impressive an album as Talking Heads' first two is that much of it seems to repeat those earlier efforts, while the few newer elements seem so risky and exciting. It's an uneven, transitional album, though its better songs are as good as any Talking Heads ever did." - Allmusic Guide
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  • "RCA Records released Live at the Fillmore East in April 1998, nearly 30 years after it was recorded. At the time, Jefferson Airplane was coming down from the peak of Takes Off, Surrealistic Pillow and After Bathing at Baxter's, and they were performing material form their forthcoming record, Crown of Creation. In other words, they were at a peak, and the record has a raw, exciting energy that illustrates why the group were considered one of the greatest bands of their era." - Allmusic Guide
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  • UK band Touchstone take a surprising (at least to my ears) turn in a heavier direction.  While I would never call this full on metal, mixing engineer John Mitchell decided to turn their guitar up a notch.  Some good crunchy guitar bits through out the album.  The band was never a complex prog band.  Touchstone always had a melodic sensibility touching on AOR and neo-prog.  There is a symphonic element that keeps the music rooted in the prog world but you can tell that this is a band that is looking to cross over into other genres.  Their strongest asset remains vocalist Kim Seviour , who along with Leslie Hunt is one of the best female vocalists in the prog world."Returning once more to confound listeners and music reviewers alike, such as yours truly, with their ever evolving and pleasing neo-prog is England's Touchstone with their fourth long player, Oceans Of Time. Dare say, for their benefit, it's hard to pigeonhole Touchstone's sound. Is it hard rock? AOR? Progressive rock? Yes and then some, and it's not necessarily all that confounding really.However, I might say that Oceans Of Time could be their most 'proggy' album to date. If anything, the songs are quite varied, visiting old territory and exploring the new. Touchstone also returns to some familiar themes. The title track continues the Wintercoast story, and Shadow's End wraps up the Shadows trilogy begun on Discordant Dreams.These songs are also good examples of the strong progressive nature of the album, with Touchstone throwing curves to your ears. Yet Oceans Of Time will also sound more like familiar Touchstone as well. The musical canvas is quite grand lavished with layers of instrumentation, notably Hodgson's guitar and Cottingham's keyboards. Flux is another fine example of Touchstone's exotic musical brew. It's got some hard rock chops mixed with the prog, and then, about the three minute mark, it calms down. Synths stir, then Kim Seviour's vocals arrive, and the arrangement swells to sweet crescendo. It's one of best moments of the album.Other highlights include the bass and drum lines of Contact, a moody piece where Seviour's voice is alluring and graceful; the clever drumming within Fragments, possibly the closest thing to straight melodic rock song here; and, Spirit of the Age, a song with balancing lighter moments with heavier ones, and Seviour at her most sublime. Touchstone is band that keeps evolving and getting better, and so is always interesting and entertaining. Oceans Of Time is well recommended." - Dangerdog.com
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  • Remastered edition with 3 unreleased demos."Although punk rock's furious revolution threatened to overthrow rock's old guard in 1977, bands like Foreigner came along and proved that there was plenty of room in the marketplace for both the violent, upstart minimalism of punk and the airbrushed slickness of what would be called "arena rock." Along with Boston, Journey, Heart, and others, Foreigner celebrated professionalism over raw emotion. And, looking back, it's easy to see why they sold millions; not everyone in the world was pissed off, dissatisfied with the economy, or even necessarily looking for a change. In fact, for most suburban American teens, Foreigner's immaculate rock sound was the perfect soundtrack for cruising through well-manicured neighborhoods in their Chevy Novas. The album spawned some of the biggest FM hits of 1977, including the anthemic "Feels Like the First Time" and "Cold as Ice," both of which were anchored -- like most of Foreigner's songs -- by the muscular but traditional riffing of guitarist Mick Jones, the soaring vocals of Lou Gramm, and the state-of-the-art rock production values of the day, which allowed the band to sound hard but polished. As pure rock craftsmanship goes, Foreigner was as good as it got in the late '70s." - All Music Guide
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  • Second album from this incredible fusion trio from North Carolina will blow your skull off.  Trioscapes consists of Between The Buried And Me bassist Dan Briggs and Walter Fancourt (tenor sax/flute), and Matt Lynch (drums).  Don't let the absence of keys or guitar throw you.  This is mild altering, high energy fusion. You get the chops from hell, tripped out soundscapes, and head throttling melodies.  And that's just the first tune!!!  Utterly lethal.  BUY OR DIE!!"Much of what can conceivable be written of Trioscapes‘ most recent album Digital Dream Sequence is exactly what could be written about their previous offering Separate Realities.Musicians, jazz musicians particularly, may spit their coffee all over their keyboards on reading that, apopleptic and petulant – pointing out that where the previous album was underpinned by Ionic mode progressions, that this one is rooted in the Chromatic (or somesuch muso guff). Suffice to say that, as with Separate Realities, Digital Dream Sequence does not cling to homely pentatonic melodies or major chord, 4/4 song structures.It is a surprising and joyful departure from the predictable, which would be easy to describe as mind-expanding if it did not so closely follow its predecessor in structure and feel.As it is, there are a few physical embellishments to the formula worth noting, but not many. Keyboard fills (or what sounds like keyboards – what Dan Briggs can do with a bass guitar and effects pedals can be confusing at times) bring an extra accent to the pieces, as well as atmospheric depth on, say, the opening sequence of ‘From the Earth to the Moon’. On that track, the use of keyboard wash with a glockenspiel voice is foregrounded in something that tips a hat to Pink Floyd’s exploration of moon themes, before it takes off into something more definitely Trioscapes in its saxophone/bass/percussion attack. The track goes on to finish with an outro that co-opts much of the main theme from Tubular Bells.Keys, elsewhere on Digital Dream Sequence, play a role more to do with sound dynamics than with song structure – they fill a gap in the lower mids that is left between Walter Fancourt’s flute and alto saxophone moments.To state outright that this album sounds like Separate Realities is misleading though – there is much in the way of progression to note, and a gelling of roles between band members who have, onstage and in the studio, found a way to fit their individual talents into a group dynamic. Although there were moments of more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts alchemy on the earlier album, they were rarer than they are on Digital Dream Sequence. The latter has more raw groove, embeds moments of individual technical dexterity into the compositions less abruptly, and overall displays a more comfortable fusion (arg – that word!) between the funk and metal aesthetics that comprise the Trioscapes recipe.Of that curious mix, the mention of both Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield above may offer some clue – there is a smattering of prog rock reference on Digital Dream Sequence (the intro to final track ‘The Jungle’ particularly) which opens a world of musical territory to the trio. Particularly the rhythms of Mali, which fascinated prog musicians for much of the 80s. Or perhaps that is too fanciful (jazz and funk have, historically, a more direct conduit to African rhythms than anything channeled through prog, after all).Nevertheless, that final track, once one has re-accustomed the ear to the Trioscapes tag-team approach to rhythm, tension and controlled saxophone madness, throbs with a primal, sweaty and utterly invigorating energy that transcends jazz, funk, metal or rock and is its own glorious creation.Which is something that never quite happened on Separate Realities (and bear in mind that Separate Realities was chosen by this reviewer as the album of 2012). This time Trioscapes have thrown off the anxiety of influence, have coalesced their individual contributions into a smoother whole, and have dug deeply to find an immense gravitronic groove.It’s a throbbing monster of an album." - Trebuchet Magazine
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  • A Liquid Landscape from The Netherlands is a bit of a departure for The Laser's Edge. Their slice of post-progressive music has a contemporary edge that finds them sitting alongside bands like Dredg, Anathema, and Porcupine Tree. The band has been a live act for several years and shared the stage with bands like Karnivool (AUS), Anathema (UK),Thrice (US) and Riverside (Poland).During the past year the band also was a finalist at the prestigious annual Dutch Grand Prize contest and on top of that they had 3 sold out Noorderzon gigs, featuring a stunning visual show.With all the material they had written, the band reached out to Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Helmet). Forrester liked the material a lot and he agreed on mixing the album and doing some production work as well.‘Nightingale Express’ is a concept album. This inspired moviemaker Lex Vesseur to make a short movie with music from the album. He also made the artwork and the visuals for the live show. So both the music and the film return in an interactive rock show with a live VJ.Washed up, tired and staggering across a beach in the early hours of the morning. Somewhere in the twilight between desperation and surrender, there is still a glimmer of hope. That sense that everything will be alright, no matter what the odds are. This is what A Liquid Landscape sounds like. 
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