Here is the best music we heard in the past year. Most, but not all, of Howie’s picks were released in 2018. Cory will explain his picks below.
Top 14 (in random order)
Condor – Unstoppable Power (2017)
Hiss Golden Messenger – Hallelujah Anyhow (2017)
Judas Priest – Painkiller (1990)
Robyn – Honey
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Sparkle Hard
Need to check out:
Low – Double Negative (which almost certainly would have made the main list if I had spent more time with it)
Below will be a sorta goofy list from your main man Cory, on account of we had a baby in late 2017 that was supposed to come out of my wife in February of 2018, so it was an “early surprise family baby.” (Howie was there when it all went down; ask him about the howls!)
That meant I was AWOL for the year-end list in 2017, for the first time… so now I have to be extra WOL this year.
Well anyway, this post is going well so far and it’s just the beginning. Here’s some stuff I got excited about this year (and maybe last year! ):
Carried three projects across the finish line last weekend (and currently am working on some others):
From left to right:
Drew’s late-’90s black Russian EHX Big Muff (a version 7 per Kit Rae, if I recall). This thing sounds amazing; medium gain for a Muff, not too scooped in the mids. It wasn’t working at all; replacing the footswitch got it going, plus I modded it to accept external power (originals are battery-only), flipped the PCB around (originals are mounted backwards), and got the original knobs back on. The pot shafts are all in various stages of bended-ness and the pots could fail any time, so this is a studio piece. It’ll be sad when they do because the shafts are narrow, and the cool knobs only fit on those shafts, so when the time comes for replacing the pots it will probably need new knobs
Malekko Helium octave fuzz/distortion. I modded the input cap, selectable via the toggle toward the lower left on the side, which makes it a lot more useable in live performance and tracking. Sounds great for single-note riffs but has been limited to studio use; I think this mod might earn it a permanent place on my board!
Mr. Furious Audio Inverting JFET amplifier. My Mars Lights bass sound (GK pickup > Boss OC-20 > EHX POG > Music Man Sixty-Five) is out of phase with my Orange amp, so I built a simple inverting near-unity-gain (slight boost) JFET stage pedal to run in the bass signal path to put it back in phase. Sounds like almost nothing on its own, but the whole rig sounds better when the speakers push and pull at the same time