KickDrums on Their Own

Aug 1, 2011, By Sarah Benzuly

Producers Alex Fitts and Matt Penttila, under the nom de plume KickDrums, had to turn the mirror back on themselves. The same critical eye and creativity used to create beats and tracks for the likes of 50 Cent, Kid Cudi and John Legend was put into play for their own release, Meet Your Ghost. While working on other artists’ material, the duo began to build the songs, fusing hip-hop tones with rock melodies. Working in their own personal studios in New York City, the two would mostly swap tracks with each other, coming together to work in Fitts’ space ...

Smashing Pumpkins in Pre-Production

Aug 1, 2011, By Sarah Benzuly

When Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan came into Coldwater Studio (Beverly Hills), he had 30-plus songs but whittled that number down during a month of pre-production for their upcoming album, Oceania. “The studio is situated in a guest house so we were able to jam in a comfortable room with lots of light that faced a pool,” says studio head engineer Kevin Dippold, who works with owner/producer Kerry Brown. “When Billy was happy with a particular arrangement, we’d move into the studio section of the guest house to do a quick acoustic guitar demo. ...

Vanessa Carlton's 'Rabbits on the Run'

Aug 1, 2011, By Matt Gallagher

Singer/songwriter/pianist Vanessa Carlton’s fourth studio album, Rabbits on the Run (Razor & Tie), marks her first collaboration with UK-based producer Steve Osborne. “After my last record [Heroes & Thieves, 2008], I was out of juice,” Carlton says. She found creative rejuvenation in listening to the music she grew up with, on vinyl. “I loved those records! It was clear: This is how I want to make my records.” She describes Rabbits on the Run as “the most clear-minded and pure reflection of my sense of music that I’ve ever been able to achieve. It’s also the most collaborative because everyone was so clear about what it was going to sound like.” ...

Preserving Culture at WAM

Aug 1, 2011, By Matt Gallagher

Non-profit Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) recorded a trio of master Mongolian musicians, with funding from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. WAM founder and chief engineer Terri Winston oversaw the tracking sessions with engineer Jenny Thornburg, while Thornburg mixed the album at WAM; Michael Romanowski completed mastering at his facility. “They have to be recorded together and have really close sightlines,...

Music: Graham Wright's Solo Offshoot

Jul 1, 2011, By Sarah Benzuly

What started out as demos turned into a full-fledged solo album. Tokyo Police Club keyboardist Graham Wright has always had songs percolating in his brain—even before TPC was formed—and he finally got his chance. Working again with TPC engineers Jay Sadlow and Dean Marino, Wright snatched whatever free time he had (and cash, as he was self-funding this project) and headed into Chemical Sound (Toronto), Sadlow and Marino’s studio. “I basically started recording songs with Dean and Jay in the beginning of 2009, but I thought I was making demos,” Wright recalls. “I had written a bunch of songs and I wanted to do something with them. We recorded two songs each day, and when I sent [the demos] to my manager, he said, ‘They sound like you’re making proper recordings.’ So from them on, it became more [a full album].” ...

Music: Taking Back Sunday

Jul 1, 2011, By Sarah Benzuly

Released in late June, Taking Back Sunday’s self-titled fifth studio album marks the return of the band’s original lineup from their 2002 debut, Tell All Your Friends. Vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist Eddie Reyes and drummer Mark O’Connell reunited with vocalist/guitarist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper, who departed the band in 2003. And from the way Nolan recalls their reunion, it was all O’Connell’s idea. “As things were winding down for Taking Back Sunday and their last album cycle,” Nolan says, “he started talking to Eddie and Adam about this idea [of reuniting the band] and then got in contact with Sean and I. Everyone was pretty skeptical about it at first—of whether or not this was going to work—but everyone was open and we started reconnecting and talking again, and then little by little, it led to us getting back together again.” ...

'Rave On Buddy Holly'

Jul 1, 2011, By Barbara Schultz

No one can say what styles of music rock ’n’ roll icon Buddy Holly might have recorded had he lived to see his 75th birthday this year. Would he have been into New York art-punk when Lou Reed and Patti Smith came along? The electronic blues of Florence and The Machine? The neo-soul of Cee Lo Green? No telling, but we do know that these artists and countless other have been inspired by all the music Holly put out before he died at age 22. ...

Classic Tracks: The Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein"

Jul 1, 2011

Alhough multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter originally had strong interests in science and engineering, the success of his blues-minded brother, Johnny Winter, changed that. At Johnny Winter’s behest, Edgar Winter played on his brother’s albums and performed in gigs in between sets at his brother’s shows. ...

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