Guestbook › full update on new Bolts of Melody Recording
July 30, 2008 at 11:28 am #1138542bradsearsKeymaster
We’ve been recording the new ‘Adam Franklin’ album and loving how it’s
sounding – it’s the best record I’ve made, and that’s regardless of
the fact that the latest is always the favourite. The band, Bolts of
Melody, have all been playing blinders and the album has a big, warm
sound and a killer combination of tunes, riffs, wood ‘n’ metal
melodies and electronic signals.
It’s not ever so often you find yourself recording two albums
back-to-back and the fact that the Bolts of Melody and Magnetic
Morning sessions have come straight after stepping off the
Swervedriver tour and letting rip on stage for a month has meant that
one’s “ripping capacities” have been finely tuned!
The Toronto recording session went really well. We tracked all guitars
and keys and we got some cracking sounds – there are some fucking
heavy guitars on there. Actually there are electric guitar sounds of
all shades, nice crunchy acoustics and warm piano and wurlitzer.
We had already recorded the drums in London before the Swerve tour –
Sophia’s Robin Proper-Sheppard supervised getting Jeff Townsin’s drums
down at the Joint in King’s Cross. Jeff, who of course played drums in
Bolts of Melody on the last tour, was in sterling form as always and
nailed 11 songs in 3 days and Robin got it sounding really warm and
kinda ‘woody’ ha ha. It’s all about the warmth and the wood!
Resident Bolts of Melody members Ley Taylor, Josh Stoddard and myself
entered The Lincoln County Social Club
(www.myspace.com/thelincolncountysocialclub) which is this really
chipper little studio space in the Liberty Village part of Toronto, an
area similar to Dumbo in New York or how the East End got developed in
London, in that it’s an old factory/warehouse type of area that’s
rapidly becoming gentrified and ‘condominiumized’.
John Dinsmore, studio owner, also runs Capsule Music in Toronto, the
best vintage guitar store in town and so his studio has plenty of
goodies hanging from the walls, including $12000 dollars worth of a
beautiful Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman and some great
acoustic guitars – a Gibson J-45 and a J-50 specifically. We recorded
a Rickenbacker twelve playing notes in unison with the piano; the
Danelectro baritone made an appearance on this kinda French-sounding
tune and a Dobro was recorded, one note at a time, mixed with a
harpsichord in order to enter Scottwalker Soundworld.
A lot of the electric was Fender Jazzmaster through Vox AC30 expertly
mic’ed by Josh. There’s nothing quite like that combo for me. I was
playing through a Matchless/Marshall combo on the recent Swervedriver
tour but only because we couldn’t get a hold of a reliable AC30 and a
Matchless can be more sturdy and reliable. As great as those amps are
though, they still come a distant second to a fully functioning AC30.
I think you just have to get used to the quirks of amps and guitars.
The Gretsch was an absolute gem – somehow combining a
Rickenbacker-like chime with a Les Paul-esque growl – but the bottom E
string would pop out from the bridge from time to time, as it will
with a Jazzmaster.
If you’ll allow me to get really boring and technical here, for a
paragraph or two – this string popping out business is mostly to do
with the angle at which the strings hit the bridge from that long
stretch over the tremelo tailpiece – both guitars have that superlong
stretch behind the bridge that’s perfect for making chiming sounds
between actual chords. I personally wouldn’t modify these guitars’
bridges though – the string pops out, you just better pop it back in
again before the chorus kicks in!
Some of Sonic Youth’s Jazzmasters are modified to a degree – mostly
streamlining of the internal electronics – but I was talking with
another Jazzmaster aficionado Nels Cline recently about the
out-of-phase buzz that’s there on each and every Jazzmaster. And
whether it belongs to Thurston Moore, J Mascis, Costello, Verlaine,
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