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Tag: Rock (11-20 of 571)

The original Gibson Les Paul prototype is going up for auction

After decades of being wielded by Jimmy Page, Slash, Neil Young, and nearly every major guitarist of the electric era, the Gibson Les Paul guitar has become such a rock totem that it can be difficult to believe all those thousands upon thousands of instruments were based on one original prototype. There was one, though: an all-black model gold hardware that the guitarist Les Paul played (and tinkered with) regularly from the time Gibson delivered it in 1953 until 1976, when he handed it off to his friend and personal luthier Tom Doyle.

On Feb. 19, that first Les Paul guitar will go to auction for the first time ever at New York auction house Guernsey’s, alongside some other gear formerly owned by Paul and another important prototype—Chet Atkins’s original Gretsch 6120, also known as “Dark Eyes.” Considering the Les Paul’s iconic stature and figures people have recently laid out for classic rock artifacts, it’s likely to bring in far more money than most guitarists will see in a lifetime.

Fall Out Boy drops latest arena-rocking single 'Irresistible'

With the music industry currently obsessed with the idea of finding new ways of sneaking up on people with surprise full-length albums by platinum-selling artists, Fall Out Boy’s method of promoting its upcoming album American Beauty/American Psycho—by releasing a generous handful of singles before an album release date set several months in advance—seems almost bracingly old school.

It seems to be working, though. “Centuries,” which the band released back in September well before it had even announced their plans for the follow-up to its successful 2013 comeback effort Save Rock and Roll, is currently sitting at a respectable No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2014: The six best metal albums of the year

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How good was the metal slate in 2014? In making up this annual list of the six best albums of the year (because six is, of course, the most evil and thus most metal number), I realized that Mastodon, one of my favorite bands, put out an excellent album called Once More Round the Sun that didn’t make the cut. Once More Round the Sun is a delightfully fuzzy, tightly-wound bit of groovy sludge, but in my mind it fell short of the albums below.

But those are the kinds of problems you want to have when putting together year-end lists. There was so much amazingly fantastic loud rock in 2014, and it came from all corners of the world in dozens upon dozens of different forms. On the list below, there’s the epic sprawl of doom, the jackhammering intensity of black metal, prog-kissed math metal, and good old-fashioned death from two good old-fashioned crews.

So with apologies to Mastodon, YOB, the Atlas Moth, Triptykon, Witch Mountain, Thou, the Oath, Agalloch, Demonic Resurrection, Coffinworm, and Indian, here are the six best metal albums of the year. READ FULL STORY

Q and A with Po Powell, the Hipgnosis photographer behind iconic album covers

When Aubrey “Po” Powell and Storm Thorgerson designed their first album cover back in 1968, they weren’t planning on redefining the industry—they just wanted to create a cover for their flatmates’ first album that wasn’t utterly boring. (Album covers those days mainly consisted of text and, maybe, a straightforward picture of the band members.) But Powell and Thorgerson’s friends became rock stars by the name of Pink Floyd—and they themselves became Hipgnosis, the visionary design collective behind the most iconic album covers of the late ’60s, ’70s, and early ’80s. AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Police, Genesis, The Who and Paul McCartney are just a few of the artists they worked with.

Hipgnosis’ photography was unlike anything ever done before—surreal, captivating, psychedelic, sometimes shocking and often humorous.(Head over to our gallery Hipgnosis: 13 Snaps from the Photo/Design Studio’s Vault to see some prime examples.) They staged extravagant, emotionally charged photo shoots both on location and in-studio—and manipulated film in the editing room to create eye-catching imagery before the days of Photoshop. Hipgnosis Portraits is a collection of both these seminal album covers and the lost photo shoots, as well as the stories behind them—working intimately with the bands to conceive and execute their creative visions.

EW talked to Po Powell, the only living member of Hipgnosis, about the inspirations behind the art—and some of his craziest memories of working with today’s rock legends in their heydays.
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The Dead Ships head outdoors in their new 'Canyon' video

For the new video for their single “Canyon,” garage trio the Dead Ships takes a rather literal route, juxtaposing shots of some of L.A.’s less scenic aspects with the band playing in the craggy nature that surrounds the city, where an out-of-place-looking hipster pays penance for getting into some romantic shenanigans. Somehow it’s a fitting visual accompaniment to a punchy, affably ragged song that sounds like the Strokes if they’d reinvented themselves as a folk punk band.

“Canyon” will appear on an as-yet-untitled EP produced by Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, due out next spring.

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Jimmy Kimmel and Brandon Flowers reveal the secrets behind the Killers' 'Joel the Lump of Coal'

Since 2006, the Killers have celebrated the Yuletide season with original Christmas songs, some of which are among the finest tunes in the band’s catalog. (“A Great Big Sled” is a particular standout.) Not only do they help rock fans get into the spirit of the season, but all of the proceeds from single sales go to benefit (RED).

This year is no different, though they called in some reinforcements with their 2014 holiday tune “Joel the Lump of Coal.” The song was co-written by Jimmy Kimmel, who premiered the video last week on his late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! The song is a sweet, funny, and surprisingly melancholy new take on a Christmas song, and both Kimmel and Killers frontman Brandon Flowers called EW to talk about their collaboration, which you can download on iTunes right now.

EW: Brandon, how did the Killers first get involved in making Christmas songs? 
BRANDON FLOWERS: This is the ninth year we’ve done a Christmas song. Bono and Bobby Shriver have this (RED) campaign, and they started about that time, nine or 10 years ago. They asked me if I wanted to do a Gap ad, and at the time I was feeling a little too cool to do a Gap ad. So I declined sort of reluctantly, because when Bono asks you to do something, you don’t want to say no. But I had this other idea: AIDS Day is Dec. 1, and it’s Christmas time, so what if we gave you a Christmas song? And then it just became a tradition. READ FULL STORY

AC/DC's Angus Young on the band's first show and why he needs teleportation technology

Next year, AC/DC will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first album the only way the band knows how: With a new album, Rock or Bust, and a forthcoming world tour that promises to be as big and loud as the box office-busting trek they went on a few years back in support of 2008’s Black Ice.

Rock or Bust may be a high-octane, party-hard collection of monster jams, but the men of AC/DC are no strangers to real world adversity—be it the death of original singer Bon Scott, the health issues that have forced guitarist Malcolm Young to step away from the band, or the recent legal woes of drummer Phil Rudd. But none of that will deter AC/DC—especially lead guitarist Angus Young, who has four decades of rock and roll under his belt because he has stuck to his guns (and his signature schoolboy outfit). He sat down with EW to talk about the new album, the recent upheavals, and why he always keeps an eye on the sky during “Hell’s Bells.”

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Inside Light in the Attic Records, the vinyl-loving crate-digger's favorite label

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In 1968, Barbara Lynn was riding high. A gifted young blues guitarist and songwriter whose compositions had already been covered by Otis Redding and the Rolling Stones, the Beaumont, Tex., native had just signed with Atlantic Records to release her major-label debut, Here Is Barbara Lynn. Though it spawned the radio hit “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” and landed her an extended tour with B.B. King, it wasn’t the success Atlantic had hoped for. By the mid-1970s, a disillusioned Lynn had mostly withdrawn from the industry to raise her family—and Here was essentially lost to history.

Fast-forward four decades, and cue the entrance of Matt Sullivan. In 2002 the then-26-year-old founded Light in the Attic Records, a label whose raison d’être is resurrecting forgotten classics for a new generation of vinyl fetishists and crate diggers. “When they called, I was amazed,” says Lynn, now 72, via phone from her Beaumont home. “I feel so good about these songs. I didn’t think anybody was still thinking about me.”

Here Is Barbara Lynn is the latest in a series of some 150 eclectic reissues put out by the Seattle-bred boutique label. READ FULL STORY

From our contributors: Dan Morrissey's country concept album 'Disgraceland'

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EW copy chief Dan Morrissey is a master storyteller on Disgraceland, an album inspired by his own experience getting sober. While writing it, he envisioned the lyrics as a V-shaped narrative–it starts on a high, hits rock bottom, then works its way back up–and he describes that journey in vivid detail, right down to the price of his beer, with a self-deprecating wit.

The first song, “Put Your Clothes Back On,” comes on strong with a Friday-night-at-the-honky-tonk vibe, as Morrissey sings about watching his girlfriend dance at a strip club: “You’ve been doing this a little too long/Last night I caught you crying to a Kid Rock song.” But by the next track, the country-ska lament “Wine, Women & Wrong,” it’s clear that he’s the one who needs to change. Waking up hungover again, with his wallet, jacket, and phone missing, he sighs, “Feel like I’m living in the middle of a Gary Stewart song/All about wine, women, and wrong.” READ FULL STORY

The Dirty Heads' Jared 'Dirty J' Watson on the hit 'My Sweet Summer' and his current rider obsession

The fall chill is in full effect for the parts of the United States that actually experience seasons, but for anybody wanting to hang onto the spirit of beach weather, the Dirty Heads have a pretty excellent balm. It’s called “My Sweet Summer,” and it has been a steady performer on the rock charts since the album it came from, Sound of Change, dropped in July.

“We knew coming out in the summer time it would work, and it turns out it works when it’s cold too,” explains frontman Jared “Dirty J” Watson. “It’s got legs.” According to Watson, the song was initially something he was going to give away. “I heard Kenny Chesney liked our music, so I wrote the hook and was going to send it to him just to see if he’d like it,” he says. “But [producer] Niles [Hollowell-Dhar] said, ‘This is a hit, you’ve got to release this first.’ We ended up finishing it in about a day.”

The song is an excellent bridge track for the Dirty Heads, who made their bones as a reggae-blessed beach-ska hybrid since their inception. “My Sweet Summer” has a lot of that vibe to it, but it also hints at what’s on the rest of Sound of Change, which is much more heavily invested in bringing in hip-hop elements. READ FULL STORY

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