Damn it 2007, what happened to you? You used to exist! Anyway, The Great American Smokeout happens to be the second track on Cotton Teeth, an awesome album by The Snake The Cross The Crown:
If you’re wondering about their name, it is apparently “a reference to the logo of Italian car company, Alfa Romeo, where Kevin Jones’ [leader of the band] father owned a repair shop that burnt to the ground”, according to Wikipedia. I guess there are worse reasons to name your band than fire, so I’ll allow it. If you’re looking for more, might I suggest – from the same album – Gypsy Melodies, a great jam that ends up exploding all over your ears, and you won’t even be mad; moreover, the choruses on Electronic Dream Plant should make you happy, given you’re a reasonable person.
Here’s a song I love: Let Them Ring The Bells by The Little Ones. It’s getting fairly old now (about 7 years old in fact), and the video on Youtube doesn’t have that much views. But I don’t forget. I never forget a good song. NEVER.
This track is so gay, marrying it with another gay song is illegal (well, in most countries at least). If there’s a better reason to be pro gay marriage, I don’t wanna know about it. On that note (hah!), the rest of the Sing Song EP where this tune comes from is perhaps as fabulous as it is good; check out Face The Facts for instance, or maybe High on a Hill if you wanna get better acquainted with The Little Ones. No penis joke.
Can’t help listening to this cover (can you really call it a cover if one of the musicians was in the band who wrote the song?) of Going to California (from Led Zeppelin obviously) by John Paul Jones (bassist, keyboard player, mandolin player, etc. of Led Zep) and Paul Gilbert (who for once in his life plays a guitar slowly):
I’m not sure if I actually prefer this version to the original; this one is less melancholic, the mandolin occupies most of the space and reinforces the bluegrass (and I’m not just saying that, JPJ has been playing and producing with bluegrass bands lately) feel to the song. And if you’re looking for something heavier, might I suggest this cover of Nobody’s Fault But Mine, another Zeppelin classic? Ah, and I noticed that the whole concert is up on youtube, and it’s definitely worth it. I just discovered Gettin’ Betta by Pat Travers which has one of the best riffs I had never heard of.
I don’t expect you to buy it, but here’s a link to the album on Amazon anyway!
If you’re familiar with Jimi Hendrix, you might know that every few years a new album comes out with previously unreleased songs; however, most of it is simply unheard or remastered versions of tunes that many fans already heard on bootleg or live albums. Hence why so many people will tell you that Hendrix’ survivors are just milking all they can out of the name of one of the greatest guitarists ever, and why you shouldn’t buy such albums.
That being said, whether you disagree or just don’t care about such a practice (or even think it’s a brilliant commercial technique and are all for that sort of stuff), it’s always interesting to listen to new versions of old songs, especially when we’re talking about a guy who improvised so much in his playing. Compare the new version of Hear My Train A Comin’ that you can hear on Rolling Stone’s website, which will be featured on the soon to be released People, Hell and Angels on March 5th, to the acoustic version that’s been around Youtube for a while now:
And to the much more similar (but way longer) version from another posthumous compilation, Blues:
If you’re interested in learning more about the new album, I strongly advise you to read this article which talks about the supposedly new tracks, and where you might have heard them before. And if you like to be frustrated, read about the holy grail of unreleased Jimi Hendrix music, Black Gold, on Wikipedia.
You may have heard Jack White‘s first solo album, Blunderbuss, but what you probably missed was a track called Machine Gun Silhouette, which only appeared on the Japanese version of the album, for some reason – and the Love Interruption EP, which got much less publicity than the actual album. And guess what? The song’s great. The interaction of the fiddle, piano and electric guitar (I especially like the lick at 0:27) is what really sells the tune.
The only other tab for Default by Django Django I could find online was rubbish, so I decided to write my own!
First things first, you’ll need to tune down your guitar one half step, to D#G#C#F#A#d#. The main riff is played with a power chord on the second fret, which makes it an F chord because we’re down half a step. Then lift off your index finger and put it back on three times to get the main idea of the riff (you can’t hear the last lift of the finger on the record very well, but he clearly does it in the live versions). You could also play the chord as a full barre chord (244322), it doesn’t change much since the emphasis must be put on the lowest strings.
You don’t necessarily have to play the two X’s I put in the tab (muted strings), but I found myself playing them to keep rythm. For the strumming, I wrote it above the tab (d = down and u = up). It’s kind of important to start the third chord with an up stroke, to keep the rythm of the song going. And if you want to play the riff perfectly right you’re gonna have to lift off your fingers for a very short time to stop the ringing of the chords on the first chord and the one before last.
Once you get the main riff down, the rest of the song should be easy to figure out: the first part of the song where they sing “Default” is simply the same F chord (first one of the riff, 2244322, don’t forget we’re half a step down) played six times off beat (that can be confusing); then same as the riff, end on the 577655 on the beat this time; then repeat the whole thing.
Finally, pretty much every time after the chorus (where he sings on the riff), he goes to a D# (played like your regular E : 022100) for a few bars, then a C (x46664) and then F (again, same as the riff, 2244322).
I hope that was clear enough, don’t hesitate to post a comment if you have any problems with it!
Tarantino really has a knack for finding good music to put in his movies – or maybe he has people who do that for him (he probably doesn’t); if you read this, Quentin, my body is ready for that job. Anyway, one song that really stuck with me from Django Unchained was Too Old to Die Young by Brother Dege (aka Dege Legg – he says it’s pronounced Deej Leg). It features some heavy slide guitar, Mississippi Delta style, and slide guitar is way cool, man. The whole album (entitled Folk Songs of the American Longhair) has a really nice old southern blues vibe to it, which is emphasized by the simplicity of the production: it mostly features Dege singing and playing his Dobro guitar, and keeping rythm with a bass drum – or at least I think he does it with his foot.
Dege allegedly recorded the demos for his album in a backyard shed in Louisiana, which is a nice change from the serial murdering that usually goes on in those sorts of places. He even put a few demos on his soundcloud, like this one.
If you’re a guitarist and are looking to play the song, here’s a link to the tab that Dege kindly put on his blog, along with the lyrics. The song is in open E (EBEG#BE) but he plays it with a capo on the third fret, which makes it in open G. And of course, you’re gonna need a slide, or a bottleneck, or any kind of metallic tube, like Robocop’s penis.