Music

Keeping the good times always close at hand

The 50 Best Festivals in America eBook

Today we're happy reintroduce our guide to the 50 Best Festivals in America in the form of a handy, downloadable eBook (PDF) that's been revamped with even more photography, insight and trivia than before. It's a ready-to-go handbook for your iOS, Android or Kindle device -- never out of reach the next time the road comes calling. Oh, and it's free. Download it here.

Two Very Talented Spin Doctors

Want This, Get This: Linn Majik LP12 or Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

Today music lovers are finding more and more of their friends have returned to a beloved 1960s listening form: spinning vinyl. Unfortunately, buying a turntable is daunting. The segment tends to idolize incredibly expensive hi-fi gear, which is all well and good, except that few newcomers or even seasoned vinyl listeners can afford the tippity top of the quality pyramid. Truth is, for the price of an iPod you can be the proud owner of a turntable with great sound and the chops to convey every form of jammery until you yourself are a vinyl aficionado.

A Thorough Guide to Listening the Right Way

Guide to Life: Upgrade Your Music Library

Our obsession with hardware is here to stay -- don't expect an apology for it anytime soon. We'll be the first to admit, though, that even the right headphones, speakers and amps are only as good as the source material you play through them. Garbage in, garbage out. The solution? Get more out of the tunes you love by upgrading your music library.

Souped up threads and a mean music machine

Fender x Levi’s Vintage Clothing & Stratocaster Guitar

In 1957 the Fender Stratocaster electric guitar was a spry three years young; that same year, Levi's original 1873 patent for riveted denim work pants -- the first jeans -- was already an octogenarian. But that doesn't mean those jeans didn't love to rock 'n' roll. As part of a series paying tribute to America's vintage Hot Rod culture, this spring Levi's is rolling out one-off garments and items that would love to take your pink slip at the drag strip.

Dover, Rock City

Photo Essay: Firefly Music Festival

The Firefly Music Festival announced its lineup Tuesday morning for the June 21-23 extravaganza, which descends upon Dover, DE this year in only its second iteration. We were lucky enough to experience the event last year, and it was an impressive first showing, indeed. Make sure to get your tickets, on sale today, and read on for our photo essay of Firefly 2012.

Tough as an actual axe

Kickstarter: Alpaca Adventure Guitar

The Alpaca Guitar more like "I'll pack a..." than the animal, but we'll assume that's what they were going for. The Kickstarter project is all about turning everyone's favorite campfire fun into a nigh unbreakable, waterproof piece of hiking gear.

Believe I'm sinkin' down

Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Collection

A stack of money might not get you a jam session with Mr. Clapton, but it can buy an incredible replica of one of his guitars, or a stunning signature series acoustic. Hell, maybe you could just sell your soul to the devil. In any case, the Eric Clapton Crossroads Collection is a gorgeous set of blues beauty. The set consists of handmade replicas of both his Fender "Brownie" Stratocaster and the Gibson Harrison-Clapton "Lucy" Les Paul, along with three unbelievable signature series Crossroads Martin acoustics.

A Real Guitar Hero

Mono Vertigo Top Loading Guitar Case

It may not house the firepower needed to take down a Mexican drug lord, but the Mono Vertigo Top Loading Guitar Case ($205) will keep any mariachi’s six-shooter string safe, sound and ready to rock. Unlike other soft-shells, which fold faster than a limp bizkit without an axe on board, the Vertigo was built to stand up (literally) to something all strummers do: grabbing that baby by the neck and getting onstage in a hurry.

Vinyl that's music to our eyes

101 Essential Rock Records

Vinyl-loving hipsters (redundant!) looking for a healthy dose of self-fulfilled prophecy, take heed: 101 Essential Rock Records ($40) is the perfect opportunity to simultaneously read up on your favorite retro music format and eschew the mainstream e-book fad. Gracing 260 pages, this compendium’s 300 record cover illustrations chronicle the “Golden Age” of vinyl — that...

12 gifts for the tech obsessed

12 Guys of Christmas: The Techie

To the inexperienced, the words “techie” and “guy” seem synonymous. Sure, most guys do like technology these days — but like does not true a techie make. So while this list can absolutely be applied to any modern man, its real target is the hardcore gadget nut. The one who scours the blogs and refreshes...

12 Gift ideas for the sofa spud

12 Guys of Christmas: The Mediaphile

We’ve all got one. Maybe it’s you: The mediaphile in the family who’s impossible to shop for because he has it all and he’s seen it all — twice. His TV? Projected. His surround sound? 9.2. His wardrobe? Needs work. His love of movies and music has been fueled in the past by those enabling...

One Man Travelin’ Band

Vox Apache Guitars

Polishing your six-string chops on the road usually means you’ve either got a motorcade in tow lugging your amps or you’re strumming away unplugged. Vox Apache series guitars keep things cranked during travel and fill in for the band that you’re not yet frontmanning. The Vox Apache Series I ($299) incorporates both an on-board amp...

In tune, outsourced

MacKenzie & Marr Guitars

Guitar lovers will want to own MacKenzie & Marr acoustic ($1,000+) after just a few strums. Unfortunately, unless your jam session buddy already has one in his basement, you’ll have to buy one of the company’s hand-carved lady magnets before plucking a single note. It sounds strange, but the guys behind these axes decided to...

Let It Be, Indeed

The Beatles Remasters 180-Gram Vinyl Box Set

Forget the CD, forget iTunes remastered. This November, the highly anticipated The Beatles Remastered 180-Gram Vinyl Box Set brings the stereophonic goodness lands and with it 14 albums remastered in their original glory on 180-gram, audiophile vinyl. That’s the original 12 UK releases along with the US Magical Mystery Tour and Past Masters, Volumes One...

A sound engineering shift in the digital age

Mastered for iTunes

Like Harold Camping on the subject of Judgement Day, audiophiles are notorious for predicting the death of high quality audio at the hands of the digital music revolution. We certainly think today’s emphasis on MP3s has put a dent in the quest for high fidelity, but initiatives like Apple’s Mastered for iTunes series do give...

Show Tunes

Box of Vision Discography Display Sets

Box of Vision is a company that still remembers the days when showing off your music collection didn’t involve a scroll wheel and being a true fan meant owning every album, instead of the five best singles. Subsequently, their archive products are designed to act as a showcase for displaying the complete works of legends...

Sound Advice

Perfect Jazz & Blues Collections

There used to be a time, when America’s greatest sonic ambassadors performed under their real names — save the occasional outlier like Muddy Waters — and literally invented new genres of sound known today as Jazz and Blues. It’s easy to forget that today, under the constant aural bludgeoning of Will.I.Am, Lady Gaga, and LMFAO....

Leading a New Wave

Within and Without by Washed Out

We don’t cover a lot of music on this site, largely because we understand how personal and polarizing it can be. In the case of Within and Without by Washed Out, though, it’s worth making an exception — and no, it’s not about the racy cover art. Available starting July 12th (though you can listen...

InAudible Melodies

Jack Johnson Brushfire Fairytales Remastered

This one isn’t just for the audiophiles. Remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog tapes with high-end tube gear, Jack Johnson’s debut album (and still one of our all time favorites) is now available in uncompressed 16bit/48kHz high-resolution download formats, or 180 gram AAA vinyl, which also includes a download card for all the...

Side? More Like Lunar Eclipse.

Dark Side of the Moon Immersion Box Set

The Dark Side of the Moon album triggers countless feelings (or a lack there of) for plenty of music fans. This soon to be released Dark Side of the Moon Immersion Box Set ($130) is a true collectors item, though, aimed at those who just can’t get enough of Roger and Co. Besides the lavish...

Pick your pick

Pickmaster Plectrum Punch

The Pickmaster Plectrum Punch ($39) is the perfect accessory for guitar players, and we’re not talking about the colored button-pressing variety. It’s essentially a rock-inspired hole puncher designed to turn old gift cards, ids, and credit cards into personalized strummers. So kiss those worries about your pick clashing with your mullet and sequins goodbye. Buy...

A Lesson on Improvisation

Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology

Miles Davis and John Coltrane are those guys with the Blue albums. Cannoball Adderly — now wasn’t he a famous dare devil? If this sounds like your internal monologue on the subject of Jazz, then we strongly suggest reading Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology ($100). Like the college course you should have picked over econ, minus...

It's All About The Paper

Rapping Paper

Balloon and confetti-themed patterns are both safe bets for those obligatory gifts in life (re: the family friend/neighbor’s punk kid’s graduation.) Rapping paper ($5) is perfect, however, for your best bud’s birthday or that upcoming docket of bachelor parties. Featuring the lyrics of classic hip-hop singles from the likes of the Sugar Hill Gang and...

Music was his religion.

West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Sponsored)

Elaborate box sets for many rock and roll legends boil down to repackaging the same music you already own. West Coast Seattle Boy ($55) doesn’t suffer from the same shortcomings, since it isn’t a collection of existing albums at all. Instead, fans of Jimi will discover 45 previously unreleased live studio recordings that include demo...

Newsworthy Radiohead

Radiohead: The King Of Limbs

After revitalizing the way we acquire music with their digital “pay-as-you-please” Fall 2007 release, In Rainbows, we were left wondering how Radiohead could ever transcend expectations. Nearly four years later they are sticking to their upscale packaging with the world’s first “newspaper album” comprised of vinyl, CD, digital download, artwork galore and nothing left to...

The ultimate 80's action movie mix tape you've been missing

Blood Brothers Mixtapes

The Blood Bros. are, for lack of a better description, an awesome DJ duo with an awesome goal: creating mix tapes compiled from the best 80’s action movie songs. A quick listen to the first few minutes of each track (after the jump) on their two mixes will have you running in gym sweats or...

Star Guitar

Gibson Acoustic 70th Anniversary John Lennon J-160E Guitar

John Lennon and his musical legacy requires no introduction. What you may not know though is that in 1962, a rising Lennon wanted to buy a quality American acoustic but was too broke to afford it. Luckily, band manager Brian Epstein was kind enough to co-sign for a brand new “electro-acoustic” Gibson J-160E and even...

Free from "Freebird"

New Normal Music

Don’t get us wrong, we love classic rock as much as the next guy, but hearing “Welcome to the Jungle” for the tenth time in a day can make anyone go ape. Enter New Normal Music. This site has been streaming music since July 2nd and boasts a non-stop 50,000 song playlist. It might not...

If Pandora Helped You Discover Music...

Thesixtyone

The best way we can describe thesixtyone (American music culture of Highway 61, get it?) is a collaborative new-artist Pandora meets VH1’s pop-up video. Their focus is the burgeoning music ecosystem where record labels and their life-sucking $0-2 per album deals are a thing of the past (thesixtyone featured musicians make $7+ per album). Thesixtyone...

David Bowie Wig Not Included

Orange Thunder 30 Amplifier

For the most part, the guitar amplifier market is a sea of black Tolex. Bucking this trend, Orange Amplifiers, based out of the United Kingdom, have been encasing the classic British sound in bright orange (much as the the name suggests) since 1968. The soon-to-be released Thunder 30 is every bit as loud as its...

Hot Chip – “One Life Stand”

Released yesterday, One Life Stand is the third full length album to be released by this English electro pop group since their formation in 2000. Described by many reviewers as a clear sign of maturation by the band, this 10 track album is certainly much less of an oddball mash up of crazy beats and...

The Apple. iPad. Seriously.

Apple iPad

The Apple iPad is here, and it’s both as much/little as people had hoped, expected, worried, drooled over, and even prayed for. The Apple Newton 2010 iPad ($499-$829) will arrive well equipped: 9.7″ (1024×768) IPS enabled Multi-Touch LED backlit display, 1GHz A4 processor, built-in speakers, Bluetooth, microphone, ambient light sensor, 720p video playback, fingerprint-resistant oleophobic...

Once Again, The Pearl Jam You Know and Love

Backspacer by Pearl Jam

In what might qualify as one of Pearl Jam’s best albums of the past decade (subjectively), Backspacer proves that the grunge group has evolved in their sound (hints of new wave) while holding true to their roots in rock. This is also Pearl Jam’s first self-released album and isn’t encumbered by any studio meddling. We’re...

Music That Transcends Borders and Beliefs

Playing For Change

Gear Patrol hasn’t previously published many posts like this, but maybe its time we start doing more so because some things are just worth sharing. On a recent trip out to Los Angeles, I was having lunch on the Santa Monica Promenade and couldn’t help but notice that there was a talented street musician emphatically...

Upgrade Your Jazz Music With These Essentials

Top 10 Essential Jazz Albums

Actually, if you want to argue semantics, maybe we should call this a cooperative list of individual Top 5s. We leave that choice up to you. Either way, what follows is a list of 10 albums selected by Gear Patrol crew members Jason Heaton and Eric Yang as essential albums in your current or about-to-be-started...

Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us

Sir Paul In Stunning Hi-Def Fans of the Beatles, the ex-Beatles, or just plain good music will thrill and possibly even trill to the Blu-ray release of Paul McCartney’s 2005 US tour concert retrospective, Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us on high definition Blu-Ray disc. This concertourmentery expertly weaves a number of prominent celebrity interviews...

Carbon Fiber Steel String Guitar

Blackbird Rider Guitar

A guitar fit for Michael Knight himself. Who says guitars always have to be made of wood? Not Blackbird, that’s for sure. The Blackbird Rider is an acoustic steel string guitar that’s compact with full-bodied sound. It actually uses a second soundhole at the head of the guitar to provide stereo sound through it’s hallow...

N.E.R.D. | Seeing Sounds

The Neptunes consist of Grammy Award winning producers and songwriters Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, but the N.E.R.D. tri-fecta consists of Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and longtime friend Shae Haley. ‘Seeing Sounds’ is an intense mash-up of hip-hop beats, rock riffs, rumbling crunk rhythms and soul music. This diversity of sound is what N.E.R.D. is...

OneRepublic | Dreaming Out Loud

Somewhere in between The Cure and U2 lies OneRepublic. An anthemic rock band from Colorado Springs (insert requisite comparisons to The Fray here). Lead by singer/pianist/producer Ryan Tedder and lead guitarist Zach Filkins, OneRepublic’s latest album shows that some good can come from MySpace. OneRepublic’s alternative pop/rock style meshes well and will undboutedly make the...

The Roots | Rising Down

I was put onto the roots a couple years back. Their blend of hip hop with live instrumentals gives them that distinct sound and sets them apart from the other groups we hear polluting the sound waves. The Grammy award-winning group has just released their 10th album release, Rising Down. The title comes from William...

Nine Inch Nails “The Slip”

What’s better than a Nine Inch Nails album to get the blood flowing? Well, how about a free one. Today NIN made available their new lossless electronic album (including the better-than-CD quality WAVE format version weighing in over 1 gigabyte) to anyone who wants it. If you’re a guy we don’t understand why you wouldn’t....

Counting Crows | Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

Has it really been six years since we heard nappy hair Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz croon his way through “American Girls” on the painfully underappreciated Hard Candy? Yes it has, almost six years since July 30, 2002 to be exact. so we’re expecting just as much from this album as you are. Instead of...

Your Vegas – A Town And Two Cities

There is something distinctly British about Your Vegas. No, it’s not that their band members hail from Leeds but perhaps the convergent sound of a British alternative group meeting Nirvana then deciding to make songs as sweeping as U2. The album is short. 3 songs. But all three songs are ear-catching, emotional and it’s almost...

Peavey Signature Series EX Guitar

HP Signature Series EX double-cutaway guitars are a great value for those of you looking to rock it out at non-rockstar prices. The Signature Series EX uses a Maple veneer making it both lightweight, comfortable and on-stage looks. They utilize Grover tuning gears, humbucking pickups and a stop tailpiece with tune-o-matic bridge. What this means...