Sleeping Giant – Sleeping Giant review

Ik kreeg hem even geleden binnen op vinyl, Sleeping Giant hun album genaamd ‘Sleeping Giant’. Ik leerde ze kennen via Instagram en het duurde niet lang voordat ik het album moest hebben. Na één nummer was ik verslaafd. En vandaag schrijf ik voor jullie een review van het album en in het bijzonder de vinyl uitgave.

Het eerste nummer op het album is genaamd Sleep en zet de toon voor wat gaat komen. Logge riffs gedreven door fuzz en een droge drum sound knallen zweverig door de boxen. Deze worden vergezeld door een zang die je met beiden voeten op de grond houdt. Een houvast als iets dat klinkt als een stukje realiteit. En aangename stem die je doorheen de gitaren gidst en overtuigend bij het geheel past. Sleep staat als een rots op de eerste plaats en laat je kennismaking met deze riffmeesters vlot verlopen.

Temptress, het tweede nummer op het album schakelt een versnelling hoger in dezelfde stijl als sleep. Dezelfde fuzz gedreven riffbased muziek met iets meer wisselingen qua tempo en feel. Een speelser nummer dat aandacht vraagt en ervoor zorgt dat je bij de les blijft.

Terug een pak logger zijn we bij Gypsy. Een nummer dat je echt op zijn dode gemak door elkaar beukt. Samen met het beginnen van de zang valt het nummer een beetje stil en hoor je de ronkende bas nog spelen. Hierdoor ontstaat eer een fantastisch contrast met de stem waardoor beiden er nog beter uit lijken te komen. Gypsy lijkt me live een enorm aangrijpend nummer. Zeker wanneer men naar het einde toe stuit op een fantastisch instrumentaal stuk.

Richting het einde van het album gaan we Vision I, II en III tegemoet. Een episch meesterwerk waarin de band nogmaals laat horen wat ze muzikaal in hun mars hebben. Een drieluik aan pure muzikale lekkernij waar niet word gekeken op een riff meer of minder. Vision II sluit (zoals verwacht) naadloos aan bij Vision I en kruipt in een iets rustiger jasje waarbij ook de zang terug boven water komt. In de tweede helft barst het nummer terug wat open en krijgen de vocalen ook een enorme boost. Visions III gaat verder in de voetsporen van I en II en sluit op een prachtige manier af wat het hele album hem voordeed.

We kunnen dus besluiten dat het een zeer sterk album is en dat er puur genot vasthangt aan een luisterbeurt. De nummers passen mooi bij elkaar en creëren een meeslepende sfeer waardoor je hunkert naar meer. De artwork is ook iets waarover we het nog moeten hebben. Gemaakt door hun drummer, en absoluut fantastisch. De cover is hetgeen waardoor mijn aandacht op het album viel en kijk waar we nu staan…!

Nu nog over de vinyl zelf. Het klinkt goed, zéér goed. Een heel open klinkende persing die zonder problemen speelt en die geen zichtbare scuffs of dergelijke heeft en de vinyl is muisstil. De hoes is stevig en de innersleeve is er eentje met plastic lining. Zo heb je een mooie anti-statische hoes die je album niet gaat beschadigen. En dat is een heel mooie extra dat Copper Feast Records heeft gedaan voor zijn kopers, wat wil zeggen dat ze echt oog hebben voor detail. Wat dus ook echt te horen is op de vinyl uitgave van het album. Nu… Wil je er zo nog eentje? Dan zou ik niet te lang wachten want de voorraad begint serieus te minderen en het is zowieso al een heel beperkte oplage.

Je kan deze plaat kopen via Bandcamp, vergeet ook zeker niet om Copper Feast Records en Sleeping Giant te volgen zodat je kan zien waarmee ze bezig zijn!

Succes en veel luisterplezier!

-Tom.

I’ve recently had the pleasure to receive Sleeping Giant on vinyl. I discovered them through Instagram and it wasn’t long before I really wanted their album. One song in and I was hooked. Today I’ll be writing a review of this album, particularly discussing the vinyl edition.

The first song on this album is called Sleep. It really sets the tone for what is to come. Heavy riffs driven by fuzz and a dry drum sound will really hit you in the face. All this is accompanied by solid vocals. That voice is your guide through the guitar sound. Sleep is like a rock in the river that is this album. It really introduces you to these riff masters.

Temptress, the second song on this album is an immediate game changer. This song takes it up a notch, in the same style as Sleep. The same fuzz driven riff based music with a little more variety when you look at the tempo and feeling of it. It’s a more playful song that requires your full attention.

Back to the heavier stuff with Gypsy. This song will fuck you up without even breaking a sweat. The beginning of the song is full of solemn singing and heavy bass usage. An amazing contrast is being created with the vocals, which makes both elements sound even better. I bet Gypsy is an amazing song when you hear it live. Get to the ending of the song and you will be treated by an absolutely fantastic instrumental piece.

Reaching the end of the album, you will find Vision I, II and III. An epic masterpiece in which the band truly shows what they are capable of. A triple piece of pure musical pleasure. Vision II is a perfect continuation of Vision I and creates a little peace amongst the storm. The second half delivers a burst of energy with much stronger vocals. Vision III  takes it one step further and ends the album in an absolutely phenomenal way.

We can conclude that this is a very strong album which gave me a lot of musical listening pleasure. The songs are a perfect fit for each other and create a melodious atmosphere which leaves you craving for more. The artwork definitely deserves a few words. It was created by their drummer and I absolutely love it. The cover is what caught my attention in the first place and look where we are now!

Let’s talk a little more about the vinyl itself. It sounds great, absolutely. A very open sounding vinyl record without visible scuffs and it’s dead quiet. The sleeve is rock solid and the inner sleeve has plastic lining. This creates a sweet anti-static sleeve that won’t damage your record. Copper Feast Records really rewarded their fans by doing this, I definitely appreciate it. The result is a very nice record. Well.. Have I convinced you yet

To buy one? I wouldn’t wait too long if I were you, because the supply is starting to dwindle. It’s a limited edition. You can buy it via Bandcamp and don’t forget to follow Copper Feast Records and Sleeping Giant to see what they’re up to!

Good luck finding one and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

-Tom.

Interview with John Tron Davidson from Heavy Repping!

By now, you all know I’m a guitar player and love everything guitar related. I’m really into everything that comes with it and ho wit affects your playing and sound. One of these things is picks. I love gutiar picks, I have a lot of different guitar picks and even reviewed some picks on this blog. Today, I would love to show you all an inspirator for me and my pick goofyness. John Tron Davidson had an awesome blog called ‘Heavy Repping’ and I had the chance to interview him for the blog!

Hey John, first of all, thank you for making some time for Vinyl & Coffee, really appreciate it!

You’re welcome, and thanks for asking!

So, let’s dive into it! What got you into playing the guitar?

I started playing guitar when I was 15 – I’d been on the violin and piano for a few years before that, and spent a lot of my young life in choirs before starting to sing in bands. To be candid, I told myself I needed to play the guitar because I wouldn’t get any work if all I did was sing, but it quickly took hold as an essential thing in my life.

And what did get you into the world of picks?

My earliest picks were things like the Dunlop Tortex 0.6mm, then the 500 Series 0.71mm, and when I got into Cat Kills Six (my very old band in Glasgow) I started using 1mm Dunlop Wedges and other, thicker things. I was always on the look-out for unusual stuff but the real shift came when I was working at Wunjo Guitars on Denmark Street in London, when I got talking to a guy who played in a theatre pit band. I’d ordered some Gravity Sunrise 2mm’s and he told me about V Picks, and because I felt more connected to the guitar because of these, my curiosity led me into the Plectroverse.

How did Heavy Repping start?

It started with a series of one-minute reviews that I did on Instagram of the Dragon’s Heart Hardened Heart, and I found that I got pretty excited about the whole thing – who was making it, what the materials were, the stories behind them and so on. I got a reasonably favourable reception for these videos, and the deeper I got and the more picks I collected, I started to talk to the makers and discovered that no-one was talking about picks or taking them seriously. This seemed crazy to me, as they’re something that reaches out beyond the musical universe and into popular culture. Even the non-musician can recognise a plectrum, and for all these companies to be making picks and not be known, all these players who could be making better music with better tools, it was daft that someone wasn’t covering it. I started posting reviews of picks, and once I got into double figures, I reached out to a few big names in the game and found they were more than willing to talk to me, even though the site was nothing at the time. My first interviewee was Eppo Franken of Chicken Picks, and after this serious event, I got the courage up to press on – now I’ve interviewed Vinni Smith from V Picks, Ruvane Kurland of The Original Coin Guitar Pick Company, Brian Staebell at Howling Monkey, Matt Halliday of Stone Age, Tom Winspear of Winspear Instrumental, Igor from DawMan, Carlos Diez from Rombo, Chrys Johnson from Jim Dunlop, Roopam Garg of the Surrealist, Dusty Schiefelbein from T1, Pete Punckowski at Swiss Picks, Alexis Rodea at Iron Age, and Andrew Federico Jr. of Monster Grips, Brock Little at BHL, Connor Kaminski, Zoe The Pick Collector, Guy Devillez, and Nick Pagano of Gem Picks.


What has been your proudest moment so far?

When I first started getting mail – not emails, but physical letters from makers. Sometimes it would be a short note, sometimes a few pages of writing – that made me feel extremely proud, but if I had to narrow it down to one thing, it would be the post I made for the first anniversary. The genuine care and respect that I got from the community truly humbled me, and let me know that what I’m doing actually matters to the people I’m doing it for.

What would you like to see Heavy Repping doing in the future?

I’m aiming for HR! to be the front page for picks on the internet, by building relationships with the makers, talking to all the collectors, and reviewing/interviewing/writing about as much of the trade as possible. The YouTube channel runs a number of series – Reviews, The Sunday Special Road Test, The Science, Story Of The Pick and the recent Face Off! – and I’m about to start filming a new series called I Rest My Case where I go to meet bands and musicians and get them to try all the fabulous picks I’ve got. In the long term I’d love to act as a conduit for anyone interested in picks, to show them what’s out there and let them find the right builder/model for their style. This’ll obviously take a lot of time and work and I’m only one man, but it’s doable, so I’ll do it!

What have been the reactions so far about what you are doing and how you are serving the guitar world?

The most common reaction I get is surprise – the majority of players have no idea what’s out there because the companies that make the picks are chiefly one-man shows with enough time to make plectrums, ship them out and run an Instagram, and it’s rare to see any adverts in magazines. All the makers I’ve spoken to are thrilled that someone’s taken up the torch finally, and that alone makes it worthwhile. I always give people at work (Mansons’ Guitars) the opportunity to try whatever I’ve got on me, and that’s started a lot of conversations about why such things even exist, especially when it comes to exotic materials like stone, UHMWPE, Tagua and so on. Oddly, I get a lot of nods from drummers that I’ve spoken to – they understand that you wouldn’t use the same set of sticks for every style of music, so using different thicknesses/shapes/compositions of plectrums makes complete sense to them.

You’ve tried hundreds of different picks, do they still get you excited?

Absolutely. I’ve always found the prospect that I’ll never have the chance to hear all the music that’s ever been recorded as something genuinely exciting – you could live numerous lifetimes and there’d still be more to find. Picks is the same – whether it’s a builder I’ve bought from a dozen times or someone I’ve only just discovered sending me out free stuff, I can’t wait to get home after work and find what’s come through the letterbox. Even when I think I know a material inside out, some maker will manage something I didn’t think was possible – acrylic and Ultem are big ones for this. If I were a richer man, I’d give it the full Kevin Shields treatment and get five of everything from everyone.

Have you got a favorite pick? Or a top 3 of picks? Or is this impossible to do?

I’d be lying if I said there aren’t some that stick out, and to be completely fair, I’ll state that there’s no one company I’d choose over any others. This isn’t because all pick companies are equal, but because I can’t make that choice – I’ve got close to a thousand mostly hand-made picks, so that’s a tough gig. The most important pick to me is the one a young lad sent me in the post when I was working in London after I gave him one of my earliest Gravity picks – it was his lucky pick, and I keep it in a pouch on my keys to remind me that what I do in life is worthwhile. As you’ve asked, my current favourites are the Dragon Picks Juma, the Hawk ToneBird 6, the Stone Age Pvrpetrator, the Arcanum Standard and the Plectrums Handcrafted True Blood – ask me again tomorrow!

How have you changed as a player when using all these different picks?

I’ve grown significantly in confidence over the last few years, chiefly as a result of getting so deep into picks. I had a guitar (the Stick) built for me last year by Mike at Odessa Guitars here in the UK, and that became part of my skeleton almost immediately. The combination of The Stick and finding picks that let me say exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it meant that I came on hugely as a player, and it’s partly the hope that I can do that for other players that keeps me going.

And the last one, what advice would you give a beginning guitar player that just discovered there’s more to picks than the orange .6mm Dunlop pick he’s had for months?

There’s no one pick that works for absolutely everyone – if there was, we’d all be using the Dunlop Yellow. The best approach is do what I do – comb through Instagram, Etsy and Facebook looking for people who make picks, set up a Google Alert on your phone for guitar picks/plectrums, talk to makers, talk to collectors. Until the rest of the musical world gets into this, you’ll continue buying direct, so do your research and then take the plunge. I’m always available to answer questions, so go through the website or hit me up on Instagram and ask whatever you like. If I can help, I definitely will. To those of you who draw laughs when you talk about picks to other guitar players, remember – there’s a whole community of people who get just as excited as you do, and for every 1000 people that get excited about another Les Paul, there’s another one trawling eBay for vintage D’Andreas.

Again, thank you John, wish you all the best with Heavy Repping!

Want to know more? Visit Heavy Repping! or Find Him on YouTube.

-Tom.

Interview Logan Thompson, guitar tech & stage manager for TBSD

Logan Thompson at Graspop Metal Meeting
Logan Thompson at Graspop Metal Meeting, just before the show. Photo credit: Maron Stills

Today we have the chance to ask Logan Thompson some questions. Logan is the guitar tech and stage manager for Tyler Bryant And The Shakedown (TBSD) and it’s because of him that we can enjoy every show and that’s why he deserved this week’s blog!

Logan, first of all, thank you for making some time to answer my questions. Much appreciated!

So can you tell us a little bit on how you got the job?

Persistence! I became aware of Tyler’s music before they were even named the “Shakedown” thanks to the digital age we live in where new music is so easy to stumble across. I discovered their music on YouTube and never looked back. I felt that they were special in a time where all the rock music on the radio sounded almost exactly the same to me and I started attending shows whenever they were within driving distance. Going to shows turned into hanging out, which turned into helping them load their gear in and set up, which led to being convinced to move from Cleveland to Nashville to officially start working with them.

How long have you been working for them?

October 30th, 2018 is what I consider to be my five year anniversary with the Shakedown, as that was the first show on the Kiss Kruise that we ever ran guitar switches. However, I’ve been hanging around for six or seven years now.

What has been the most stressful moment you had on the road?

There are a number of different stressors on the road. Lack of sleep, being away from loved ones, not having space to set all the gear up, etc.

February 14, 2016 in St. Paul, MN on the AC/DC Rock or Bust tour – Greg Howard, Stevie Young’s guitar tech extraordinaire and amp wizard over at 3 Monkeys, gave us a noiseless cable for Tyler to try out, this is before we went wireless. Everything through soundcheck was fine, my pre-show line check was fine, but between my line check and the band hitting the stage, that cable had died so when Tyler went out nothing came out of his amps when he played. Instead of having the thought to just change out the bad cable, we went to the extreme and just plugged his loom (the bunch of cables that go from pedalboard to amps) right from his amp directly into his guitar. He didn’t have any of his effects and wasn’t as mobile as he usually is, but it ended up being a good show regardless. During a live situation you don’t always have time to troubleshoot so you just have to go with a solution you know will work.

What is the most beautiful moment you had on tour?

Being on tour is full of beautiful moments but probably my favorite is making new friends, exploring new/different cultures, trying new food, sharing new experiences, opportunities, accomplishments, and seeing new places with my brothers. As Tyler sometimes says – we starve together and we feast together. I am very grateful for the feast over the past couple of years.

Logan Thompson_2
Logan taking good care of Tyler’s Stratocaster. Photo credit: Robby Klein

What’s the biggest mistake you made as a guitar tech? How did you and the band get along with it?

June 1, 2016 – Leipzig, DE on European leg of the AC/DC tour: I forgot to turn Noah’s bass rig off of standby before the show and he went out and had nothing. He fixed it on his own and we talked about it after the show. I only need to make that kind of mistake once and I learn my lesson.

There has also been a few instances where I’ve brought out the wrong guitars or the guitars weren’t in the correct tunings. I only need to make mistakes like that once or twice before they never happen again.

What part of the job you love the most?

I really enjoy all the travel and the opportunity to work with bands that I grew up loving and still love to this day. As someone who is still relatively new to this line of work, their crew members have been a wealth of knowledge and have all been willing to teach me from their personal touring expertise.

And of course there’s this one to follow, what part do you hate the most?

I don’t know that there any part that I ‘hate’ but sometimes we find ourselves in new places that I don’t get to explore because there is work that needs to be done, which is just part of it. We’re here to work… it’s certainly not a party all the time.

Up until now, what has been your favorite country or city that you have been to with the band?

In the US, I love going to the Pacific Northwest: Washington state and Oregon. In the EU I really like Prague. But special shout out to Belgium, as one of our biggest shows ever was in Werchter and we’ve gotten to do some really great festivals there… and I love Belgian fries.
And now the last question. If you were not working for TBSD, what job would you be doing right now?

Before I started working for the Shakedown, I was a medic in the US Army for 8.5 years and I do miss it sometimes. I’d probably still be doing that or working in some capacity in the medical field.

Thanks for making some time to answer these questions and wish you all the best!

Why did I interview Logan? Well, a band needs a good, hard working man behind them to make everything possible. Because I really love Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown I thought it was time to shine a light on their silent force.

-Tom.