Monday, May 31, 2010

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones

The ear buds that come with the iPod defy physics, and both suck and blow. I tried them once, and moved on to Shure and Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors which work great. But eventually I wanted a bit more fidelity and began the search for some over-the-ear cans.

If an uneducated person (such as myself) heads down to Best Buy, they are at the mercy of the equally uneducated salespeople, and the limitations of what is in stock at the store. I avoided this route and went straight to the expert: my boss (of all people). All I had to do was mention headphones to him (a mega audiophile), and he brought in his headphones and headphone amplifier. He then started researching headphones for me and sending me a barrage of e-mails. His headphones were not going to work out for a few reasons: they are open-backed, which would share my unpleasant music with others, and they cost wayyyy too much money.

After all of his research, I decided to try the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones. It turns out that many of my musical colleagues already had them, and really like them for studio use. Maybe I should have checked with them first. These headphones are not a new model, they came out about 10 years ago.

Predictably, they did not have these headphones at Best Buy. So I started to poke around at Al Gore’s internet, and found out that these headphones retail for $199, but nobody is charging more than $100 bucks for them. I found a new set on eBay for $75. They have a 2-year factory warranty.

The HD 280 Pro headphones come with an instruction book, a 10-foot sproingy cord, and a ¼-inch adapter for home stereo use. I will surely lose the adapter at some point.

They sound very good, and have a nice crisp tone with good bass. I maybe hear a little mid-range resonance. Maybe. They are not as good as the high-end Sennheisers my boss loaned me, but good enough for the likes of me. By the way, I let them burn in for 24 hours straight before using them for an extended period, and they loosened up a little, with a bit more bass.

They are comfortable, though the vinyl ear cups get a bit sweaty after an extended wearing. There are 2-way hinges on the ear cups, so they fold into a more packable size. The earcups comes off pretty easily, and should I damage the retro coily cord, it is relatively easy to replace too (no soldering).

My only complaint is they are not terribly loud due to their 64 ohm resistance. For most portable players, 32 ohms is a better specification. Which means that my shopping was not done: I also invested in a headphone amplifier, which you can read about next time. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pedaltrain Mini Pedal Board Review

I have somehow survived for 20+ years without much of anything in the way of effects for my bass, let alone a pedalboard. My attitude changed recently, and I have started to add more tone-modifying pedals to my trusty Boss tuner, so I needed a way to better organize them.

Before diving in, I did a lot of research into pedal boards, and there are many different products available with different designs and features. I settled on an economical board that is simply-constructed and durable. The final decision was for a Pedaltrain Mini board, and it is working out well.

The Pedaltrain Mini will hold maybe 5 or 6 small effects in a single row. I am currently using a Boss Tuner, a Boss Octave pedal, a Cave GRUNT, a Cave GRUNT Mk II, and a Tech 21 VT Bass. They fit just fine on the board, with not a lot of room to spare.

This board is not powered, and it is a simple design. It is made of powder-coated aluminum bars that are solidly welded together. It measures 20” wide by 7“ deep by 2” tall. It weighs in at around 2 ½ pounds.

The pedals attach to the cross bars with self-adhesive Velcro. The kit included more than enough industrial-strength Velcro to completely cover the cross-pieces. There is plenty of space between and beneath the 2 crossbars for routing cables and wiring, so there is less of a chance of accidental disconnection. The kit also included tie-wraps to anchor the wiring better.

The board I got is strong, and will probably last forever. The welds are not pretty, and there is a little welding spatter under the finish. But this does not matter to me, as long as it holds up well.

A cordura carry bag was included with the board. It has plenty of room inside for the board (with pedals installed), and there is an external pocket for cables and whatnot. The bag measures 21" wide by 8.5" deep by 6" tall, and weighs in at around 3 ½ pounds. I do not really need a bag, and would have been happier if I could have paid less and not gotten the bag.

Even with the unwanted bag, the board is a good value. The list price is $149.95, and the street price is $69.95. Musician’s Friend does not charge sales tax, and will ship for free if you get the order over $99.

Pedaltrain has a lifetime warranty on their products, and looking at this board, I do not think I will ever need to take them up on it. They have a full line of boards, in case you need to bigger or would like to have a flight case included.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gibson Gary Moore Model Les Paul

Gary Moore has been a long-time guitar hero for me, from his work with Thin Lizzy, on through his extensive solo career. Today I am reviewing one of his original-series signature model Gibson Les Paul guitars.

This guitar was officially launched at the 2001 winter NAMM show, and is one of my favorite Les Paul signature models. It was produced for just a few years, and then was discontinued. In 2008 Gibson introduced the cheaper Gary Moor BFG model, which is quite a bit different, and I know virtually nothing about.

I had better start out with the obvious: even though it has some different features, this thing is still a Les Paul. It has the same shape and all of the playability you would normally expect from a Gibson Les Paul. In many ways, this 2001 guitar is built with a lot more care than current production Gibsons.

The body is made from a single piece of South American mahogany. It is not chambered, so it has plenty of heft like a true Les Paul should. It has a nice AA flame maple top, and NO binding. That’s different -- Gary wanted this to appear different than other Les Pauls, and it was his call to make. The body is finished in a thin nitro-cellulose, and the color is different than anything else Gibson makes, based on Gary’s old “Greeny” guitar. It is a very subtle burst from lemon to hint of cherry, and I have heard some refer to it as “unburst”. Hah hah.

Also, at Gary’s request, these guitars did not come with a scratchplate installed. They came with one in the case (with his signature on it), but you had to install it yourself if you wanted one.

The neck is a little different too. It is mahogany with headstock wings, but the rosewood fretboard is unbound. There are still pearl trapezoidal inlays on it, though. The profile is sort of like a 1959 model, with a thick C-section. It feels a little shallower at the first fret to me, though, and having no binding makes the neck feel completely different to me.

The 22 frets on the 24.75”-scale neck are medium oval shape, which is a little bit weird because Gary has all of his guitars refretted with jumbo wire, but the smaller frets do make bending a little easier. The frets are leveled and finished way better than anything I see the Gibson factory putting out today.

The hardware is all nickel-plated. The Gary Moore model uses a Nashville-style tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. This is definitely an upgrade over the unsteady ABR-1 bridge that Gibson sometimes uses on vintage-style instruments. The pegs are Schaller's version of the classic Kluson tuners that are well-matched to the Gibson headstock shape.

I guess all that is left to write about is the electronics. There is the usual 3-way switch and volume and tone controls. The pickups are Burst Buckers, which is nothing ground-breaking. But it sure was back then, as this was the first guitar Gibson ever built with Burst Buckers (trivia!). It has a reversed zebra (adjustable coil inwards) at the neck and an open coil at the bridge. You would almost figure they would be wired out of phase to better match Gary’s tone, but what do I know?

Either way, you can get a metric ton of tonality from this guitar. It can be soft and mild or raunchy and loud, and everything in between. Combining this with the playability of the unbound neck with medium frets, this is the friendliest Les Paul you will ever play. If you can only have one Gibson, this is the one to get.

The guitars shipped in a Gary Moore signature case with a blue blanket. The cases did not wear well over time, so you might not get an original case if you find one of these guitars.

These sold for around $3000 new, and of course are no longer available. You rarely see these on eBay, so grab one when you see it if you really want one. They sell for around $1800 to $2000 currently. By the way, Gary sold his 1958 Les Paul late last year for $275,000. One of these used re-issues might be a little more in your price range.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dingwall Super J Bass Review

This is the story of a bass that I loved, but let go of anyway with no regrets.

Dingwall Super J model basses are relatively rare, and I have never seen another one finished in Burgundy Mist. Well, Dingwall calls it Burgundy Mist, but in person it looks nothing like the Fender custom color.

The most distinctive feature of these basses is the use of Novax system fanned frets. The idea is to provide optimal string tension by using a different scale length for each string. You would think that it would take some major re-adjustment of technique to get used to the fret layout, but it is not so bad. I have known a few other owners of the basses and they agree that after about 15 minutes of playing, it feels very normal.

The body shape is similar to that of a traditional Fender Jazz Bass. There are a few design innovations on these basses, however. The headstock has quite a bit of material removed from the front, and combined with the lightweight Hipshot tuners, means that there is no neck dive. The battery cover for the active electronics is held in place with magnets, so access is much easier, and there are no little screws to lose or strip out.

The electronics package is first-rate. This bass shipped with Dingwall hum-cancelling pickups and an Aguilar OBP-1 pre-amp. It has no unusual noises, and sounds flawless and very smooth.

Dingwall basses are handmade in Canada, and the craftsmanship on this one is first rate. The neck pocket fit is super-tight, and I could not find a finish flaw anywhere on it.

My decision to part with this bass came down to one thing: the sound. I had a hard time getting an aggressive sound out of it, and one of my friends put it best when he said it sounded “too polite”. Well put, sir. It found a happy home with a local college kid who was a performing arts major (smooth jazz, baby) who still loves it and checks in with me every now and then to herald its virtues.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fender Japan Keith Richards Micawber Telecaster

This guitar is yet another tragic example of how Fender is really missing the boat by importing only a few models from their Japanese subsidiary.

It is a super-rare '52 Reissue Telecaster that was crafted by Fender Japan Custom Shop. And yes indeed, it is a Keith Richards signature Micawber model! Buying one of these would save a fellow a lot of trouble if he is in a Rolling Stones tribute band. You listening, Mark?

This guitar is expertly crafted with a white ash body that is sprayed with a light Butterscotch Blonde finish, so that the grain shines through. In real life, the finish is a bit lighter than the US Made ‘52 re-issues. It is at least a shade or two lighter, and is closer to the way the finishes came from the factory in the early 50s. It comes with a single-ply flat black pickguard.

The neck has a chunky C profile with a deep nitro tint, and vintage frets. A 50’s type spaghetti logo is used on the headstock. Gotoh tuners are used on these Fender Japan Custom Shop models for their stability, but unfortunately do not fit the theme of this guitar. A four-bolt F-stamped plate holds the neck to the body.

The bridge is machined from a block of brass, with six solid brass saddles (one more than Keith’s). It makes a huge difference in the tone of the guitar.

Ah, the pickups. This model comes with a Fender humbucker at the neck and a traditional vintage single coil at the bridge. I have heard from my guitar sources in Japan that the pickup used in the neck position is actually a Gibson PAF '57 reissue humbucker. I cannot verify this, but it looks like one too. It certainly has that Gibson humbucker sound.

The craftsmanship on this guitar is impeccable. The fretwork, nut-detailing and finish is superb. The neck pocket fit is as tight as they come. The main reason these guitars are not exported is because their quality surpasses that of the Fender USA products.

It is pretty light, coming in at around 8 pounds, and it is unbelievable how easy it plays and how great it sounds.

Too bad that you will never see one of these at your local Guitar Center.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hard-Off Stores of Japan

Hard-Off. Heh. This is not the name of a Japanese girly bar or adult movie. It is a chain of some of the coolest stores in Japan.

In Japan, there is a constant push for consumers to have the newest and best products on the market. Hard-Off does not cater to people that are buying into that philosophy. These stores carry only secondhand items, in virtually every category imaginable.

These stores are crowded with merchandise. I usually go there to look for musical equipment, but they also have computers, toys, audio equipment, jewelry and sporting goods. I saw a set of Ping golf clubs for a hundred bucks there. What a deal!

The items in the stores may be used, but they are not abused. All of the items have been well-cared for, and all are in proper working order. Unless, that is, they are in the appropriately-labeled “Junk” section of the store. You get what you deserve if you pick something off of those shelves.

There are a number of offshoots of the “Off” stores. For example, you can head over to Book-Off to find some used tomes, or Garage-Off, Hobby-Off, Off-House or Mode-Off, for pretty much whatever else you are looking for.

As an aside, when I was trying to find a local Hard-Off store, I went to the concierge desk at an upscale hotel. They had never even heard of the store, and had to find it on the internet. As I said, there is a general perception that only the newest and best will do.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Boss TU-3 Tuner Pedal

Tuners. Does it get any more exciting than this? Well, yes it does, but we all need one. Paul McCartney needed one for “Band on the Run”, and there must not have been one around. Meow.

For the longest time, the Boss TU-2 was the standard in tuner pedals for guitarists and bassists. It is a durable and easy to use pedal. Boss has finally updated the pedal a bit and re-named it the TU-3. It was introduced at the NAMM show this year.

I sold my TU-2 on eBay and ordered a TU-3 from Musician’s Friend. It was only about a $25 up charge if you consider what I sold the old one for versus what I paid for the new one. The TU-3 seems to be priced about the same as the TU-2. The list price is $160.50, and the street price is $99. Everywhere. Talk about price fixing.

It does everything the previous pedal did (such as tuning your instruments), and it still has a bypass so that your audience does not have to listen to you while you tune. The pedal is the same size, and has the same rugged construction and high production standards that everyone has come to expect from Boss (made in Taiwan, BTW). The battery is still located underneath the switch, which is accessed via a thumbscrew on the front. As before, the reference pitch is adjustable from 436-445Hz.

There are a few improvements, of course:

This pedal can help clean up your pedal board of pesky power adapters, as it is capable of powering up to 7 other Boss effects using the PCS-20A daisy chain. This requires that the TU-3 be plugged in with the Boss adapter, so you cannot use its battery to power-up everything else. Be sure to check the power ratings of the other pedals you are using, and do not exceed 200mA total draw.

The TU-3 uses 21-segment LED meter (10 more than the old one!). And there is a new high brightness mode to improve visibility in outdoor situations. This does raise current draw up from 55mA to 85mA, meaning the battery will not last quite as long.

The pedal now supports the drop tunings that all of the young folks use, up to 6 semi-tones lower.

There are guitar and bass modes, which visually provide a string reference for up to 7-string guitars and 6-string basses. A chromatic mode is still available, of course.

Boss says the TU-3’s accuracy is improved, and is now +/-1 cent over the range of the 21 LEDs. I have no way of verifying this, but it works for tuning my stuff. It is possibly a bit more sensitive (finicky?) than the previous model, which requires a bit more concentration on my part.

So, is the TU-3 really THAT much better than the TU-2? Probably not, but having the option to power additional pedals from it is enough to make the switchover worthwhile for some musicians.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fender Japan E-series 1975 Re-issue Jazz Bass

I have already made it known that I love Japanese guitars, particularly those that are produced by Fender of Japan. Today I am looking at a gorgeous original Japanese series 1975 re-issue Fender Jazz Bass, model JB 75-80. This is a very early example with an E prefix serial number, probably from 1986.

This model was never intended to be exported into the United States, and my friend Bruce in Tokyo found it for me.

The original 3-tone sunburst finish pops really nicely. It is in good condition with just a few light dings and chips. It is honest wear, and has not been abused. At one point it had a bridge cover installed, so there are two extra holes on the front. Overall, this thing is pretty clean.

The bound neck and frets are in great shape. These are the original frets, and 24 years into their life they are still level, and show surprisingly little wear. You can feel the edges of the walnut stringer on the back of the neck, which is not terribly unusual, as it did not shrink as much as maple did over the years. That is a little annoying, but I am willing to live with it.

The fit and finish on Fender Japan instruments is indeed better than any US-made ones of the same vintage. The fretwork, neck pocket tightness, and every other detail are executed with pinpoint precision. It has the larger vintage-style tuners, not the ones with smaller plates that Fender Japan sometimes used. This bass features a very classic, vintage look.

This particular bass has the normal 1975 Fender Jazz Bass pickup configuration, unlike some that have a 60s-type bridge pickup placement. It appears to be all original. It has not been modified or repaired in any way, as far as I can tell. These early ones came with the Stratocaster-style volume and tone knobs, which look a little out of place. As I have said before, When Fender Japan re-issues a guitar model there is always one or two things they do not get right. Maybe they do it on purpose.

It plays absolutely killer, and sounds incredible. It far outshines any of the Geddy Lee Artist Model basses I have seen and played. My tech recently set it up with DR Hi Beams.

The only gripe I have with these basses are their weight. I have yet to see one that weighs less than 10 pounds, and this example weighs in at an astonishing 11 ½ pounds. There must have a lot of quality jammed in there…

Friday, May 7, 2010

Candye Kane: Superhero Album

I am sadly late to the party in becoming a fan of Candye Kane and her music. I discovered her through her association with my imaginary internet friend, Kennan Shaw, who is playing bass in the band on her current tour.

She has a fascinating life story, and has truly seen the elephant. Her personal successes and challenges have surely contributed to her convincingly soulful voice.

Candye Kane is not just talented, but is also well-regarded amongst her blues compadres. For 2010 she was nominated for three National Blues Foundation Awards, including: BB King Entertainer of the Year Award, Best Contemporary Blues CD, and Best Contemporary Blues Female. Eat that, Matchbox 20.

I bought her latest release Superhero from Satan’s minions (iTunes). It has been in regular rotation on my iPod ever since, and is some of my favorite music for just listening to. It has not been reduced to the level of the more ordinary music in my library that I use to zone out while I am writing. By the way, you will not find me writing reviews of music I do not REALLY like.

Superhero has 14 tracks, and they are all solid tunes, of which she wrote 10 (if I counted right). It is kind of hard for me to pigeon-hole the album into just one genre, as there are a lot of different styles going on, depending on which track you are listening to. I am going to call it an inspirationally vintage-rocking countrified blues album. Is that close enough?

It is blues-based music, but it does not give me the blues to listen to the lyrics. Her music’s message is positive, and this is a fun album that makes me feel good when I listen to it. Oh, and have I mentioned that Candye Kane can really sing? She is marvelous.

Here are a few observations:

She has the talent to do her own rendition of Led Zep/Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love”. But, it is so much more gritty than the other versions I have heard, along with having a lot more soul and drive.

Jack Tempchin wrote the track “Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed”, and this is one of his better works, which is saying a lot, because he has written some pretty big hits. Unfortunately, some of those hits were with bands and artists I do not really care for, but nobody is perfect. He did just fine here.

The album ends on an inspirational note with the a cappella “I’m Gonna Be Just Fine”. And I think she will be.

I regret missing Ms. Kane when she came through Southern California recently, but not too much. She has an old-school work ethic, and tours constantly (250 days a year is what I found on the internet), so I know I will have the chance soon.

You can find more information about Candye Kane at her website ( or through her fan page on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Guitar Center

I have a real love/hate relationship with Guitar center, which is probably the largest musical instrument retailer in the world. They have stores all over the US, which always give me a welcome place to go if I am out of town and need to kill some time.

Guitar Center stores vary quite a bit, but generally they have a very diverse inventory so there are quite a few instruments to choose from. They have had a long-standing policy that you can sit down and play pretty much any instrument on the walls for as long as you like. The idea is that all of the wanky 15-year old kids that come in will eventually buy something, so they make it a place that is friendly to them. This makes for a handy place for me to practice while I am on the road. The down side to this policy is that some instruments get a lot of wear and tear, and generally they will not discount instruments for this. They USED to, though (more about this later).

One thing that you will find is that Guitar Center does not carry instruments and accessories from every major manufacturer. If you need a Mesa Boogie or Genz Benz amplifier, you will have to go elsewhere. Until recently they did not carry any ESP guitars. These brands are popular, dammit.

Guitar Center made a few changes after they were acquired by Bain Capital in 2007 (for an astounding 2.1 billion dollars). By far, my least favorite change was their “guaranteed lowest price” policy, which pretty much took away my ability to negotiate pricing on instruments.

The “guaranteed lowest price” policy means that they will match any other retailers lowest advertised price. Many manufacturers and distributors set a minimum advertised price, so they prices are the same everywhere you look. Generally, Guitar Center will not negotiate below these minimum advertised prices, even if instruments show a lot of wear or are (GASP!) damaged. In the good old days, if you were a good customer they would negotiate the prices below the minimum advertised price, and closer to their cost for the item. Nothing good lasts forever, I guess.

Fortunately, they always have a large selection of used instruments that are in very good condition. These are generally available for a little more than ½ of what you would pay for a new instrument, and there is usually some negotiating that can be done. Also, during their yearly sales, they will still discount equipment to stupidly-low clearance prices, which can make for some lucrative eBay reselling.

By the way, Guitar Center also owns Musician’s Friend, which is probably the largest online retailer of musical instruments. In the past few years they have bought out Music & Arts Center and Music 123.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fender Jazz Bass Special Re-issue

Fender Guitars of Japan has re-issued many of the classic American-made guitars and basses of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. It was only a matter of time until they started reissuing their Japanese instruments from the 80’s.

Today’s subject is a very rare bass - a 2008 limited-edition Jazz Bass Special. This IS NOT the Mexican Duff McKagan model, this is a real-live Japanese-made bass. I have collected this particular model of bass for the past 20 years, have owned bunches of them, and it was a treat to be able to find a brand-new one. I found it at one of the Ishibashi stores in Japan, and brought it back with me on a business trip.

If you are not familiar with these, basses of this model and color were made famous by Duff McKagan of Guns N Roses, and later of Velvet Revolver. The original run of basses was from 1984 to 1987. The Jazz Bass Special used a Precision Bass style body, with a Jazz Bass profile neck, and a P/J pickup configuration.

This is a passive bass, with 2 volume controls, a TBX tone control and a 3-way pickup selector switch. The TBX circuit emulates an active preamp. From the center position, if it is turned clockwise, it will boost treble and cut bass and turned counter-clockwise, it will boost bass and cut treble.

The look is totally 80’s, starting with the P/J pickups to the black hardware and contrasting glossy black-fished neck and headstock.

Craftsmanship is up to the usual high standards of the factories that Fender Japan uses. The frets are finished superbly, and the neck pocket fit is super-tight. There is not a finish blemish anywhere on it.

A big plus is that it weighs in at 8.5 pounds, according to my digital scale. I have no idea what wood they used for the body, but have heard rumors that they use basswood. How appropriate!

These shipped with a nice Fender-logo padded gig bag. Hard cases are pretty rare in Japan, perhaps because they are harder to carry around on the subway.

So how does it play? It plays great, and it is solid. It is very versatile, sounds great and would work great for most any gig or recording opportunity.

One of the hallmarks of Fender Japan is that when the re-issue a classic guitar, they always get one or two details wrong. This model is no exception. The original basses came with a pearl white finish, while this one is real white. Also, this model does not have the plastic F-marked tophat knobs, using black-anodized barrel knobs instead. Also, I am pretty sure that the bridge saddles are not brass underneath that smooth black finish.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon

That has to be the album title of the year.

2009 was a good year for the Flaming Lips. After not releasing any albums since 2006, the Flaming Lips issued two albums last year: Embryonic and a collaborative remake of Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon.

Before I get started, I have to mention that I have always held Dark Side of the Moon up as one of very few perfect rock records, along with Guns ‘N Roses’ Appetite for Destruction and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Embryonic was a very solid album, but this track-for-track version of Dark Side of the Moon is not perfect, but it is very special, and there is no mistaking it for a Flaming Lips album. This is not another Beetlemania.

You probably figured this out from the title, but there is a little more than the Flaming Lips on this album. They recruited my hero, Henry Rollins, Wayne Coyne’s (the Lips vocalist and all-around musician) nephew’s band Stardeath and the White Dwarfs. And for good measure, Peaches stepped into Clare Torry’s shoes to sing the aria on “The Great Gig In The Sky”, and did an unbelievable job. I got gooesbumps the first time I heard her. Her level of emotion is intense.

I put on my best headphones and gave this album another listen today.

My god, what a cool album. This is not a warmed-over Matchbox 20-style tribute. It is a rich album that the Lips (and their friends and relations) left their mark all over. It is more frenetic, psychedelic and fuzzy than the Pink Floyd version, but just as slickly crafted as the original. I never would have thought that anyone would be able to re-do this album as well as these collaborating artists.

They went to a lot of trouble to stick close to the original in construction, but managed to make it a different album, so that you would be hard-pressed to say “Hey! That’s a Pink Floyd song!”

The overall feel of the album is sort of an industrial techno-pop. It starts out with “Speak To Me/Breathe” with some creepy spoken word by rock’s thinking man, Henry Rollins, which was pretty damned far-out, in a heavy sort of 60’s way. From then on, the songs are pretty unrecognizable from their original form until my favorite song of the album — “The Great Gig In The Sky” where Peaches got her shot at it. This song is where I could most readily tie together the original and this new version.

“Eclipse” rocked traditionally in a late-60’s kind of way, and was probably the only track on the album that sounded like it could possibly be included into a Flaming Lips live show.

As I said earlier, it is not perfect. There were a few parts of the album that nearly drove me to the brink of insanity, including the definitely bizarre re-do of “Money” and the intro to “Time/Breathe (reprise)”. Christ almighty, enough already. Maybe I am just too dumb to appreciate what they did.

Despite this nasty criticism, this version of Dark Side of the Moon is definitely worth your time, and may give you new eyes to look at the original source material. Go ahead and buy it.

The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon was released via iTunes on December 22 of last year. If you crave something more special, and are a dedicated Flaming Lips fan, on April 17, Warner Brothers released 5000 copies of the album on 12" clear or green vinyl along with a CD copy of the album included. There are still a few around if you really need it bad.

Maybe next we can get Tool to cover The Wall.