Review: Sean Ashe – Flux

(if you don’t want to bear my preface, the actual review starts at the fourth paragraph…)

I have been into Sean Ashe for quite some time, I don’t even remember how I got introduced. My guess would be his Instagram but who knows. For the last year or so he let his followers follow (;-)) the development and recording of his first solo album, titled Flux. It was available for pre-orders on his Bandcamp page so I did and this week it finally came out.

Hemisphere and Luminescence were two tracks previously available and there I was, syncing the tracks to my phone, thinking, “well, this might as well be this generation’s Passion & Warfare”. Talk about expectations… The teaser track Memory Lane before New Year’s was equally daunting and promising…

Well, Passion & Warfare might be a bit farfetched in the end. Not because it’s not great but due to what it stands far. First I was wondering whether a statement like that would be fair to Guthrie Govan’s Erotic Cakes or Pete Thorn’s Guitar Nerd, but obviously it’s a very personal matter. What Passion & Warfare was for me – most likely it was a different album for you. But I digress from the actual matter: Sean Ashe’s brilliant debut album:

Sean Ashe’s Flux is of 8 instrumental guitar tracks. But: It’s not really a shred album (good) and it’s not a riff album (awesome!). I am not a fan of songs that feature a great guitar riff but lack a melody to carry the tune. Riff songs unfortunately bore me. Flux is a great selection of melodies that also happen to be played by guitar, in a very fluent manner. I am not the best at describing influences if I am not familiar, so could be saying something like Scofield and Satriani but would probably very wrong.

I like the variety of song styles. There’s a bit of folk guitar, there’s a ska-ish track, but also the instrument selection: It seems that he really puts melody at the forefront, and the instrument at second: Acoustic guitar, piano, and keyboards all have a moment to bow to the song and shine.

And then there is lots of fusion-y songs with many layers of electric guitar but carefully selected tones. Sean endorses Tom Anderson Guitars and I know he uses Mesa Boogie amps – no doubt are they happy because the guitars sound pristine and I am not just click baiting here. Lead and rhythm guitars sound stunningly good. Kind of what I would expect from a Pete Thorn record but not for a debut album – which Sean produced & mixed himself (with a little help, but still).

I knew the drums were done “for real”, but it has to be pointed out that Andreas Sjoen did a superb job playing and recording. The songs have punch and a dynamic range that comes through without disturbing the melody, rather supporting it.

In short, the only complaint I have is that the album could have been longer and that there could have been a tad more shreddage – we know he can play, so maybe just once give in and let us have it full-blast. But all in all, a must-have for fans of great melodies and electric guitar playing.

And if your in the LA area, go to Namm and check him out in person:

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A musical review of 2015

An interesting year. Most (3) of the concerts I saw (6) came in one week in March, my favorite ones were Karnivool in March and Aristocrats in December.
Most of my favorite albums so far came out in one week in the fall, but I have yet to work through the official “best-of” lists.

Here’s my top 5 so far:
Winery Dogs – Hot Streak
Bumblefoot – Little Brother is Watching
Queensryche – Condition Human
Sonny Landreth – Bound by the Blues
Trivium – Silence in the Snow

However, as every year, I have made Spotify lists of many journalistic sources to see what I may have missed. NPR’s favorite, Reverbs best of 2015, Guitar World Top 50, Telegraph’s Top Country, Top Hip Hop, Eddie Trunks Top 10 and I have still marked NME and Rolling Stone. I see a couple of names on every lists, Jamie XX, Brandi Carlisle, Vince Staples, Courney Barnett so we’ll see what the fuss is about and maybe add to the list later.(These lists will be solid for at least three months I think, so feel free to subscribe. )

After the dissolution of the last cover band I became part of a new one and we played just six gigs (14 already booked for this year), my other band Club of Revelation played four times more than 2014… aka 4 🙂

2016… apparently AC/DC is coming to town, Killswitch Engage, Dream Theater, Tremonti are putting out new albums… let’s see!

(here’s 2014 and 2013)

A musical review of 2014

(my year in other people’s music. here’s 2013)


My album of the year (although from 2013). Glad I discovered this. Great guitar tone by Greg Howe and awesome vocals. It’s not a shred record but great songs, great arrangements and very tasty guitar playing.


A great guitarist (George Lynch), an underrated drummer (Ray Luzier) and the awesome Dug Pinnick on vocals and bass. Another super group, this years Winery Dogs. Great record.

Lynch Mob – Sun Red Sun

24 years after one of my favorite records, Wicked Sensations, they do it again. George Lynch and Oni Logan with great songs. 2 great albums by George Lynch in one year.

The Double Stop Podcast

Props to Brian Sword. If you like rock’n’roll you have to listen, a musicians podcast.

Slash – World on Fire

I wasn’t so sure I’d like this but Slash, Myles Kennedy and producer Elvis Baskette made a great record, solid rock music that will stand the test of time.

Sixx A.M. – Modern Vintage

I had high expectations for this since Are You With Me Now is one of my favorite songs and has been for some time. Modern Vintage isn’t quite there yet but still growing. Well produced as to be expected.

Vulfpeck – Fugue State

I discoverd Vulfpeck with Vollmilch last year and this year’s Fugue State is just so good. Lush. Jazzy but accessible. Easy listening but so not vanilla.

Eden Circus – Marula

„We have listened to Karnivool and Tool.“ Great record for darker days, Hamburg Export I think. Going to be great year for them.

Gregory Porter – Liquid Spirit

Can’t go wrong with this, amazing voice, mellow.

D’Angelo – Black Messiah

I love it.

Dave Kilminster – and the truth will set you free

How had I not heard of Dave? Probably because I am not such a fan of Pink Floyd and personnel. But he’s a great player and needs to be heard more.

Dirty Loops – Loopified

Finally. A little too pop for me but great to see them out there, hope to catch them live soon.

The Brew – Control

I am not so big on the concept album part, but they just rock. Trio, so important I take notice…

Jack White – Lazaretto

Not just another album. Worth listening.

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways

Cause it’s the Foo Fighters.

Also new to my head phones but not from 2014:

Mother’s Cake – Creation’s Finest

Another support band that took the main stage. Great musicianship, rhythmically challenging, great drumming.

Army of Anyone

Old project from KXM/Korn drummer Ray Luzier. Great rock album.

Brand New – The Devil and God are raging Inside me

Avon Junkies – The Lesser Evil

Punk ska-ish, very fresh.

Wilson Hawk – The Road

Old Richie Kotzen project, very r’n’b soul, almost Motown.

A musical bouquet: Bob Mould, Vulfpeck, Brand New, Saosin, Florida Geogia Line, La Roux, Reigning Sound, Steve Harris, Dream the Electric Sheep

In recent months I discovered a couple of new bands. Some that have been around the block a couple of times, some newer ones. The came via Twitter, Premier Guitar’s rig rundowns and simple recommendations. Maybe you like some as well.

Bob Mould – I don’t know you anymore (from the album Beauty & Rain)

Vulfpeck – Outro (from the album Vollmilch)
Imagine a mellower Dixie Dregs, totally listenable, but with lines you wish you had written and a groove reminiscent of Tower of Power.

Brand New – Sowing Season (from the album The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me)
The video is from a live performance so you maybe want to follow the album link to spotify instead. Make sure to watch the first two minutes – when the band kicks in there’s a great guitar line that everything is built up on – just magical.

Saosin – Voices (from the album Saosin)

Floria Georgia Line – Cruise (from the album Here’s to the Good Times… This is how we Roll)
Country Pop in Half-Time Shuffle, 4×4 trucks, Nelly – all you need to know…

La Roux – Uptight Downtown (from the album Trouble in Paradise)
But… that’s… kind of 80ish pop music…
Yes indeed, but it’s fun!

Reigning Sound – Never coming home (from the album Shattered)
Great old sound, lots of songs about love.

Steve Harris – This is my God (from the album British Lion)
Steve Harris? The name rings a bell? Right, he’s the bass player for Iron Maiden. This is his solo effort, quite neat.

Dream the Electric Sheep – Heretics
Usually this is a much too spheric album for me. I think it’s the bony bass guitar sound that holds it together. Vocals sound a bit like Kenny from Karnivool, I detect some Beatles in there, as well. It’s easy listening but nice…

So ein Fußballalbum will voll sein.

1982 war das Jahr, in dem ich mein erstes Panini-Sammelalbum hatte. Es war bis auf eine Karte voll. Bodo Mattern kam irgendwann per Post. Und dann wieder 84/85. Und 86/87. Und Robin Hood. Und Star Wars. Und WWF. Der Zeitungshöker an der Ecke hatte immer einen Stapel mit 200 Doppelten und tauschte mit uns (und wir kauften neue Päckchen im Gegenzug. Und Esspapier.) Und dann war irgendwann 2010 der Keller, in dem die Hefte lagerten, nass. Und die Hefte hinüber.
Nun durfte Junior (6) das erste Mal sammeln und insgesamt war das eine runde Sache, dank zwei Besuchen auf der Radio Hamburg Tauschbörse.

Ein spannendes Erlebnis, so auch diesen Samstag wieder. Bewaffnet mit einem Rucksack mit Verpflegung, einer Dose mit ausreichend Doppelten (daran war der erste Besuch gescheitert) und der Liste mit den Nummern die uns noch fehlten – knapp 100 – machten wir uns auf den Weg.
Es ging gleich klasse los, die ersten beiden Tauschpartner ergaben je 10 Treffer – bei dem Tempo wären wir schnell fertig gewesen. Also weiter. Abenteuerlich, die unterschiedlichen Systeme, die die Leute nutzten. Nicht, dass wir das beste hatten, aber ohne Liste mit Karten die noch fehlen, oder unsortierten Doppelten macht es merklich weniger Spaß. Oder Leute, die ihre Doppelten in Hundertergruppen in Umschlägen oder wahlweise Gummibändern trennen. Und dann am besten noch eine Liste mit Doppelten haben, wo sie auch noch was abstreichen müssen. Kompliziert.

Was wir von Anfang an machen, ist das Karmakonto aufladen. Wir tauschen nur eins-zu-eins und wir tauschen auch bei ungleicher Trefferzahl: Wir finden drei, die anderen acht: dann nehmen wir welche von euren Doppelten. Egal. Und freuen uns über die gleiche Behandlung umgekehrt.
Irgendwann wurde unser Zettel unübersichtlich und ich begann, die, die noch fehlten einzukreisen. Ups, nur noch 19. Wir waren gut 1,5 Stunden da. Jetzt nur nicht aufgeben. Also weiter. Hier, da. Ein Junge tauscht mit uns, obwohl er von uns nur welche für sein Zweitalbum (!) braucht – 8 Treffer auf einmal! Einmal um die Sitzecke rum. Dann noch mal gezählt. Nur noch acht! Oh wunder, noch mal einer mit vier. Dann fehlen nur noch drei und wir sind 2,5 Stunden da. Junior wird langweilig, aber er merkt, wir sind nah dran. Wir stellen uns bei dem schrulligen Alten an, der für 20 Cent Aufkleber verkauft. 50 Cent für Glitzis und Mannschaftsbilder, er macht sich seinen Markt. Könnte etwas freundlicher sein, aber er bestimmt die Regeln. Alle halten sich dran, oder gehen, oder bringen ihm eine Kugel Stracciatella. Wir warten lange auf die Kisten, die uns interessieren, 100-199, 200-299 und 300-399. Finden die 286 und die 313. Die 129 hat er nicht. Später wird sich zeigen, dass wir die 129 schon vorher ertauscht hatten, aber beim Abstreichen unsauber waren (wir=ich). Macht aber nichts, denn der Triumph ist grandios. Wir haben gesehen, Leute, die nur noch eine Karte brauchen schreien laut die Nummer raus. Machen wir auch. “WER HAT DIE 129!!” Nur drei Tauschpärchen weiter sagt einer “die hab’ ich”. Wir drängen zu ihm. “Wirklich?” “Wirklich.” Ich gucke auf seine Liste, wir haben nix was er sucht. Mist. Er guckt seinen Sohn an, nickt den Kopf Richtung Junior, “was meinst Du, wollen wir ihm den trotzdem geben”? Der Sohn nickt, wir bedanken uns glücklich. Wir sind komplett, nehmen uns in den Arm, feiern.

Und gehen zufrieden ein Eis kaufen.