Tag: Stanton Moore

  • Top 5 Drum Albums of 2008

    The end of the year is upon us, and that means one thing for media sites the world over: best-of lists. Bazillions and bazillions of best-of lists. We here at BDT are by no means immune to this journalistic cancer, and so have put together our five favorite drum albums from 2008. We compiled the winners by checking our iTunes playlists for the songs that got the most spins. After eliminating tracks released before 2008 and ignoring stuff that would surely undermine our badass reputation (e.g., Sara Bareilles and Katy Perry), we came up with the discs you’ll find below. Mind you, these aren’t necessarily the best drumming performances the year had to offer; they are simply the ones that we listened to most often….which, actually, is pretty much the best testament one can offer.

    5. Dafnis Prieto, Taking the Soul for a Walk

    We downloaded this gem of a disc back in March, and it quickly became our Latin-infused jazz standard for 2008. Nothing else new in that vein came even remotely close in terms of number of listens. That’s all due of course to Prieto’s drumming and compositional instincts—textured and nuanced without being intrusive or masturbatory. We love this dude and can’t wait for a 2009 release, hopefully a live recording with his sextet.

    4. Army Navy, Army Navy

    We have so much affection for this indie pop debut and have played it so often that Army Navy managed to bust into the top 5 even though it was released just a few months ago. The drumming here is a masterful lesson in tune-conscious playing, so we weren’t shocked at all to discover that Pete Thomas, the longtime drummer for Elvis Costello, cut the tracks.

    3. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

    Hipster darlings, and deservedly so for clever lyrics and catchy rhythms, the band Vampire Weekend made college kids everywhere in 2008 feel the white-washed African beat in their feet. We’ll give drummer Chris Tomson all the credit.

    2. The Mars Volta, The Bedlam in Goliath

    This is perhaps the one true drummy drum album on our list, but even it is primarily an example of what real musicians do with sophisticated, daring compositions. Very few drummers can play as many necessary notes as Thomas Pridgen does here, and the result is stunningly beautiful and monstrous and perfect.

    1. Stanton Moore, Emphasis! (On Parenthesis)

    Can we be any more emphatic about our love for Moore? Creative, grooving, and deliciously chop-laden all at the same time, this album has been on almost permanent repeat since it was released in April.

  • Stanton Moore’s Signature Snare

    [Press Release]

    Renowned drummer Stanton Moore is pleased to announce the release of his long-awaited signature Titanium snare drum. Stanton is set to unveil the drum at this year’s Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, CA.

    “The whole idea started about 6 or 7 seven years ago when I met drumsmith Ronn Dunnett for the first time and started to become familiar with his incredible drums.” said Moore. “I saw some of his titanium drums and I was intrigued. He explained the sound characteristics of titanium and I became very interested in the sonic possibilities. I asked Ronn if he could make one as a 4″ x 14”. His reply was something along the lines of ‘I’ll give it a shot.’ A few months later Ronn presented me with the 1st prototype. Immediately fell in love with the drum—its sound, its tone and its feel. As I was playing to larger rooms with Galactic, I needed a drum that would be sensitive and buttery enough for the intricate buzz roll work that I do with some of the New Orleans second line grooves, but would also cut through a loud funk band when I smacked a back beat. This drum had what I was looking for. Over the years Ronn and I experimented with various depths (the drum is now 4.5″ in depth), thickness of the shell, depth of the snare bed, lugs, strainers, snare wires, rims, claws and other details, but more than anything we agonized over the badge. Finally over lunch one day I showed Ronn an image of the New Orleans water meter cover (not sewer or man-hole, but water meter!). The New Orleans water meter cover is one of the most beloved and iconic images in New Orleans culture. We were very excited with the idea of modifying the meter cover into the badge for my snare and ultimately I feel like the badge pays homage to the city that my fellow citizens and I are fighting to protect and rebuild.” Although Moore is a Gretsch endorser, he received the company’s blessing for his drum as Gretsch has no plans to offer a Titanium snare drum. “My intentions are to maintain my great working relationship with Gretsch while making this particular snare drum available to the public so other drummers can enjoy this drum as much as I have.”

    The aesthetics of Stanton’s drum were inspired by a 20s era snare drum that was given to him by his friend and mentor Johnny Vidacovich. Unfortunately that drum was stolen. “It was 4″ x 14″ with tube lugs and single flange hoops and claws. I always dug the look and feel of that drum. In deciding on the look of my drum I kept recalling the drum that Johnny had given me. I thought it would be cool to incorporate the metal hoop and claw look of an older drum with the modern titanium shell. I’m always trying to blend the old with the new…to modernize tradition. Everywhere I play this drum, drummers, engineers, producers and fans of music alike approach me and ask me ‘what is that drum?’ I feel Ronn and I have created a drum that is special and deserves to be out in the market. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I have.”

    The Stanton Moore Spirit of New Orleans Titanium snare drum features a polished titanium shell, beautifully minted badge in antique pewter finish, traditional brass tube lugs, Single flange hoops with clips or regular triple flange hoops, the Dunnett R2 snare throw off system with keyless snare wire release, Dunnett Hypervent! adjustable air vent, and Puresound Metrix 20 strand snare wires. The drum will be distributed exclusively through the Bosphorus cymbal company. Price TBA.

  • Music Reviews: Tristan Prettyman, Garage A Trois, Jake Shimabukuro, KJ Sawka, Baumer

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.

    Tristan Prettyman


    Music: Here is something novel. Tristan Prettyman actually plays guitar, writes her own tunes, and—sorry Britney—sings. And she’s really good to boot. Twentythree serves up nuanced acoustic folk-pop that is irresistibly sprinkled with whimsy, honesty, and melancholy. Think Ani DiFranco meets Jason Mraz meets that breathy-hot-girl-poet-in-high-school-who-was-way-too-smart-to-talk-to-you. 

    Drumming: No syncopated, 11/16, prog-jogging riffs here—just deep-in-the-pocket grooves delivered by Matt Johnson (on most of the CD) or Nir Z (on two tracks). Percussionist Leon Mobley nicely complements both drummers, and no matter which pair steps up to play, the combined rhythms snuggly fit each song. Check out “Love, Love, Love” and “Always Feel This Way” for tune-conscious drumming done the way it should be.  

    The Straight Poop: Soon enough, Prettyman is going to dominate the airwaves. When your troglodyte guitarist friends finally crawl from their musical caves to give her a listen, just sit back, scoff, and say you heard her way back when.

    Garage a Trois

    Outre Mer

    Music: Composed for the avant-garde French film Outre Mer, the tracks on this disc apparently mirror the main character’s journey through joy, sorrow, isolation, devotion, and romantic love. Well now, that’s a little too highbrow for us: all we hear is the best and nastiest New Orleans jazz/funk that has ever crawled from the bayou. If the Swamp Thing wanted to get his groove on, Outre Mer would be on the turntable.

    Drumming: You wish you were this good. Drummer Stanton Moore and vibraphonist/percussionist Mike Dillon get downright filthy with deep tom grooves, playful vibes, and a fat cowbell. Every track—especially “Outre Mer,” “Bear No Hair,” and “Merfati”—demands a head-bobbing, arm-jerking, leg-flailing response. But it was “Antoine”—with its slithering half-time feel and ringing snare—that had us getting naked and grabbing hold of the inner swamp creature. 

    The Straight Poop: Stanton Moore’s drumming, ya’ll. Get a nightly taste. Serve it over gumbo. 

    Jake Shimabukuro


    Music: A fucking ukulele? Yep, native Hawaiian Jake Shimabukuro shreds on the tiny, two-octave “gee-tar” you thought was just a toy. Combining nimble fingers, cleverly integrated effects pedals, and a whole lot of creative chutzpah, Shimabukuro’s playing on this CD ranges from latin-tinged fusion jams (we like those) to softer, island-inspired songs (for the weepy set). But rest assured: this is not a collection of your great-grandfather’s Don Ho–inspired instrumentals.

    Drumming: Noel Okimoto, who has played with jazzers Stan Getz and Wynton Marsalis, runs the gamut here. He tears it up on “Shake It Up,” the disc’s opener, and he stomps all over the pieces on “3rd Stream.” Bouncy cross sticking and rim-clicks guide “Me & Shirley T” and “Toastmanland.” And the softer “Touch” allows Okimoto to lay back with delicate, fluttering brush work. 

    The Straight Poop: Go buy two copies—one for listening to, one for drooling over. Hawaiian hipsters unite!

    KJ Sawka

    Synchronized Decompression

    Music: On first listen, KJ Sawka is simply good drum ’n’ bass. With the addition of Christa Wells’ ethereal, soothing vocals (the perfect complement to the songs’ frenetic pace and jarring rhythms), the music soon becomes very good indeed. But only when the secret is out do you realize you have heard something outstanding: the band’s driving, computer-generated beats are in fact played by Kevin Sawka himself, a real drummer wailing on real drums in real time. 

    Drumming: If drum machines ever take over the world, this is the guy who will infiltrate their ranks and live among them. Wresting from his acoustic kit the tight, staccato sounds endemic to electronic music, Sawka is somehow capable of maintaining intricate, repetitive patterns at rapid tempos. By all rights, his hands should bust playing the frantic “Future Juju Soundsystem” and “Close Your Eyes.” Is Sawka man, machine, or cyborg? Who cares. Just plug him in.

    The Straight Poop: Creative and inspired and wild and freaky and….


    Come On, Feel It

    Music: The Americans are coming! Finally, we have a homegrown varietal as tasty as Travis, Coldplay, and Keane. New Jersey’s soon-to-be-darlings have done good on a freshman effort full of infectious, danceable melodies that are a little too clever, a little too dark to be labeled pop. Check out “Not Done With You Yet,” “Perfect Day,” and “Do The Choo Choo.” Just try to stay in your chair.

    Drumming: Caleb Weathersby joins the ranks of contemporary players who effortlessly mingle their live drumming with programmed sounds and loops. Backed by a phalanx of electronics, he in turn provides a dynamic foundation for the rest of the band. Listen as he matches the aggressive guitars on “Take What’s Mine” by riding on crashes and laying into his kit. Despite the disc’s inevitable tender moments, there is plenty of unbridled drum abuse for you bruisers.

    The Straight Poop: Come on, and feel it. Don’t be nervous: that’s your dancing feet coming to life.