Tom Morello Redefines the Guitar

Skills and Techniques of Tom Morello

In 1991, Tom Morello and the rest of Rage Against the Machine came crashing out into the music scene with their revolutionary combination of heavy metal and rap. Each of the artists in the band are extremely skilled at their instrument but when they are all combined they create a unique and addictive explosion of sounds that made you want to bang your head and cry at the same time.

Tom uses a combination of a perfected technique and pedals to make his signature sounds that he displays in his bands RATM and Audioslave. He is well known for his heavy experimenting with the sounds of a guitar and his influence of hip-hop in his powerful guitar solos, best heard in his solo for "Bulls On Parade" which very much resembles a record scratch of a dj. This sound is achieved by Morello rubbing his left hand on his guitar strings while using his right hand to toggle his guitar's kill-switch on and off between the pickups.

As he went through college in Harvard, Morello put countless hours into practicing the guitar. He would practice his technique and play around with sounds for up to nine hours a day sometimes. He is well known for his ability to move his fingers incredibly fast, shown best in the coffee-house like solo of "Settle for Nothing" by RATM.

Morello has since played shows as his folk-music playing alias "The Nightwatchmen." Now that his successful careers as guitarists for Audioslave and RATM. He is placed at 40 on Rolling Stones list of "Top 100 guitarists of all time," and will always be remembered for his one-of-a-kind take on playing guitar.

Up and Coming Artists

The Districts

For this weeks edition of up and coming artist, I’m going to be focusing on a hard-hitting band from Pennsylvania called The Districts.

Forming while still in high school in 2009, the band began playing covers and writing original songs. They recorded their first album, a self-released EP called “Kitchen Songs,” all in one take.

I discovered The Districts through a friend and since I started listening to them, I’ve been absolutely hooked. Their jazz-influenced music mixed in with modern rock, punk, and blues makes for a unique and addicting sound, along with the grovely yet soothing voice of lead singer Rob Grote.

Each member of the band are extremely skilled at their instrument, just listen to the song “Young

Blood” to hear Rob’s jazzy guitar playing and the drummer’s ability to play 16th notes on his kick drum during the song’s climax. The band is also skilled in coming up with catchy choruses that make you want to yell along to, such as the chorus of “Long Distance,” and “4th and Roebling.”

The Districts are a must-see live experience. The amount of energy put out during their shows is something you rarely see. Also the ability of the band to still play their instruments perfectly as they flail around is incredibly impressive.

The Districts live

Brand New's Possible Break-up

In 2000, in the city of Long Island, New York, a band called Brand New came together and made an impact on the pop-punk scene. But now, almost sixteen years later, that legacy might come to an end.

With the release of their first album Your Favorite Weapon in 2001, the band exploded onto the scene with their catchy hooks and Jesse’s ability to write relatable and clever lyrics. They reached out to kids everywhere and their music spread rapidly through skaters and punks alike.

After touring extensively, in 2003 the band then released their second album, Deja Entendu. This album was a complete 360 turn from what the band released earlier, going from “I just broke up with my girlfriend” too “good to know that if i ever need attention all I have to do is die.” The band’s new sound sucked people even farther into the vacuum that is Brand New.

In 2006, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was released. This album consisted of beloved songs such as “Jesus” and “Limousine.” This album truly showed the exceptional writing ability that frontman Jesse Lacey possesses.

Daisy was then released in 2009 and is the last full length album that the band released. They were said to be releasing new material last summer, but that is yet to happen.

On Oct. 11 Brand New played their last scheduled gig. During this show, Lacey took time out to tell the fans that Brand New’s reign might be coming to an end. Jesse went on to talk about the fact that the band has been playing music together for over 15 years and it’s feeling as if this is might be the end.

Only the band knows the real answer about the break-up, but we all hope that they will release their new material before the sad sad end.

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Brand New playing live