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Them Crooked Solo Album

08/23/2010
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Got some news that may be of interest to QOTSA and Them Crooked Vultures fans: Fresh off his latest run of shows playing guitar for Them Crooked Vultures, and currently on a tour of Europe to include appearances at Reading and Leeds festivals, Alain Johannes is getting ready to release his solo debut, Spark (Rekords Rekords/ Ipecac Recordings), which has the new release date of October 5th.

With a resume that includes co-founding the band Eleven and collaborations with Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Chris Cornell, Mark Lanegan, and Spinnerette (Brody Dalle's latest project) among numerous others, Alain Johannes has already established himself as a gifted and prolific musical talent. However, Sparkis where Johannes' strengths as a songwriter, vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist are finally showcased all at once.

Queens of the Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures frontman Joshua Homme, whose label Rekords Rekords will co-release Spark with Ipecac Recordings, says: "Alain's record is the total embodiment of what the label stands for—the war against endorsing mediocrity and the uncensored attempt to take a leap off the musical cliff. Spark is a stunning examination of figuring out what you do when someone's gone, and it's utterly breathtaking."

Spark opens with "Endless Eyes," a beautiful flurry of cigar box guitars churning out layers of highly rhythmic riffs. Johannes' soulful vocals soar on top, creating a mystical, eastern-flavored sound. The track is an ode to Natasha Shneider, Johannes' late wife and creative partner. After she passed away in 2008, Queens of the Stone Age organized an all-star benefit show in Los Angeles to celebrate Shneider's life. Johannes composed "Endless Eyes" specifically for the show, and the song ended up settling the wheels in motion for what would become Spark.

From beginning to end, the album showcases the remarkable technical precision and versatility that has made Johannes such an in-demand guitar player. Spark also reveals him to be far more than a rock guitarist, with elements of classical, flamenco, and Indian music displayed throughout. Tying it all together is his ability to craft melodies ripe with nuance, which is what truly makes each of the eight tracks captivating and emotionally resonant.

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