Best Guitarist (2012)

Brandon Seabrook

The sticker emblazoned on Brandon Seabrook's Telecaster—the glorious mug of Minutemen icon D Boon, accompanied by his battle cry "Punk is whatever we made it out to be"—offers a glimpse into the warped yet visionary brain of the Brooklyn shred guru. Seabrook's aesthetic is a dizzying mishmash of punk-jazz fury, avant-metal thrashing, and country-twang with chunks of free jazz underpinnings, similar to SST Records and Black Flag overlord Greg Ginn. But what distinguishes Seabrook is his instrument of choice—the tenor banjo—and in Seabrook Power Plant (the trio he shares with drummer/brother Jared and bassist Tom Blancarte), he annihilates his instrument. The finger-hopping slayer frantically ricochets between Meat Puppets II–style desert hardcore jammage, Mick Barr–esque symphonic metal guitarrorism, and mind-bending prog-rock intricacies. In swinging post-bop jazz unit Hot Cup Chili Pepper 7 (a/k/a Mostly Other People Do the Killing), Seabrook whips up his mangled-banjo din alongside luminaries Moppa Elliott, Jon Irabagon, Peter Evans, Sam Kulik, Ron Stabinsky, and Kevin Shea; in drummer Gerald Cleaver's Black Host, his string stabs converge with avant-gardists Cooper-Moore, Darius Jones, and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper. But while the Park Sloper's prowess might be drawing accolades, he has stayed true to the Minutemen's ethos: jamming econo.


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