Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Old Money (Stones Throw)

Are you ready to start tripping balls? Yes? Sweet. First, put on this album from Mars Volta member Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. You'll thank us later.

Guitarist keeps it complex
As Stones Throw''s roster becomes more expansive each year, it''s no surprise that experimental rocker Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta is dropping a record on the esteemed imprint. But regardless of who''s putting his music out, the guitarist/producer''s forward-thinking solo work makes for an alluring and often trippy listen.

As the 10 tracks on Old Money were made in response to established cash-hungry corporations, this album is fittingly rebellious. Rodriguez-Lopez lets his guitar-driven compositions wander, but not to the extent that these songs become an unstructured mess; instead, they each tell a complete story. Take “Private Fortunes,” which begins with mellow, Salsa-tinged melodies; gradually, warm synths, peculiar percussion and classic guitar strums are carefully added to the mix. What''s admirable about these songs is how they seamlessly gain momentum and texture. With the exception of the chaotic “Family War Funding (Love Those Rothschilds),” this LP showcases how well Rodriguez-Lopez can integrate his chops on the guitar with his ear for myriad melodic yet abstract sounds. For anyone who has yet to become accustomed with The Mars Volta member, Old Money is an ideal starting point. [4 out of 5 stars]