CreekAustria“Purgatory”As a fusion group, Creek veers between the dorky (cartoon-like melody inserts), the maddening (the signature lines repeat just a bit too much), the clichéd (stereotypical keyboard sounds and buzzy, sustaining guitar tones), and the truly amazing (guitarist Jil Y. Creek’s rambunctious solo, starting at 1:50, that keeps pushing further into the wild blue yonder).myspace.com/creekofficial
Paul BibbinsNew Orleans, Louisiana“Eagle’s World Blues”Like Bibbins, I love Hendrix and Robin Trower, so I can’t help but enjoy his messy- but-impassioned sonic tribute to his heroes. I even kind of dig his intense, sloppy solos. His energy is absolutely righteous, but, in the end, a so-so song and the absence of originality kills the high. myspace.com/paulbibbins
Johnny A. MonroeNorman, Oklahoma“Mask”This is a demo with all the little glitches and weirdnesses that tend to identify solo home recordings, but it has a nice vibe. The phased acoustic rhythm might seem like a dumb idea, but it sounds kind of cool, and Monroe builds the piece with some slinky, delay-abetted melodies. Strangely enjoyable.myspace.com/johnnyamonroe
Ritchie HernandezPrescott Valley, Arizona“Salsa Picoso”Hernandez cops a fair amount of Latin motifs—melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically—but the combination feels so good, and the result is a pretty blastin’ party track for a summer afternoon. He manages to twist a few wah-phrased Santana-isms into surprising little lines, and he knows when to shut up and let the band groove.myspace.com/ritchiehernandez
Agent DeadliesSan Francisco, California“Don’t Talk Back”Yeah, I know some readers hate it when my punk affections show, but I can’t help but be impressed that these teenagers nailed the sound and vibe of old-school ska/punk. There’s even a spiky, ’50s-inspired solo that shows guitarists Ian and Joey are absorbing the roots of rock. Bravo!myspace.com/agentdeadlies
Tommy AuerbachSan Francisco, California“Palace of Wisdom”Sadly, the recording quality of this tune is pretty awful, but not-quite-buried within the one-dimensional sound spectrum are tons of juicy licks, as Auerbach style checks everyone from Montrose to Johnny Winter. His touch is precise, and he keeps listener interest percolating with his chameleonic guitar skills.myspace.com/tommyauerbach
Muris VarajicSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina“She Goes By”Varajic enlists an Andy Summers-style arpeggio to catch your ear, and then launches into a soaring, melodic line. It’s all very tasty—especially Varajic’s vocal-like phrasing—and it all ends too soon at just two minutes. Props here for letting the melody speak, and not overstay its welcome. myspace.com/murisvarajic
Uncharted CourseNew Castle, Pennsylvania“Ocean Comotion”Guitarist Ed Parady really rips on this high-energy surf-rockabilly-blues workout. The main melody is standard issue, but Parady’s tone is sparkling mean, his phrasing is spot on, and although he never takes his foot off the gas, he somehow avoids pummeling you into the numb zone. Exciting stuff!myspace.com/unchartedcourse
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