New York, New York
“The Sweetest Thing”
A beautifully mournful, bluesy electric melody over a strummed acoustic that’s obviously heartfelt and true. This could be the theme song for the grey, rainy days the GP staff had to endure this past April, or it could just be an underscore for anyone looking to channel their sadness. myspace.com/jgoldfinger.
Las Vegas, Nevada
This acoustic-driven tune grooves along like a rhino on Ecstasy. It delivers evocative vocals, bouyant melodies, and an interesting and quirky arrangement. It also sounds brilliant when played loud. There’s not any burning guitar playing here, but, heck, a good song still counts—right? myspace.com/staceygearingvegas.
Glen Allen, Virginia
“King Bee Bop”
A slinky, stinging, and poppin’ blues number. Jacopec has a fine command of melody, phrasing, and dynamics, but his timing and groove needs work, as he tends to fall out of the pocket throughout this otherwise enjoyable romp. myspace.com/streetwiseproject.
My Big Beautiful
This is a punk track, so you can forget about soaring solos or crushing riffs, but there’s myriad levels of intensity partying down—from stuttering punches to crowd-cheer vocals to chordal crescendoes. It’s a fun, novelty-ish tune with a little melodic surprise at the end (so listen all the way through). myspace.com/mybigbeautiful.
Pure power pop with some blissfully whack guitar snarling between vocal lines, and a ferocious solo that shifts seamlessly between harmony lines, rapid open-string pull-offs, melodic runs, and a soaring, Brian May-influenced crescendo. Whew! The chorus doesn’t really pay off as it should—probably due to the fact that the layered vocals stay pretty much in the same range throughout the song—but everything else is a corker. myspace.com/smittyfactor.
St. Louis, Missouri
Stadler’s influences—including Steve Vai, John Petrucci, and Joe Satriani—are pretty obvious on this track, but his fluid tone and masterful technique are so impressive that you should forget the style checking and just enjoy the onslaught of guitar goodies. The only ropes holding this monster back might be compositional—his melodies and riffs fall just a tad short of being truly inspired or memorable. But, man, this cat is awesome. myspace.com/ericstadler.
Sneaking in all atmospheric and vibey like a soundtrack from a Wim Wenders film, “Yellow Cab” suddenly drops in some snarky Peter Green-flavored blues lines, and then splatters a gritty wash of distortion all over your ears. Yummy. Guitarist Peter Blue also channels bits of Santana and David Gilmour, and his phrasing is sexy, vocal, and full of luscious space. This is a fabulous example of truly cinematic music. myspace.com/sexyguitar.
Brick, New Jersey
King name checks Satriani and Vai as influences, but he drags them through an Iggy Pop complex, as “Kaishin” is a rowdy battlefield of garage-y rhythm guitars and technically awesome solos and harmony lines. Then, he stabs and dances all over a chordal nod to the Police’s “Message in a Bottle,” before exploding into a supernova of cascading guitar lines. Be careful—this tune might actually hurt you! myspace.com/mattkingmusic.