Web Hordes: April 2009

April 1, 2009

This month, all eight artists reviewed in this column will also win fabulous prizes from Ernie Ball—an EB t-shirt, customized EB picks with your name on them, and a box of Slinky strings of your choice. In addition, your two best mp3s will be added to the playlist of EB Radio (ernieball.com). Congratulations to the April 2009 Big Eight!

Joel Harter Fort Worth, Texas “Instrumental”

Harter’s clean-toned—and heavily compressed—solo-guitar piece reminds me of the driving and repetitious Robert Fripp/Andy Summers collaboration “I Advance Masked.” There’s an intelligent, minimalist hipness to the motif that’s quite affecting—even though Harter almost ruins the track’s elegant atmosphere by subjecting his guitar to a constant—and very annoying—ping-pong delay. myspace.com/joelharter2009

Stephen Joseph Toronto, Ontario “Stella’s Strut”

Starting with galloping toms, and then adding a psychedelic-pachyderms-on-themarch groove with guitars as thick and gummy as a peanut-butter sandwich, Joseph is like a talented soundtrack composer driven mad by watching too many ’30s-era Looney Tunes. Extra points for mixing the frenetic “chorus” solos slightly under the rhythm guitars. myspace.com/stephenjosephtunes

Mozart’s Sister Tucson, Arizona “Anhedonia”

Instructive track, this one. I dug the ear-catching, Elastica-style verse riff— courtesy of Phil Hemmo—but Amy Munoz’s Chrissie Hynde-inspired vocals sound less than fully committed, and Hemmo’s solo begins wonderfully weird, but then collapses into the obvious. If the band had jumped into the fire, so to speak, this would be a scorcher. myspace.com/mozartssister

Farris Antoon Jackson, Mississippi “Apocalypse Demo”

Antoon is an ambitious 17-year-old multi-instrumentalist working on a concept piece, Journey to the Edge of Infinity. The kid has amazing chops, but only brainiacs may be able to absorb the roughly 3,450 musical ideas “Apocalypse” generates within eight minutes. It’s quite an experience—your call as to the “good” or “bad.” myspace.com/farrisantoon

Erkka Korhonen Helsinki, Finland “Love Thru the Wire”

Okay, I’m a sucker for rockin’ power pop—which this track most certainly is. It has one of those euphoric, “soccer cheer” choruses that would sound great sung by a stadium full of vodka-drenched boyos, and while there are no jaw-dropping solos here, the rhythm guitar tones are studly and sweet. myspace.com/erkkakorhonen

Victor Magnani Staten Island, New York “Blue for Bela and Jim”

Magnani’s fairly standard, Salsa-jazzbo workout is delightfully energized by his supple phrasing, poppin’ tone, and angular rhythmic forays. On the downside, his relentless onslaught of notes doesn’t provide much room for the listener to comfortably absorb his melodic ideas, and a few obvious clams make the scene. myspace.com/victormagnani

Tara Schmitt Brooklyn, New York “Hangin’ Over Your Head”

This month’s “Flashback Award” goes to Schmitt, who manages to toss bits of hair metal, Purple Rain-influenced-bar-band funk, and (yikes!) Quarterflash into a musical hybrid without it sounding as silly as you might think. It’s actually a fun and exciting little romp, and the solos alternate between melodic and shred-tastic. myspace.com/taraschmitt

Dali’s Ghost Buffalo, New York “Sands of India”

While there are no astounding guitar moments here—although there’s a trippy solo at 4:43—the fusion of a churning groove, soft yet propulsive vocals, and sitar raveups makes for a rich listening experience. Toss in the stellar audio production and the arrangement’s cagey twists and turns, and inner bliss is yours. myspace.com/dalisghost

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