Web Hordes: Editor Boy's Big Eight

January 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 January 2009 Big Eight!

Steve Dawson New York, New York “Heavy Frogs”
This certified “not-for-gentle-souls” track juxtaposes a simple, ultra-heavy rock riff with clanging lead lines, atonal noise, and distorted drums. It’s relentless, powerful, and off-kilter—like some jabbering street person attempting to scream a personal political doctrine over rush-hour traffic—and I love that it’s all over in one minute and 28 seconds. myspace.com/stevendawson

Ugur Akar Giresun, Turkey “but”
Akar mines the usual prog-shred influences, and his basic track is full of funky muso clichés, but when he goes for some wicked fast lines and muffs it a bit—à la early Jimmy Page—the effect is honest and exciting. The main riff is nice, but the moments of wild abandon are smokin’. myspace.com/ugurakar

The Acousticals Missoula, Montana “The Last to Know”
This eerie and beautiful acoustic tune is bluegrass tie-dyed through ’60s rock, and, as a result, it reminds me of the hippie folk hybrids drifting from San Francisco’s clubs and ballrooms in the flower-power era. There’s even a touch of David LaFlamme’s smooth, soaring waver in Richie Reinholdt’s vocal. myspace.com/theacousticals

Ted Andrews Walnut Creek, California “Chasing Shadows Solos”
It’s just a sampling of two solos, but Andrews’ melodic ideas, layered harmonies, trippy bends, and guitar tones still caught my ear. I don’t know if he can write a full song or not, but this stuff is a real gas—vibey, cinematic, and clever. So why is he holding back? myspace.com/tedandrews

Sugar Daddy Kinkade Los Angeles, California “Workin’ It”
Sugar daddy? Kinkade’s music seems too street for anything sweet. His tone is big and mean, and his slippin’ and slidin’ riffs evoke all the gritty, dumb-ass majesty of ’80s Hollywood rock. This is seedy rehearsal-hall music that’ll turn good girls into strippers and meek boys into tattooed wastrels. myspace.com/sugardaddykinkade

Tallan T-Man Latz Elkhorn, Wisconsin “Couldn’t Stand the Weather”
Here’s a cute nine-year-old taking on SRV—which certainly wins T-Man a “big heart” award. Still, it’s kind of creepy hearing a preteen sing the blues, and T-Man’s playing is pretty clam-y. But he’s definitely earnest, he obviously loves the guitar, and he would’ve kicked my ass at nine. Yours, too! myspace.com/tmanlatz

Gil Velazquez Neptune, New Jersey “Medius Grind”
Velazquez constructs a fabulous basic track chock full of surprises, but then makes the main melodic focus a series of overdriven, Eastern-influenced lines that aren’t exactly an adventure. He could have kept turning up the intrigue and the thrills, but he kind of fumbled the football at the goal line. myspace.com/gilvelazquez

Andy Kotz Minneapolis, Minnesota “Driving”
Jump into Kotz’s car, and you won’t get anywhere fast, but you’ll dig the slow, funky ride. Kotz lets his churning groove percolate like an idling Ferrari, and leaves a lot of space between his buzzy, often wah-filtered bends and melody stabs. It’s a slick display of restrained seduction. myspace.com/andykotz

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