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 November 2008 Big Eight!
Wish Inflicted, San Francisco, California “On Your Feet” This Rembrandts-influenced, acoustic-based pop is driven by the buoyant harmonies of Branden Boyd and Brian Cooper. The song goes on a bit, and the frenetic drumming commands an inappropriate amount of attention, but the vocals are wonderful, and, sometimes, it’s just great to hear a good, happy tune. myspace.com/wishinflicted
Lou Rone’s Danger, Brooklyn, New York “Mallet Face” Rone’s noisy, tremolo-bar histrionics immediately caught my ear, and produced my favorite song intro this month. From there, his snotty, half-crazed exclamations of distorted mayhem reminded me of something a pissed off and hungry Link Wray might play during a lunch-time soundcheck. It’s off-the-cuff, kind of scary, and totally brilliant. myspace.com/louronedanger
Fatboy Guitar, Milan, Italy “Impronte” Daniele Bonadei—a.k.a. “Fatboy”—performs dreamy, meandering melodies that are further tranced-up by his use of delay. A couple of tentative moments—and a few spiky plucks—break the mood, but, otherwise, this tune evokes peaceful reveries about sun-kissed Mediterranean coasts. Also check out his café version of “Smoke on the Water.” myspace.com/fatboyguitar
Jon Mulvey, Petaluma, California “Lil Bing vs El Diablo” Mulvey pulls off a sorcerer’s trick by employing a massively distorted tone, and yet controlling the bombast so you can clearly hear his cagey phrasing—which is full of sexy bends—and soaring melodies. There are also enough shreddy bits, harmony lines, and tremolo-bar gymnastics to make this one helluva thrilling guitar fest. myspace.com/jonmulvey
Harry Coffey Band, South Yorkshire, England “Drifting Blues” This British cover band is just barely okay—until you hear guitarist Johnny H go lunatic all over this blues workout. His tone is knife hard and obviously Hendrix influenced, and if you listen hard, you can hear some kick-ass licks relentlessly churning under the vocal. Hey, mix that guitar UP! harrycoffeyband.moonfruit.com
Loft Jazz, Boston, Massachusetts “Good Life Bar” Aptly named, this outfit recalls a time when James Dean was slumming through Manhattan’s clubs looking for trouble and cool sounds. Bill Martin goes for a sharp, poppin’ tone—his guitar is a very non-jazz Klein electric—that plays off the restrained and sophisticated accompaniment quite deliciously. loftjazzmusic.com
The Machetes, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania “Riot” This is a punk track, so go ahead and hate me for picking it. But I loved the British “School of ’76” vibe, and the fact the band totally gets the soccer-cheer exuberance that fueled rebellion and redemption in London’s pubs and clubs back in the day. Oy! Oy! Oy! myspace.com/themachetespa
JazzStan, Torrance, California “Stone Soup” Guitarist Stanley M. seems quite happy picking away with warm, Benson-esque tones that often typify smooth jazz. However, his slinky runs, beautiful harmonic plucks, and angular melodic phrases—he has a drummer’s sense of air between notes—are far from sleepy, and establish him as one very slick jazzer. myspace.com/jazzstan
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