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Issue Date: July 2005 Issue

Local Sounds

Jim Vickers

Joe Rohan • These Days

Joe Rohan's follow-up to his excellent debut, "Walk Along," is one of the most listenable full-length recordings we've received in quite a while. Once a drummer for a host of local artists, Rohan has officially secured his spot as one of the city's most promising singer-songwriters with "These Days." The 11-song disc starts with a blast of catchy country in the guitar-laden "Desert Love." Obviously influenced by modern country music, Rohan is careful to keep his songs tethered to a rock 'n' roll backbone that cuts down on the twang factor, which can alienate listeners not enamored of the genre. And the songwriting is where Rohan excels. He's able to shift gears, incorporating flavors of blues, rock and folk, without it ever sounding like an unwise stretch. Along with the disc opener, our favorites include the punchy and infectious "Lovestruck Romeo," the sparse solo track "James Dean" and the southern-rock flavored "Angeline." Also be sure to check out Rohan's souped-up take on Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," which proves that a talented and versatile artist really can cover a classic song in a fresh way.

Burning Vegas • Latem Nu

Burning Vegas' debut six-song release (plus an unlisted bonus track) "Latem Nu"is sonic modern rock with a strong melody at its core. Lead vocalist Jon Sayre's distinctive voice trades punches with bursts of distorted guitar on the impressive and catchy opening track "Going Crazy" and is equally notable on the epic "This Time," which clocks in at five-and-a-half minutes. With all but one song running more than four minutes in length, Burning Vegas' layered instrumentation delivers a thick sound without ever sounding too dense or overdone. It's a fine line, and Burning Vegas walks it as well as many bands that have already claimed the national spotlight.

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