Photo by Jeanne Rice>Wagner. I'm proud to be one of the first people to let the cat out of the bag about this brand-new rock band. I seriously cannot describe how completely amazing these guys are, judging by just the first few songs I heard. Chemistry is their greatest asset, considering they've only been a band for a few months. Their songs are well-written and brilliantly arranged, plus they've got none other than Mike "The Spike" McKinnon playing bass! If nothing else, having a legend like that in your band will boost T-shirt sales.
>Quicksand. A New York-based post-hardcore band that never really got the recognition they deserved but nevertheless had some of the best songwriting skills I've ever heard. They had hook after hook and made guitar players wonder just how they did what they did. Their albums are still available; if you want to check them out, I suggest buying Slip first and then Manic Compression.
>A 1968-1982 Gibson Les Paul. As far as guitars go, there's nothing else on this planet that comes close. In those years, Gibson created its best-feeling guitars ever. I prefer either the Deluxe or Custom model for my weapon of choice.
>Jeff Buckley. If you haven't heard of Jeff Buckley, start with his album Grace. I can barely describe the talent of this man. Hearing Grace for the first time taught me that even a man could have a beautiful voice.
>Crystal Lewis. As close as it gets to hearing the voice of an angel. She's a Christian contemporary vocalist who seriously looks like she couldn't weigh more than 100 pounds, but what comes out of that tiny person is a voice that you'd think could only come from a 300-pound sweaty woman in a Southern Baptist church.
>Alien Ant Farm. They have some of the best musicians I've heard in a rock band in a very long time. You can tell they spent a lot of time learning their instruments. Not only that, but I also recently read an interview with their drummer, and he's one great guy as far as I'm concerned. After reading about his views on music and life in general, I felt as if I'd known him my entire life. Who knows—maybe we grew up in the same hood or something?
>Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape. A great rock album to bug out to. It will always put you in that pure rock mood, that I-can-do-anything spirit.
>The Baseball Field Nachos. I got to witness these lunatics at a club a few months back, and I honestly could not believe my eyes. They all wore proper baseball attire, and each member had his own special face paint that went along with his stage name. The singer went by the name Tye Cobbweb, the bassist was Rod Caruel, one guitar player was Babe Ruthless, the other guitarist was Samhain Sosa and the drummer was Mickey Mental. Wonderful if you're into this sort of thing—as I am.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.