The Monterreys Self-titled EP - Review by Noel
I met The Monterreys at the 2012 Instro Summit in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. More accurately, they saw me wandering around the motel grounds looking for someone to talk to, and called me over to talk to me.
The Monterreys are Johnny Stewart on guitar, Leon Daniel on bass and Jason Dickey on drums. They’re terrific musicians. The set they played at the Summit was loud, raucous, vibrant, reverb-filled and hard-driving. So is this EP.
There are five tunes on the record, and only the first, Malaguena, is a cover. It’s a great choice to open with. If any tune is going to show a guitarist’s strengths or weaknesses, or a band’s for that matter, it’s this one. They rip through their driving version of Malaguena with confidence, verve and precision; this is fine ensemble playing, balanced and tight. The guitar playing might lead the listener to think Johnny plays flamenco guitar. He does. Builds to a terrific climax too.
Machete! Is a real cool tune that conjures images of a dangerous Mexican back-alley and someone running away at the end. I have a vivid imagination that I let music play with; what can I say? Again the performance is perfectly matched to the music.
Rampage is very Dick Dale-like, in a good way. Powerful double-picking and roaring glissandos combine with tight bass playing and frenetic drums to sound like something Dick could have written if he’d thought of it. Very catchy and lots of fun to listen to.
Waves of Kauai is a complete change of pace. Its’ melody is as exotic as anything and the performance suits the music nicely. I listen to this with my eyes closed and think about Hawaiian beaches at sunset, with waves gently lapping the shore, and I’m swaying to the music while holding my girl close. It’s just fast enough to dance to and just slow enough that I might not want to. Not yet anyway. Maybe later.
The first time I heard Zeta Reticculi I thought I was listening to a different band. Maybe something by the men of tomorrow? Nope, but sort of. Something ghostly or ghastly? Nope. Something with coffins or daggers? Again, no. It’s at once very familiar and unfamiliar. I like it! It’s a lot of fun and would play great at a Monster Mash.
The Monterreys are very versatile musicians who are able to blend different voices into their music that results in something at once both familiar and unfamiliar. This is a very good EP and I have only one quibble with it; it’s far too short. May I have some more, please?
Johnny Stewart is on SG101 as bangbang
The Monterreys are on YouTube here
The Monterreys are on Facebook at
Monterreys is released on KBK Records and is available at
Deep Eddy Records
This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.
Last edited: May 21, 2015 13:03:02