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Album: Mike Pinto (2007)

Artist: Mike Pinto

Label: self-released

Songs: 1) Full Speed 2) Surf Tune 3) Addictions 4) Backburner 5) Get Me Down 6) Temptation 7) Bad Luck 8) Knocked Up 9) Never Hold Me Down 10) Bringin’ It 11) Darlin’ 12) Terrible October

Band: Mike Pinto (guitar, vocals), Chuck Treece (drums, bass), Jay Davidson (sax, organ), Henri McMillian (trumpet)

Website: myspace.com/littledistrict

After a sliver of success from his 2005 release Little District, Mike Pinto embraced the island sound and Southern California life, moving to Ocean Beach from Philadelphia.

For his November 2007 self-titled album, Mike found drummer/guitarist Chuck Treece, a session player who has toured with Bad Brains and Urge Overkill. The accomplished musician’s addition to this record can be felt in the high-quality snappiness of the sound.

Granted, Mike plays beach-jam music — the same as dozens of other bands in the area — but his emotion-laden voice (best heard on “Backburner”) and classic-rock inspired guitar riffs (featured prominently on “Get Me Down” and “Full Speed”) set him apart from the usual Wednesday-night-at-Winstons reggae-inspired surf rock.

Thankfully, Mike avoids affecting a fake Jamaican accent, and instead of the standard weary lyrics of marijuana usage and dancehalls, he employs catchy writing to deliver stories, not unlike hip-hop. His best lyrics come on track eight (“You could cut the tension with a dull machete”) and track three (“My sound’s hotter than your upstairs attic”).

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