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‘mud Slinging in Ybor

Listening to Stereomud for the first time can be a real wake-up call (quite literally). Its electric guitar intro and blaring vocals bring you back down to Earth in a heartbeat. Forget a shot of tequila or straight Cuban coffee, this is the music you should program your alarm clock to when you really need to get up in the morning.

Although, I admit, I’m usually drawn to more mellow tunes, this band caught my attention from the start. Judging from its promotional photo, which shows five somewhat pretty boys disguised with a heavy layer of tattoos, piercings, wild hair and black clothing (among other bad-boy markers), I was curious to see whether their sound was genuine.

Hot lead singer aside, the music was captivating on its own. Although seemingly following the footsteps of bands Incubus and Staind, which win crowds over with their unconventionally deep rock ballads, Stereomud comes on stronger, adding more heavy metal to the mix.

“Breathing,” the third song off its album Every Given Moment, catches you off-guard with its contagious percussion, and even if you can’t sing along to the words yet, you find yourself head-banging and jamming to it. Great driving music … when you’re out on the open road, that is. It’s not recommended for rush hour traffic, since you’ll get speed-happy and want to step on that gas pedal, making the guy parked two inches from your bumper a little nervous.

Another stand-out track is “My Addiction” with its explosive musical intro and bitter love sonnet.

Comprised of bassist Corey Lowery, vocalist Erik Rogers, drummer Dan Richardson and guitarists Joey and John Fattorusso, Stereomud hopes to reach out to “the frustrated youth of America,” perhaps by giving them the option to “head-bang their troubles away.”

Every Given Moment is the band’s second production, the successor to its 2001 debut album, Perfect Self, which climbed to No. 5 on Billboard’s Heat-seekers New Artists chart. Produced by John Travis (known for his work with Kid Rock), and mixed by Jack Joseph Puig (one of the masterminds behind The Rolling Stones and Green Day), the album has certainly been touched by the magic wand of music industry gurus.

But, as usual, the audience will have the last word. You’ll be able to check them out March 16 at Masquerade, when they come to Tampa as part of the 2003 Jagermeister Music Tour. Not too shabby for a quintet of grungy-looking pretty boys.

Contact Lena Hansen at