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Local Song

"Barrel of A Gun" (Sire)

Local Jam Band


Jammin' pop

Guster It's been five years since Guster -- then just three guys from Tufts playing under the name Gus -- put out their self-released debut, Parachute. Nowadays they're based in New York and about to open a few arena shows for none other than the Dave Matthews Band. But the twin victories they posted in our poll illustrate the dichotomy that's defined the band since day one. Though Guster's jam-band credentials are solid (they made their name on the college circuit, rejecting Marshall stacks in favor of acoustic guitars and freakin' bongo drums), they've always been too clean-cut to be hippies. And unlike other jam bands, they also happen to write the kind of hummable choruses that make teenage girls swoon.

With the release of last year's Lost and Gone Forever (Sire), Guster seemed to be throwing their cards in with the pop crowd for good. Singers Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner harmonize sweetly on "Barrel of a Gun," easily the catchiest single released by a jam band since Blues Traveler's "Runaround." Guster aren't hack musicians, but no one in the band is a jazz monster like the guys in the Slip and the Miracle Orchestra -- both runners-up in our local jam-band category. Basically, they're Boston's homegrown version of the Dave Matthews Band: a hot live band who know their way with a hook in the studio. Hey, at least they don't have some guy blowing soprano sax over the whole thing.

-- Sean Richardson

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