RADAR: Joe Banfi

Northwich U.K.'s Joe Banfi counts Nick Drake and Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska as seminal influences on his music -- but then he tosses in The Deftones and Rage Against The Machine to boot. Signed to the dependably great Communion group on the strength of some unsolicited demos and produced by label co-founder Ian Grimble, Banfi's new 4-song EP Iron (September 24) taps those disparate forces for a promising, all-too-brief collection that carries its weightiness on the strings of an acoustic and the strength of Banfi's supremely expressive vocals. Fittingly, a cover of the folk/blues classic "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" conjures up not only the Lead Belly classic but also -- and more suggestively -- the Nirvana Unplugged version. Lead track "Guts and Bones" strikes a compelling stylistic contrast, a theatrical work of raw power and emotional force delivered in a setting of plucked guitar lines and dark-hued strings arrangements. "Olive Green" is what started all the commotion.

Joe Banfi - "Guts and Bones" (from the Iron EP)

Joe Banfi - "Olive Green"