The Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands, held in conjunction with the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival, is now underway. Interested (unsigned) bands should go to and complete the informational profile and submit at least one MP3. They’ll then be able to use the site’s promotional toolkit to promote their entry on the web, which is very important since fans will be voting for their favorite band. Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses) and Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains) will judge entries that make the final cut.

Finalists can win a spot on the Zippo Encore Festival Stage in their local market on this year’s tour. For the Los Angeles area, this will be the tour’s Irvine stop on Sept. 13. Then, the national grand prize winner gets a spot to play live at the 2014 UPROAR Festival, a recording session in North Hollywood with famed producer Jay Baumgardner, a record deal, $10,000 worth of music gear, a professional photo shoot, features in Revolver magazine and on, national radio exposure on hardDriveRadio, a year’s worth of Ernie Ball strings and a year’s worth of Rockstar Energy Drink.

The deadline for entries varies by market. For a chance to play at Irvine, entries must be in by August 26.

Food trucks, a beer garden, a raffle for a 1964 Ford Falcon and a “Bikini Cowgirl Roundup” competition add to the fun of Ventura’s Surf Rodeo, where attendees will get to watch plenty of surfing competitions and stunt surfers. Musical acts scheduled to appear include Makua Rothman, Timmy Curran, Kyle Hunt and the King Gypsy, Bloody Mary Morning, False Puppet, SkaDaddyZ, Jah Mon Soul, Cherri Bomb and about 15 others. Surf Rodeo takes place July 13-14 at Pierpont Beach.

Tee Pee Records is once again giving away a free summer sampler. This year, the sampler features Mirror Queen, Naam, Hopewell, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, Carousel, The Shrine, The Saint James Society, Blaak Heat Shujaa, Hot Lunch, Kadaver, Aqua Nebula Oscillator and Lecherous Gaze. Download your copy via the Tee Pee Records page at Soundcloud.

Here are some CDs that are guaranteed to put a little sizzle in your summer:

THE ALMOST Fear Inside Our Bones (Tooth & Nail) – Slinky slide guitar riffs, a thundering rhythm and a bit of the blues inform “I’m Down,” the driving rocker the band has chosen as the album’s first single.

BALLYHOO! Pineapple Grenade (Right Coast) – Bouncy pop tunes set to a reggae lilt or ska rhythm is what Ballyhoo! specializes in. There’s even a little surf guitar in the mix on “Battle Cry.” This is a good album for the beach.

ET TU BRUCÉ Suburban Sunshine (SonaBlast!) – Jamie White, son of Chris White of ’60s hit, fronts this London-based band. This set of bright and jangly pop tunes shows he learned quite a bit from dear old dad.

HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS Zero (Red River) – With songs titled “Memories of Misery,” “Darkside” and “Skeletons Remain,” Zero has “starting over from nothing” as its theme. The band is headlining the entire Warped Tour.

IRATION Automatic (3 Prong) – The title cut is an example of the laid back reggae that the band is primarily known for, and there’s plenty of that here. However, there are also non-reggae numbers, such as the sublime pop-rocking “Show Me.”

TOM KEIFER The Way Life Goes (Merovee) – The former voice of hair metal band Cinderella steps out with an impressive solo effort full of straight-ahead rockers like “Solid Ground” and the Rolling Stones-esque “Cold Day in Hell.”

LIGHTNING DUST Fantasy (Jagjaguwar) – Amber Webber’s vocals float over moody synth melodies and gurgling beats on most of this album, but Lightning Dust also turns in some quiet, folky numbers like “Moon.”

GINO MATTEO Sweet Revival (Rip Cat) – Joey Delgado (of L.A. band the Delgado Brothers) joins fellow SoCal singer/guitarist Matteo on a set of soulful, blues-informed gumbo rockers, including the Led Zeppelin-tinged “Coming Clean.”

MATTHEW MAYFIELD Irons in the Fire (Sweet Exchange) – This eight-song E.P. features the smoky-voiced Alabaman performing new songs “In or Out” and “Look Me in the Eye.” The album also includes re-mastered versions of “Fire Escape” and “Tonight,” originally released on 2011’s Now You’re Free.

THE OBLIVIANS Desperation (In the Red) – The spirit of the Stooges permeates “Em” and “Woke Up in a Police Car,” and the fuzzy “Pinball King” would make the Ramones smile.

SOKO I Thought I Was an Alien (Community Music) – Soko is an actress known for her work in French films and the international release Augustine. Here, she proves to be quite mesmerizing as she sings and sometimes speak-sings over trippy melodies.