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Issue #21 August 2000

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The Diane Linkletter Experience
The Underground Railroad
Louis Parrish
Andy Germak
Edge City Collective


The Diane Linkletter Experience
Too Hard To Disguise

Vital Cog
14 song CD

With lo-fi roots that run deep, The Diane Linkletter Experience play their indie pop with careless abandon. It all sounds so effortless and unrehearsed, as if they were just pulling these songs out of thin air and the tape recorder just happened to be rolling. There are lo-fi ramblings and rough-edged studio gems all jumbled together in a surprisingly entertaining album that seems to feed on its lack of focus.

The droning guitar pop of Never Gonna Tell takes a left turn into the four-track disarray of This Fly, and it fits together in a brilliant mess. The band goes off on another fun tangent with the psuedo-lounge sounds of Crime of the Century, which is drenched in reverb guitars. Other highlights include the full throttle rock of Citing Examples and the clever humor of Please: "Please don't drink the Listerine / I'll get you a beer / It's just a matter of time."

They're having plenty of fun, and it shows. Not many bands can capture this much energy on disc.

MISH MASH Mandate: Lo-Fi Limbo

Vital Cog Website


The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad

Royal Hound Recordings
12 song CD

Cool as California, The Underground Railroad pounds and grooves with progressive rock fervor. A power trio to the core, they grind along with a slick style in the vein of King's X and Living Colour. UR knows how to rock, and they do so without breaking a sweat.

The pounding riffs of When You're Around make way for the infectious power pop of Everybody Dies. The hot fusion sounds of Diamonds rivals the best of the Red Hot Chili Peppers with slamming grooves and lots of popping bass lines. They also have some fun with the upbeat and carefree We Got The Time. The only complaint I would have is the strange and misplaced remake of Argent's 1969 hit Time Of the Season, which seems somewhat forced.

Other than that, this an album to play loud with the top down. Hurry, though, because summer is almost over, and we can't all live in sunny CA...

MISH MASH Mandate: West Coast Cool

The Underground Railroad Website

Louis Parrish
Structure

Vertigo/Time Lapse Records
8 song CD

Every "structure" needs a firm foundation, and Louis Parrish grounds his acoustic guitar-based sound on solid songwriting. The style falls somewhere between folk and rock, and his voice has a certain flow that brings to mind a mix of Dave Matthews and early Michael Stipe, which blends perfectly over his driving guitar lines. Parrish's lyrics are full of energy and imagery that juxtapose earthy tones against steel and mortar, creating plenty of clever irony.

The intro for Gravity begins the album with more than a minute of studio noise, which settles down into an avant garde groove that digs a beatnik rhyming scheme: "I know the second hand says you're on time / I beseech you as if you were a valentine." The quiet contradictions of Need expose human frailty in a bare-bones fashion: "We all need gut-check danger and security / We all need perplexing puzzles and clean clarity." The only foray into a true "rock" sound comes with the final song, Skating On The Stars To Ecstasy, which is a tune that features electric bass and heavy-handed drums.

Parrish is a man of mystery, yet he has a certain familiarity that feels comfortable. It's an interesting mix that works well and brings you back for another listen.

MISH MASH Mandate: King Contrary Man

Louis Parrish Website


Andy Germak
Color Through The Smoke

Captain Ron Music
12 song CD

The folk flavored music of Andy Germak seems to cut through all crap and get right to the point. Every word and note are delivered with pure intention, with little messing around. His vocal style reminds me of Adam Duritz of Counting Crows; it is pleasantly rough around the edges, full of emotion and honesty.

The disturbingly stark Kosovo opens the album with the poignant picture of a refugee's plight, only to shift gears with the following song, Covergirl, which rocks along with upbeat fervor. Cyncism burns brightly in Eve of the Millennium, which shoots barbs at the status quo in American politics: "Everyone's an expert / Hindsight witness / President's confessing his distraction."

Germak draws you in and doesn't let you go easily, his thoughts and feelings stick in your mind long after listening.

MISH MASH Mandate: Political Pyromania

Andy Germak Website


Edge City Collective
Guitarrasalto

Edge City Music
15 song CD

Who says music has to be formulaic and structured? The group of musicians that make up the Edge City Collective make it a point to take risks and explore the unknown possibilities of music. They do this by improvisation and experimentation, combining many different styles like jazz, classical, folk and world music. Guitarrasalto is the first work in a triology which promises to focus mainly upon improvisational music.

The album does take chances, but much of it is grounded in traditional foundations. The differences surface in the overall mixture of genres and styles. The dixieland jive of Osweetmoses merges into the experimental flamenco of Nippon Theme, which gives way to the percussive noises and elctric riffs of Guitarrasalto. The driving sounds of Fantango Primo are dramatic and intense. The Portal has a very modern and airy feel, and the classical guitar of Upaya (for Jonna) is romantic and sweet.

Surprisingly, this genre-bouncing doesn't hurt the overall feel of the album. The experimentation keeps the music alive and enjoyable from beginning to end.

MISH MASH Mandate: X-Men

Edge City Music Website


Other Indie Review Sites

Music Dish

Brian Connelly's Lunatic Fringe at Muzikman.com

Shake It Up Power Pop

Gajoob DIY Music



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