2007 ISSUE #97
Of Love Time Life
2 CD & DVD Set
Hits of 1967
Now that summer is winding down, it's the perfect
time to take a last minute look back on the 40th anniversary of
the "Summer Of Love". This 2 CD plus DVD set returns
us to the times of long hair, free love, LSD, and all the other
trappings of the late 60s counterculture.
The collection captures the nostalgic 60s at its
peak, presenting both the expected and the unexpected into one
neat little package. The cover shows a psychedelic VW bus, and
the extensive liner notes are designed in like fashion. The first
CD is sort of a greatest hits package labeled "AM",
and it features some of the more well-known hit songs from that
fateful summer. No real surprises here, with songs like San
Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair), Happy Together,
Creeque Alley, and A Whiter Shade Of Pale.
Most of these tunes have been played endlessly on oldies stations
for the past four decades, so the casual listener should undoubtedly
already be familiar with them.
Disc 2, on the other hand, is a slightly different
story. Labeled "FM", it showcases the more off-kilter
fare that was playing on FM stations at the time. This is the
more genuine hippie music. The songs here are a little more obscure,
with selections like Big Brother & The Holding Company's Down
On Me, Vanilla Fudge's cover of You Keep Me Hangin' On, and Paper
Sun by Traffic. Certainly a little more adventurous than disc
The DVD is a documentary from the mid 90s that features
interviews with artists who were key participants during the Summer
Of Love, along with lots of great archive footage from the era.
It was somewhat surprising to find that it delves into "R-rated"
territory with moments of nudity and profanity. In other words,
beware before you plop the young kids down in front of the TV
for a stroll down memory lane. Your kids might get more of a lesson on the 60s than you were hoping for.
The documentary is most poignant in its conclusion,
as the artists look back over the course of time at the toll that
was exacted by the drugs and loose living. While mourning the
fate of Joplin, Hendrix, and Mama Cass, Pete Townshend makes a
comment about all his friends from this time being dead. Its a
sobering reminder that the Summer Of Love did not last very long,
but was just an all-to-brief moment in time.
MISH MASH Mandate: California Dreaming
HEY BANDS! OPEN YOUR ONLINE T-SHIRT
SHOP FOR FREE!
- The Cape
Glass Mountain Roads
Flemish Eye Records
11 song CD
When you think of an album as being produced by Steve Albini,
you usually think of music that is loud, brash, and in your face
with attitude. The exact opposite is true about this Albini produced and engineered
release from The Cape May.
The album slowly and methodically reveals itself, with a quiet
and subdued melancholy that hangs over each note the band plays.
The intros are long and the vocals are uttered in a naked whisper.
Nothing reaches out to grab you, nothing jumps out to shake
you. Instead, the group and Albini bury themselves in the slow
burn, allowing the angst to steep and wallow in misery instead
of explode in outright anger.
MISH MASH Mandate: Smoke On The Water
Flemish Eye Records
The Remix Game
12 song CD
Here's a fun little record to round out the dog days of summer
and take one last fling at the beach. Bitter:Sweet's 2006 debut
album, The Mating Game, has been revised and remixed by twelve different
producers, including Thievery Corporation, AtJazz, Skeewiff, Nicola
Conte, and Fort Knox Five.
The remix album is a perfect compliment to the original, building
upon the group's eclectic sound and taking it deeper into the world
of electronica. The mixes range from smooth bossa nova to edgy funk
and everywhere in between.
MISH MASH Mandate: Endless Summer
Nettwerk Music Group
12 Song CD
The Perishers begin their album with the mysterious and introspective
Midnight Skies, commanding and holding your attention immediately,
and they don't let go until the music ends twelve songs later. While
they don't stay in the quiet mystery mode throughout, they use it
as a launching pad to move the listener along.
The group borrows a touch of 80s-era indie rock and add a healthy
dash of roots rock. Think R.E.M. and The Wallflowers hooking up
with a few members of the E Street Band, and you'll get the drift.
While they never quite pull out all the stops and just rock out,
they do jingle and jangle their guitars with just the right amount
of smart college pop anxiety. Great stuff, and worth seeking out.
MISH MASH Mandate: Reckoning
Nettwerk Music Group Website
Shimon Ben-Shir Group
8 song CD
It's always nice to begin things with the unexpected. The title
track of the Shimon Ben-Shir Group's album Ways starts with a whistle
and a shout of "Flamenco!" And while the beat that follows
is Latin in nature, the song doesn't exactly sound like traditional
flamenco, at least none that I'm familiar with. Instead, the band
launches into a diverse smooth jazz fusion which travels the world
over in its influences.
From there the band moves into even more exotic territory, borrowing
and blending a host of sounds, rhythms and styles from every corner
of the planet. The great thing is that it's a fun exploration that
avoids getting bogged down in pretentious jazz over-indulgence.
The band is tight and skilled, but they don't have to go out of
their way to prove it.
MISH MASH Mandate: Jazz Crusaders
Shimon Ben-Shir Website
10 song CD
When lead singer Anja Vister opens the album with the phrase
"This one goes out to the one I love", you almost think
that we're getting a cover of the R.E.M. classic, but then the
song takes a decidedly different lyrical direction. It ends up
being the title track of the disc, a sad and heartfelt love song
that has little in common with Stipe & Co.'s bitter and sarcastic
Vister's little girl voice has always reminded me of Bjork, and
I figure that this small fact will probably determine whether
or not the listener likes or dislikes Flunk. Beyond that, the
band itself is quite unique and adventurous, never quite approaching
their songs in a standard or predictable way. This latest release
takes them on a slightly darker course, depending more on Vister's
emotive vocals instead of focusing on the sweeping sounds of electronica
MISH MASH Mandate: Sad Sounds of Scandinavia
Blue Bamboo Music
10 song CD
One of the ways you can tell if a musician is a great bandleader
is to see how much he shares the spotlight. Chris Cortez doesn't
let his guitar overpower the other players on his smooth jazz album
Awakenings, and it's all the better for it.
Cortez allows his fellow band mates seek out and explore the textures
of his tunes, and this breathing room creates a wonderous atmosphere
of relaxation. In effect, the group gels and the songs take on a
life of their own.
MISH MASH Mandate: Smooth Operator
Chris Cortez Website
© 2007 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved