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The Cape May
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 Website



Bitter:Sweet
The Remix Game
Quango Records
12 song CD

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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
Quango Website



The Perishers
Victorious
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
Ways
Self-Released
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

 



Flunk
Personal Stereo
Beatservice Records
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 ode.

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 production.

MISH MASH Mandate: Sad Sounds of Scandinavia
Flunk Website


 
Chris Cortez
Awakenings
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
mishmashmusic@hotmail.com

 

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2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved
mishmashmusic@hotmail.com