With the opening line of "I hate my life," the ever-depressed Joe Pernice doesn't waste any time setting the mood of his latest side project, Chappaquiddick Skyline. Set somewhere between the stripped-down sounds of his Scud Mountain Boys' Massachusetts and the lush soundscapes of the Pernice Brothers' Overcome By Happiness, this album borrows the best of both those previous works, resulting in yet another beautiful pop effort. The songs on Big Tobacco still reflect a slight resemblance to the Scud Mountain tunes, as they have that country tinge which can't help but creep into the overall sound.
With these two records, Pernice displays his ability to pull dreadfully riveting songs out of thin air, all but confirming the notion that he is one of the best singer/songwriters in independent music.
MISH MASH Mandate: Pop Depression
With The Good Nurse, Mantione and Five Eight have eschewed larger-than-life rock for a more sutle, tension-filled sound. It's a disturbing, frustrated feeling that ties this album together. There is a stark absence of hooks and riffs, and standard pop structures are thrown out the window. The result is a stream-of-consciousness "concept" album that puts us in the hospital ward with Mr. Mantione and his character's manic, unbalanced mind.
Those of you who have fond memories of the early days of Five Eight will relish the pure raw power of ...Favorite Band, side-A of The Kids Wanna Rock Revival. It's probably the wildest, loudest and most raucous song they've done since their indie cassette days.
MISH MASH Mandate: Looking Up
Unconventional. That is the best word to describe The Count (aka Cole Gentles), a solo musician from NYC who goes out of his way to present his music in a unique fashion. For an example, look no further than The Count's debut album, Catatonic State of Mind, an overblown and dramatic masterpiece that revives the conceptual art rock of the 60s and 70s and adds a new millennium flourish. There is never a dull moment, rising and descending with creative dynamics and always avoiding the standard pop music structure. There is a definite classical feel that carries through each tune, as if each one were a separate movement. To say this is a breath of fresh air would be too cliche. It is more than that. It is downright breathtaking.
MISH MASH Mandate: Not in Kansas Anymore
This four-piece band hailing from Athens, GA has a cool serrated pop sound in the vein of Elastica. This is more than likely a result of the smooth sounds of the dual female vocal team of Maria and Orenda Rocket. Their voices blend together perfectly, providing unforgettable pop harmonies in the foreground, bouncing among musical styles that vary from the semi-ska trumpet calls in I Believe In What You Do to the garage punk guitar riffs of California. If anything, Little Red Rocket is giving indie pop music a much needed shot in the arm. This record is sure to make some waves and maybe put their little town on the map again.
MISH MASH Mandate: A Connection is Made.
A great idea that has great tunes to back it up. A series of split singles featuring offbeat indie groups wrapped up with highly cool comic book cover art. The first single starts it all off with the appropriate low-key indie rock pairing of My Dad Is Dead and Duochrome. MDID's The Memory of Your Kiss is a melancholy tune that features a slow organ that moves in descending tones, backed by a fuzzy guitar line and a snappy snare beat. Duochrome pulls out all the stops with the unrelenting My Life As A Dumb Terminal. This is a droning, driving song that rides its main guitar riff into oblivion.
The second platter serves up the dynamic duo of John P. Strohm and Sonny Sixkiller. Mr. Strohm's Invisible World shows off jangly & fuzzy guitar chords topped off with a guitar solo that blares with Neil Young-like feedback and sounds ready to explode. Sonny Sixkiller continues to put their knack for anxious indie pop on display with Pass The Baton, a song kicks in with plenty of guitar and attitude from Kara Lafty.
The best part? There's more to come...
MISH MASH Mandate: We Can Be Heroes
Shake It Up Power Pop
Gajoob DIY Music