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Issue #47 December 2002

Warren Buttler: Secret Agent Man
Part II
(Click Here)

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The Starside Eight
Sarah Fimm
Wax Cannon
Crushing Velvet

The Starside Eight
"Kiss For Christmas" EP

Electric Frog Recordings

4 song CD

A few months ago The Starside Eight caught my attention with an excellent album, and now they have completely blown me away with a simple little EP called "Kiss For Christmas" EP. It's a perfect concentration of their total sound into four songs. The title track bumps and bounces along with lo-fi abandon, revolving around a fuzzy guitar riff and a light pop drum pattern. This is followed by a strange but riveting take on the traditional Japanese folk song Yuki Ya Kon Kon (Japanese Snow Song), which is haunting and deep even in its brevity. It's the perfect lead-in for the depressing November Fights December Blues, a song that trips over its own melancholy weight. The disc is rounded up with a cover of the Velvet Underground's/Lou Reed's Jesus, which is presented with pleading and endearing vocals riding over a quiet guitar line. It feels so honest and sincere that it grabs your attention and won't let go until the last refrain of "Jesus." This is the kicker of the disc, a classic rendering which makes this EP worth seeking out and wearing out this holiday season.

MISH MASH Mandate: Holiday Happening

The Starside Eight Website

Sarah Fimm
A Perfect Dream

Serge Entertainment Group
13 song CD

The title A Perfect Dream is a somewhat appropriate title for this release from the cleverly named Sarah Fimm. The tracks on the album weave and twist in strangeness, never sticking to any particular pop structure or expected preconceptions. The non-traditional approach is not so unlike Tori Amos or Fiona Apple, as Fimm displays her female angst plainly on her sleeve. From this creative perspective, it is downright stunning.

If there is any problem, it would seem to be that Fimm takes this all way too seriously. The heaviness of the album tends to bog it down, and almost begs for a breath of levity. The only true moment of light humor and/or pure fun comes from the conversation about alien life forms set to music in SETI. I like it because it is so off the wall and out of kilter, plus there is a touch of laughter thrown in at just the right moment.

MISH MASH Mandate: Dream Weaver

Sarah Fimm Website

Wax Cannon
Life-Sized Animals Walking Around

Commie Martyr
14 song CD

This one is so brash and ragged around the edges, it makes The Strokes sound absolutely polished. Wax Cannon takes dischord and turns it all around, shaping a sound that emanates as much soul as it does angst. The music barrels along like stampede, while the lyrics are so muddied and mumbled, they may as well be nonsense, so much as the titles prove to be: Shattered By Crumbs or Thanks For Registering Your Vehicle. The result is just what you'd expect, and that makes it so much sweeter.

MISH MASH Mandate: Cannonball

Return To Paradise

12 song CD

Ladies, this one's for you. Suave and sophisticated Fred Nassiri is a romantic at heart, and his album of instrumental music is filled with the heartfelt emotion that the fairer sex craves. It sounds like a dramatic island getaway, as if a Lifetime movie set in Aruba were coming through your speakers. The artwork looks like a romance novel cover, and even the photos of Nassiri in the liner notes look like he's Mr. Rourke, or maybe a Latin James Bond. Wow! I can only imagine the fun this guy must be having, somewhere far away in a tropical island resort, probably drinking rum and sitting by the pool with exotic young women in bikinis. The funny thing is, even though the music is a little cheesy and overly emotive, it's not bad at all. It's a wild amalgam of world music, with a tempting Latin beat pulsing throughout. Consider it lounge music for the 21st Century. If you can't live the life of Nassiri, you could at least listen to this and have a good time pretending.

MISH MASH Mandte: Fantasy Island

Nassiri Website

Crushing Velvet

Velvet Noiz Recordings
13 song CD

Crushing Velvet has that scary underground pop sound, the one that can't decide if it belongs in the hip club or Top 40 radio. It's accessible to the average listener, but it strives to be credible and cool enough for the rave scene. I don't know if it really succeeds at either while walking this tightrope, but the music is downright incredible. They move from aggressive beats to a trip-hop daze with ease, flowing from style-to-style and attitude-to-attitude skillfully. Plus, it doesn't hurt that vocalist Chyanna Davis purrs with unbridled sensuality.

MISH MASH Mandate: Orange Crush

Crushing Velvet Website

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