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2006 ISSUE #90
CELEBRATING 8 YEARS ONLINE
Man Blues Dust-To-Digital / Cube Media
DVD & CD Soundtrack
The Roots Of American Music
It's hard not to fall in love with Joe Bussard.
Sure, he's an obsessive stick in the mud, a little politically
incorrect, and he has some frustrating views about rock-n-roll
(he calls it a "cancer"). But his love for music and
78 records is down right infectious, and you find yourself watching
in admiration as the story of this legendary record collector
unwinds in this DVD biopic.
In case you're not familiar with him, Bussard is
not just an average record collector, he is considered to be the
premiere collector and authority of 78s from the early 20th Century.
His home's basement is literally a museum, the walls lined with
thousands and thousands of 78s, many of them ultra-rare or one-of-a-kind.
When someone is doing research on music from this era, Bussard
is usually one of the first people to get the call.
Desperate Man Blues pays homage not only to the
man who is Joe Bussard, but it also to the music he has come to
represent. This is American music in its purest form, back when
country, jazz and blues were developing in isolated pockets around
the nation. The records were usually limited runs, and they often
had a limited distribution area. If it weren't for Joe scouring
the rural countryside for the past 50 years in search of these
elusive discs, it is safe to say that much of this music would
be lost forever. In effect, Bussard has become a lone voice in
the wilderness, extolling the virtues of this "lost"
era of American history in our modern, disposable media world.
In the DVD, we get the back story of how Bussard
got interested in these recordings and how he pursued this interest
to the extreme. Bussard is interviewed in the basement in his
element, chain smoking cigars, wearing bedroom slippers, and cueing
up his favorite 78s. When the music plays, his eyes light up and
he overflows with excitement. Seeing him in action, you realize
that this goes way beyond some obsessive, pack-rat mentality.
This goes to the very heart of passion. Joe Bussard loves this
music to the point where he is almost inseparable from it, and
the documentary does an excellent job of making this illustration.
The beautiful irony is that the music of a generation
which was bound for oblivion is being saved and presented to the
world by an anachronism of a man who is just as lost in this modern
world as those dusty discs. It is wonderful to know that neither
Joe or his records will fade into obscurity without a fight.
MISH MASH Mandate: Lost In Time
MOJO Magazine Archives
Foreword by Deborah Harry
Hardcover, 288 pages, $35.00 USA
There is something quite odd about a coffee table
book about punk rock. It just doesn't seem to fit that such a
nasty revolutionary style of music should have such a beautifully
done tribute such as this. I mean, the collection of photos alone
is stunning in its scope, much less the fact that it is professionally
and meticulously designed from beginning to end. It would almost
seem more appropriate if it were printed up on the cheapest newsprint
available and hastily stapled together in some backroom of a New
With that having been said, any fan of punk music
should drop everything and grab a copy of this book. This is the
history of the genre covered as thoroughly as it ever has been,
both in text and in photos. The book brings together a mass of
essays by MOJO writers over the years and matched them up with
some of the best photos from the era. The English and American
scenes from the mid 70s to the present are represented, along
with every artist that mattered (and a few that didn't), from
Iggy Pop to The Ramones to The Clash to Green Day.
There's also a section devoted to the greatest 77
punk albums of all time, giving you an in-depth list of all the
records you need in your collection in order to be a true punk
gourmet. Yes, the usual suspects are covered, but there's also
a few gems thrown in that you may have forgotten about over the
At the very least, it will provide hours of conversation
over coffee at your next get together. Rock on!
MISH MASH Mandate: What Do I Get?
DK Publishing Website
To Run Your Band's Business
- by Attorney Rich Stim
- NOLO Publishing
- Softcover, 441 pages
- Data CD with forms included
If you have a band that's even halfway serious,
then you have a business. And, simply put, you need this book.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Attorney Rich Stem has done the seemingly impossible.
He brings together all the confusing elements of running a band
and puts them into a simple handbook in manual form, giving
you step-by-step ways of navigating through all the legal tangles
you're sure to encounter.
Everything from choosing a manager, getting paid
for gigs, copyrights, recording, and taking your band online
is covered in detail. Want to know about the difference between
copyrighting a song, publishing a song, and trademarking a band
name? Want to know how to license the rights to do a cover song?
Want to label-shop your recordings? Let me say it again: you
need this book.
The best part is that Stim doesn't leaving you
hanging by telling you that you need to write up a contract
or get something signed and leaving it at that, making you wonder
where to begin. He provides a CD with those forms on them, and
he gives you examples in the book to follow. It doesn't get
any simpler than that. And, if for some reason he doesn't provide
the exact answer you're looking for, he points you in the right
MISH MASH Mandate: Lawyers In Love
NOLO Publishing Website
The iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness
- by Steven Levy
- Simon & Schuster Publishing
- Hardcover, 272 pages
You already know about the impact of the iPod,
but you probably don't know the history leading up to the 21st
Century's most desirable object. Author Steven Levy takes us
through a cyber history lesson, showing how many circumstances
in technology and music came together to form the perfect storm,
creating the environment for the iPod to thrive.
While Levy gushes on a little too much about the
ultimate significance and importance of the iPod, he does a
good job of showing how it has worked its way into the subconcious
of the overall culture. He also tries to explain the why behind
the fascination with this tiny musical phenomenon, exploring
the world of cool and how Apple's invention fits into it. Levy
also makes a case for why the iPod caught on, while other players
The story of the iPod is fascinating, as is Levy's
own part in it. At one point, Levy tells of showing off his
promotional iPod to Bill Gates at a dinner in 2001, the day
after it was unveiled to the public, possibly one of the first
iPods Gates ever saw. Levy says that he "could almost hear
the giant sucking sound" as Gates toyed with it at the
dinner table. Talk about being a witness to history.
Levy's take is very personal, and it gives the
story a human touch, which is something often missing in the
push-button world of technology.
MISH MASH Mandate: This Magic Moment
Simon & Schuster Publishing Website
HEY BANDS! OPEN YOUR ONLINE T-SHIRT
SHOP FOR FREE!
- Louis Armstrong
The Wonderful World Of
DVD & 2 CD Box Set
Louis Armstrong was such an obvious force in American music, it
is almost easy to overlook him. It's like saying that water is
wet --- we just take it for granted. Thankfully, Time Life has
put together a helpful reminder as to why Armstrong is considered
to be the most influential artist of all time when it comes to
popular music. He brought jazz into the mainstream, and his popularity
crossed over racial lines at a time when that was extremely rare,
paving the way for future artists to break through these barriers
with greater ease.
The two CDs cover a lot of ground, featuring songs from the
30s through the late 60s, mostly highlighting his singing tunes.
His voice is distinct and instantly recognizable, there's not
another one like it. It commands your attention, and its rough-hewn
quality has an appeal that stands the test of time. The DVD
features various performances from throughout his career, along
with a number of famous faces along the way. When you watch
Armstrong perform live, you understand why his memory is still
revered to this day, more than 30 years after his passing.
MISH MASH Mandate: Now You Has Jazz!
Time Life Website
When The Lights Go Down
Progressive Global Records
14 song CD
TRACK = FEEL
Sojorn is the guiltiest of pleasures, one of those discs you turn
up loud when no one else is around to hear or see. Sticky sweet
and dripping with irresistible dance grooves, this disc is as infectious
as they come.
The basic setup revolves around a male/female vocal duo featuring
Hunter Williams and Jennifer Morrison, set above glistening and
pulsating pop. The team plays off each other rather well, Williams
coming across as the prowling macho guy and Morrison as the flirty
ingenue. They often venture into a hip-hop mode, with Williams rapping
and Morrison weaving soulful melodies around his rhymes. It's the
perfect combination for pop bliss.
My only regret with this one is that I didn't have it over the
summer---this is the perfect chill-out record for sitting by the
pool. At the very least, I can dream about those lazy sunny days
while I'm waiting out the hazy shades of winter.
MISH MASH Mandate: Summertime Blues
Progressive Global Records Website
4 song CD
TRACK = HOT STEP
I don't know what it is about The Cars, but it seems that many
new up-and-coming bands are paying homage to their quirky rock sound.
Hello Operator embraces everything great about Ric Ocasek and the
automotive boys, and they take it to the next level, making the
sound all their own.
The group blends the best of 80s New Wave plastic synth rock with
today's post-mod punkery, slamming together a smart little EP that
rides the vibe brilliantly from beginning to end. Where Hello Operator
really succeeds is their songwriting; the tunes are tight and they
aren't afraid to be catchy. The hooks glide like clockwork, and
you'll be tapping your feet and singing along before you realize
MISH MASH Mandate: Shake It Up
Hello Operator Website
Raise 'Em High
10 song CD
Every once and a while, a band will come along to wipe the slate
clean. Caddle does just that, using their no-nonsense country rock
to remind us that sometimes it's good to get back to the basics.
Simply put, this is music from the bottom of the gutter --- down,
dirty and just plain loud.
Southern Rock is the main attraction, chock full of redneck attitude
and classic country-inspired plays on words, and those bases are
all covered in the first song, Mississippi Doublewide.
And it only gets better from there. Caddle is the band you want
playing when you walk in the honky tonk, because they provide the
perfect soundtrack for drowning sorrows or a good old-fashioned
MISH MASH Mandate: Mouth Of The South
"The Floral War"
9 song CD
TRACK = HALF THE BATTLE
The Reformation is the working moniker for singer/songwriter/producer
Westin Glass, who comes across in this release as a possible modern
day successor to Brian Wilson. I know it sounds like a stretch,
and it probably is. While Glass may not be quite at that level
just yet, he's well on his way, as "The Floral War"
falls just short of being a pop masterpiece. Yes, it's that good.
Glass is obviously thoroughly schooled in late 60s rock, as his
songs skillfully embrace the innocence and freshness of that era
without coming across like a throwback. He avoids the trappings
of overused angst, which is so prevalent in contemporary music,
and still retains the modern flare of irony. At the same time,
he somehow blends the optimism of yesteryear with the ever-so-slightest
sting of rebellion, borrowing a few pointers from post-punk to
keep everything on edge. In other words, it's the best of both
worlds, and not many artists can pull that off.
It'll be interesting to see where he can go from here. This disc
would be hard to top, but if he does, then the comparison to Mr.
Wilson won't seem too far off the mark.
MISH MASH Mandate: Promising Pop
The Reformation Website
The Size Queens
Is It IN Yet?
14 song CD
Goofy, yet somehow still touchingly poignant, The Size Queens offer
up a captivating juxtaposition of biting attitude and songwriting
aptitude. The sarcasm is poured on thick, while the musical
background is woven in a magical fashion.
Singer Adam Klein has the fragile tenor of Vic Chesnutt, an unbeautiful
voice which is endearing in its weakness. He plants his tongue firmly
in his cheek, and proceeds to sing absolutely ridiculous lines about
a variety of ridiculous things, at one point pleadingly pining away
with the lyric "You're my gummy bear." You almost don't
know whether to laugh or cry, because the song is so darn good,
and the words come right out of left field. The crazy thing is that
it works, even though it doesn't exactly fit.
MISH MASH Mandate: Care Bears
The Size Queens Website
4 song CD
TRACK = HOW COME?
Impostor Syndrome has its roots planted somewhere in the days of
early punk rock, coming across like a mix between Blondie and the
Pretenders before they got big. That probably has a lot to do with
the strong female lead vocals from Kristen Persinos, as her voice
is absolutely captivating.
The songs themselves are rough around the edges both musically
and sonically, but that only adds to the punkish appeal. Persinos
seems right at home growling along with her overdriven guitar lines,
so there's no need to try and pretty it up, even though she could
probably croon well-structured pop songs sweetly if she wanted to.
Something tells me that too much polish would probably put out the
fire this New York-based trio is trying to set, and that would be
a shame. With that, I think I'll turn this one up a little louder.
MISH MASH Mandate: Great Pretender
Impostor Syndrome Website
© 2006 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved