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New Music Reviews

From Tokyo To You
Big 3 Records

This is almost like Spinal Tap come to life, as the guys in Cheap Trick intertwine live footage of their 2003 trek to Japan along with whacked out interviews about life in the hardest working band in the world. If anything, the DVD is highly educational. In it, we find out that bassist Tom Petersson once had a job sweeping up vomit, guitarist Rick Nielsen believes his own lies enough to be President, vocalist Robin Zander has questionable fashion tastes, and drummer Bun E. Carlos' real name is Bunezuela.

The songs are a mix of old and new (promoting their latest studio album, Special One), as performed live recently in Japan, where the band caught their first big break 25 years ago. The real fun comes from the interviews and backstage banter, where the boys tell tall tales about each other and the songs they've written over the years. The truly Tap moment comes when Rick Nielsen shows off part of his arsenal of 200+ guitars, including the monstrous 5-necked beast he pulls out every night for Surrender. Fans of the band will love every minute, while those not familiar with the group will probably go away scratching their heads. In case you're wondering, I loved every minute.

MISH MASH Mandate: Cheeky Trick
Cheap Trick Website

Volume 1
7 Song CD

The duet Volume 1 is power pop with an edge---big chords and catchyhooks with just the right touch of aggression. The production is just raw enough to keep the sound from being too slick, and the vocals are delivered with the sneer of teenage angst, making everything fall right into place.

The album never really goes anyplace out of the ordinary until the last track, Insight, which is a short and strange guitar and lyric-less vocal exercise, which is hopefully a hint of more to come.

MISH MASH Mandate: The Edge of Angst

Volume One Website

Oceans In The Sun
Public Eyesore
31 Song CD


I almost feel like I should be listening to this on a cheap cassette deck, because it reminds me of all the crazy crap I used to listen to in college. This is so homemade and lo-fi, it is almost impossible to describe fully without mentioning almost every weirded out four-track recording I've ever heard.

Sometimes it is pop, and other times it's just noise, all wrapped up in absolutely stupid humor. So awful, it's a classic.

MISH MASH Mandate: Down Home Stoopid

Public Eyesore Website

..It's What Life Feels Like When You're Lost Out Here...
Debauchary Records
2 CD Set

There's an otherworldliness to the style of the trio IamIs, with their unique mix of dissoance and atmospheric melodies. It's disjointed and somewhat sloppy, undercut with smatterings of indie pop thrown in for good measure.

Basically it sounds like a trainwreck of genres and sounds, but in a good way---sort of like The Shins colliding with The Cocteau Twins. Now there's something you don't hear every day.

MISH MASH Mandate: Musical Impact
IamIs Website

Life In The Stars
Random Gong
11 Song CD

Is Berman simply hard emo rock, or are they carrying the torch of long-gone grunge? They would probably shudder at the thought of being lumped into either category, but I hear elements of STP and Soundgarden popping up here and there between the outcroppings of modern rock.

Doesn't matter---whatever it is, man it rocks. Crunchy riffs and powerful vocals, at times pensive and at other times at your throat, dynamics are the name of the game. And they do it well.

MISH MASH Mandate: Dynamically Emotic

Berman Website

Kidder Kit
4 Song Mini-CD

Imagine, if you will, the history of indie rock compressed into four songs on a minature CD, all wound up in a tight little puzzle package. The whole of underground music is represented: from jangly guitars, mumbled vocals, sampled sounds, dance beats, to ethereally depressing soundscapes.

That's a lot of ground to cover in an EP, but Kidder Kit (aka Jonathan Lee) manages to do it without breaking a sweat. The question is, where does he go from here?
MISH MASH Mandate: Indie From Concentrate
Kidder Kit Website

© 2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved

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2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved