2005 ISSUE #68
And Songs From The Roots Of America
Edited by Timothy Duffy
Music Maker Relief Foundation / Hill Street Press
Book with 23 track CD
If you love the blues and/or American roots music,
then this incredible book and CD combo should certainly be the
cornerstone of your collection. Author Timothy Duffy has travelled
throughout the country for the past 20+ years, discovering and
documenting the wealth of underground blues music through his
Music Maker Relief Foundation. This foundation also provides support
for the artists who create this music, including shelter and medical
care for those who need it.
The book / CD combo profiles a number of artists,
including interviews and photos along with samples of their music.
The artists run the gamut of the roots world from the fairly well-known,
such as Taj Mahal and Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, to the
relatively obscure, like Henry Stewart and Albert Smith. The photos
are stark and emotional, presented in a timeless black and white---without
seeing the dates you can't tell if they're from 1942 or 2002,
a true testament to the ageless quality of this music. Most of
the CD was recorded in various places on location, which gives
it a nice homemade quality. It's not slick at all, and the music
comes alive without the trappings of the studio. Raw and real,
just like the blues should be.
Kudos to Duffy and the MMRF for going way out of
their way to not only help these artists, but also for giving
their work the respect and presentation it deserves.
Relief Foundation Website
HEY BANDS! OPEN YOUR OWN ONLINE T-SHIRT
SHOP FOR FREE!
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
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
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...
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
MISH MASH Mandate: Musical Impact
Life In The Stars
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
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
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
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