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New Music Reviews

Proton Proton
Proton Proton
6 song CD

Progressive rock meets the garage rock underground in this potent release from trio Proton Proton. The music rips along with rhythmic and melodic complexity, while singer Paul Fuster belts out his nasalized vocals in an appropriately sneering fashion.

Add into the mix a bit of strange instrumentation in the form of a toy piano and a guitar/bass hybrid called a gass, and you've got another level of quirkiness to an album which is already unique and on the edge. The band's prog roots come to life in the lack of pop structure and the wild rhythm changes, as expertly shown in the song Two Words, which speeds up and slows down seamlessly.

As this release is an EP, it never gets a chance to wear thin, allowing every song to hit you like a sucker punch. Great stuff.

MISH MASH Mandate: Prototype
Proton Proton Website

The Pigs
Disturbing Music
10 song CD


Welcome back to 1985, boys and girls. Imagine, if you will, a mix between The Talking Heads and The Cars, and you'll get a pretty good idea of what The Pigs sound like. They're quirky, nerdy, and they like their guitar pop served with a heavy dose of synthesizer.

You'd almost swear that lead singer Geoff Westen is the vocal love child of David Byrne and Ric Ocasek, as he sounds like the perfect genetic blend of both voices. The songwriting also lives up to this pedigree, as Westen has obviously done his studies on 80s New Wave. It would be easy to picture any of this being on either band's set list 20 years ago.

I'm not saying this is purely a throwback, as the songs have a freshness which makes them just as viable in this post-post-New Wave era of music we find ourselves in today.

MISH MASH Mandate: Stop Making Sense
Disturbing Music Website


The Love Drunks
The Love Drunks
Alive! Records
10 song CD


This is music on the edge of sanity. The Love Drunks take the stereotypical garage rock sound and run it through the meat grinder. Caught somewhere between Mitch Ryder and The Fall, they recklessly ramble and careen through 10 songs in a rock-n-roll stupor.

Frontman Patrick A. sings like a man having a nervous breakdown in the key of G, as the rest of the band seems to just be along for the ride, trying not to fall off the wagon. The result is an album which revels in its own absurdity and nonsense, knowing full well it's nothing more than a vehicle for three chords and primal screams with a backbeat. Sometimes, that's all you need.

MISH MASH Mandate: Intoxicating Brew
Alive Records Website

Dan Clucas / Immediately
pfMentum Records
6 song CD

Cornet player Dan Clucas has assembled a team of jazz players together to try and find "the here and now," a sense of place in a confusing and lonely world. The approach is aptly avant garde, blending together a dizzying mix of be-bop and deconstructed fusion, creating a musical landscape which reflects the patchwork of ideas and feelings which make up both our planetary existence and collective psyche.

It's a challenging listen, if only for the fact that they can move from a smooth groove into abstract dissonance without missing a beat, taking us along for the ride without pause or warning.

MISH MASH Mandate: Exile On Your Street
pfMentum Website

3 song CD

There's something to be said for heartfelt pop which is well done. Cedarwell fits this bill like a glove, with their carefully crafted pop songs gliding along in the air without effort.

These three songs effervese and seem to fade into the light as soon as they leave the stereo speakers, leaving behind a pleasant yet melancholy feeling. That's not to say that these guys are lightweight, quite the contrary. They know what they're doing, and they do it well. What they do is acoustic guitar pop with a heart on its sleeve.

So pop this one in the car CD player or the iPod, take a long ride, and wish really hard for spring while you're remembering lost love.

MISH MASH Mandate: Rivers Of Suggestion
Cedarwell Website

The Strokes
First Impressions Of Earth
RCA Records
14 song CD

While they may be quite mainstream at this point, I thought it might be interesting to catch up with The Strokes and their latest album. Whether you'd like to admit it or not, they helped usher in the latest wave of scruffy rock bands, staving off the inevitable death of rock-n-roll, at least for the time being. For that, we should be momentarily grateful.
First Impressions of Earth give thems a surprisingly fresh start. The first thing that struck me was the fact that I could hear Mr. Casablancas' voice clearly now, and the guy can actually sing. Remove the layers of distortion, and he kind of sounds like Bono. Weird, I know. Another difference is the attitude; instead of hungry teen angst, now we have disillusionment and confusion, which is most likely a by-product of their rise to fame. This adds a new depth to their music, and it shows that they've allowed themselves to grow musically---this doesn't sound like a band trying to churn out the hits. It sounds like a band who wants to stick around.

MISH MASH Mandate: Stroke Me
The Strokes Website

Arden Kaywin
Quarter Life Crisis
10 song CD

Arden Kaywin has a voice as smooth and sweet as her name would suggest, rising and falling deftly over her spritely and sensitive pop. This pianist/singer/songwriter wears her heart on her sleeve, showcasing her songs of life's confusion and love's ache.

While there's not any new ground being broken here, Kaywin never lets the album get stale. Her soul is into her work, and it shows in the sheer honesty of the songs themselves. The amount of angst is just right, wanting us to feel empathy but standing strong all the same, without wallowing in self-pity.

MISH MASH Mandate: Heartbreaker
Arden Kaywin Records

Various Artists
Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds
Hippocamp Records
13 song CD

This is probably old news to most of you, but just in case you haven't run across Hippocamp's twisted and slightly controversial tribute to The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, I highly recommend that you follow the link below and download it as soon as possible.
The compilation is a wild mash up of vocal tracks from the original album jumbled together with a dance beats and samples in a dizzying amount of styles. While the results are somewhat expectedly mixed, a few of these tracks are downright amazing, including Kam's version of Wouldn't It Be Nice and The Star Fighter Pilot's take on That's Not Me. If you're a fan of Pet Sounds (and who isn't), then you owe it to yourself to see how it has been re-interpreted into the 21st Century.

MISH MASH Mandate: Good Reverberations
Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds

© 2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved

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2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved