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New Music Reviews

The Glass Family
Sleep Inside This Wheel
I Eat Records
10 song CD

The Glass Family has the offbeat, quirky and stand-offish appeal that's been made famous by the likes of unassuming bands like Radiohead and The Shins. While they embrace this mode of expression, they smartly establish their own sound and spirit and avoid any direct copycat comparisons.

They start off the disc with a short instrumental intro that segues into the incredibly catchy Stop Dead In Your Tracks, a beautiful little pop song in which jangly guitars dance around a stop-n-go rhythm. The band sticks with this formula throughout most of the album, borrowing graciously and humbly from the indie rock history books.

Overall, the album is flawless from beginning to end, as there's not a bad song in the bunch. And, after a while the songs grow on you like an old friend. Highly recommended.

MISH MASH Mandate: Heart Of Glass
The Glass Family Website

The High Violets
To Where You Are
Reverb Records
10 song CD

The High Violets are just the right juxtaposition of quietness and loudness. Vocalist Kaitlyn Ni Donovan has a sweet and soothing voice, which rides high above big shimmering guitars. The result is a dream-like state where the best of both worlds spin and weave into a sonic whirlwind of sound.

The standout track here is Invitation, where the band puts all their pop-making skills into play. Donovan's voice drifts in and out of atmospheric guitar lines, delivering a haunting melody that you'd almost swear you've heard before, because it just has "that" feel. In other words, this band has a classic in the making.

This album should soon be turning the heads of music fans everywhere. Do yourself a favor and seek it out now.

MISH MASH Mandate: Violets Are Blue
The High Violets Website


Phil Lomac
Phil Lomac
Shut Eye Records
10 song CD

Phil Lomac's music is rock-based, relying on the use of angst and dynamics. Generally quiet and introspective, Lomac thrusts and parries with bursts of energy and loud guitars when the moment seems right. At times the music reminds me Pink Floyd, if only for the understated vocals and the rambling nature of the song structures.

Lomac obviously likes to take some chances, and this makes the music exciting and unpredictable---but at the same time, he doesn't go too far off track, which keeps the listener engaged from beginning to end.

MISH MASH Mandate: Philomath Is Where I'll Go
Phil Lomac Website

Robin Dean Salmon
Shut Eye Records
13 song CD

Do you like your country, country? As in, free of the schlocky pop and fakery which seems to pervade much of today's mainstream country music? Then Robin Dean Salmon is your man.

Salmon rides with the traditional honky-tonk style of country & western with just a touch of old time rock-n-roll attitude. His songs would fit well in just about any dive between Jacksonville and Amarillo, the perfect soundtrack for your favorite roadhouse.

MISH MASH Mandate: When Country Wasn't Cool
Robin Dean Salmon Website

The Beautiful Effect
13 song CD

What's a Wahba? Well, in this case, it's a guy with a musical vision and a purpose. That purpose comes in the form of worship and praise songs, in the style of guitar-based power pop.

Mr. Wahba writes some catchy tunes, and has a tight backing band rounding out the overall sound. The songs follow the basic three chord pop structure, but his honesty and energy make those simple tracks come alive---both figuratively and spiritually.

The only thing potentially holding this one back is the somewhat sparse self-production, as music like this almost begs for a big-time studio sound. It's not bad at all, but just a little thin. Put this guy into the right setting and there's no telling what could happen.

MISH MASH Mandate: God Gave Rock-N-Roll To You
Wahba Website

Bob Brozman
Blues Reflex
Ruf Records
13 song CD

The blues needs no explanation, it is what it is. That's why it's easy to spot a real blues player, and Bob Brozman is certainly a prime example. Brozman plays the blues with his ears tuned finely in the past. You can almost sense the spirit of the blues coming across the past century, finding its home in Brozman's guitar and voice.
The presentation is stark and unadorned, usually revolving around his solo instrument, vocals, and some form of percussion accompaniment. This air of simplicity only accentuates the complexity of playing, as Brozman continually shows off his dexterous blues chops throughout the album.
In the end, it's the honesty of the record which is most striking, as Brozman's embodiment of traditional blues takes on a new form with his unique ability and arrangements. Perhaps the future of the blues can be found in the past.

MISH MASH Mandate: Raw Blues
Ruf Records Website

The Wildlife
Sweet Plastic
Agent Records
10 song CD

I'd imagine that the blender is the most-used appliance in the realm of The Wildlife. This California quartet has a knack for mixing and matching just about every pop style that has come down the chute in the past 30+ years. Nothing is sacred as they cut and paste together a collage of rhythms and sounds that run the gamut from glam to New Wave to indie rock to electronica, and beyond.

This musical clash is intriguing, if only for the fact that you don't know what's going to happen next. The focus seems to be the absolute lack thereof, and that's just fine, just because they pull it off so well.

MISH MASH Mandate: How I Wrote Elastic Man
Agent Records

© 2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved

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2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved