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Create The Night Pt. 1
Casino Records
7 song CD

There's a folksy sensibility wrapped up in the music of Oblio, one that embraces the lonely and introspective side of life. It's one part country, one part roots rock, and another part that's located somewhere in the vicinity of the heartfelt indie jangle of the mid 80s.

It's a smart sound that flirts with pop from across the room, not really wanting to fully acknowledge their infatuation with it. Instead, they mix in pleading horns and sharp guitar lines, adding in an element of angst that draws you right into their sweet misery.

MISH MASH Mandate: Pretty Persuasion
Oblio Website

Andrea Perry
Rivers Of Stars
14 song CD


Andrea Perry sings her songs in a soft, little-girl voice that rarely rises above a half-whisper. She quietly wanders wistfully through a selection of acoustic guitar-based tunes, weaving pure pop magic every step of the way.

I would imagine that Perry has done her studies under the tutelage of mid-era Beatles, and perhaps a lesson or two from Brian Wilson. She knows how to put together a tight little pop song without letting its simple approach get in the way of its overall impact. In other words, the songs are larger than the sum of their parts, and they shine with brilliance.

MISH MASH Mandate: Everybody Is A Star
Andrea Perry Website

Erin McKeown
Sing You Sinners
Nettwerk Productions
13 song CD


Erin McKeown takes an old-fashioned approach with a number of old-fashioned tunes (and one original) in this remarkable new solo effort. The songs are classic pop songs, mostly from the 1930s and 40s --- she calls them "standards" even though they aren't necessarily the most well-known from that era.

McKeown recorded the songs live in the studio over a matter of days, going for the most authentic sound possible. She also isn't afraid to add her own stamp to the tunes by changing up the arrangements, such as on her take of Cole Porter's Just One Of Those Things, which starts off with a psychedelic-tinged intro.

McKeown's original track, Melody, is a barn-burning hot jazz number which jumps and jives with abandon. It fits right into the mix, and you wouldn't realize it wasn't 70 years old if you didn't read the liner notes.

MISH MASH Mandate: Sinners Swing!
Nettwerk Productions Website

3 Is The Magic Number
Hope Division Records
11 song CD


ActionReaction is heading down the highway with one eye on the road ahead and one eye in the rear-view mirror. While the band presses on with a decidedly modern rock sound, they give a nod to their indie rock predecessors with a classic power pop foundation that stretches back through the decades.

Lead singer Jason Gleason (formerly of Further Seems Forever) leads the trio with a rough-hewn voice that is at times reminiscent of a young Bono leading his band into battle. In turn, the songs avoid the dreaded pigeonholes by eschewing the standard pop rock cliches and structures. The result is an album with timeless passion and beauty that grows better upon each and every listen.

MISH MASH Mandate: Reaction To Action
Hope Division Records Website


College Grove
Spinning Gold Records
11 song CD


Joseph Abernethy's music is wrapped in a whirlwind of influences that range from Brian Wilson to Morrissey to The Alan Parsons Project to The Moody Blues. His stylized and melancholy pop is complex in execution and realization, a complex wall of sound that is built up around his haunting vocals.

And Abernethy's voice is certainly the centerpiece, a half-spoken mid-range that is soothing even in its heartbreaking nature. At times it comes across almost as a chant, words flowing through in almost poetic fashion, religiously toned in spite of itself.

MISH MASH Mandate: Perpetual Poet
Spinning Gold Records Website

Red Wanting Blue
The Warehouse Sessions

Columbus, Ohio-based Red Wanting Blue has released an amazing live CD/DVD set, recorded in their warehouse studio with over 100 fans present. It's a wonderfully produced document of the show, with the option to "Listen" and/or "Watch" in the same package.

The band has a solid roots rock sound, with songwriting that has a rambling, story-telling feel to it. Their no-nonsense approach keeps the focus on the songs, with little fanfare or frills. Obviously, this is a labor of love, made with and for their loyal fans.

MISH MASH Mandate: True Blue
Red Wanting Blue Website

Big Digits
Smoke Machines In Lazervision
Bodies Of Water Arts And Crafts Records
9 song CD

Now this is just a glorious mess. Picture a wannabe Beastie Boys duo who sing and rap over cheesy 80s synth samples, and you might have a good idea of Big Digits. Needless to say, they don't take themselves very seriously, and that's all the fun. These guys are having a blast, and it comes through loud and clear.

While at first glance it comes across as a mere novelty record, you begin to see the method behind the goofiness. There is an art at the very heart of Big Digits, even though you have to cut through a thick layer of cheese to find it. I can only imagine the live show these guys put on.
MISH MASH Mandate: You Be Illin'
Big Digits Website

© 2006 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved


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2007 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved