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Issue #32 July 2001

An Interview with Ashland
Prog Rock In a Pop World
(Click Here)

A.J. Rosales
Joanne Juskus
Dani Linnetz
Warped Tour 2001 Tour Compilation

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Aviso' Hara
Our Lady of the Highway

Vital Cog
11 song CD

The boys in Aviso' Hara are still blasting away in dissonant bliss. This latest release features more of their noisy power pop, edgy with a geeky-cool exterior, a la Weezer. The sound here is more refined and focused than some of their previous work, but it still has that diamond-in-the-rough feel that makes the Vital Cog bands so memorable.

The disc begins with the growing-older anthem, Twilight Twenties, which rages and burns out quickly with the dying remnants of teen angst. The guitar riffage of Bradley Wake-up steps in and out, forming walls of noise which bookend the droning verses and melodic chorus. The dual guitar mix in Accidental (Moron) has a peculiar and disjointed feel that only adds to the overall tension on the record, felt most tangibly in the driving rhythms of Dominate the Gears, which gives early Cheap Trick a sidelong glance for good measure.

This record won't knock you out, but it does throw a few good punches along the way.

MISH MASH Mandate: Diamonds and Pearls
Vital Cog Website

A. J. Rosales
Earth And Shoal

Novelty Records
5 song CD

They say good things come in small packages, and this EP from A.J. Rosales is proverbial proof of that sentiment, packing an awful lot of great music into just five songs. His songwriting centers on acoustic roots rock, falling somewhere between bar band style of Counting Crows and the introspective stare of Jeffrey Gaines.

Rosales begins the EP with the bumper-car rhythms of Sweetest Thing, a song that musically twists and turns around his soulful vocals. Angry lives up to its namesake, drawing an atonal picture with distorted chords and a bitter dissonance in the guitar melody. In contrast, the simple strumming of the title track creates an easy and earthy mood which settles nicely into a laid-back groove.

Hopefully this is just a taste of a full-length disc to come, and I can't wait to hear it.

MISH MASH Mandate: Tasty Treat

A.J. Rosales Website

Joanne Juskus
Joanne Juskus

Rudderfish Music
13 song CD

Joanne Juskus has a "heavenly" voice: a captivating mix of the soul-piercing delivery of Fiona Apple and the quiet mystery of Natalie Merchant. She reminds me of Heather Mullen, a singer from the early 90s who was highly underated and too soon forgotten. This record from Juskus has the right voice and the right production, but what is lacking are truly great songs.

Juskus drifts and lilts through a number of indie-styled pop tunes which are good, but not groundbreaking. They show off her voice, but they don't reach out and grab you. There is one notable exception--the quiet acoustic groove of Waters of March, which combines a sharp beat with Juskus' vocals flowing in a hushed whisper. The song comes across as being effortless, whereas the others come off almost forced---as if we are supposed to hear Juskus sing like Ms. Apple or Tori Amos in order to appreciate her impressive range. Sometimes simplicity can go a long, long way.

MISH MASH Mandate: Sometimes Salvation

Joanne Juskus Website

Dani Linnetz
Five & Dime

self-released demo EP
4 song CD

Dani Linnetz has an incredible voice, steeped in a country background and delivered with fire and soul to spare. She sings without any doubt, self-assured and to the point. Even within the limitations of a demo, she shows off her wide emotional range.

Whether it's the sultry western groove of I Will, the stark blues of Understood, or the dixieland jazz of Dimestore Complaints she seems right at home in front of the mic. And like Joanne Juskus, the only drawback is that the songs don't always live up to her raw talent.

MISH MASH Mandate: Emotional Rescue

e-mail Dani Lennetz

Various Artists
Warped Tour 2001 Tour Compilation

SideOneDummy Records
26 song CD

Need to kick out the jams this summer? This is the disc for you. Loaded with great tunes from punk participants in the much-heralded Warped Tour, this comp has quite a collection of unreleased tracks from the likes of Rancid, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Ataris, and Sum 41.

Highlights include the caustic thrash of Anti-Flag's Zapatista, Don't Give Up, the ultra-manic Sink or Swim by Bigwig, and the geeky punk of The Vandals' S.W.M.. Also notable is the hi-octane cover of Elton John's Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

Ah, those carefree days of my punk youth...

MISH MASH Mandate: We Done Kicked 'Em Out

SideOneDummy Records Website

© 2001 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved