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Issue #50 March 2003

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Soundtrack Mind
Medwyn Goodall
Bossa Nova For Lovers

Soundtrack Mind
Plastic Dreams

Shut Eye Records
10 song CD

Last year, this trio from Athens, GA, caught my attention with their release Elementary School Talent Show. I was highly impressed with that effort, which was an enjoyable piece of roots rock pop, and I am certainly not disappointed by their follow-up, Plastic Dreams. If anything, the guys have gotten better, honing their pop chops on a group of brand new songs building solidly on their roots rock influences.

They get right to business with It's Just Right, opening the disc with the full force of rock guitars on 10. From there they give a nod to the minor chord jangle of their hometown forebears in Really Want, which is an incredibly catchy college pop song. I would have to say my favorite track on the disc is Goodbye. The song is basic in form, but well executed in performance. It has an honest sound, and the band seems right at home meandering along in its quiet melancholy. Jack it up another notch for the rocking Would You Believe, and you've got a CD that will be hard to take out of your player.

MISH MASH Mandate: Automatic

Soundtrack Mind Website

Blue Cotton Skin

Red Buttons Records
9 song CD

Remember those weird, enigmatic test tones that used to begin pre-recorded cassette tapes? Petracovich (aka Jessica Peters) begins the album with a mutated version of this tone pattern, and she then proceeds to venture off into her own little trip-hop world. She fills this netherworld with plenty of subtle beats and understated vocals, blurring all the lines of contemporary music along the way. The result is a flowing melange of pop paradise, never settling down into a distinct groove, just relying on scattered ideas of rhythm and melody to form the sound.

It's a beautiful record, one which takes chances by not really taking them too far out, creating an adventurous sound while remaining highly listenable.

MISH MASH Mandate: Ya Russki

Red Buttons Records Website


8 song CD

MohoDisco is the pet project of guitarist/synth player Bruce White, whose songs launch into outerspace prog-rock orbit. The sound is distinctly transplanted from the 80s era, whether it's meant to be or not. It reminds me a little of mid-life Rush (think Power Windows) in its showcasing of individual instrument noodling and overplaying, while maintaining a firm foundation in fusion jazz. The addition of plenty of analog synth enhances this feel, giving the whole thing a nostalgic aura, taking you back to the days of Reagan.

The musicians are top-notch, and the songs are well-structured and tight. If you long for the good old days of prog-rock and fusion jazz, and you have a thing for synthesizers, this is the disc you've been waiting for.


Mohodisco Website

Medwyn Goodall
Rhythm of the Ancients

New World Music
7 song CD

Medwyn Goodall is a one man band who happens to play a pretty eclectic list of instruments, with ocarina, marimba, sicu, Mexican panpipes, and charango being among them. This album is sort of a concept piece which is based on him hypothetically "discovering" a lost ancient city in a South American jungle, and it shows off his musical prowess with his variety of instruments.

The sound is epic and far-reaching in the "new age" style, although sometimes it comes across a little sterile and overproduced. Goodall is at his best when he takes off the kid gloves and goes for a more raw, tribal feel (Hall Of Symbols, for example). I like this disc, and it sounds beautiful, but I would like it even more if it got its hands dirtier.

MISH MASH Mandate: History Channel

New World Music Website

Various Artists
Bossa Nova For Lovers

16 song CD

In the early 60s, bossa nova emerged as a popular form of music, combining the sound of the samba and modern jazz. Perhaps no other label was as influential as Verve in putting bossa nova on living room hi-fi's, with seminal artists such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz on their roster.

This collection touches on the highlights of Verve's bossa nova, including performances from Jobim, Getz, Luis Bonfa, Laurindo Almeida, and Joao and Astrud Gilberto. It touches on all aspects of bossa nova, not just the "romantic" easy-listening side, whether it's the off kilter jazz rhythms of Getz and Almeida's Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), or the fluffy, driving pop of Astrud Gilberto and Walter Wanderley's So Nice (Summer Samba). And, of course, no bossa nova collection would be complete without the obligatory Jobim classic, Girl From Ipanema, represented here by Jobim himself. Overall this compilation is a great introduction to an underrated and often misunderstood side of jazz.

MISH MASH Mandate: One Note Nova

Verve Music Group


Infinite 7
10 song CD

Prepare to have your foundations rocked. What is IZ? Good question. Think adventurous power trio without a point to prove. Think big guitar riffs and plenty of experimental rhythm changes. Think instrumental prog-rock at it's proggest, heralding song titles like Butterfly Phoenix Mark III, The Body Of Light Walks Through Black Fire, and Lesson In Fultility.

The songs are a mixed lot, going from straight-ahead rock riffs to avant garde dissonant noise without flinching. It's not an easy listen, but it is anything but boring.

MISH MASH Mandate: Izzy Stradlin

IZ Website

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