2005 ISSUE #69
Cash: The Man, His World, His Music
Directed by Bob Elfstrom
Sanctuary Visual Entertainment
Johnny Cash is not only a country music icon, he
also represents American music as a whole. His dual persona as
rebel and angel is only rivaled by the image of Elvis Presley,
and that is probably only because Elvis died so young.
While many of us think of Cash in his later years,
it is easy to forget how intense his personality was in his prime.
This re-released documentary takes us back to the glory days of
Cash, in the late 60s, when he was at the top of his game again---as
he was back on the wagon and riding the success of his album "Live
At Folsom Prison."
Almost every element of Cash's life at the time
is represented here---we are shown concerts, backstage conversations,
home town reunions, scenes from the tour bus, quiet solo song
performances at home, and excursions into prisons where he perfoms.
Highlights of the DVD include duets with Carl Perkins,
Bob Dylan, The Carter Sisters, and a few with his wife June Carter
Cash---both on and offstage. The music is incredible, but it definitely
plays second fiddle to the scenes from ordinary life, where Cash
is at his most honest and vulnerable. It's almost jarring when
you realize that this is Johnny Cash as the legend was still being
made---as he was being transformed from a famous performer into
the aforementioned icon.
Sanctuary Records Group Website
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New Music Reviews
The Vibrating Needle Recording Collective
10 song CD
The duet FOLK? delivers their lo-fi pop with quirky sensiblity---there's
a hint of They Might Be Giants, but not enough to make the songs completely
silly or goofy---the songwriting stands strong without leaning on
gimmicks. There's humor involved, but it comes wrapped in clever and
subtle elements---like the dot matrix printer sound effect used as
percussion in Machine Dash, which you might just miss if you aren't
When it's all said and done, this is a fun
little record that displays a knack for pop structure, without taking
any of it too seriously.
MISH MASH Mandate: POP?
In The Red Records
4 Song 12" Vinyl EP
This French trio sounds like a shotgun marriage between The Fall
and an 80s New Wave synth band. Picture cliche electric drum machine
beats drowned in dissonant guitars and sneering vocals delivered
in the style of Mark E. Smith.
The standout track on the EP is Testbild, where all
the competing elements come together with sense and purpose, mixing
a driving industrial beat with catchy female vocal hooks from singer
Lili Z. The song descends into a frenzy, showing off a dizzying
array of fuzzed-out guitars. Sure to annoy just about anybody within
earshot of your stereo.
MISH MASH Mandate: Falling Wave
In The Red Records Website
Burn It Forward
13 Song CD
Now here's a great little acoustic rock band that's obviously
not in it for the money. It's not that they can't make it---these
songs are stupendous. They actually encourage people to
burn copies of their disc and pass it on for free--hence the title
Burn It Forward. But I'm going to save you the trouble
of waiting for someone to hand over a copy to you, because you
need to go online and buy one, copy it and pass it along to your
Why? Because your friends will be impressed with your musical
tastes, and you will be the man. Simply put, singer and main songwriter
Marco Aiello will just blow you away---these songs are tight,
catchy, and definitely worth passing on to somebody else.
MISH MASH Mandate: Take One Down, Pass It Around
The Red Website
Day And Age
North Park Records
8 song CD
Raw intensity is the name of the game here, jumbles of dissonant
guitars and "I don't care" vocals are packed loosely over
raging rhythms, which start and stop in almost indiscriminate fashion.
I would make a pointless comparison to any number of noisy guitar
rock bands, but there's more to Day And Age---almost a feeling of
progressive jazz underneath the wall of noise.
At any rate, the songs are beautifully unstructured, even though
the angst remains completely in focus throughout.
It's like punk music disassembled and put back together by an
angry fusion band. Very cool, indeed.
MISH MASH Mandate: This Side Up
Day And Age Website
9 Song CD
Courtney Wing has a mysterious and engaging way of singing which
would make Nike Drake proud. His voice is gravelly and understated,
yet instantly appealing, drawing in the listener to hang on every
And thankfully, the do songs live up to the performance, each
one a great stage for Wing to shine. I would be hard pressed to
select a stand-out track, because they all seem to work together
so well--at times folksy, and at others in a jazz mode, relying
on subtle moves instead of dynamic changes to get the point across.
MISH MASH Mandate: Wing It
Courtney Wing Website
One Scene To Another: Plumline
Record's Tribute To Canadian Indie Rock
16 song CD
The Detroit indie rock scene pays tribute to the Canadian indie
rock scene. I know what you're thinking, and don't worry about it;
you don't have to already be a fan of either to enjoy this disc.
(And if you are already a fan, then what are you waiting for?)
There's a lot going on here, of course, but the highlights include
Mood Elevator's take on Sloan's Money City Maniacs
and The Pop Project's cover of Zumpano's The Only Reason Under
MISH MASH Mandate: Tributary Rock
Plumline Records Website
© 2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved