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The Orion Experience
Cosmicandy
Sweet Records
10 song CD
PODCAST TRACK = THE QUEEN OF WHITE LIES

 
I am extremely grateful that my summertime guilty pleasure has arrived early this year. The Orion Experience's Cosmicandy is an aptly named piece of sugary pop that is catchy in all the right places.

The Queen Of White Lies is a radio-hit-in-the-making if there ever was one (that is, if there were still such a thing as a radio hit). The song is built around a thumping dance groove, dripping with a smart 80s vibe that sounds like the best of Duran Duran and The B-52s mixed up in the blender. Simply perfect in every guilty way.

The only drawback comes in the form of the final two songs, a couple of tunes that have a somewhat political bent. They try a little hard to be serious here, and it's kind of a killjoy after all that fun leading up to the end. Other than that, this is THE pop album to pick up this spring. And hey, the keyboardist is kinda cute, too.

MISH MASH Mandate: Pop Lobster
The Orion Experience Website


Wiretree
Bouldin
Cobaltworks Music Division
9 song CD
PODCAST TRACK = BIG COAT

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I was highly impressed with Kevin Peroni's Wiretree EP a couple of years ago, and now his full-length release lives up to the praise. This is a wonderful little hazy pop record that's endearing in its simplicity.

Peroni has an unassuming voice that just comes along for the ride, crusing along with the driving guitars that push the songs along. The result is a laid-back feel that still has a slight edge, caught somewhere between The Beatles and The Pernice Brothers. His songwriting has improved greatly, and it shows that he's got more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

MISH MASH Mandate: Hazy Shades
Wiretree Website



Reuben's Thread (Featuring RachaelRachael)
Colour Me Blue
Self-Released
9 song CD
PODCAST TRACK = ARE YOU HAPPY NOW

 

Thank goodness for the Internet. Two artists who met on myspace.com, guitarist Reuben's Thread and singer RachaelRachael, have teamed up to produce this wonderful piece of dreamy, laid-back pop. And, now, thanks to the ubiquitous web, I'm introducing them to you.

Reuben's Thread provides the slow-paced, atmospheric groove, while RachaelRachael adds her deep and soulful vocals to the mix. There's an 80's-era R&B vibe going on, possibly stemming from the fact that Rachael doesn't overdo her singing parts, as many singers in this post-Idol era tend to do. She keeps it smooth and subtle, letting her voice woo us with gentle skill. Very nice.

MISH MASH Mandate: Poppy Fields
Reuben's Thread Website



Dalminjo
One Day You'll Dance For Me Tokyo
Kriztal Entertainment
13 song CD

   

Get ready to get your latest trippy fix. Norwegian native Dalminjo carries the techno flame with this excellent collection of hopping dance tracks, featuring vocals from Flunk's Anja Oyen Vister, among others.

Dalminjo digs deep into his music history books, melding together a host of musical genres and sounds from across the decades. Sometimes it's jazzy with a touch of Latin, and sometimes it's funky, but it's always right in the groove. The tracks with Vister are the most interesting, as her pixie-like voice weaves pure magic across the broken beats. What a great team they make, and let's hope they do more in the future.

MISH MASH Mandate: Block Breaking Beats
Kriztal Entertainment Website

 



James Filkins
Borderline Normal
Self-Released
14 song CD

 

James Filkins is taking us back to the basics, in more ways than one. Not only does he finger-pick his hand-made acoustic guitar with alternate tunings, he also recorded the tracks on this album in various rooms of his home. It's a labor of love, built from the ground up in the truest of DIY fashion.

Filkins is not flashy or showy, instead he keeps his focus on the melody and overall feel of the song. The essence of the music is all that matters here. It's an almost impressionistic way of playing the guitar, shifting and drifting through a beautiful haze of sound.

MISH MASH Mandate: The Right Impression
James Filkins Website


 
My Loving Tiger
Problem Sets
Self-Released
4 song CD

 
Under the guise of My Loving Tiger, Justin Mazahn and Mark Kayser have put together a great little EP which is brimming with marvelously geeky alt rock.
Their sound is deliberate and calculated, with quirky tunes that deal with elected officials and natural gas bills.

But don't be scared away by the nerdiness, as they are skilled in delivering their pop with an urgent bite. It grabs you and sticks in your head from the first track.
 

MISH MASH Mandate: School House Rock
My Loving Tiger Website



Marcus Singletary
Rocks
Aviation Records
10 song CD

 
Please, please, please, somebody at a label pick this guy up and put him into a real studio. Marcus Singletary is a guitar wizard who slings his electric blues around like an old-time master. The songs are ripped, roaring and mean, just like the blues should be.

While lo-fi recordings in this genre usually don't pose too much of a problem, in this case it tends to get in the way of the overall sound to the point of distraction. I can only imagine how great this stuff would sound with the right quality of recording. Regardless, the talent is there for sure. If you eat and breathe the blues, you need to check this guy out immediately.

MISH MASH Mandate: Briefcase Full Of Blues
Marcus Singletary Website




 
33 1/3: Use Your Illusion I & II
by Eric Weisbard
Continuum Books
Softcover, 125 pages, $9.95 USA

 

It might be hard to believe, but the Guns N' Roses 1991 double album release Use Your Illusion I & II was the last great "blockbuster" rock-n-roll album, at least according to author Eric Weisbard. What he means by this is that this album represents the last breath of the old rock era, at a time when people would camp outside their local record store to be the first to buy a rock release. Not long after Illusion, alternative rock took over, and the bloated, mega-mega platinum hard rock album became a thing of the past.

Weisbard doesn't focus as much on the actual Illusion albums as much as he focuses on the attitudes and forces that surrounded this particular GNR release, both before and after. While Appetite For Destruction stands as a testament to raw rock at its finest, the Illusion albums represent something entirely different. Weisbard suggests that they are the key to the madness that is Axl Rose, the tortured rock hermit who has slaved away fruitlessly for the past 16 years to produce a followup.

The book explores the albums on a psychological level, sifting through the lyrics, videos, and legends, trying to find the connections to Rose and his particular brand of egomania. It's a fascinating read, even for someone like myself who hasn't listened to the Illusion albums in over a decade (I couldn't find my copies while reading this book, which is not a big surprise). Even though Weisbard breaks down the songs individually at the end, this book differs from some of the others in the 33 1/3 series, as you don't need to hear the album at hand to fully appreciate the sometimes biting commentary.

MISH MASH Mandate: Use It Or Lose It
Continuum Publishing Website


© 2007 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved
mishmashmusic@hotmail.com

 

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2007 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved
mishmashmusic@hotmail.com