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Issue #42 May 2002

Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution
A Call To Arms
(Click Here)

Soundtrack Mind
AJ Love
The White Stripes

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Soundtrack Mind
Elementary School Talent Show

Shut Eye Records
10 song CD

A tight indie rock band from Athens, GA with jangling guitars and a distinct vocal sound? The comparisons to another more well-known Athenian group would seem inevitable, but the guys in Soundtrack Mind do a great job at separating themselves from Stipe & Co., even though they recruit the help of R.E.M. producer/pal John Keane. Their songs are steeped in a Southern roots rock flavor, bringing to mind Tom Petty or the Wallflowers.

The songs are bright and polished, from the endearing piano lines of Sunset to the driving guitars and smooth rhythm changes of Only Way. A country-flavored foundation is exposed in For Once, while rock rules in Give Some More. The band is at their best when they take a few left turns, as in the brilliant mix of rock and country in White Alligator and the deep haunting sounds of Drop A Line To Me.

This disc is very impressive, and it certainly lives up to the overgrown mystique surrounding the Athens scene. If the town ever wants to be put back on the music map, this could be the band to do it.

MISH MASH Mandate: Classic City Soundtrack

Soundtrack Mind Website

A.J. Love
Interplanetary Funk

Angel Magic Music
7 song CD

What a nice surprise! Not only is this disc full of killer fusion, it also features one of my favorite bass players. You can sometimes hear the laid-back bass of Jeff Eckels backing up jazz pianist John Thulin on NPR’s “Whad’Ya Know” on Saturday mornings, but here Eckels displays his rock chops with super-macho guitarist A.J. Love.

The tunes presented here are rife with histrionic riffs and sonic abandon. Eckels and drummer Gerald Williams lay down a firm foundation, providing Love and sax/flute player Hanah Jon Taylor a nice and solid launching pad to turn up the overdrive and let it rip. Just about every corner of the universe is explored, from a handful of original compositions and a stab at Hendrix and Coltrane. Jimi is visited on the funky jive of Who Knows, which features the prominent sax of Taylor bouncing off the phrases from Love. A smattering of Coltrane surfaces in the mixed-up Spirituals From Neptune/A Love Supreme, where Taylor’s flute takes us on a wild trip on the fusion train, just before turning up the heat even more on the sax.

This one is ready-made for fans of rock and jazz. Nothing really new here, but they do it so well you won’t care as long as it’s loud.

MISH MASH Mandate: Sonic Surprise

Angel Magic Music Website

The White Stripes
White Blood Cells

Third Man Records
16 song CD

Meg White and Jack White seem unassuming enough, but this “brother and sister” duo can make a LOT of noise. Armed only with guitar and drums (and the occasional keyboard), they disturb the peace with slacker fervor, conjuring up images of Black Sabbath and the Kinks all the same breath and taking over the rock world with their eclectic little niche.

Jack whines his way through his vocal chores, strumming his guitar carelessly like a true garage punk. The Stripes stomp and stammer through the album with nods to big riff rock (Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground) and corny country (Hotel Yorba). It even gets quiet and pretty on We’re Going To Be Friends, a song that strangely sounds like it could’ve been lifted off of Paul McCartney’s 1971 solo debut McCartney. But the band really shines on the track Fell In Love With A Girl, where Jack rambles on like a frantic Ray Davies over a burning guitar line. It’s an instant classic, the perfect little pop tune overflowing with lo-fi attitude.

MISH MASH Mandate: Dynamic Duo

White Stripes Website


Birtha Records
12 song CD

Mike Shellito and Jeff Tanner make music which brings back sweet memories of the lazy hazy indie pop of the mid 80s. They blend seminal influences like The Cure, The Smiths, and R.E.M. into one fuzzy bundle which is never heavy handed or harsh in tone. The end result is a murmuring brook of warm tunes, which glide effortlessly like a deep underwater current.

Mike and Jeff mix their subtle vocal harmonies in a British Invasion-meets-Brian Wilson/Pet Sounds style, yet always in a low-key fashion. They almost approach a whisper, barely audible above their guitar strums. Orange or Green rises and falls slowly with understated dynamics, while Smart People builds upon an ever-so-slightly more aggressive, driving beat. Jim rambles along with jingle-jangle abandon, employing a smooth organ break, and herky jerky rhythms are the driving force behind You Really Really Like Me. The duet shines brilliantly on the flowing Virgo Torpedo, which is catchy and cool in it’s longing “to be happy...” while throwing out nonsense rhymes.

If you long for the happy-to-be-depressed days of early indie rock, then this will be right at home on your hi-fi.

MISH MASH Mandate: Prozac Pop

Shellito Website

© 2002 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved