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New Music Reviews

El Cacho
12 song CD

Punk rock meets South America in this wonderfully unique release from this Argentinean trio, which features cello as one of the lead instruments. If that sounds quaint to you, then you'd be mistaken, because you've never heard a generally classical stringed instrument played quite like this. The guys in Contramano rip out their quirky rock tunes with a touch of hot sauce, layering aggressive guitar riffs over intricately placed strings and offbeat rhythms. Lead singer/guitarist/cellist Pablo Cubarle mixes up his English and Spanish vocals with such fluidity, sometimes you can't tell where one language begins and the other ends.

The band is most outstanding on the track Checking U, where their pop sensibilities shine through brilliantly. The song begins with a racing line from the cello, which gives way to a quick, catchy and rhythmically jerky little power pop song. It's a perfect blend of angst and creative songwriting, where all the band's strengths come together. This one is definitely going into the stack of favorites.

MISH MASH Mandate: Contraband
Contramano Website

All Day And All Of The Night Remixes
7 song CD


Flunk has taken The Kinks' All Day And All Of The Night and transformed it from a garage punk icon into a dreamy dance floor booty-shaker. This extended EP (is there such a thing?) features their cover, along with a remix of their rendition of the Kinks classic. Also included are remixes of Flunk's own Play, which has gained notoriety by being on the soundtrack for the hit TV show, The O.C..

If nothing else, this is a sweet little taste of an exciting group, and it leaves you wanting much, much more.

MISH MASH Mandate: Kinky Dreams
Kriztal Records Website


Motel Magazine
8 Song CD


This is classic rock, old school style. Name a group, and these guys probably have some element in their sound which would remind you of them. Cricket is a power trio hailing from Louisville, KY, and they've certainly done their rock-n-roll homework. Think Thin Lizzy-meets-Motley Crue-meets-The White Stripes. They've got it all.

The music is lean and mean, with just enough roughness around the edges to keep it interesting. Lead singer/guitarist Benjamin Fields has the perfect high-pitched voice which stands out tall above the musical fray, bringing together everything you'd ever want in a rock vocalist. Good stuff.

MISH MASH Mandate: Motel Madness
Cricket Website

Ten Words For Snow/
Double Split 7" singles
Boyarm Records
2 7" vinyl singles

Ten Words For Snow has created a new twist in the split single. On this double disc release, they're sharing two separate singles with two different bands, Hairshirt and Sybris, along with matching record sleeves. The first disc features the noisy guitar/synth pop of TWFS's Garbage Truck, a driving song which drones along with anxious repetition. On the flip side, Hairshirt shows off their post-new wave flavor with the magnificent Party Sisters, replete with 80s-era staccato drum beats and understated Brit-pop vocals, a la Franz Ferdinand.

Record number two begins with a pop gem from TWFS called Shake You Off, which mixes melodic Brian Wilson-esque melodies and jangly indie guitar pop. Side two takes us into a completely different direction, as Sybris goes ethereal and atmospheric with the quiet loneliness of The Clowns Were Hilarious. While there's only four songs represented here, the whole package and concept makes it feel complete.

MISH MASH Mandate: Split Personalities
Ten Words For Snow Website

Movement And Detail
11 Song CD

How many instrumental prog-rock bands can you name that are tearing up the local scene? If you live in Columbia, South Carolina, one name would come to mind immediately, and that name would be Bolt. At first glance, you'd probably want to describe this highly skilled trio in terms of Rush, with their complicated rhythms and lush musical landscapes---but there's also an underlying feeling of punkish attitude that keeps the sound on edge.
In other words, they don't come across as your average geeked-out math band, because somehow they make all the noodling seem cool. There's plenty of rock to back up the prog, and that makes all the difference.
MISH MASH Mandate: Progalicious
Bolt Website

Anya Marina
Miss Halfway
Good Rope Records
11 song CD

I was enthralled with Anya Marina's EP a few months ago, and I waited in anticipation of her full-length release. I'm not disappointed. The album reveals a depth that the EP only hinted at, showing a penchant for brilliantly self-deprecating and ironic songwriting, all delivered with her trademark little-girl vocal style.
She shines brightest on the acidic folk-blues of Sociopath, where she laments the dating scene and her addiction to the wrong kind of man, with a biting sense of humor: "Cause I like a little coffee with my cream/I like a little dirty with my clean."

MISH MASH Mandate: Half Full
Anya Marina Website

© 2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved

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2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved