2005 ISSUE #71
13 song CD
I know what you're thinking---why is this guy reviewing
Joe Perry? He's hardly independent---he's freaking Aerosmith!
Well, I have two reasons to justify it: the first being that he
has probably influenced more modern day guitarists than just about
anyone else in rock outside of Jimmy Page, and second---this album
is sure to confound just about every big time rock journalist
out there, because it certainly ain't Steven Tyler & Co. As
a matter of fact, if it weren't for his pedigree, this album surely
wouldn't have the backing of a major label like Columbia.
This is actually Perry's fourth solo album, his
first three were released during his infamous absence from Aerosmith
in the mid 80s. Those releases were pretty much straight-ahead
rockers, which didn't stray very far from the classic rock formula.
This one is a little different, in that Perry takes a lot of chances
and risks which one normally wouldn't expect from a highly commercialized
rock star. While the album is full of hits and misses, it is refreshing
to know that Perry isn't just painting by numbers. The record
is truly a labor of love, and it shows. Case in point being that
Perry handles the vocal duties, although even by self-admission
he does not have a great singing voice.
The high points come when Perry breaks loose with
the big guitars he's famous for, like the full-throttle assault
of Shakin' My Cage, or the mean bar-stomping blooze
of Woody Guthrie's Vigilante Man. He also scores points with the
introspective Pray For Me, a laid back ballad which
revolves around mystical eastern sounds and cool world rhythms.
The album jumps the tracks notably in a few spots, like the ill-fated
cover of The Door's Crystal Ship (a non-singer should
not try to emulate one of rock's greatest singers), and the cliché-heavy
Ten Years, which features mind-numbing lyrics like,
"When you smile at me it's a brand new day, when you smile
at me it takes my breath away, when you smile at me my sun comes
out, when you smile at me it makes me want to shout." Ugh.
That is downright painful.
When it comes down to it, I have to hand it to the
guy. It's a noble effort, even though he certainly doesn't have
to make one. Perry does well to follow his own advice and let
the music do the talking.
MISH MASH Mandate: Perry Project
Joe Perry Website
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New Music Reviews
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
All Day And All Of The Night
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
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
Double Split 7" singles
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
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
MISH MASH Mandate: Progalicious
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