2006 ISSUE #83
(128kbps 19.7mb mp3 file)
Reid & Masque
13 song CD
TRACK = FLATBUSH AND CHURCH REVISITED
Vernon Reid doesn't just wear his influences on
his sleeve, he dominates them and forces them into submission,
making them all his own. The former guitarist for Living Colour
brings the world of music to his stage, and deconstructs it all
only to build it up again into something completely new.
While many virtuoso guitarists will noodle for noodling's
sake, there is little of that going on with Reid's latest endeavor.
While he does show off his chops, he only does so within in the
context of the song at hand---relying more on the overall sound
of the band and not just his own opportunities to showboat. And
believe me, he has one fine band assembled here, with Leon Gruenbaum
on keys, Hank Schroy on bass, and Don McKenzie on drums. The group
is tight, and it is obvious that they are all on the same page
Reid and his band jump from one style to another,
taking everything from hard rock to reggae to post-modern pop
under condsideration. Take into account the fact that he covers
Radiohead (National Anthem) and Depeche Mode (Enjoy The Silence),
removing the songs from their natural element and recreating them
in his own fashion. National Anthem starts off with the familiar
intro on fuzz bass, only to segue into a full blown metallic stomp,
while Enjoy The Silence is played with quirky guitar lines which
stammer and stutter, twisting the song with unexpected turns.
Other True Self goes beyond mere diversity and into
the realm of pure creativity, unlimited by the pigeonholes of
style and genre.
MISH MASH Mandate: Cult Of Creativity
Favored Nations Website
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New Music Reviews
15 song CD
TRACK = DESCOLADA
This is nerd rock at its most geekalicious. Who could ask for more
than a band who conjures up the spirit of Frank Zappa while writing
songs in honor of Frank Herbert's Dune?
Volumen starts off the disc with the frantic Side Of A Box, which
sounds like an 80s New Wave song sent through a blender. Punky guitars
and screaming synths ramble along aimlessly while vocals are screeched
in cheeky overtones, with the requisite wink and a nod. The band
ventures on with more serrated pop and otherworldly instrumentals,
with quirky being the name of the game.
Sure to please your inner dweeb.
MISH MASH Mandate: Pocket Protector
Wantage USA Records Website
12 song CD
TRACK = MOONLIGHT SANDS
Michael Mucklow's album is like a gentle breeze in the warm spring,
a surprisingly fresh and laid back acoustic guitar album which is
unpretentious and relaxing in its optimism. You can't help but feel
good after listening to this one.
That's not to say that it is overly happy or forced, as it has an
honest joy to it (and wouldn't you know that there's actually a
song called Joy on it) which meanders throughout each and every
The album centers around Mucklow and his guitar, with accompanying
piano and percussion tagging along for the ride, providing a nice
embellishment for the guitar centerpiece. The simplicity and the
positvite attitude make a wonderful combination, and the result
is a highly memorable album.
MISH MASH Mandate: Joyful Noise
Michael Mucklow Website
The Fuzz Haunted
The Fuzz Haunted
La Blue Goon Records
8 song CD
TRACK = TIGER BALM
The Fuzz Haunted is a power pop infected duo composed of Steve
Dawson and Randy Lord, a pair who mix their catchy and smart rock
with the quirky otherworldliness of psychedelia.
At times the vocals are delivered in a breathless, Pink Floyd-esque
monotone, while the big guitars swirl and swoon with drippy effects.
At others, they go for subtle sounds and quiet moments. Thankfully,
their approach isn't formulaic, letting their songs breathe and
grow in their own creativity---allowing each listen to reveal
something new. The end result is a record that defies a simple
categorization, a sound that stands all on its own.
MISH MASH Mandate: Fuzzy Floyd
La Blue Goon Records Website
Draft Tattoo Productions
9 song CD
The nature of qr5 is best described as "catch-all"---a
random mixture of musical styles, instrumentation, and genres parading
around in the clothes of pop music. This hodge-podge of musical
wonderment succeeds in spite of itself, wrapping the quaint and
unassuming vocals of lead singer Matthew Maaskant around the diverse
sounds of folk and rock music, with just a touch of carribean rhythms.
The overall sound is latent, never in your face or aggressive,
relying instead on stealth moves, creeping into the back corners
of your brain while you listen. It doesn't hit you right away, but
comes back in faded melodic memories, haunting and drifting in tune
after beautiful tune.
MISH MASH Mandate: Night Moves
10 song CD
TRACK = APPARITION
Orange Drink doesn't waste any time in getting right down to business
on the first track of their new album. After a short intro consisting
of nonsensical sounds and shouts, they propel themselves into a
sheer rock wall of over-saturated bass guitar and curdling screams.
It's a sonic onslaught that runs right over you without warning.
They move briefly into the quietly acoustic intro of Apparition,
which quickly turns into another free-for-all. The rest of the
album toys with similar dynamic experiments, making unpredictable
twists and turns, all the while not straying too terribly far
from the stage they set at track number one. By the time it's
over, you feel like you haven't listened to an album as much as
you've physically experienced one.
MISH MASH Mandate: Are You Experienced?
Hemlock Records Website
Into The Woulds
10 song CD
There's a dark and mysterious feeling surrounding the music of Federales,
and I can't decide if it's the understated minor chord progressions
or the half-spoken vocals of singer James Schettino. It's not clearly
evident if this mystery is merely a by-product, or if it is on purpose,
but it adds a dimension to the band which is quite intriguing.
Schettino isn't exactly the most accomplished vocalist, as his
voice stretches to hit notes and sometimes doesn't quite hit the
mark. But this makes it even more endearing, as it gives it a
stamp of uniqueness, in the same manner of Neil Young or perhaps
Bob Dylan---having voices that set them apart from the pack.
MISH MASH Mandate: Mystery and Manners
Back To The Web
12 song CD
The spirit of the 60s is alive and well in the latest album from
Elf Power, doing its best to resurrect the muse of Marc Bolan and
his psychedelic rock-n-roll spirits. The sound is bigger than life,
wrapped up in flowing folk guitars and lush instrumentation, paying
homage to a host of wistful idealistic rock's past members. There's
a dark and serious aura covering the album from beginning to end,
an attitude which gives the disc an even more classic air---as if
we've just dusted off a work of art that's been lost for the past
Simply put, it is indie rock Southern Gothic at its finest, showing
that the Athens, Georgia music scene still has a few more tricks
up its collective sleeve.
MISH MASH Mandate: Cosmic Dancer
Elf Power Website
© 2006 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved