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New Music Reviews

Science Faction
Wantage USA
15 song CD


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

Michael Mucklow
12 song CD


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 track.

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


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
qr5 Website

Orange Drink
The Widowmaker
Hemlock Records
10 song CD

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
Powertool Records
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
Federales Website

Elf Power
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 three decades.

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


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2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved