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Mish Mash Indie Music Reviews August 2004

Issue #65 October 2004

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Ottmar Liebert
Sali Hagan
The Coma Lilies
The Crickets & Their Buddies

Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra
La Semana

Spiral Subwave Records
12 song CD Where do you begin to describe the music of guitarist Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra? Leibert is a flamenco guitarist, yet with a twist, forming a new sound by blending other styles of music into the familiar rhythmic pulses of traditional flamenco. You can hear touches of pop, dance, funk and samba, wound together deftly by Liebert and his muse. At first listen, you hear the hand-claps and the staccato beats of the strings, and the mind automatically thinks flamenco. But, then, you realize the underlying rhythms are taking you in a different direction. Before you know it, the guitarist has taken you into a new realm of latin music, an amalgam of world music that has a unique flavor all its own. It's like jazz, a free-flowing experiment of melody flowing along the staid traditional music which is flamenco. At times aggressive, and at others slow and romantic, Liebert paints a gallery of musical landscapes like a seasoned artist. Each song on La Semana carries you further along the journey, passing scene by scene in a breath-taking tour.

MISH MASH Mandate: Flaming Flamenco

Luna Negra Website

Sali Hagan

Vita Records
10 song CD

Sali Hagan is a sensitive female singer/songwriter with an edge. Think Sarah McLaughlin meets Janis Joplin, in the vein of Fiona Apple or Nikka Costa, if you really need a comparison. She approaches each song with an aggressive spirit, pouring herself into each track with enthusiasm, all the while exploring a variety of styles and genres in her music.

Hagan opens the album with Destruction, where she growls with soulful stride. The loose structure of Love keeps the groove alive by avoiding the traps of a standard pop song, whereas Trace embraces a pop-friendly, Beatlesque feel. The centerpiece strings and piano lines of JW takes the album briefly into another direction, where Hagan shows her softer side. This is softness juxtaposed against the quirky, hard beats of The Lift.

It's a wide range of musical styles, but Hagan pulls it off with grace and focus. The end result is a suprisingly tight effort which showcases a heck of a lot of talent.

MISH MASH Mandate: Soulful Strut

Vita Records Website

The Coma Lilies
The Coma Lilies

9 song CD

Emo goes prog-rock in this dynamic album from this mostly instrumental quintet The Coma Lilies. Shunning all pop structure, the songs twist and turn with reckless abandon, all wrapped up in an acidic teen angst. The overall atmosphere is created by a barrage of guitars and layered synths, which are held up by a bruising rhythm section of bass and drums.

Highlights include the dizzying intro track Grab A Fork Micron, and the derranged mix of sound effects and electronic moods of The Antibody. The beauty here is in the darkness, and these songs are quite dark and mysterious.

MISH MASH Mandate: Dynamic Noir

The Coma Lilies Website

The Crickets & Their Buddies
The Crickets & Their Buddies

Sovereign Artists
15 song CD

What happens when you take Buddy Holly's original backing band and 13 different popular artists to cover some of Holly's hit songs, along with some other early rock "classics"? You get something along the lines of this hit-and-miss collection, which features cameo performances from Eric Clapton, Waylon Jennings, Graham Nash, Johnny Rivers and Vince Neil.

At times this collection is fairly interesting and a pleaure to listen to, like the quiet take on Someone, Someone by Clapton, and the country-shuffle of Bobby Vee's version of Blue Days, Black Nights. But, I do have some issues. My first complaint would concern the overall sterile sound, which is way too slick in many places. And, there is simply no excuse for the pitful cover of I Fought The Law, featuring the aforementioned former Motley Crue frontman. Vince Neil does best when surrounded by overdriven guitars and garage-rock production---not clean guitar riffs and spotless sound. This song is sheer sonic poison, and should be avoided at all costs.

MISH MASH Mandate: Buddy's Buddies

Sovereign Artists Website