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Issue #45 September/October 2002

Ben Eyler on Ben Eyler:
The Interview
(Click Here)

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Nick Dastardly
Sandy Madaris
The Temporaries

Nick Dastardly and the Escape Artists
The Circus Is In Town

15 song CD

Nick Dastardly and the Escape Artists have the unexplainable ability to turn a seemingly standard song into the best tune you have ever heard. Their down-home recording quality is rife with sloppiness and rough edges, yet it all gels together into a beautifully gooey mess. I simply love these songs, even though they hold little nutritional value. Lead singer/guitarist Scott Miller has an uncanny knack for bashing out basic middle-of-the road tunes which put a smile on your face and a tap in your toes. Take, for example, the disc's lead-off track, Cross Between A Chicken And A Man, which tells the improbable tale of a guy who's turning into an ostrich. It rambles along with barn-burning ferocity, reveling in its absurdity. These guys are having too much fun, and it's a welcome departure from the depressing state of modern music.

I couldn't say enough good things about their last album, and it looks like I'm in the same predicament this time around.

MISH MASH Mandate: Hang On Sloppy

Nick Dastardly Website

Last Against The Wall

4 song CD

As far as demos go, this one has to be one of the better ones I've heard. Superjuice has a real handle on infectious power pop, and they're unstoppable when they're at their best. Their sound is a crafty blend of modern rock and early Cheap Trick, a perfect combination for catchy, sing-along rock. Listen and Humble State both move with a driving force, relying on ripping guitar riffs and plenty of pop melodies. Need It Now shows another side of the band, utilizing a darker sound with subtle touches of abstract sounds, much in the vein of Radiohead.

As you might well expect, it would be interesting to see what these guys could do with a full-length release. With a few more songs with this much punch, Superjuice could have one heck of an album on their hands.

MISH MASH Mandate: The Juice Is Loose

Superjuice Website

Sandy Madaris
Way Back Home

Waterline Records
12 song CD

Sandy Madaris has a beautiful voice, one that hits right on target, leaving you breathless in its wake. It's emotive and soulful, with just the right touch of country twang. Many a diva would kill to have pipes like this. Yet, there is a problem here which seems to plague so many singers with this much talent. More often than not, the songs on Way Back Home are mediocre at best. While the melodies may be lifting and sweet, the lyrics can be downright sophomoric: "Dad is drunk, dad is dead / Before he passed out / He hit mom in the head," or "An all-nite club called The End of the World / People there of every national descent / & every race & creed & sexual preference." That's quite a stretch.

Not to say that some of the songs aren't good, they are---with Waterline and Been So Long being prime examples. The others just don't seem to live up to this terrific voice. Take the lyrics back to the drawing board for some tweaking, and this disc would be a sure-fire winner.

MISH MASH Mandate: Twangy Twirl

Sandy Madaris Website

The Temporaries
Growing Up Slowly

15 song CD

If you took R.E.M., Stiff Little Fingers, and Ween and mixed them up in a blender, you might get something like The Temporaries. Their music is rambling and obnoxious, twisted in its humor, and anti-social in its style. They bounce from purist punk (Went To...) to idiot joke-songs (Popular Song), without missing a beat. The disc can be a lot of fun, but it starts to outstay its welcome when you have too much, kind of like your favorite junk food. And if you don't like it, I have a feeling these guys just don't care.

MISH MASH Mandate: Mixed Drink

The Temporaries Website

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