Mish Mash Indie Music Reviews August 2004

Issue #64 August 2004

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Anya Marina
A Soft Perversion
The Spectacular Fantastic
The Yesterdays

Anya Marina
Exercises In Racketeering

5 song CD

Anya Marina has one of those little-girl voices that sticks in your head like glue. She sounds a lot like Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval, without the dark atmosphere. Instead, Anya Marina delivers her half-whispered vocals with tongue planted firmly in cheek, displaying a quirky sense of humor which is alluring as well as amusing.

While it's only a 5 song EP, the tracks reveal a talent which runs deep. The songs are funny and thoughtful, full of the painful life lessons of love and rejection. Standout tracks include Miss Halfway and Lovesick, both acoustic-guitar based songs that provide melancholy with a wink and a nod. A full-length album should be coming soon, and if this EP is any indication, it'll knock our socks off.

MISH MASH Mandate: Cheeky Exercise

Anya Marina Website

A Soft Perversion
Last Hoorah! / Modern Saint

7" Vinyl Single

A Soft Perversion takes classic lo-fi noise and mixes it with beautiful pop melodies, creating a surreal post-modern image which drifts along in a tattered mess. The vocals and melody wrestle with off-kilter guitars, leaving the listener dazed and confused about what to concentrate on. I would imagine that the music would sound much more spatial and open if the production were of higher quality, but the thickness of sound has its own appeal. It's a gem of raw, unpolished pop, and that can be a lovely thing.

MISH MASH Mandate: Post Pop

A Soft Perversion Website


Surfdog Records
12 song CD

I try to avoid direct comparisons, but the hybrid sound of Echobrain almost demands it. They've somehow managed to meld the grunge of STP and the post-modern weirdness of Radiohead into one powerful mix. It's so well done that it's almost uncanny, to tell you the truth. You could almost swear that Scott Wieland opted out of Velvet Revolver and decided to play the role of Thom Yorke.

But don't let that discourage you, because they do it well. The songs here are top-notch, and the songwriting is water-tight. And, the liberal use of dynamics keeps you on you on the edge of your seat, as the tunes shift from agressive rock to ephemeral drifts without skipping a beat.

MISH MASH Mandate: StoneRadioTempleHead

The Spectacular Fantastic
Vortex Of Vacancy

Ionik Records
13 song CD

The Spectacular Fantastic is the working name of musician Mike Detmer, who blends his DIY savvy with catchy pop, influenced by the likes of The Beatles, Brian Wilson and Neil Young. It's a classic rock sound that doesn't even pretend to be progressive or innovative---it's just fun. Detmer wears all the hats here, and his labor of love is happy and infectious. After one listen, you'll be tapping your toes and singing along, as if you've known the songs all your life. It's a throwback to a time when rock was still young and all about the music.

MISH MASH Mandate: Spectacular Classic

Ionik Records Website

The Yesterdays
Everything You Never Knew

Disco New York Music
8 song CD

The Yesterdays are in a New York state of mind. This guitar-oriented quartet plays moody roots rock with a blue-collar sensibility, lacking any sense of pretension or snobbery. It's a practical sound, one you find delivered with the grease and grime of a well-oiled bar band. The songs tell stories about life and lost love, and there's even a track called Jersey Girl. While the album is good, you almost have the feeling that you wouldn't get the full effect unless you catch them playing at your favorite smoke-filled dive.

MISH MASH Mandate: Last Call

The Yesterdays Website

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