New Music Reviews

Various Artists
Light The Fuse

Out Of The Loop Records
12 song CD

Usually various artists compilations aren't much to get excited about. In this case, the exception can be found in two of the three bands featured in this collection of groups from Perth, Australia.

The collection showcases three current Perth bands (The Volcanics, The M-16s, and Fourstroke) who cover one song each from the town's past music scene, along with three original tunes to round it all out. Simply put, The Volcanics and The M-16s are incredible little post-punk garage bands, flailing away skillfully with their guitar rock strut. It's almost hard to believe they are both tucked away down under on the other side of the world while other more famous and less-deserving bands (who won't be named here) get all the press here in the West.

The Volcanics do their best take on the sloppy-but-sure glam rock of NYD & Johnny Thunders, and The M-16s seem to take their cues from the big guitars of The Cult. Fourstroke holds their own also with a classic drum & guitar attack, even though they are somewhat overshadowed by the other two. Don't miss this one---and since you're probably not going to Perth anytime soon, let your browser take you there.

MISH MASH Mandate: Downed Under
Out Of The Loop Website

Leo Abrahams
Absolute Zero Records
14 song CD


Leo Abrahams is an instrumentalist with an edge. While at first glance this well sought-after session artist's tunes softly come across with new age nuance, the songs unfold with layers of subtle angst, and we see that Abrahams has plenty to say without saying anything at all---at least not with words.

Abrahams is first and foremost a guitarist, and his songs are primed in smatterings of rock guitar, atmospheric tones and acoustic noodlings. At the same time, he expertly embraces the rhythms all around him, which can move from heavy tribal drums to light taps, not afraid to wrap his melodies inside the beat.

The result is an album which rides on an air of anxiety, keeping the listener enthralled with an almost imperceptible discomfort, a feeling that only grows as the music proceeds. It's a disc that challenges and confronts without being overt, and quite a listening experience.

MISH MASH Mandate: Rhythm Rider
Leo Abrahams Website


The Pope
The Jazzman Cometh
Wantage USA/Kill Shaman
6 song CD


Listening to The Pope is like watching something explode. Their sound is based in pure rancorous noise, caught somewhere between RATM and Refused, all the more impressive when you consider they're only a duo featuring bass and drums.

The songs are ripped out in extreme fashion, layer upon layer of overdriven bass lines and noisy sound effects which bury the drums in a sonic flood of cacophony. The vocals are delivered in an unintelligible and mangled yelp which would make David Yow bow in admiration.

I'm not sure if there's supposed to be a message in here, but from what I gather, this is deconstructive music reaching to the core. It goes beyond mere angst for anger's sake and into the realm of noise as art. It's a beautiful mess, and well worth the effort. Best of all, your parents will hate it. So will most of your friends.

MISH MASH Mandate: Bombs Away
Wantage USA Website
Kill Shaman Website

The Weapons
Formula For A Fight
5 song CD

Modern garage rock meets 70s punk head-on in this EP from the Seattle-based Weapons. It's sort of a natural fit, as these guys sound like they could have sat comfortably alongside any other number of groups on Sub Pop a decade ago as Nirvana rode the waves of grungy superstardom.

The Weapons have a similar approach as Cobain & Co., as they emulate the old days of punk by updating the sound to more modern tastes. But don't let the assocations I've made with Seattle and grunge scare you off, as these guys manage to shake that off quite nicely. This isn't so much a re-hash as it is a re-visit of the things that made that movement so alive, freshened up and brought back to life in the 21st Century.

MISH MASH Mandate: Wily Weapons
The Weapons Website

Chris Harrington
You The Provider
Alayo Music
10 Song CD

Chris Harrington is a singer-songwriter who embraces a classic pop sound, while at the same time not letting that sound get stale. He does this with an earnest and honest vocal style, combined with a writing skill that avoids those dangerous rock cliches we've all come to hate.

He borrows a little from British Invasion, keeping his sensibilities in place, providing a smart pop base to build on. The songs never quite break out into full rock, relying instead on minor chord anxiousness and melancholy lyrics to provide the tension. It's a brilliant blend, and it works just right.

MISH MASH Mandate: Mod Rocker
Chris Harrington Website

Hush Collector
Candy Cone Records
4 song CD

With a sound that's almost as dark as it is quiet, Hush Collector creeps into your head with stealth. Before you realize it, you're caught in their atmospheric trap, mezmerized by the mysterious solitude created by their music.
They manage to do in four songs what most groups fail to do in an entire album---which is captivate and manipulate without tiring out the listener. It helps that lead vocalist Katie Mummery has one of those intriguing little-girl voices, one which won't let go once it grabs hold. Before you know it, the disc is over, and you're pressing play again, needing to hear more.

MISH MASH Mandate: Go With The Flow
Hush Collector Website

Greytank Records
4 song CD

Doing their best to stay unconventional, Rademacher styles their sound around not having a style at all. It's a loosely executed rock sound, not relying on structure in a traditional sense. It's almost as if Radiohead decided to go into the garage and cover a few Interpol songs.
The result is an EP which thumbs its nose at pop convention, but at the same time provides enough catchy melody to keep it interesting and enjoyable.

MISH MASH Mandate: Unconventional Convention
Rademacher Website

© 2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved

Home | Archive | Submit | Links

2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved