Kellylee Evans
Fight Or Flight?
Enliven Media
12 song CD


Wow! What else can you say when you're just totally blown away? Kellylee Evans has released one of the most soulful, inspiring records I've heard in a long, long time. She has a confident, powerful voice which harkens back to the golden age of jazz---a voice which commands attention like a virtuoso instrumentalist. The sound is modern and global in its reach, yet solidly based in the inspiration of the classics.

Evans twists and turns her songs with exotic flair, never allowing complacency to set in. Her voice dips and rises dynamically, riding along with the beat, staying in control, but never overbearing. She knows how to use a melody to her advantage, drawing the listener in with heartfelt and subtle moves and never relying on histrionics.

This approach works best in I Don't Want You To Love Me, a song which begins with an Eastern-tinged intro and quickly segues into a tight Latin flavored rhythmic steamroller. By the end of this one, she has the listener in the palm of her hand.

MISH MASH Mandate: Jazzilicious
Kellylee Evans Website

Sex Pistols
Castle Music/Sanctuary
15 song CD


So much has been said about the Sex Pistols over the years, that's it's almost impossible to add to their colorful history or infamy. That is, until now.

Spunk is an "official" re-release of a bootleg of early demos (which eventually became their ground-breaking punk album Never Mind The Bullocks...), featuring original pre-Vicious bassist Glen Matlock.

So how does Spunk fare against its more famous offspring? Simply put, it is rawer, louder, and overflowing with an attitude that is somewhat missing on Bullocks. This one actually sounds like a "real" punk record in comparison, even though in reality it is probably just as contrived as anything else that our beloved Pistols ever did. In other words, it's got guilty pleasure written all over it, and you'll love every snotty second of it.

MISH MASH Mandate: Punks R Us
Sanctuary Records Website

The Problem
The Problem
Disco Fuzz Records
11 song CD


The Problem exhibits a fine understanding of what made indie guitar rock so huge back in the 80s: guitars, guitars and more guitars, stacked on top of each other into an awesome wall of sound. Their approach is driving and droning, with just the right amount of anger and misplaced angst to make it stick.

Thankfully they avoid all the pitfalls of emo rock, relying on garage rock hooks instead of mere whinery to carry the weight of their tunes. In other words, these guys rock instead of just pretending to. One listen to a manic track like Killing It To Death will attest to that. I can only imagine that they really rip it up in their live shows when their studio tracks are this intense.

They are even bold enough to tackle The B-52's 52 Girls, shaking it up with pure garage rock abandon. Can't argue with that.

MISH MASH Mandate: Psychotic Reaction
The Problem Website


The Vulcan Freedom Fighters
Stardate Unknown
21 song CD


You can't get much geekier than this: a tribute celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original Star Trek TV series, as presented by a Spain-based duo who call themselves The Vulcan Freedom Fighters. Set your photons to Ultra Dweeb, captain!

The music is expectedly electronic prog-rock in nature, and is accentuated with sampled sound bites from the TV series, along with samples from a host of classic rock bands. The result is a crazed collage of music and sound snippets which lack any real narrative flow, but still somehow makes sense in its own special way. I can almost picture Trekkers sitting enraptured, trying to identify in which show the various sound bites originated.

MISH MASH Mandate: Dammit, Jim
The Vulcan Freedom Fighters Website

Midwest Unchecked
13 song CD

Jupiter jumps headlong into their unique blend of indie garage rock, and they never look back. They approach their music with a twisted sense of humor, but they can pack it with a wallop
that can sometimes leave a sting.

The band's sound goes into a hundred different directions, exploring a number of pop rock genres, never quite settling into a single style. Sometimes dark and moody, sometimes light and airy, Jupiter careens along this unplanned route without pause. While it lacks an overall focus, it certainly is an exciting ride to take. By the end, you know you've been on adventure, even if you have no idea of where you've been.

MISH MASH Mandate: What A Long Strange Trip It's Been
Jupiter Website

and The Swede
and The Swede
Shoddy Merchandise
9 song CD

And The Swede is the chosen moniker of solo artist Matthew William Kohnle, who wrote, recorded and performed the songs on the disc by himself. His style is sedate and subdued, found somewhere between the quiet depression of Joe Pernice and the understated other-worldliness of Pink Floyd.

The album finds its power in solitude, a feeling gently pushed along by half-whispered vocals and a sparse musical landscape. It's an emptiness which is close and personal, not distant, adding weight with each musical passage. Yes, it is bitter, but at the same time brilliant.

MISH MASH Mandate: The Bitterest Pill
Shoddy Merchandise Website

Various Artists
more pLUSH
Kriztal Entertainment
15 song CD

If you require style and sophistication in your next musical choice, then look no further than Kriztal's latest compilation, more pLUSH. Once again, they have managed to bring together some of the finest smooth underground electronic jazz music into one sleek package.

Put this one on at your next dinner party, and your friends will marvel at your obvious good taste in music. The collection brings together a diverse group of acid jazz artists who embrace the hip lounge sounds of yesteryear, updated and modulated for the modern sophisticate. At times you'll want to pour a drink and sit back, and at others you'll want to find the closest dance partner and make a few moves on the floor. This is the good life.

MISH MASH Mandate: The In Sound From Way Out
Kriztal Website

Pernice Brothers
Live A Little
Ashmont Records
12 song CD

Perhaps I'm setting the bar a little too high, but for some reason I'm slightly disappointed with the latest offering from Joe Pernice. I have to admit, it's partially my fault, because I approach each new Pernice album automatically assuming that I will fall in love with it at first listen. This time, I'm left wondering how long it will take to find that spark of love.

With that in mind, I can't help but feel that Pernice may be trying a little too hard to make this one work. The elements that make his songs great (in spite of themselves) are all there---the pessimism, the self-deprecation, the solitude, the Morrissey-inspired catchy pop---yet I'm left with the notion that Pernice's heart isn't in the half-heartedness. Could it be that he's found his happiness after all, and this a failed attempt to hide it? Say it ain't so!

MISH MASH Mandate: Walking On Sunshine
Pernice Brothers Website

© 2006 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved


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2005 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved