Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Remember The Radio
Sharper Moon Rabbit
9 Song Vinyl LP

This is a sweet gem of a rock record, now in its second limited pressing on black vinyl for the mere pittance of $5. It's a post-punk explosion that has the edginess of Fugazi combined with the melodic meandering of R.E.M. The guitars grind into a massive wall of sound, where the emphasis is less about riffs and more about creating a palate of sonic waves that overwhelm the listener. 

I wouldn't say these guys have truly broken any new ground here, but they sure as hell sound like they're having a great time doing it - and that's what counts. And, I hear a new LP is on the way, as well.

MISH MASH Mandate: Mars Needs Guitars
Remember The Radio at BandCamp    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Big Ups
Eighteen Hours of Static
Dead Labour Records
11 Song Vinyl LP and Cassette

Listening to the Big Ups takes me back to the early days of Refused, before they became the first screamo kings of the punk rock underworld. There's a lot of swagger going on here, and the attitude is what takes it to the next level. Anybody can be a snotty little punk, but the Big Ups embrace it with desire and dedication. The result is an album that ignites into a punk-guitar-fueled fire that is a force to be reckoned with. I can only imagine what these guys sound like in a live setting, and it gives me goosebumps.

MISH MASH Mandate: The Shape Of Punk That Came
Big Ups at BandCamp 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ty Segall
Drag City
17 Song Vinyl LP

If you believe the hype, this record is supposed to the the Second Coming (if not Third or Fourth) of rock-n-roll. Well, honestly, it's hard not to believe it, because it's pretty damn good. Ty Segall has ventured through the wilderness of fuzzy lo-fi in a smattering of various bands and collaborations to end up on the other side as a masterful pop rock composer.

No mistake - the fuzz is still there, the loud rawk noodling is still there, the wall of sound is still there. But there's also an unmistakable and pure pop sensibility that is shining through in all its glory. Segall has obviously been honing his skills, and it is paying off. This is by far his most solid and approachable record for the masses. 

The only downside is that it sprawls across four sides. Like most double albums, it suffers a little from being a little too much of a good thing. If the album could be trimmed down by half, it could probably be a little more powerful. But that's just the nit-picking complaint of a hack reviewer. Get this record, and get it now.

MISH MASH Mandate: Fuzz Face
Ty Segall at Drag City Records

Primus & The Chocolate Factory
with the Fungi Ensemble
ATO Records
13 Song Vinyl LP

What does a band do when they want to make a comeback in grandiose fashion? Well, when you're Primus, you pull out all the stops and do something ridiculous. Talk about a marketing campaign. Les Claypool has scored big time with this one - not only has he reinterpreted the soundtrack for a beloved film, but he's also managed to catch the attention of national media by borrowing its main premise. Much like Willy Wonka in the film, Claypool promotes his wares by offering up five golden vinyl LPs hidden amongst the pressings - and those who find them will get Primus tickets for life. He's selling tons of them for that reason alone.

After all the hoopla, what about the album itself? Well, it's a crazy mess; quirky and bizarre to the extreme. The songs haven't just been redone - they've been re-imagined and totally transformed into products of the oddball imagination of Claypool. If you thought the book and movie(s) were weird, then you ain't seen nothing yet. Creepy and kooky fail to fully describe it, and it has to be heard to be believed.

MISH MASH MANDATE: Oompa Loompa Doopity Doo
Primus Website

The Budos Band
Burnt Offering
Daptone Records
10 Song Vinyl LP

Welcome back to the age of dynamic instrumental music that sounds like it could have been produced for a Hollywood action film of the late 60's. The Budos Band rips and shreds its way through a host of bombastic soulful instrumental tunes that harken back to the days of Ennio Morricone - that is, if Morricone had been under the influence of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, not to mention a healthy dose of the Bar-Kays.

There are horns, big guitars, and plenty of drums. It's big, bold, and beautiful. Dig it.

MISH MASH MANDATE: Steve McQueen Car Chase
Budos Band Website

Jazz Spastiks
The Product
Dusty Platter
16 Track Vinyl LP

The Jazz Spastiks offer up a new and dazzling selection of old-school hip-hop that is steeped in classic hard bop jazz. Think Guru's Jazzmatazz or The Brand New Heavies' Heavy Rhyme Experience of the early 90s and you will get the drift. The break beats reign supreme, and the raps flow smoothly over jazzy horns and grooving bass lines. 

The group keeps it fresh by not succumbing to nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. While the album could have easily been produced in 1993, it doesn't lose its edge by being a mere throwback. It's an instant classic that sounds relevant and of the moment.

MISH MASH MANDATE: Back In The Days When I Was A Teenager
Jazz Spastiks at BandCamp

Friday, October 07, 2011

Various Artists
Barbecue Any Old Time
Blues From The Pit 1927-1941

Old Hat Records
24 song CD
20 page booklet

Once again, Old Hat Records is back with an excellent collection of early 20th Century music, and this time they're taking us to the barbecue pit. Trust me when I say that you don't hear this every day - 24 old blues tunes dedicated to eating barbecued meat. While it's unique, fun and amusing, it also provides an examination of early 20th Century culture, specifically how the migration of poor Southerners spread the influence of their food and music to other parts of the country. The full-color booklet gives a history of the music and the artists, and how barbecue became a phenomenon across the country.

Who couldn't fall in love with song titles like these: "Pork Chop Blues", "Pepper Sauce Mama", "Gimme a Pig's Foot and a Bottle of Beer", and "I Heard the Voice of a Pork Chop"? My absolute favorite track on the album, however, is the ode to pork by Blind Boy Fuller, entitled "I Crave My Pig Meat". It's a love song to his favorite food, and you can almost taste the smokey barbecue while he sings that pig meat is "something I do crave, I mean it".

MISH MASH Mandate: Barbecue Blues
Old Hat Records Website