Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Sleeping Is Winning
The Union Records
5 song CD
You just never know what's going to pop up in your inbox, and today's mail brought me this cool little EP from Portland's No Go Know. It's a power punch in 5 parts, each tune a little ball of energy that rips through your speakers.
At times they remind me of Fugazi with their disjointed rhythms and stop-n-go jerkiness, and they use the dynamic variations of loud and quiet to set their musical themes in motion. At the same time, they shake up their sound enough to avoid such easy comparisons, by throwing in gobs of melody reminiscent of the early psychedelic pop era. Great stuff, and I'm glad I checked my mail.
MISH MASH Mandate: Special Delivery
The Union Records Website
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
No One Wants To Move The Piano
10 song CD
The Val Papadins' sound is a trainwreck of styles, part indie rock and part folk, they recklessly ramble through their 10 songs like a group of intoxicated vagabond musicians who don't quite know where they are on the map. With that having been said, it's surprisingly good in spite of itself, as the careening and carousing certainly keeps it interesting.
Vocalist Sasha Papadin has a voice that reminds me a little of Lou Reed, sort of half-spoken and half-heartedly sung. While at times grating, it grows on you quickly, and it soon becomes the characteristic centerpiece of the band's overall sound.
MISH MASH Mandate: Ramble On
The Val Papadins Website
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Caminhos Cruzados = Crossroads
8 song CD
It's not often you find a native Russian singer who has mastered the art of Brazilian jazz. If you didn't know any better, you'd swear Masha Campagne was from the sunny shores of Rio de Janeiro instead of the cold and dreary city streets of Moscow.
Campagne's vocal style is well suited for the bossa nova, hovering somewhere in the mid-range, it's the perfect fit as it rides gently above the samba rhythms. The highlight of the album is a nine and a half minute medley of Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes, a fitting tribute to the king of Brazilian music. Not only does she pay him homage, she does it well.
MISH MASH Mandate: The Girl From Ipanema
Masha Campagne Website
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Amateur Radio Operator
Sirens Of Titan
9 song CD
Even though they hail from Seattle, Washington, Amateur Radio Operator has the air of Southern Gothic usually reserved for the likes of R.E.M. or Flannery O'Connor. Their music is a blend of alternative country and depressed college rock, and it has little in common with the sounds we've come to associate with Seattle, and thankfully so. You'd almost guess that they crawled out of the woods of south Georgia.
The songs are built around lonely themes, and the instrumentation involves the usual guitar, bass, and drums along with cello and pedal steel, adding the "depth" of classic country music. Vocalist Mark Johnson adds his melancholy wails into the mix to create the perfect storm of rock-n-roll woe. Feel good album of the year? Maybe not, but it's the first album you'll want to reach for this winter on a cold rainy day.
MISH MASH Mandate: Pity Party
Amateur Radio Operator Website
Thursday, October 25, 2007
7 song CD
PerkinsWood is a guitar duo comprised of Jeff Perkins and Ann Wood, and their approach to recording music is anything but typical. They demo up to 300 different themes, only to break them down into a handful that they can make into complete works. Then, they build each composition in painstaking fashion, layering their respective parts over time until each piece is done.
The overall sound is hard to describe. There is a light, open airiness which likely stems from the fact that there are only two guitars and no other instruments. The influences range from classical to rock, all incorporated without any true traditional structure, bringing a sense of psychedelia and freeform jazz into the mix.
MISH MASH Mandate: Free Ride
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Combo Tempo Records
13 song CD
The Bonedaddys describe their music as "a merry-go-round of styles and range from rock, blues, mambo, soca, Latin, psycho-billy two-step and rock-steady to a twang Afro-surf meets spaghetti-western instrumental." I don't know if I could have said it better myself.
Basically what we have here is a band that knows how to throw a party, and they do it by shoving every crazy style of fun music into the blender and serving it up with a twist of humor. Fantastic stuff, and worth seeking out.
MISH MASH Mandate: Party Favor
The Bonedaddys Website
Monday, October 22, 2007
13 song CD
Natalie Walker's music is filled with a mysterious, quiet tension. While the music lifts and drifts in a relaxed timbre, the underlying feeling is anxious, never quite allowing the listener to feel comfortable or at peace. It's this edginess which helps this release to stand out from the pack, elevating it beyond the status of just another angry pop princess with a pretty face.
Walker's voice is mesmerizing, as she delivers her vocals with an airy, half-whispered style. She rarely raises her voice above the mid-range, blending into the music like another instrument, flowing hypnotically into the mix.
MISH MASH Mandate: Living On The Edge
Natalie Walker Website
Way Down Deep
Ramblin' Rose Records
11 song CD
Over a year ago, I was impressed with Olivea Watson's self-titled release. This time around, it gets even better. She has expanded beyond her basic roots-rock style and is now exploring more a bluesy attitude, all the while keeping a smart pop structure intact.
Once again, the highlight here is Watson's voice, which is strong and breathlessly emotional at the same time, the perfect combination for her brand of blues-based rock.
MISH MASH Mandate: Blues Attitude
Olivea Watson Website
Friday, October 19, 2007
Rewind Unreleased Recordings
Crazy Mamas Music
14 song CD
It's always cool to hear previously unreleased recordings from an influential artist, especially when the recordings were good enough to be released in the first place.
This particular batch from J.J. Cale comes from his stints at Shelter Records and Mercury Records in the 70s & 80s. For one reason or another, the tunes didn't pass the cut to be included on his commercially released albums, only to be revived now, decades later. The songs are classic Cale --- laid back country-tinged rock songs that lazily move along in a bluesy haze. Surprisingly, this culled-together collection of songs works well as a whole, as if it were meant to be an album all this time.
MISH MASH Mandate: Basement Tapes
J.J. Cale Website
12 Song CD
Oslo-based indie rocker Carl Platou sounds like Norway's answer to Bob Dylan and Neil Young. His gravelly voice has a definitive earthy appeal, while his songs beg and borrow from roots rock of the past. The guitars shimmer and drift while Platou paints his storytelling pictures across the countrified musical landscape.
The strongest cut here is Paint It White, which sounds like The Boomtown Rats having a go at the Stone's Paint It Black. It's a driving tune that showcases all the strong points of Platou, combining all his indie-jangle influences into one powerful punch.
MISH MASH Mandate: Like A Rolling Stone
Carl Platou Website
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Hello, and welcome to the all-new format for MISH MASH MUSIC REVIEWS. It has been almost 9 years since we started this little adventure, and we thought it was time for a change. We've decided to go with a blog format for a number of reasons, the main one being that we can review more music throughout the month, rather than doing only one posting per month. Hopefully we will be able to expose you to even more music this way than we have been able to in the past.
Other than that, not much has changed. We will still accept unsolicited music, and we will continue to seek out both new and forgotten music that has been ignored by the mainstream. Thank you for reading, and please stay tuned as we iron out all the bugs! More to come soon!
THE IKE & TINA TURNER STORY 1960-1975
3 CD BOX SET
Ever since her come-back in the 1980s, it's hard not to think of Tina Turner as anything but a highly-polished pop star with slick Top Ten hits. We tend to forget that she was part of a highly influential r&b duo with her former husband, Ike Turner, in the 60s and 70s. It was a tumultuous relationship, but the chemistry between them produced a powerhouse of songs that crossed over from soul into rock, and their live shows became legendary.
Time-Life has seen fit to add them to their terrific Legends Of American Music, a series that has focused on often overlooked music legends from the American musical past. This set includes two discs which make up a "best-of" of the Turners' studio recording efforts, along with a third disc that features a live show, never before released on CD.
While it's nice to see the studio hits get the royal treatment, it is especially nice to see that Time-Life has included the unreleased live disc as well. Throw in a 23 page full-color booklet, and this is obviously a must-have collection of dynamite rhythm & blues.
MISH MASH MANDATE: Rollin' On The River