Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Bronx
ATO Records
11 song vinyl LP

The Bronx has always been like listening to an aggressive gasoline fire, raging with a burning attitude and concentration that many bands can only envy. The group is back with their first studio LP in four years, and they prove beyond a doubt they still have the angst and fire. At the same time, they prove that they're not just a one-trick pony by taking the sound to a new level.

I hate to use the term "pop" when talking about these guys, because I don't want to be misunderstood in my descriptions, but they've managed to squeeze some very tasty and catchy hooks into their full tilt rage machine this time around. The surprising thing is that it really works well and it doesn't detract from the band's signature sound. Perfect examples of this are in songs like Side Effects, Two Birds, and Channel Islands, where the songwriting structure is more power pop than hardcore.

For me, it's their most interesting record to date, as it ventures out and explores some different territory without compromising what made them so great in the first place.

MISH MASH Mandate: Bronx Cheer

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Future Now Past
A Future Now Past
4 song EP
A Future Now Past Website 

Is rock dead? Not yet, it seems. This trio out of the Southeast kicks it into high gear and rips it out old school style without apology or remorse. It's a blend of smart power pop and reckless abandon that makes you wish for the early 70s and the wild west of rock music. Nothing really new or groundbreaking, to be honest, but fun to listen to.

If you dig Cheap Trick, KISS, or early Aerosmith, then this is your band for the new age of rock and roll. Pick up that air guitar and turn it up.

MISH MASH Mandate: Cheapest Trick    

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Woggles
Tally Ho!
Wicked Cool Records
13 song vinyl LP

It's hard for me to believe that the Woggles have been around for 30 years. And, somehow, they have managed to keep their edge as sharp as a knife for that entire time. Their latest LP shows that they're as hot now as they have ever been, unleashing 13 blazing tracks that leave no doubt about their staying power.

So what's their secret sauce? It's a simple formula, made up of basic three-chord rock tunes that pummel away with sheer classic garage punk fury. The sound is certainly not ground-breaking by any stretch, but they add their own cheeky flair - a wink and a nod that tells us they're in on the joke and that they're here to have fun. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Just listen to the likes of the title track, Pitch A Fit or Jungle Queen to see what I mean. The band revels with glee in being large and loud and just a little on the naughty side. The focus is on getting you up and moving, and the band is a master at that exercise. 

As with most of their studio recorded output through the years, the tracks here don't quite give you the full experience of a Woggles live show. There's a taste, but it's not the full dose. My recommendation is to buy this record, familiarize yourself with the songs, and catch them live as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed!

MISH MASH Mandate: Hot Sauce    

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Queens of the Stone Age
9 song vinyl LP

QOTSA is back with a new studio album after a four year hiatus, and fans have breathlessly awaited to see how they will follow up 2013's ...Like Clockwork. For the new album, the boys have collaborated with hot pop producer Mark Ronson, who has worked with the likes of Bruno Mars and Amy Winehouse.

The result is a decidedly pop-oriented venture, at least as poppy as anything the band has attempted so far. Wisely, they have opted to maintain their quirky hard rock as the music's foundation instead of the other way around. The pop is piled onto the gothic and evil weirdness that made the band famous to begin with, and it shows that Josh Homme and his band are still willing to take a few chances in their decades long career. Will it alienate longtime fans? Probably not, honestly, as their fans are used to QOTSA doing its own thing. It's sort of the nature of the beast, no pun intended.

Standout tracks include the T.Rex-with-synthesizers send up Un-Reborn Again and the psychedelic space rock drone of The Evil Has Landed. Speaking of T.Rex, Homme is much like a modern day Marc Bolan with a fuzz pedal and a monster movie obsession. It will be interesting to see where they take it from here, and I can only imagine how crazy these songs will be in a live setting.

MISH MASH Mandate: Rextasy