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Featuring the best in independent and underground music, past and present.

Last Build Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2017 18:07:38 +0000


Thu, 05 Oct 2017 18:04:00 +0000

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


Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:21:00 +0000

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     (image)

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:49:00 +0000

The WogglesTally Ho!Wicked Cool Records13 song vinyl LPIt'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    [...]

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Queens of the Stone AgeVillains9 song vinyl LPMatador RecordsQOTSA 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 [...]

Tue, 07 Jul 2015 19:07:00 +0000

Epitaph Records
10 song Vinyl LP

"Nothing has changed..." That's a line from the first cut on Freedom, and it couldn't be further from the truth. A lot has changed since 1997, the year that Refused unleashed their last and now-infamous hardcore album, The Shape of Punk to Come. How does one live up to a legendary myth almost 20 years in the making? Honestly, you just can't. It's not possible, nor should a band be expected to do so.

That being said, Refused doesn't try to relive their mountaintop experience. They wisely realize the futility and instead focus on making a killer record without looking back. Where Shape was a wild and reckless venture that flailed away in youthful angst, Freedom is streamlined with laser-like precision and destruction. It's a surgical strike instead of a carpet bombing, and the band has never sounded more determined and powerful. 

To put it bluntly, it's one hell of a rock record by a maturing rock band. Refused may not be breaking new ground, but they are making everyone aware that they weren't a flash-in-the-pan or a fluke. Some things just improve with age, and this band is one of them.

MISH MASH Mandate: Liberation Frequency
Refused Website (image)

Wed, 20 May 2015 15:08:00 +0000

Paul Weller
Saturns Pattern
9 song LP

With a career that spans four decades, it would be easy and understandable for Paul Weller to simply phone in an album at this stage. After all, most musicians of his caliber and status are comfortable in their skin and not eager to stretch boundaries. Thankfully, Weller is not one of those artists.

Even though Saturns Pattern isn't quite as on the edge as 2012's Sonik Kicks, it shows that Weller is more than willing to continue to push the limits of his creativity and deliver songs that keep things interesting. True fans should be used to this by now, as Weller has never exactly adhered to the status quo. (I have a feeling that a fan who can't appreciate this new effort is still stewing about The Jam splitting up 30 years ago.)

The songs are tight and polished, with Weller keeping everything reined into a neat power pop package. He briefly visits a variety of genres along the way, but he never gives himself over to one distinct direction. It's a fuzzy and fleeting feeling, but it's a pleasing one. That being said, one can't help but wonder if this album could reach higher heights if he concentrated his musical diffusion into a more focused and powerful punch. This musical meandering is creatively satisfying, but it never quite reaches the level of one of his classics, such as Wild Wood or Stanley Road

At the same time, I don't think he needs to make either one of those albums again. Nor does he need to feed us a rehash of The Jam or The Style Council. Weller always seems to have something up his sleeve, and this album is no exception. I'm thankful he likes to keep us on the edge of our seat.

MISH MASH Mandate: Changingman
Paul Weller Website


Wed, 07 Jan 2015 21:30:00 +0000

Nettwerk Records
11 song LP

Guster is back, and everything old is new again. The group's familiar, somewhat dreamy pop songs haven't really changed very much, and that's actually all for the better. I say that because their pop-centered songwriting still sounds surprisingly fresh and inviting, without feeling like a rehash or a simple revisit of their late-90's/early-00's heyday. They sound like they are having fun, and it shows. 

The promise of a new extensive tour means it will be easy to catch them out on the road this year - and they have always put on a great show. Catch them if you can!

MISH MASH Mandate: Freshly Made Pop  (image)

Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:22:00 +0000

Graveface Records
8 song vinyl LP

Whirr immediately overwhelms you with a wall of sound, and doesn't let up with the sonic overload until they are quite through with you. It's a shoegazer's dream, reminiscent of classic groups like My Bloody Valentine and Swans. While they definitely owe acknowledgement to their noisy forefathers, Whirr maintains a uniqueness of their own. It's a sound that somehow defines them, even though it's fuzzy in overall aural definition. Turn it on, turn it up, and ride the wave.

MISH MASH Mandate: Shoe Hazy
Whirr @ Graveface Records(image)

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:01:00 +0000

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    (image)

Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:10:00 +0000

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 (image)

Tue, 28 Oct 2014 01:49:00 +0000

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(image)

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:18:00 +0000

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(image)

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:57:00 +0000

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(image)

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:42:00 +0000

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(image)

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 17:11:00 +0000

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(image)

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 12:26:00 +0000

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Rival Sons - Pressure and Time

Not really a review here, but instead, one of those moments where you want to share something cool with the rest of the world. One listen to this and you realize that rock-n-roll is indeed still alive, to a certain extent. Sure, you've heard it all before - big guitars, screaming vocals, histrionics, and lots of pouting and preening. Yet, it's a formula that still works when done with the right attitude. So, turn it up and try not to over-analyze. You're welcome.

MISH MASH Mandate: The Heart of Rock and Roll
Rival Sons Website


Fri, 17 Jun 2011 18:19:00 +0000


Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

The Sesjun Radio Shows

Beeld En Geluid/T2 Entertainment
2 CD Set

Here's another incredible set of live tracks from the Sesjun Radio Shows, this time featuring hard bop drumming legend Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. Captured in four different sessions in the Netherlands between 1978 and 1983, about a decade before his death in 1990.

The sets show an aging jazz player still in his prime, surrounded by a younger team of musicians like Bobby Watson, David Schnitter, Jean Toussaint, and Donald Harrison on saxes, along with a host of others. The music is spot on hard bop jazz, with soulful horns blaring and Blakey pounding away with his incessant and forceful rhythms. Sound quality-wise, it couldn't get much better for a live radio show, no complaints here. A must have for fans of classic Blue Note-era hard bop.

MISH MASH Mandate: Blakey Bop
Art Blakey Sesjun Radio Shows on Amazon

Fri, 22 Apr 2011 14:40:00 +0000


Michel Legrand

Legrand Jazz

Arthaus Music

I must admit, while I have always appreciated the work of Michel Legrand, he has never been on the top of my list as one of the all-time jazz greats. To me, he has always been the jazz composer who wrote film scores and movie soundtracks, albeit very good ones. Now my opinion has changed, as this live DVD attests to the true scope of his talent. Backed by the London Big Band Orchestra, Legrand shows off his wares, delivering a stunning performance that starts with a bang and never lets up. Honestly, this is one of the best modern big band performances I have ever seen or heard.

The brilliance of the performance lies in Legrand's exuberance; he is alive and full of energy, so very into the music. His enthusiasm is infectious, and it is obvious and he and his band are having a blast. Later in the show, he is joined by guitar great Sylvain Luc and British pop singer Alison Moyet (formerly of Yaz). Their presence adds another layer of depth to the performance, yet the central focus is totally Legrand - he steals the show in every way possible.

My only complaint, and it is minor, is a distracting continuity error where closeups of the drummer show him missing a bow tie, which is present in the wide shots. Obviously some of the footage was taken from a different performance, and while it is not really a deal-breaker, it is a jarring visual to those of us who notice such minor trivial details. Rant over.

MISH MASH Mandate: Legrandstand
Legrand Jazz @ Naxos

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 01:02:00 +0000


Five Eight
Your God Is Dead To Me Now

Iron Horse Records
14 song CD/LP

The Athens-based juggernaut still rolls on, over two decades going strong, yet with only a handful of albums to their credit. But, oh what albums they are! This latest installment from Five Eight, their first since their eponymous 2004 release, is by far their most introspective and controversial, bringing together an amazing group of songs that are among their all-time best. There's anger, but it's focused; there's fiery rock, but it's purposeful and mature in execution.

Of course, the centerpiece here is the title track - which on first listen appears to be an atheistic screed against religious beliefs, but under the surface seems to be a commentary on the false gods of religious zealots. No matter how you slice it, it gets you and captivates you immediately. It's deep, it's thought-provoking, and it's one of the best songs Mike Mantione has ever written.

By the way, if you've never seen them live, you must. Make it a point.

MISH MASH Mandate: Losing My Religion
Five Eight Website

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 17:45:00 +0000


Max Roach

Live In Berlin

5 song CD

This is a great 1984 live set from the piano-free Max Roach Quartet, which features Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet, Odean Pop on tenor, and Tyrone Brown on bass. The music ranges from the soulful take on Duke Jordan's Jordu to a free exercise on Coltrane's Giant Steps. The band is in top form, and Roach proves that he still had what it took to be a bandleader, pushing his band where he wanted, all the while maintaining enough creative control to rip out some great solos along the way. Highly recommended.

MISH MASH Mandate: Maximum Roach
Max Roach Live In Berlin @ Amazon

Sun, 19 Dec 2010 01:38:00 +0000



The Shape Of Punk To Come

Epitaph Records
2 LP/DVD/Download Reissue

One of the greatest hardcore/punk records of all time is getting the royal treatment with a deluxe 2LP set that includes a DVD and a live album download. Refused shook the underground scene and changed everything with this 1998 release, almost single-handedly creating the screamo genre along the way (for better or for worse). Indeed, it was the shape of punk to come, and 12 years later it is still the golden standard.

While the prospect of having this album on audiophile quality vinyl is enticing enough, the real treat here is the inclusion of the 2006 DVD documentary, Refused Are F****ing Dead, which documents the breakup of the band from a fan's perspective. Also of note is the accompanying download of Live At The Umea, which shows just how explosive the band could be on stage.

MISH MASH Mandate: Rather Be Dead
Epitaph Records Website

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 16:35:00 +0000


The Clash

The Clash

Drastic Plastic Records
180 Gram Vinyl LP

One of the most revered imported punk albums of all time is seeing new life more than 30 years after its initial release. The Clash's debut has been given the full audiophile treatment by Drastic Plastic and Sony, a limited edition, 180 gram vinyl LP reissue of the original British release in all its glory. Sound-wise, this release has never sounded better - even though it's a punk record that was recorded on a shoestring, the quality is much better than you might expect. My only complaint would be the lack of any extras (downloads, inserts, etc), but even then, this record is more than a fitting tribute to the groundbreaking sonic fury that is The Clash.

MISH MASH Mandate: What's My Name?
The Clash - Drastic Plastic

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 19:50:00 +0000


The Dave Liebman Group
Turnaround: The Music Of Ornette Coleman

10 song CD

Jazz saxophonist Dave Liebman brings a new twist to the music of Ornette Coleman with this collection of tunes culled from Coleman's early career. Liebman's contribution comes in the form of adding harmony to Coleman's melodic themes, bringing a different interpretation to the music as it was originally recorded. Another interesting aspect comes in the fact that Coleman was not an influence on Liebman's own personal style, so Liebman is able to approach the music with a freshness that may not otherwise be there if he had. Guitarist Vic Juris backs up Liebman on the album, and provides the backbone for the harmony play between the two musicians. Their teamwork is excellent and they manage to take Coleman's work to a completely new level in the process.

MISH MASH Mandate: Harmonized
Dave Liebman Turnaround on


Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:22:00 +0000


Chet Baker
The Sesjun Radio Shows

Out Of The Blue/T2 Entertainment
2 CD set

This 2 CD set pulls together 15 unreleased tracks from five different live performances by Chet Baker on Dutch radio between 1976 and 1985. There is a nice variety of moods presented here, thanks to the mix of musicians and instruments featured in each set. For example, the first set features trumpet and vocals by Baker, backed by flute, piano, and bass, while another set has him backed with vibraphone, bass, and drums. Central to it all is Baker, who is in top form throughout, executing his performance with his unique calm and cool, West Coast style. The sound quality is excellent, sure to please any fan of live jazz.

The disc is the first in a series of live performances on the Tros Sesjun radio program that ran from 1973 to 2004 in the Netherlands. Future releases will include Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Clark Terry, and others. Looking forward to hearing more!

MISH MASH Mandate: Lost And Found
Chet Baker Sesjun Radio Shows @ Amazon

Tue, 28 Sep 2010 01:22:00 +0000


Vinicius Cantuária
Samba Carioca

Naive France
9 song CD

Cantuária delves into the essence of classic bossa nova, breathing new life into the genre by reviving the creative spirits of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, and Carlos Lyra. While Cantuária revisits the Brazilian icons of the past, he does not simply rehash their work or style. He is able to find his own voice, perfectly capturing the quiet and subtle restraint of the bossa nova. Cantuária barely lifts his voice above a soft level, riding just louder than a whisper, finding that romantic sweet spot where bossa nova comes alive and reaches for the heart. At times, his vocal style reminds me of a combination of Gilberto and Lyra, showing a slight yet engaging rasp that gives his voice an honest character.

MISH MASH Mandate: Boss Of Nova
Cantuária Website