Sound — 7
Money Mark's latest release Brand New By Tomorrow has a lot of blues tones reminiscent of Norah Jones and alternative folk atmospheres by Stephen Malkmus and Jeremy Enigk. Mark Ramos-Nishita (aka Money Mark) was the keyboardist for The Beastie Boys in the early '90s but on his latest solo effort which is his debut album on Jack Johnson's label Brushfire Records, Mark plays lead vocals, guitar, bass, drums, melodica, synthesizer, electric harpsichord, and chamberlain strings. The bluesy frequencies on tracks like Color Of Your Blues, Summer Blue, and My Loss Your Gain have an Elvis Costello sibilant. The tingling jazz keys sprinkled on tracks like Pick Up The Pieces and Everyday I Die A Little is pacified by troughs of dainty drum strikes and insipid chord musings. Produced by Mario Caldato and Money Mark, the songs are mostly easy going, softly melodic and reposing with spates of uptempo moments like the bossa nova rhythms on Nice To Me and the Latin jazz fringes on Radiate Nothing. Harmonica excerpts are performed by G. Love and lively French Horn sections are played by Seth Swerling.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are pensive, usually reflecting on past memories that review how so much has changed, friendships lost, places become distant, emotions fade and new ones evolve. In the title track, Mark contemplates: Some things grow apart/Some things grow together/ I like the words we used to say to each otherI used to like the games we played/ Now I stay on my side of the streetWe'll be brand new by tomorrow. The lyrics are optimist through the sullen moods and encourage a new awakening and blossoming of new feelings.
Overall Impression — 7
Vocals are bluesy as the songs lament but they also find contentment. The songs have a folk-soul basis recalling the era of George Harrison and John Lennon with bites of blues-pop and cool jazz furnishings that sometimes dangle genteel synth effects giving the tracks a more personal touch. Money Mark will be performing at 2007's Noise Pop and SXSW music festivals and he will definitely be one of the more interesting artists to check out.