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Brand New By Tomorrow

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Album Review

Money Mark was due for a vocal album after the instrumental Change Is Coming, and he was long due for any kind of release, considering it had been five and a half years since that record. So, praise is due to Jack Johnson for green-lighting the recording of Brand New by Tomorrow on his Brushfire label after he heard some early demos. (The two share a friend and producer in Mario Caldato, Jr.) Although Johnson and Money Mark don't seem to have much in common on the surface, their laid-back approach to the music of the '70s is similar — be it singer/songwriter pop or funk — and their one collaboration here, "Pick Up the Pieces," is a happy marriage. (Fortunately, Johnson's help is limited to the songwriting.) Elsewhere, Mark is just as spot-on with his songwriting and his gadgety one-man-band playing, although the vocals take more of the limelight than on past records. (Apparently, the drums on the early demos were a little harder before Caldato produced a mix that had, as Mark put it, "more wrist and less forearm.") He's only improved as a vocalist, often double-tracking his vocals for ghostly harmony, and keeping his instrumental prowess to just a few tricks per song. Mark described this as a post-9/11 record (Change Is Coming was released in early September 2001), and there are elements of sadness or melancholia to songs like "Everyday I Die a Little," "Summer Blue," and "Color of Your Blues," but Mark's laid-back stride keeps the affair surprisingly buoyant.


Born: Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Money Mark is the alias of Mark Ramos-Nishita, a keyboardist whose funky, retro-flavored riffs earned him the unofficial title of the fourth Beastie Boy. Born in Detroit to a Japanese-Hawaiian father and a Chicano mother, Nishita moved to the West Coast when he was six; some years later, he hooked up with the Dust Brothers production team and began overdubbing keyboards for the Delicious Vinyl label. While working as a handyman, Nishita accepted a job repairing the Beastie Boys' Silverlake, CA, home;...
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Brand New By Tomorrow, Money Mark
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