Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hastily Made Cleveland Blog

I want to preface this diatribe with a note that I am NOT the type of guy who immediately hates on something that explodes into American pop-culture just because it’s the anti-hero type of thing to do. I really can appreciate good comedy or music made for the minds of the mass. It’s all good shit.

That being said: the faux Cleveland tourism video that is literally blowing up on the World Wide Web is shit. It’s the negative spin on the slang word shit: bad, stupid, and hideous; without charm or positive characteristic.

I was going to post the monstrosity in the middle of the rant; it would probably look very professional, even a little like a news clip on Yahoo or MSN. But I decided against it just so I could make sure not to tarnish an otherwise perfect blog. If you’re one of the lucky ones who never had this near minute of cheap shots and bad jokes forwarded to your email, Facebook or Ashley Madison account, it can be found on You Tube and the like but, I’m serious, it’s not worth the time to laugh at the lack of effort.

To sum it up: lame South Park/SNL musical parody voice sings really dumb jokes about visiting Cleveland to see poor people take the bus, someone use a pay phone and to view our ‘two’ buildings. I know it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself but I think, in a town as poor, fat and drunk as Cleveland, the punch lines would be heartier. Sub in Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, et al and the joke is just as foolish (except maybe for Pittsburgh... fucking shit hole).

Maybe the joke is on me and this is a great piece; it’s an ironic interpretation on the decline of Midwestern America. A biased and sad take on one mans home and those desperate souls that share it with him and haunt his dreams.

Or maybe it’s more hipster humor that went over my head and raised my blood pressure. There's not even a quip about the Brownies or the river catching on fire. But that's probably a biased take on my own haunted dream.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good Work, Guys! Next Time it's Dread Zeppelin!

It’s not too often that I get to offer up my deepest and hardiest congratulations to my friends on this amazing blog. I’m not knocking my dudes or anything but really who is kidding who? One time I got to give the nod to the Canadian Bad Boy when he ended up on WWE Raw a few years back but that was kind of a once in a lifetime thing that I could not ignore. Really it was a shock; I spent my early twenties training, traveling and feuding in the ring wars of Ohio with CBB and, honestly, I didn’t think either of us had anything other than the opening match at the Moonshine Festival in front of us. He proved me kind of wrong.

Finally (after nearly two years) I have another chance to tell people that I care about and respect that I am proud of them: so congrats and God speed Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival… it’s about time. The weirdest and most creative duo I have ever come across (musically or otherwise) just got home after three days in Vegas opening for Puscifer. Yeah dude, you heard me right, PUSCIFER! Okay, admittedly it’s not like they just got home from touring the UK with, say, Manowar or they cut a deal with some indie label in South Africa but it’s still an accomplishment.

They converted over 6,000 assholes; something only Lebron can accomplish every day.

I always knew that their low-fi garage punk, fifth hand gear and Jesus loving shtick was way too ahead of itself and utterly offensive to remain a Cleveland secret (even though the offensive part does endure it to Cle). It was only a matter of time before they were slugging it out in the parking lots of Warped Tour shows, playing Grammy after-parties or becoming the house band for Conan O’Brian. I know those things seem as unattainable of a dream as sharing a stage with Manowar but I have faith in these guys.

I remember other Cleveland bands getting quick bursts of fame opening for mid-tier acts (Disengage tagging along with Bam Margera is a bad memory) and it usually ends when the shows do. It is what it is: a band opening for a band that everyone is there to see. But I don’t think that’s the case with USGR; they are made from a different stock of sauerkraut and march to the beat of a different bible thumper. Too funny for the American masses, too creative to be restrained in a town like Cleveland and too fucking Cleveland to ever go anywhere else.

Anyway, nice work Brother Ant and Brother Ed. Whenever I’m at a gig, I miss hearing your sweet, sweet gospel when I buy beers in between bands. It always sounded really good to me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This is a Coffinberry Promo Review

Coffinberry
This is a Coffinberry Promo
(self released)

In lew of writing a regular album review for Coffinberry, a band whom I consider to be the most underrated in the state of Ohio (and possibly the Midwest as a whole), I am going to review (or sum up) this strange CD that has been sitting in front of my computer for the past month. It’s not a ‘Cleveland Classic’ or even a proper release; it looks to be meant for the ears of a booker or some wing nut at a label but it makes for a nice DIY ‘Best Of’.

The cover art is another stellar mind fuck by local genius Jeremy Jakstas, another underrated Clevelander and one of Clevelanders best flyer and album artists. My favorite part is the vending machine in the drawing which clearly says ‘Pop’ not soda like these western jerk offs insist it’s called.

NOTE: As I play this CD the cockroaches in my apartment are braving the heat and starting to congregate on my desk. The big ones too; there has to be some sort of rock and roll cliché hidden there.

‘Cruise Control Psycho’ is a pop-raucous of an opener, easily one of the most memorable songs from their debut From Now on Now. It’s a good time capsule for where the band stood in 2005: happy, maybe a little in love with each other and full of good faith for what the future was going to bring them. I love how the drum roll in the beginning could have been the start of a steamrolling metal song but, instead, it brings us into a world of indie rock bliss and mentions of a ballerina.

‘Your Comeback’ follows and this one was the best song on the 2006 Sleush cassette, no question. Death Sweats cover it, the dirt balls at NTC know the words and it does a bruising on your heart strings. The riff somehow bounces which typically makes the balls of my feet roll back and forth as the lyrics tell a great little story of a departed couple, the line ‘All of the things you’ll think of/I though them first’ being the snidest comment ever heard in such a sweet tune.

Then ‘Just like the Light through Trees Do’ takes away any of that happiness and love I was talking about. Now we find Coffinberry in a dark place and it sounds fucking nice, like nineties alt-rock could have if the checks had not been so big. Nick Cross’ breaking voice is followed by a lonely guitar as he lets the cripples know where they can stay with (with him).

God Damn Dogs is my favorite Coffinberry release. It’s the record I originally wanted to review for either Scene or Deadtown but I never had the guts (or the words) to pull it off. I understand I keep pressing the word ‘easily’ down your overstuffed throats but I really do think that it is ‘easily’ the coolest rock record to come out of Cleveland in an ‘easy’ decade. On this taste of their recording chops they offer two songs. ‘Bombs and Palm Trees’ is as skuzzy and as weirdly alt-metallic as Sun God but also a taste of what Nirvana might have been like had they been from Snowy Cleveland rather than that coffee stain north of me.

They leave us with ‘Little Child of Dementia’ EASILY the catchiest song you’ve heard in ages. EASILY way better than anything playing on the radio. EASILY a set closer for an opener for, let’s say, U2 or some such gnarly shit. Not that I’m comparing them to those rat bastards, I’m just saying this is the closet thing to break out music heard from Cleveland since the Choir.

I’m not jumping on any local band wagons; I’ve known these guys for years and have always been a big fan. After spending the last year or so working on the other end of the music business it really blows my mind that Coffinberry is not on a label, playing big venues and racking up a lot of mentions in shit rags like Spin or (god forbid) Filter. If that did happen I like to think that they would stay in the same house in the same part of the Cle west side and continue to write the type of music that only people from Cleveland could: music full of pain and heartbreak but created with hope and belief. This is believeland after all and I am pulling for these guys to bring us a title.