Arts

Danger: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 95

Fan Fiction - No Frontier - Just Because Records - 11 songs - cassette, digital

Fan Fiction returns with the follow-up to their tape from last year, the lengthily-titled, "I Thought You Said The Legend Wasn't Real." 11 tracks of perfectly decent indie rock, all catchy and hooky. Not particularly heavy stuff, but not lightweight either. I think most of the best material is on Side B, like the upbeat "Catch 22" and the sorta-power pop "Creeps," maybe my favorite track on the thing. Side B also closes with a hidden acoustic track about how great a dude Fan Fiction's lead guitarist Joe Vecchio (who also runs the Just Because label) is. It's actually a pretty heartwarming track, another favorite here, and when I think about it, yeah, Joe's probably near the top of the list of people who deserve a song in their honor. Overall, it's a decent tape, though it doesn't have the total hits the first tape had, like "Teenage Landlord." I guess my problem is that it's not quite poppy enough on one hand and then not aggressive enough on the other, though that's really my impossible gripe and not their fault. A solid, likable release either way. 3/5

(justbecauserecords.bandcamp.com)

The Society - You Girl - B-W Records / My Mind's Eye - 2 songs - 7"

Here's a really good archival find. The Society (most of whom were Lakewood High School students) would later morph into the Damnation Of Adam Blessing, but this is their 1967 debut, unheard until now. These tracks are both absolute killers. "You Girl" is a garage fuzz pounder, with incredible guitar playing throughout and a similar vocal line to The Sparkles' "No Friend Of Mine" and, indeed, sounds like something pulled straight off of "Nuggets." There's a guitar solo barely a minute into the song and great call and response vocals: "You're a LOSER!" sings Bill Constable, answered by the rest of the band singing, "You girl!" A total teenage monster here. The B-side, "Lonely," is also absolutely great, trading the fuzz guitar for a slower, organ-driven sound. I wasn't quite sold on it the first few listens, but it really grows on you. And when you think about it, all the best garage singles have the destructo first side with the cool-down flip: "Open Up Your Door" has "Once Upon Your Smile," "Talk Talk" has "Come On In," and "You Girl" has "Lonely." Both sides sound great, too, courtesy of Cleveland Recording and Ken Hamann. Great packaging as well here: looks truly vintage, phenomenal band photo on the cover (and more cool photos on the insert), and interesting and informative liner notes from the garage rock genius Tom Fallon. For fans of garage rock or local stuff or local garage, this is pretty essential. 5/5

(mymindseye.bigcartel.com)

Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email vaguelythreatening@gmail.com or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 5:57 PM, 10.02.2019

Lakewood Author Publishes First YA Novel

When Tony Harmon graduated from Lakewood High School in 2015, he didn’t feel like he had much direction for what was next. So he picked up a pen and a legal pad and decided to write a story. 

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 5:57 PM, 10.02.2019

Nightmare On Merl Avenue

As the fall season begins, so comes the time for tricks and treats. How do you plan to spend the spookiest holiday of the year? If you’re looking for something fun, free, and close to home on Halloween, consider attending the scariest experience Lakewood has to offer: Nightmare on Merl Avenue!

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 19, Posted 6:00 PM, 10.02.2019

This Year In Punk: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 94

Brat Curse - Brat Curse - Just Because Records / Anyway Records - 12 songs - LP, digital

This is the debut full-length LP from Columbus's Brat Curse, as far as I'm aware. They were part of that OH7O comp that came out a couple years back and they covered Brainiac. They do not sound like Brainiac. This is a solid twelve songs of hooky, largely upbeat poppy punk. Some of it heads more towards punk and some more towards pop and a few songs (particularly "Modern Snakes") have just the lightest sprinkle of some emo characteristics, but please don't let my saying that put you off. It's somewhere in the middle ground between a Dirtnap Records kind of power pop/punk sound ("Sweat Pants Lawyer," "Who Do You Call") and, say, Cloud Nothings' "Life Without Sound" ("Under The Gun"). "Psycho In The Future" sounds like their Just Because labelmates Fan Fiction, actually. Pretty good record here. It's consistent throughout. I like the back cover photo that kinda apes the back cover of "Something Else By The Kinks." This doesn't sound anything like that, but I like the photo anyway. 4/5

(justbecauserecords.bandcamp.com)

The Choir - I'd Rather You Leave Me - Norton Records - 2 songs - 7"

Here's a real two-sider for you. I think these tracks were recorded sometime after "It's Cold Outside" (and with a slightly different lineup, if I'm not mistaken), but they're every bit as great as that single. "I'd Rather You Leave Me" is very Byrds-esque– lots of twelve-string jangle and great harmonies– and is just a fantastic pop tune. It coulda (shoulda!) been a hit. The flip side, "I Only Did It 'Cause I Felt So Lonely," is equally great; maybe a little less directly influenced by the

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 3:47 PM, 09.18.2019

Better Than Deader: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 93

Peter Laughner - Peter Laughner - Smog Veil Records - 56 (or 61) songs - 5xLP box, 5xCD box (and bonus 7")

Here it is, the Peter Laughner box set, long-awaited for 15 or so years. It's a hefty thing here. On one hand, I feel like it's giving this box set more credit than I'm comfortable giving it to review it and only it this week, but at the same time, I am reviewing five records (or six, actually) and a book and an overall concept here, so…well, so be it. I'll start by going record by record, I suppose, and then onto the other stuff. You're about to see something you don't usually see in these reviews, which is paragraphs. That's right, I'm breaking my aesthetic for this thing. You're welcome, Laughner fans. 

The first record is "Fat City Jive," comprised of selections from two WMMS Coffeebreak concerts Peter did in late 1972, which represents the earliest material here. The first half is with The Original Wolverines, which was Peter along with Mike Sands and Pete Sinks, both recruited from the Mr. Stress Blues Band. The second half is just Pete and Mike. You'll find here 17 folk-blues type tunes, all very competently performed. There's some Bob Dylan (the unreleased (at the time) "Please Mrs. Henry" and a straight version of "Love Minus Zero"), some older country and blues, some Lou Reed, basically what you'd expect. There's also two tracks by Terry Hartman, who Peter recorded a LP with entitled "Notes On A Cocktail Napkin" that I'd heard was supposed to be released as a standalone LP by Smog Veil at some point– will this happen or not, who knows– "Drunkard's Lament," which is pretty solid, and what was rather arbitrarily made the title track, "Fat City Jive," which is, I don't know, fine and all. There are even two, count 'em two originals on here, and wouldn't ya know it, they're probably the most interesting tracks here. "Solomon's Mines" is a nice love ballad and "It's Saturday Night (Dance The Night Away)" is a good sad tune ("I like sad songs," Peter admits in between this one and the next, a decent cover of "These Days"). It's a perfectly acceptable set here, though there are certain things that are kinda like, ok, I get why they'd play this on a live radio performance and all that, but why release it? There are alright tunes, but I don't know if it's really peak material. 

 

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 17, Posted 6:27 PM, 09.04.2019

Dale Is Our Guru: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 92

Junkhouse Bones - Safari - self-released - 6 songs - digital

This band or project or whatever it is is one of those things that I know I've reviewed before but cannot remember anything about it. The name Junkhouse Bones made me think it was gonna be bluesy or swampy or something like that. It's not. I'd say it's alternative rock/pop punk (pop punk to me always means bands like the Undertones, but I mean the other definition of pop punk). The first three tracks are in a full band kind of mode and the remaining three are more subdued, with more sparse arrangements. I think I like this second half better. "God's Eye View" goes on a bit too long, but it's at times reminiscent of Nirvana with a drum machine. The closing "A Million Years Of Lies," which is just acoustic guitar and vocals, is probably my favorite of the bunch. This is what I assume Brand New sounds like, though I'm not familiar enough with Brand New to make a definitive statement in that regard. It's actually decent stuff, song-wise. My problem with it is the same as my problem with almost everything in this genre (the alternative rock/pop punk/emo continuum), and it's the production. The vocals are mixed too loud (at the same time, the vocals feel kinda quiet, so I guess it balances out), I just don't agree with the guitar and drum sounds (or they don't agree with me, rather). I don't know. I have a friend who absolutely loves music like this (and has no problems with the production and thinks I'm nuts), so I'm happy to have this to recommend to her. Decent stuff, but it doesn't quite grab me. 3/5

(junkhousebones.bandcamp.com)

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 17, Posted 3:19 PM, 08.21.2019

Former Local Poet Dillon Bodnar Publishes Second Volume Of Poetry, "Harmonic Emotions: A Resonating Assembly Of Reflections"

I am so proud as Dillon’s Editor and Press Agent and Publicity Chief to introduce to you, "Harmonic Emotions: A Resonating Assembly of Reflections," his second volume of poetry! Dillon moved to Lakewood at age 3 and went through Lakewood City Schools where his talent for poetry was recognized and nurtured from a very early age. After graduating from Lakewood High School, Dillon attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and earned a Physics Degree in 2017. Up until recently, he was building lasers for Spectra Physics in Silicon Valley, CA where he moved after college graduation. Dillon’s "Music of Our Spheres: A Roundabout Collection of Ruminations," his first volume of poetry, was published in 2014 when he was only 19. It consisted of poems he wrote between the ages of 10 – 18 and received wide acclaim from readers and critics alike. "Harmonic Emotions: A Resonating Assembly of Reflections" includes poems written between ages 19 – 23, plus some early childhood gems.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 15, Posted 2:59 PM, 08.07.2019

In HARMONY At Good Goat Gallery

In HARMONY is a collaborative art exhibition by Lizzie Essi and Catherine Reitz. The show will feature works revolving around the themes of transformation, balance, growth, rebirth and coexistence. The show will include paintings, prints, multimedia and digitally produced content. This project was funded by the Cleveland Foundation through Cleveland Institute of Art’s Creativity Works “build-your-own internship” program. When generating ideas for the collaborative project with different approaches to thinking and making we wanted to embrace the common goal of creating expressive works in the spirit of fun and freedom of making and also create a space where these differences are in harmony with another. The artists works alongside each other showcase and celebrate the contrast and commonality between varied modes and results of making that emphasizes the idea of coexistence. The show seeks to offer spaces for a viewer to slow down, realize, and meditate on the world that surrounds and shapes us.  The work provides insight into the process and concept as it offers many levels of contrast and commonality emphasizing the theme of coexistence.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 15, Posted 7:18 PM, 07.17.2019

When I Look In Your Eyes, I See Your Eyes: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 90

Human Switchboard - Who's Landing In My Hangar? - Fat Possum Records - 10 songs - LP, digital

I always seem to see Human Switchboard listed as "Cleveland punk" even though their path to Cleveland was a wayward and inconsistent one (they were in Syracuse, and then Cleveland, and then Columbus, and then Kent, and then…) and they aren't really all that punk. What they are is garage/power pop/new wave, that kind of thing. It's very '60s-based (Farfisa is all over it), but with a bit of that late '70s punk energy, ya know? A good comparison would be their contemporaries Saucers, if that helps anyone. The songs Myrna Marcarian takes the lead on are especially good, like the opening "(Say No To) Saturday's Girl" and the excellent "I Can Walk Alone," but I really like Bob Pfeifer's songs too. The thing about his songs is that he's a little bit goofy. I don't mean that in a bad way, but there's something that seems a bit self-conscious about him. He also does this thing on a few songs that's particularly noticeable on the slow, Velvets-y burner "Refrigerator Door" where he almost seems like he's doing a Jonathan Richman impression (it's really, really apparent on "In My Room," which isn't on this album, but is similar in execution to "Refrigerator Door")– the question is, is he trying to sound like Jonathan Richman or did he and Jonathan just both independently copy the same elements of Lou Reed? Does "Refrigerator Door" borrow its style from "Hospital," or are both songs just inspired by "Heroin?" Hard to say. Most of the time, it doesn't sound like the Modern Lovers, it's just something in Pfeifer's vocal style. In any case, I think it's a good record. The peppy stuff is good ("(I Used To) Believe In You," the title track) as are the other things they do, like the sinister "Don't Follow Me Home" or the strange, arty closer "Where The Light Breaks." Mostly upbeat, very catchy stuff, and consistently good if you can look past the things I find funny about it that I don't even know why I find funny. You, reader, probably won't even find it that funny, so maybe just ignore my babbling. 4/5

(fatpossum.com)

Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email vaguelythreatening@gmail.com or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.

 

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 15, Posted 7:18 PM, 07.17.2019

Annual LHS Alumni Ranger Marching Band Celebration

The Lakewood High School Alumni Ranger Marching band is proud to announce the 40th Anniversary of the Trip to England Celebration. All alumni marching band and auxiliary members are welcome to join us for Homecoming game against North Olmsted on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 7 p.m. Save the date and plan on coming out for a night of marching band fun and hopefully some great surprises! “Like” us on Facebook at LHS Alumni Ranger Marching Band for event updates and other events. You may also visit the Lakewood High School Bands Alumni page for updates and to register as an alum band member. It's free to join and we won't bog you down with unnecessary emails. Email us, lhsarmb@yahoo.com with any questions you may have or contact Sean DeRenzo, Alumni Marching Band President.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 13, Posted 6:32 PM, 07.03.2019

Look Here, Buddy...: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 89

Rat Fucker - First Show First Blood - self-released - 6 songs - cassette

This is a new band featuring members of Basement Boys, Weed Whacker, possibly Spike Pit, and probably several others. You know how these things go. There aren't any tracks listed on here (I hope I got the count right– if there are more or less than six, you're more than welcome to send me hate mail, but only if you're a member of the band). Rat Fucker play pretty good hardcore. It took a couple songs for me to get into it, but by song three or so I was digging it. It's a lively performance (I wish I'd been there, but I'm a poser) and the recording is pretty good, things are nice and clear. There are some good guitar leads throughout, the bass is loud and crunchy in the mix. There's not quite as much live banter as I'd prefer, but what's on there isn't bad, particularly the "we'll do better next time" after the last song. A bit more Noncommercial Records than Mirror Records, just a heads up. Pretty good. 3.5/5

(listen at youtu.be/vwbDCh-me7Y– I think you'll have to see the band if you want the tape)

S

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 12, Posted 2:52 PM, 06.19.2019

Whoa Oh Oh Oh?: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 88

Redness - Killer Bees - not on label - 6 songs - 12"

This is a reissue of a 7" that originally came out in 1980 as the sole release on Non Records, to my knowledge. I'm not sure how official this release is, but it's cool to have nonetheless. I usually seem to see Redness listed as a "punk" band, but that's really not the case. It's maybe art-punk and there are a few tracks that could definitely be called no wave, but it's more of an experimental, artsy, DIY kinda sound. The title track has a synthesizer emulating constant bee-buzzing over a jazzy track while a guy screams about killer bees. Bizarrely, it reminds me a lot of Fossil Fuel, and you can try and figure that one out. "Gran Torismo" continues the sorta art-jazz style with a story about the titular car while someone in the background does a ridiculous performance of "Dead Man's Curve." Now, as far as Cleveland "punk" bands with jazz influences covering "Dead Man's Curve" goes, it's not as good as the version by the electric eels, but it's still pretty cool. The last track on Side 1 is "Little Debbie," which is the first one you'd certainly call no wave or art punk. Continuing that theme, the first song on Side 2 is "Creme Rinse," which is punk but also bossa nova or something like that. It might be my pick for the best one on here. "Backwards, Forwards" goes back to the weird artiness and fades out halfway through one of the lines, which leaves me really wondering what it is he said. Finally, "Primitivjam," as the title implies, is a short instrumental noodling freakout song. I'm not quite sure what to make of all this, especially since the band is apparently a complete mystery. Is it serious? Is it a punxploitation kind of thing but making fun of a far more obscure genre? I really don't know. If you're into the weirder side of things, this is a good one to check out. 3.5/5

(Due to this release's dubious officialness, I don't know where the best place to get a copy is. Try a local record store.)

Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email vaguelythreatening@gmail.com or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 9:40 AM, 05.22.2019

NYC Based Folk-Noir Duo "Charming Disaster" Returns To The Good Goat Gallery

Brooklyn, NY based goth-folk duo Charming Disaster will perform in Cleveland on May 23, bringing their whimsically macabre duets inspired by love, death, true crime, ancient mythology, and the occult to Lakewood's Good Goat Gallery. The playfully dark duo are touring in advance of the release of their third album, SPELLS + RITUALS. Pre-release copies of the album will be available at the show. Doors open at 6pm.

They will share the bill with local vaudeville duo Pinch & Squeal, whose modern take on old-time comedic performance, from music to juggling to naughty jokes, has made them a longstanding Cleveland favorite in the circus and burlesque scene. Admission is $13.

"Charming Disaster balances smart pop songs against a confident stage presence, sort of a swagger, that suggest the two people out front are destined for great things...these people are overflowing with musical ideas that simply defy categorization." –The Vinyl Anachronist

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 9:38 AM, 05.22.2019

Precocious Young Men: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 87

Guided By Voices - Zeppelin Over China - Guided By Voices Inc. - 32 songs - CD, LP, digital

I did have the thought that it might be a little irrelevant what I think of any new Guided By Voices release. After all, most GBV fans will buy anything they put out and it's relatively rare that someone's gonna just happen to pick up one of their records to check them out. Also, by the time this review is published, there'll be a new one out. I know that sounds like "ha ha because Robert Pollard puts out a new record every week," but seriously, there's a new LP out April 26th, which is before the publishing date of this review. But I decided I'd review it anyway, because maybe someone reading this has heard of Guided By Voices but doesn't really know anything about them and this will sway them one way or another, or, like me, already appreciate some Guided By Voices stuff but are hesitant to pick up anything they put out because they're not sure if it'll be worth their time (I realize this sounds a little harsh, but you've gotta understand that Guided By Voices and any other Robert Pollard projects put out quite a lot of material– it can't all be great). So here I am to help. You know what? This isn't a bad record at all. It sounds quite a lot like "Isolation Drills"-era GBV, I'm assuming in no small part due to the presence of lead guitarist Doug Gillard, who's got some great playing scattered over the four sides here. The entire first LP is really good, with a solid array of songs (my favorite, probably of the whole record, is "Your Lights Are Out," which is upbeat but also melancholy and is just a great tune). Other highlights include the near-glam stomper "Carapace," the more subdued college rock sound of "Send In The Suicide Squad," and the driving "Wrong Turn On" (I especially like the part where the drums stutter off the beat and then back into it– that's a cool touch). "Think. Be A Man" is a cool pounder with the great closing line, "the little girls do not understand" and to finish off the first half of the record is "You Own The Night," which starts as a total pop hit (with the opening line, "What's it like being all that?," which is pretty good), disappears into a seemingly unrelated second part, and then bursts back into the song. It took a while for me to come around to it, but I kinda like it. How about the second half of the album, or record 2 if you have the LP version? Well, like a lot of double albums, it starts to drag a bit. That said, however, I think there's enough decent material that, okay, the second LP is warranted, but only because it's Guided By Voices and the "why didn't they lose some of the filler songs on here" argument is utterly irrelevant. My favorites from the second LP are "Nice About You" (which has a very familiar melody, but I can't think of why), "Where Have You Been All My Life" (which is the closest this album gets to punk and has a melody that almost sounds drunken– I bet this one's fun live), "Enough Is Never At The End" (which is all piano and strings, which is kinda weird to hear on a GBV album but is an interesting change of pace), and "My Future In Barcelona" (which is another one of the best songs on the whole thing). Once I saw that Doug Gillard was responsible for horn and string arrangements (and there are some nice ones on here– particularly on "The Rally Boys" and "Vertiginous Raft") that made me think, "Oh, so he's like Mick Ronson to, I guess, Pollard's Bowie." I don't know how far you can stretch that comparison, but I've brought it this far and that's where I'll leave it. Solidly a good album, I'd say. 4/5

(rockathonrecords.com)

 

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 8:01 PM, 05.08.2019

Silly Rabbit...A Twisted Vendors Easter Event

The Twisted Vendors Network is bringing the weird once again. If you’re looking for some non-traditional items, come join us at the Winchester Music Tavern on Saturday April 6th from 12 - 5 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 7:53 AM, 04.03.2019

Poetry + Presents Kevin Latimer

Poetry + is a monthly reading series hosted by Art on Madison for emerging and established writers in Cleveland and surrounding regions. Poetry + aims to shine the spotlight on a single writer, providing them with the platform and time necessary to present a body of their work and to connect with their audience. Each presenter is given the freedom to decide the materials and anecdotes they will share and can determine the duration of their reading. Poetry + is open to all forms of poetry, short and flash fiction, and performative happenings.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 7:53 AM, 04.03.2019

Forced Sneezes: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 86

Red Devil Ryders - Red Devil Ryders - self-released - 9? songs - cassette

This is the official "debut" of Red Devil Ryders so long as you don't count the limited edition live tape or Carter Luckfield's "Crowley 666," which is kind of like the prequel to the whole thing. The sound of the group is firmly rooted in about 1975 or so, in a sort of obscure middle ground between glam rock and pub rock with added hints of country rock and power pop (at its most rock 'n' roll– think Dave Edmunds, say). There's some Brinsley Schwarz influence, a bit of Neil Young, you probably get the picture. Lyrically, the trend is towards themes of driving, women, "gotta get to the show," or, commonly, all three at once. Though I (perhaps unfairly) think of this as guitarist/vocalist Carter Luckfield's band, bassist Adam Spektor takes lead vocals on two of the A-side tracks, "Alabamarama" (a song that sounds exactly like the title makes you think it sounds– it's a "gotta get to the show" tune) and "Spicy Boys" (in which a variety of spicy foods are listed– it's kind of ridiculous, but it's done in good spirit. Come to think of it, this one could probably fall under "gotta get to the show" as well.). "Down At The Club" and "Buy Me A Drink" are very strong as opening and closing songs, respectively. I was worried that "Red Devil" might be another hot sauce song, but it isn't unless it's going for a really weird metaphor, and "The Ballad Of Texas Pete" is an outlaw story song, because what more can you say than that this band goes all in on their schtick? I have to admit I'm slightly annoyed by the flip side, which is taken up with "666 Pt. 2." I thought it might be a really long freakout jam thing, or like Blues Magoos' "Dante's Inferno" or something, but it's not even really a cohesive piece. It's basically four more songs (the last of which, appropriately closing out the tape, is the fantastic "End Of The World") interspersed with bits of recordings played backwards, sometimes jammed over/along with by the band. I don't know, maybe I just find the forced mystery of it a bit irritating. The complaint I have about the tape as a whole, and I feel bad about saying it because I genuinely like this band, is that a number of the songs are very stylistically similar and I think the fact that four more of them are lumped together on side two just adds to the impression of slight sameiness. However, when it works, it works, and there are definitely some really good songs on here and this is a solid debut. You should be able to tell if you'll like this just by looking at the artwork, which includes a van, a cowboy, and a pepper. I also like that they went for a goofy band photo. 3.5/5

(reddevilryders.bandcamp.com)

 

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 12:58 PM, 03.05.2019

Burning River Baroque Performs March 23 At Lakewood Congregational Church

Burning River Baroque continues their 7th season with a series of thought-provoking performances, beginning Tuesday, March 19. "The Other Side of the Story: Untold Perspectives on Familiar Tales" has been crafted to connect baroque music to contemporary social issues.

The March performances engage audiences around the timeless issues of toxic masculinity and consent. Historic passages and tales have been interwoven with a broad range of musical compositions and related commentary. “We frequently get to experience history through the victor’s eyes,” said co-director Malina Rauschenfels, “We’re interested in hearing the other side of the story — from those populations that are often marginalized.”

Drawing from ancient mythology, literature, and Biblical passages, the dramatic music highlights themes raised by the #MeToo movement. From the Book of Judith to the story of a Siren from her own perspective, the performers discuss the ways in which ancient tales resonate in our communities today.

The program for soprano, flute, cello and harpsichord includes baroque repertoire, a medieval work, and the premiere of "Honey sweet we sing for you," a cantata by Aaron Grad and Jennifer Bullis. Amid the week of performances, Burning River Baroque will perform at and host outreach workshops especially designed for the Renee Jones Empowerment Center and CMSD’s Bard High School Early College.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 12:58 PM, 03.05.2019

Calling All Artists To Join Lakewood Art League

Please consider joining the Lakewood Art League! Now is our membership drive for 2019. We meet the third Thursday of the month. Come to our first meeting to kick off 2019 on Thurs Feb 21st from 7 to 8:30pm at our beautiful new space in the Café of Lakewood United Methodist Church, 15700 Detroit Ave!

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:41 PM, 02.19.2019

Further Proof Of Something: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 84

Stinky Monkey Finger - Slapping The Bag - DF Records - 13 songs - CD

I tend to get a build-up of stuff to review (especially CDs, since I usually let records get priority) and so I've misplaced the envelope this was sent in but I believe this…group? project? has something to do with Dennis Baker, whose work I've reviewed here before. (I confirmed this when I looked up where to get the CD– see below). This is a weird one. Somewhere close to half of it is lo-fi acoustic sorta-indie rock, sometimes featuring synth and/or drum machine as well, which is most reminiscent to me of the lo-fi acoustic songs on a Guided By Voices record. That's the nearest comparison I can draw, I'd say. However, instead of then kicking into a full band tune like "Echos Myron" or whatever after one of these songs, Stinky Monkey Finger instead goes into full experimental weirdness. Some of these songs, like "Jazzy Jeff Becomes A Pig" and "ZLT" have a kind of quality to them that makes me want to say they're kind of like the aural equivalent of stumbling across some strange video online, the kind of video that there's nothing necessarily wrong with it in any kind of tangible sense, but you just feel like it wasn't exactly made for you to see– and yet it's there, available to be seen (or heard) by the general public, so clearly in some sense it was meant for you to see. And then there's "I Won't Ask," which is a rather melodramatic piano piece with some keyboard strings and opens with "Have you ever opened an envelope? I mean really opened it up?" Is this song a joke? If it's a parody, it's an interesting one, and if it isn't, well, it's an abrupt change of gears that doesn't really mix with anything else on here. That's kind of my question at the center of this whole thing. I genuinely can't tell how much of this is at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek and how much is entirely serious. In any case, some of the more normal songs ("Have You Met Me?" and "I Fold You," for example) are not bad, and while I still don't know what to make of certain parts of the rest of it, it makes for an intriguing listen. 3.3/5

 

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 2:00 PM, 02.05.2019

Just The One This Time: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 83

Rubella - Gallows Humor - Eleventh Hour Recording Company - 8 songs - LP

If we are to make assumptions based on the "r 60" that appears on the insert, I believe this is Rubella's 60th release, which is pretty impressive. It's pretty weird that this is on Eleventh Hour, making Rubella label mates with Bill Fox, since this is not in any way folky. It's more of an electronic alternative rock thing, with some songs slipping more towards punk, some with an industrial feel, and some, weirdly, towards pop. Songs like "Hungry Horses" and "Short Breaths" are almost songs I could hear playing on a different universe's version of whatever the alternative rock radio station is. I was told there was no guitar on this record and I have to agree. I also realized at some point that almost none of the lyrics rhyme, but you barely notice. The lyrics tend to be somewhat, shall I say, edgy, but not in a bad way. It works with the music. Also, in the first song, they reference the Hilliard Bridge, which makes this record solidly more local than most of what I review here. At certain times (especially on the opening track, "Trust Falls"), I'm reminded a bit of Brainiac, but with some of the manic energy replaced by a more resigned feel– especially in terms of the vocals; where Brainiac would have falsetto and yelps, Rubella have a weary almost-monotone– which, again, does work with the overall feel of the record. The songs all seem like they were pieced together very intentionally, and as a whole, the record works well as an album. There's a certain mood you have to be in to listen to this kind of thing, I think, but when you're in that mood, it's not bad. 3.5/5

(2300records.com)

Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email vaguelythreatening@gmail.com or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 3:56 PM, 01.22.2019

Yes, We Are Open!

It is hard to believe that we are finally open but after serveral false starts and unforseen delays we are ready to share our art with Lakewood. Our last hurdle is waiting for the broken window to be fixed. Yes, we were the unlucky business that had a car come through the front window in October. 

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 5:06 PM, 01.08.2019

Pfffffffft: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 82

Chris Butler - Got It Togehter! - Future Fossil - 16 songs - CD

The title of this one is intentionally misspelled (it's a joke, you see), so please don't write in to say that the Lakewood Observer is a disgrace to the community or whatever. The first 12 songs on here are the album proper, plus four bonus tracks. I appreciate the sentiment of that, but if you're gonna do that, you need to also release a version that doesn't have bonus tracks, ya know? I mean, I guess I prefer that to Smog Veil leaving between 1 and 4 songs off of CDs for no reason at all other than to have "download exclusive tracks," but still. Some songs here are contemplative, some are kinda weird (I mean, Chris was in Tin Huey), and the majority of them are pretty catchy (I mean, Chris was in (and wrote the songs for) The Waitresses). I would put the overall genre down as "alternative rock" in a sort of quirky, '90s way that's not entirely mainstream but also not entirely abstract or whatever, especially given the interesting instrumentation. Some have a bit of a They Might Be Giants feel, the "I can't I can't I can't I can't" etc. part of "Late For Work" kinda reminds me of Cake…you see what I'm saying here? If you're familiar with Tin Huey– or actually, even if you just know The Waitresses– you know that Chris Butler writes with a definite sense of humor. I don't always find that sense of humor agreeing with me, (in the same way that sometimes I just can't get with The Tubes) but it's there and I'd rather have that than something that takes itself too seriously. My biggest complaint here is the length, which I touched on before with the bonus track thing, but actually just applies to the album proper as well. Mr. Butler posits on the inner cover that the problem with the CD format is that there isn't enough…space, which is a good visual joke, but I think sometimes the CD format (as in on the disc itself) has too much space. Oh well. The highlights (including "Songs For Guys," "Late For Work," and "Better Than I Ever Was" (though I actually like the bonus track demo better, funnily enough)) are pretty decent tunes. I don't know how often I'll pull this one out, but it's a perfectly okay listen and I know there are people who will love this kind of sense of humor far more than I, so there you go. One more thing: so, there should've been a version without the bonus tracks, like I said, and there also should've been a deluxe version with the bonus tracks and the cover for that should've been an actual puzzle. That would've been cool. 3.3/5

(chrisbutler1.bandcamp.com)

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 3:50 PM, 12.18.2018

Twisted Vendor's Xmas Art Shop

Don't let the name of our group fool you, we have artwork for sale that appeals to just about everyone. Join us at the Winchester Music Tavern on Saturday December 15th from 12-5pm and take care of that last minute Christmas shopping. We'll have paintings, prints and jewelry just to name a few items. We work with all local artists and everything is handmade so whether you're a procrastinator or not, this even is for you! The Winchester is located at 12112 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, OH 44107

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 2:28 PM, 12.04.2018

"THE FINAL GOODBYE" Returns For A Second Showing

Let me begin by sending a hearty "thank you" to all Lakewoodites who came to the movie premiere of "THE FINAL GOODBYE" at the Capitol Theater last September 9th. Over 300 people attended which astonished the manager for a Sunday night showing. Our initial article in the LO back in late August spurred excellent attendance for our motion picture, filmed largely in Lakewood with many local actor/residents like James R. Smith, Dennis Runkle, Neil Donnelly, Donn R. Nottage, Dan Fox, etc.

We at Mil-Roy/Velvet Buck/WLFK Productions are proud to announce a second screening of this exciting film-noir thriller at the Atlas Lakeshore Cinema 7 on 22624 Lakeshore Blvd. (Babbitt Rd. & Lakeshore Blvd.) Kindly mark your calendars for Sunday, December 9th at 7:00 pm for another chance to view this much talked about movie that occurs in 1961. Yes, it's is a period piece and we managed to recreate this fine community as it looked way back when!

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 2:28 PM, 12.04.2018

Things I Said To Impress Girls: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 81

A Saucerful Of Lies - A Saucerful Of Lies - self-released - 6 songs - CD, digital

Earlier in the year, you may recall the group Exploding Lies (assisted by New Planet Trampoline) released a CD entitled "Obscured By Cloud Nothings." This, now, serves as the rebuttal. The musicians are listed only by their initials, but I'm reasonably certain there are some Cloud Nothings and some New Planet Trampoliners on here. The music on here is all instrumental except for when it features samples of various things. Online, there are titles listed for each of the six tracks; disappointingly, these were not listed on the CD version, which is especially unfortunate as they came up with some good ones. The style here is experimental, some more electronic, some more psychedelic, some more ambient. A couple of them, I think, would serve very as well as the soundtrack to some kind of arty movie. You've kinda got to be in the right mood to get into this, but if you are, it's not bad. I particularly enjoyed "Part III" ("Embryo'Malley"), especially when it moves from a vaguely Floyd-esque thing to a Pere Ubu "Final Solution" krautrock kind of thing. I must admit, my knowledge of Pink Floyd is mostly limited to the Syd Barrett years (and the big radio hits that everyone knows), so I can't say how well this functions as a tribute to them. It's certainly more trippy than the Exploding Lies. For "Part V" ("The Final Kurt"), I think they got the saxophone guy from Magic City to solo for a bit, occasionally joined by guitar. That's pretty cool, and then it moves into an atmospheric moody thing. Hey, when I was able to get into this, I enjoyed it, and I don't usually tend to listen to this kind of thing, so that's gotta mean something. 3/5

(asaucerfuloflies.bandcamp.com or drugorientatedgroup@gmail.com…or try a local record store?)

 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 2:28 PM, 12.04.2018

Special Holiday Performance Of Charpentier's Midnight Mass On December 22 At Lakewood Congregational Church

Acclaimed early music ensemble Les Délices (Debra Nagy, director) and Northeast Ohio’s premiere chamber choir Quire Cleveland (Jay White, artistic director) will bring Lakewood residents a musical alternative for the holiday with a performance of Charpentier’s Midnight Mass on Saturday, December 22 at 8pm at Lakewood Congregational Church (1375 W Clifton Blvd, Lakewood).  

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 22, Posted 4:01 PM, 11.20.2018

Folk-Noir Duo, Charming Disaster, Returns To the good goat gallery November 8th

Folk-noir duo Charming Disaster ("Playfully macabre"- Cleveland Scene Magazine) returns to the good goat gallery on Thursday, Nov 8 on their "Bride of Frankenstein Tour! Doors open at 6 p.m. with a few pre-show activities including a special sneak peek preview of the upcoming art show "Je Suis Amélie", an homage to the dreamer & do-gooder, (which officially opens Saturday, November 10th 6 - 10 p.m.). There will also be a tarot card reading by psychic/medium/Shaman- Joy Wedmedyk, traveling gnome photo booth with photographer Stacie Gerrity, gnome portraits by Jeff Ritchie (of Fred Paints), miniature macabre portraits by Angela Oster, and finally dark poetry by writer Nicole Hennessy. Music will begin around 8 p.m. Tickets are limited and can be purchased on the event page of thegoodgoatgallery.com $10 advance, or $12 at the door.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 21, Posted 3:08 PM, 11.07.2018

The Rockport Miracles-Part 2 Episode 7: "Acts of God And Other Excuses"

We who reside on the Great Lakes are a tough bunch. Tougher than we get credit for. Every last one of us have been taught respect for the natural world by the powerful lake storms we’ve lived through. Perhaps that’s why we were too slow to realize something UNnatural was happening to Rockport in January 1970. 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 21, Posted 3:08 PM, 11.07.2018

Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In

The Ohio Fair Trade Teach-in and Expo was first held in 2005 and brings people of all ages together from across the state to learn about and become more involved in supporting fair trade – a model for socially and environmentally conscious consumerism. This year, the event will feature speakers focused on changing the banana industry to be empowering to local farmers and communities.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:25 PM, 10.16.2018

By Land And By Air

Art on Madison presents "By Land and By Air"

Glass Sculptures and Mobiles

by Cleveland artist  Michael Zelenka

Join us for an evening of lively entertainment 

Artists' reception Friday, October 19   6 - 9PM
Closing reception Friday, December 14   6 - 9PM 

Live music by Tom Holland & Wyatt Howland


Light hors d'oeuvres & beverages will be served.

Free and open to the public!

Location:

Art on Madison
14302 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, OH

www.artonmadison.com

Wed – Sat 12 – 6 PM, and by appointment

419.345.8980

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:25 PM, 10.16.2018

Uptown Lakewood Trick Or Treat!

Join Uptown Lakewood on Tuesday, October 23rd between 5:00pm and 6:30pm on Madison Avenue for a Halloween "treat walk" between Hilliard and Warren Roads. Here's the scoop:

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:25 PM, 10.16.2018

Don't You Know?: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 80

Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to pick out what you like (or dislike) about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much. 

Ricky Hell - Blue Lips - Quality Time Records - 3 songs - download

I usually hate to review digital-only releases, because I kinda feel like it doesn't really count (I know this is not a particularly modern stance to take, but whatever), but I've made an exception here. Regular readers may note they haven't seen the name Ricky Hamilton in these pages in a while, while he used to be in here almost every issue. That's because earlier this year, Ricky took off for LA, and there's been little new stuff from him since. However, with very little fanfare (in fact, no fanfare, as far as I saw– not even an Instagram post from the guy), these three songs were put up on the Quality Time Bandcamp not too long ago. Avid readers of this column may recall that I've thought Ricky's solo work (including stuff as Ricky Hell) is somewhat hit-or-miss. I'm pleased to say that this solidly falls under "hit." The title track really brings out Ricky's '80s indie rock influence, in a very melodic, melancholy pop tune. "Nela Park" is a great Cleveland tune, and I like that it's solidly ambivalent, both in the lyrics and the context. It's neither entirely positive nor entirely negative about the city, and while Ricky sings, "Cleveland, the only city that I really love," you can't help but remember that he's no longer living here. Sorry to get all reviewer-creep on you, but I like that kind of thing. I think I'm also starting to understand Ricky talking about how he's influenced by Pulp, which I'm not sure I've ever quite gotten before. Closing out the EP here is "Finger On The Pulse," in which Ricky really brings in the Nick Lowe influence on that chorus, eh? First there was Carter Luckfield quoting Brinsley Schwarz, now there's this, next thing you know Shagg are gonna be covering Little Village. The EP merges what I think Ricky's been going for with some of the previous Ricky Hell/Voidboys releases that didn't really stick for me with the more glam/pop influence of the "Life By The Thorns" tape, which was more my cup of tea. Really, all three songs here are pretty essential in the Ricky Hamilton catalog. If someone ever makes some kind of greatest hits/anthology type thing that includes all of his many projects, I'd say that all three songs here are worthy of inclusion. What's the deal with the release, though? The art (by Noah Depew) looks like it's laid out for a cassette, and yet I've heard no word of a cassette in the works. But then I didn't even hear about this being released in any form at all, so what do I know? It really ought to come out on a physical format of some kind, it's worthy of that. I need a copy when it does, please. 4/5

(qualitytimerecords.bandcamp.com)

 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:25 PM, 10.16.2018

The Rockport Miracles Part 2: Episode 6 "No Quarrel With Reality" Fiction by Scott MacGregor

I awoke on the morning after Rockport’s night of terror to the haunting drone of a coastal foghorn. It’s a comforting, albeit melancholy sound that always reminds me of the cadence sung by the witch’s soldiers in the “Wizard of Oz.” “Bweeeee-bomp.” “Bweeeee-Bomp.” 

As I wiped the sleep from my eyes, I remembered that it was still January. Why, I wondered, would a foghorn preside over a frozen Lake Erie? Who or what was it attempting to warn? I unpeeled myself like an artichoke from multiple layers of warm and cozy bed covers and staggered to my window. The fog was so thick that I couldn’t see the next-door neighbor’s house only 20 feet away. As I got dressed in front of a mirror, I was startled by all the bruises that covered me from head to toe. That’s when memories of the previous night with Wren Mathews came rushing back in vivid Technicolor. I had to see Wren as soon as possible.

 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:25 PM, 10.16.2018

Yayoi KUSAMA! @ Cleveland Museum Of Art 2018 - The Definitive Review

The KUSAMA Experience, a proper perspective of art, art appreciation and happenings.

In mid-2017 I heard in a casual conversation that Yayoi Kusama was going to be on exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2018. I was unfamiliar with her work, so it barely passed notice in my mind, but in fact the seed for a happening had been sown. Little did I realize what it would lead to at the time. Throughout the rest of summer I really never heard the name Kusama again and so it was meant to be. When you sow a seed it often sits fallow in the ground as a season or two passes until it can break through the ground, grab the air and the light of day and grow.


Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 4:17 PM, 10.03.2018

A Lot Of The Old-Wavers, A Lot Of The Cheaters: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 79

Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to pick out what you like (or dislike) about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much. 

 

Drum Machine - What Is A Demo? - Saucepan Records - 7 songs - cassette

The quickest description of this band is that it's basically a continuation of Folded Shirt: Larry on vocals, Mr. Terry California on guitar, and Steve Peffer on bass, with drummer Allie replaced by Richard (from Real Regular, Rubber Mate, etc., etc.). And, again, to quickly sum it up, it is in many ways reminiscent of F/S. That is not to say, however, that Drum Machine don't have their own thing going on, because they definitely do. Genre-wise, sure, you can say it's experimental punk or whatever, but there's lots of lounge and jazz elements in here. Richard doesn't play drum machine by the way, he plays real percussion. And I don't mean just drums, either, I mean there's a glockenspiel or something on here. And he can do it live, too, I've seen proof. Maybe he's the drum machine. Or maybe that's supposed to be obvious and I'm just stupid. Or maybe the name of the band has nothing to do with Richard at all. No song titles are listed here, so I've done my best to make them up. I'm sure they're all completely incorrect. "Wander Around" really brings out the lounge-punk descriptor. "Another Boring Show" is a pretty anthemic tune, very relatable. "Shoulda stayed at home" indeed. There's some real groovy sounds going on with "Just Look Down." It's evident that these guys really know how to play with/against one another. My favorite here is perhaps "Everybody Should Die," which might be the most "punk" of the bunch. It's a sort of semi-goofy but also disturbing tune ("No God…No Narcan…No 911!") very much in the same way that F/S's "Eleven And A Bucket" is. I wonder what Larry said in the part that's backwards. I'm pretty sure "Wipe Your Third Eye" is actually called "Golden Shower," but I think that's a dumb name (not that what I've got is any better). The lyrics are conspiracy theory-oriented, who'd've guessed? "Earth is flat, so's your head." "Slow" starts off sounding like Counter Intuits, but that gets lost very quickly. They really are based in lounge/jazz, and I think I've seen them billing themselves as "Cleveland's quietest band" or something like that. The final track here is "What The Hell Is That?," which features not only some great musical call-and-response, but also vocal call-and-response between Larry and Terry. So what is a demo? I don't know. This, apparently. And it's a pretty good one at that. 4/5

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 19, Posted 2:26 PM, 10.02.2018

First Concert of West Side Chamber Music Group's 60th Season

The Rocky River Chamber Music Society will be celebrating its 60th anniversary all season long, and everyone is invited! The kickoff concert, on Monday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m. at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Boulevard in Rocky River, will applaud the extraordinary young talent in our region’s distinguished music schools. The Society will present an ensemble comprised of violinist James Thompson, a Cleveland native and Artist Diploma student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, along with his Cleveland Institute of Music classmates cellist Anna Hurt and pianist Sarah Ha. This ensemble will perform works by Mozart and Shostakovich.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 18, Posted 10:34 AM, 09.18.2018

Burning River Baroque’s “Destructive Desires” Inspires Thought-Provoking Dialogue About Issues Related To #MeToo

Burning River Baroque opens their 2018-2019 season with “Destructive Desires,” an edgy program that challenges audience members to engage with issues that have been brought to the forefront of cultural awareness by the #MeToo movement. It also touches on the profound reach of the movement and the resulting conversations about consent, the misuse of power and the fact that it has provided society with the opportunity to explore new channels of communication and redefine boundaries in all types of relationships.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 18, Posted 10:34 AM, 09.18.2018

Gotta Gotta: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 78

Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to pick out what you like (or dislike) about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much. 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 18, Posted 10:34 AM, 09.18.2018

Luminous Threads/Hilos de Luz

Shamanic, transitional figures: dreamlike animal/human dancers travelling between quotidian /supernatural worlds....musically playable layers: ocean/desert/forest terrains...threads revealing life structures past/present/future; worlds upper/middle/lower; dark star constellations; points of magically charged reflected light...honoring Pacha Mama: Mother Earth/Time

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 18, Posted 10:34 AM, 09.18.2018

54321: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 77

Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to pick out what you like (or dislike) about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much. 

The Cleveland Steamers - Best Record Ever - Smog Veil Records - 10 songs - LP, CD

Let's just start this one off on a negative note and say that not only is this not the best record ever, I don't even think it's the best Cleveland Steamers record. I don't think any record should ever be called that because guess what? It's not in any way possible to live up to. And, to continue being a jerk, I was worried about this record specifically because the first two tracks did nothing for me. Fortunately, Cheese Borger and friends turned it around after that starting with "Never Saw You Again." It's a catchy garage rock-ish song (I don't think this band is really that punk, more like mid-late '80s alternative/garage/punk), and Cheese's everyman vocals really come across as defeated here, which definitely adds to it. "Dream Of Me" is a sort of spooky sounding ballad, with some tasteful organ from Cullen O'Connor of Archie & The Bunkers and a great sax part from Marianne Friend of the Adults/Rainy Day Saints to complement Meredith Rutledge-Borger's sultry vocals. Then I started thinking about how parts of it are really reminiscent of 2 Bobs' "Nightmare Song" and wondering whether it was in any way supposed to kind of be a counterpart to that. If it was, that's really funny and a really nice touch. I like the wild west guitar intro to "Monsanto" and then it kicks into an appropriate evil dirge. Halfway through it, my CD player experienced some kind of catastrophic failure and I had to take the disc out, put it back in, and go back to track 5. See, I usually wish Smog Veil would just send me the LPs, but somehow it felt right that that occurred during this song. Spooky. "Hung Up On You" features both of the Archie Bunkers (who, amusingly, are listed on the hype sticker like they're full-time members of the band– they're not), and Emmett really comes through with the bombastic drumming. I like "Last Love" well enough, but it shares the same problem as several of these songs in that it takes too long to get started as well as to go anywhere. "Maple Leaf Girl" finally brings the album a truly uptempo tune, and while I don't find "My Asshole Cousin" that interesting musically (though Nick Summa really does throw some good guitar bits in there), there are some pretty funny lyrics in there, like "he's the kind of guy who put the Jews in the oven." The last track is "Shut Up!," which is the most punk of the bunch, probably owing a lot not only to the tempo but also to guest vocalist Bob Sablack, who does indeed provide some punk vocals. The packaging is pretty great (though the two drummers are both credited as having played on track 7 and neither on track 9). Decent enough, if you're already a Cheese fan or an Archie completist, you'll probably enjoy it. 3.5/5

(smogveilrecords.com)

Saucers - Third Saucer From The Sun - Rerun Records - 12 songs - LP

Man, Rerun is having a good year. I mean, very few things could possibly top those Great Plains reissues for me, from this or any other label, but a Saucers collection is pretty darn cool. Saucers were Lakewood's own Craig Bell's band after heading to Connecticut in the late '70s. Do they sound like Mirrors or Rocket From The Tombs? No. Are they good anyway? Yes. Generally, I see Saucers represented as "Craig's thing," but there's actually a lot of shared songwriting and 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 18, Posted 4:23 PM, 09.04.2018

"The Final Goodbye" With Scenes Filmed In Lakewood, Premieres At The Capitol Theater

"The Final Goodbye" tells the tale of an aging private detective who is drawn into a web of kidnappings, murder and Nazi treasure in 1961 Cleveland. Directors Robert Swanson (Mil-Roy Pictures) and Donn R. Nottage (Velvet Buck Productions) plus editor and special effects wizard James Neyman (WLFK Productions) have teamed up to create a nostalgic look at our city that is long gone. With painstaking detail, the streets of yesteryear are brought back to life with antique cars, wardrobe and props. "The Final Goodbye" is a "must see" thriller set to premiere at the Capitol Theater 1390 West 65th Street for a "special event" on Sunday, September 9th. It will be a night to remember.

Although our feature takes place in Cleveland, major locations in Lakewood are highlighted. Mil-Roy Pictures is a Lakewood-based film troupe with many major performers living here, people like James R. Smith, Neil Donnelly, Dennis Runkle, Dan Fox, Frank McAvinue, Mark Shane Phillips (all Lakewoodites), just to name a few. You'll see exciting scenes filmed at the Shore Restaurant (courtesy of Angelo and Tina Skantzos), several key moments occur at Westwood Dry Cleaners (courtesy of Leonard Malasi), the funeral homes of Brinkman/Dress (courtesy of the late John Brinkman) and Hanna/McGorray (courtesy of Terry Stanton) were utilized for interior settings at strategic points. Alltronics Retail Systems (Sam Kandah) made possible a rare Curtis television from the 1950's. Bellino's Barber Shop (courtesy of Sam Bellino) aided with much needed 1961 style haircuts.The NEW Waterbury Nightclub (courtesy of Hoss Ashofteh) was the mobster watering hole. The dining room of John and Karin Zimmermann's home on Cook Avenue provided means for a major gun battle. John and Karin planned to remodel and gave us free reign to riddle the area with a barrage of bullets. I could go on and on, but you'll see "every" location when viewing "The Final Goodbye". Lakewood was very important in producing this motion picture of good guys v.s. bad guys with "all" concerned learning an important lesson...don't be a do-badder!

Order tickets online now for this special showing on Sunday, September 9th at 7 p.m. in the Capitol Theater. Tickets may be purchased at the door on the night of the premier, however online purchasing guarantees you a seat and is encouraged. We don't wish anyone turned away if the movie sells out. Kindly go to: https://clevelandcinemas.com/movie/275174/The-Final-Goodbye-Trailer-and-Info/20340 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 7:15 PM, 08.21.2018

Local Photographer's Picture Honored in Wyoming

A picture that Lakewood resident Bob Soltys took last fall at a Wyoming ranch was recognized as Best of Show at the 'Spirit of Wyoming' juried exhibit at the Sage Community Art Gallery in Sheridan, Wyoming. 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 7:15 PM, 08.21.2018

The Column Punk Broke: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 76

Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to pick out what you like (or dislike) about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much. 

Brain Cave - Brain Cave - Tiny God Inc. - 3 songs - cassette, download

So, the guitarist and vocalist (though all three members are credited as vocalists, more on that in a minute) of Brain Cave is Michael Bellis, a name some readers may remember from my beloved Roobydocks (and Bulsch, who are also good). In the note I received with this tape, I was told that this band does not sound like either of those bands, and I have to say I agree. I actually thought that this was gonna be some kinda powerviolence type thing because I know other members of The Roobydocks are into that, but it's not that either. I would put this firmly in the "alternative rock" camp, which is not what I expected at all. Some elements of post-hardcore, some elements of emo, the intro to the last song had me thinking they might be doing some kind of shoegaze thing…I think that last one, "Evacuate," might be my favorite of the three, it kinda sounds like it has the most going on. I'm not sure who's actually singing here, as all three members are credited with vocals (the other two are Matthew Ducey, who also plays drums, and Josh Snyder, who also plays bass), and yet, to me, it sounds like the same vocalist on all three tracks. Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention to that, or maybe they all just sound very similar. Or maybe they put that in specifically to mess with me. Who can say? To be honest, this isn't exactly my preferred genre, but it's decent stuff and I like to see when members of a band that sounds a certain way have other bands that sound completely different (aren't John and Zach Roobydock doing a new wave band these days?). Some good riffs in there, the one from "Extra Earth" really wiggled its way into my head. Cool art, too. 3/5

(braincave.bandcamp.com)

 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 7:15 PM, 08.21.2018

2018 Lakewood Arts Festival Scholarship Winner - Elyza Mihalski

Elyza Mihalski is chosen as recipient of the 2018 Lakewood Arts Festival Scholarship of $4,000.

Elyza is a 2018 graduate of Lakewood High School who will study fine art at the Cleveland Institute of Art this fall. Regarding her work, she said, "Becoming a studied and well-trained artist means that I will have the tools to not only create meaningful and visually appealing art, but to give something to be proud of and to give the world something to enjoy." Work from Elyza's portfolio of paintings and drawings will be on display in Lakewood Public Library during the festival through early August. 

The Lakewood Arts Festival awards a scholarship each year to a deserving high school graduate who resides in Lakewood and is pursuing a degree in the arts. More than 70 scholarships have been awarded since the Festival began in 1981. This year the Lakewood Arts Festival Scholarship is generously funded by supporters for the arts in our community. Proceeds from the food vendor/sponsors also goes directly to the scholarship fund.

 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 1:35 PM, 08.07.2018

Lookin' For It: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 75

Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to pick out what you like (or dislike) about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much. 

Donkey Bugs - Ancient Chinese Secrets - Fish Records - 8 songs - LP

Another Cleveland group assimilated into the Spotted Race, I see. Donkey Bugs is a project of Haley Himiko and Steve Peffer, which of course might make someone go, "oh, so it's a Pleasure Leftists side project." Well, I guess, but I don't know if this will appeal to the average everyday PL fan so much as it will fans of Steve's other stuff. You might be shocked to learn that this sounds quite a bit like Factorymen but with Haley singing. All drum machine and repetitive riffs and noise and weirdness. It's a good record. I guess the quickest, most general way of calling it would be to say it's mostly post-punk, but that doesn't really mean that much. In the same way that Factorymen can, it treads a fine line between really goofy and really creepy. Steve really brings it on the guitar on "Hammer Jammer," unless that's a really distorted synth. The "stop the hammering!" bit at the end is pretty good, too. "ABC's of Lust" is what it sounds like, and could probably be a hot funk/new wave hit in some alternate universe. "F is for…no, not that!" The vocal melody of "Isosceles" is somewhat haunting whereas in another context it might not be. "Men In High Heels" is a good punker, gets pretty upbeat and all that. "The Mystic" sounds suspiciously like it's just a sample of some other record…but that could never happen. I think they really saved the best for last with "The Example." It's a real good post-punker, almost reminds me of Gang Of Four in some way. The "movie! movie!" or whatever they're yelling at the end bit comes off almost like a tribute to the Flyin' Trichecos. A fine addition to the line of Steve Peffer stuff that includes Factorymen, Deutschland Jerky Rave, and "The Brutal Birthday." 4/5

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 1:35 PM, 08.07.2018

August Art Showcase At The Root Cafe

Artist and Cleveland native, Mata Zeigler, will showcase her work at The Root Cafe for the month of August. The Root Cafe, located at 15118 Detroit Ave., has been a space for local artists to share their work with the community for the past seven years and continues to open its doors to the thriving art scene of greater Cleveland.

Mata’s impressionist paintings combine her eye for color and design from years of art classes and a career as an accomplished floral designer. “I have always loved the arts and my fondest memories were those as a child working in the gardens with my mother,” Mata said. “People choose their medium by their personalities, mine being bold, bright, and permanent as oil paint.”

The vibrant display will draw you in with every detailed stroke. “Painting is my meditation and a beautiful way to escape back into the gardens,” said Mata. Don’t miss the chance to experience this energetic showcase and meet Mata Zeigler on August 11th at 6:30 p.m. at The Root Cafe.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 1:35 PM, 08.07.2018

Lakewood Arts Festival - Original Artwork, Original Music, Original Food - August 4

For one glistening summer day, Lakewood closes Detroit Avenue, between Belle and Arthur Avenues, and brings artists of all disciplines together along with 15,000 collectors and art lovers. The juried festival hosts over 175 regional and national artists and makers displaying paintings, prints, photography, art glass, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, fiber and more. 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 12:05 PM, 08.03.2018

2018 Non-Profit & Community Booths

For 41 years the Festival has welcomed wonderful community organizations to share the spotlight on Detroit. Visit the Kiwanis Club for a grilled hot dog, find out what’s new with LEAF or CCLAS or learn something new at the Lakewood Historical Society tent. Refresh with a bottle of water from the kids at H2O or a sweet fresh pastry from the Greek-American Hellenic Organization. Update your voter registration with the League of Women Voters or support the work of Lakewood New Life Church to provide backpacks and school supplies for children.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 12:05 PM, 08.03.2018