Psychology: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 101

Cheap Clone - New Paltz/Walk To Canada - Just Because Records / Peanut Butter Records - 2 songs - cassette, digital

These are, sadly, the final recordings from my beloved Cheap Clone (hopefully just temporarily, but for now, this is it). At least they've gone out on a high note! (and that's not a joke about Drew's vocal range). "New Paltz" is a totally great power pop track with jangly/chorus-y guitars throughout and some siren-like noises at the start. It's a really catchy track, and that alternating-two-notes guitar lead throughout works really well. The "flip" (although not really, since both songs are on the same side– and actually, both repeat on the other side as well) is another good track, "Walk To Canada," parts of which remind me of The Mice. There's also part of the guitar lead that I really like and can't quite place what it's reminding me of. In any case, this is really good, much like everything else Cheap Clone has released. I will deeply miss this band and I keep my fingers crossed for their eventual return. 4/5

( to listen, you may have to bug the band or label directly for the tape)

The Mind - Edge Of The Planet - Drunken Sailor Records - 8 songs - 12", digital

Eight solid tracks of drum machine-driven post-punk from The Mind here, although to just say drum machine post-punk is overly simple. Steve Peffer is a member of this group, which should tell you immediately that it's both better and more strange than just "drum machine post-punk." In some ways, it kinda feels to me like if Factorymen was a more accessible and less immediately weird project. Sorry if those two sentences seem a bit contradictory– these are catchy tracks in a definable genre, but there's still strange and sometimes eerie synth swells, disjointed guitar parts from Jordan Darby, and melancholy, at times almost haunting vocal melodies from Vanessa Darby. The tracks here are all at least a little hypnotic in a way, and they all live up to the tone set by the cover art: a twilight highway with weird neon lights running across it (at least that's what I'm seeing, and, I guess, hearing). A good record– I don't know if I'd necessarily say each track works on its own, but as one piece, this thing is good. My favorite songs are "Running On My Head" and "Technical Intuition," but again, you kinda gotta hear the whole thing. Steve gets a great bass tone on here. A cool project that I hope to hear more from. 4/5


Various Artists - We Were Living In Cincinnati - HoZac Records - 18 songs - LP, digital

To my knowledge, this is the first KBD/Bloodstains-style comp covering Cincinnati. It's very interesting to listen to this and hear how the Cincinnati version of punk/new wave/no wave/whatever differed from the Cleveland "sound" or the Akron "sound." It's kinda hard to put into words, but there's just something regionally different about it, I guess. This covers a good mix of styles– 11,000 Switches (whose "Drinking Elvis Wine" provides this comp with its title) do weird no wave that's almost proto-industrial, Dream 286 do gothy synth-punk, The Erector Set do ska (which has no place in my world, but here they are anyway), The Verbs do power poppy punk, The Ed Davis Band have "oi! oi! oi!" backing vocals…a little bit of a lot of things on here. Not all tracks are great (the aforementioned foray into ska, the hard rock/glam thing that Bitter Blood does, the bar band new wave of The Rockers (if that band name doesn't tell you everything, the fact that, according to the liner notes, their other song was 'forgettable faux-reggae' sure should)), but there are some great tracks on here. Both tracks from The Customs are pretty top tier punk 'n' roll– obviously "Long Gone" is an indisputable classic of the subgenre, but "Let's Get It On" is also very good; the singer of Beef makes ridiculous/great vocal sound effects, like an ambulance and the titular "Nosedive"; BPA's "Dead Boy" is a great song to get people to leave your party (and it's quite an earworm) and their vocalist seems to have been having a competition with the singer of The Dents to see who had the more annoying voice; The Verbs have a great catchy punk track in "Little In Doubt," as do News with "Stop"; and Teddy & The Frat Girls closing this sucker out with "Clubnite" is amazing– no wave/noise punk with incredible screamed vocals. I heard an advance review of this comp from a label guy who said "Cleveland did this sound so much better," and while I don't disagree, that's a bit unfair because Cleveland did (and still does) punk better than anywhere else, not just Cinci. For what it is, this is pretty good. Again, not all winners, but a solid comp with stuff that's worth hearing on it. 3.5/5


Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email

Read More on Arts
Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 10:32 AM, 03.04.2020