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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Fresh Cleveland Punk Invades NYC

New Lou Reeds, from Cleveland, originally uploaded by Theresa K.

See this band tonight or tomorrow in NYC - The New Lou Reeds. Sunday at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Monday night at the Knitting Factory (8 pm).

My favorite non-Beatle British songwriter, Ian Hunter proclaimed that “Cleveland Rocks.” I agree with him in so many ways. From the power pop days of the Choir and Raspberries to the frat-garage-rock of the McCoy’s and the fact that their “Hang on Sloopy” is the State’s Official Rock n Roll song… Cleveland has been rocking. In the 70s, Cleveland gave the world one of my favorite bands, The Dead Boys. Ohio itself unleashed the unique rock n roll of bands like Devo, The Pretenders, Pere Ubu, Guided by Voices, Blue Ash, James Gang, Rocket From the Tombs, Hammer Damage, Rubber City Rebels and so many more. In the 80s and 90s, post-punk, new wave and re-energized rock bands like Death of Samantha, New Bomb Turks, Craw, Cobra Verde, The Breeders, Brainiac, Afghan Wigs, Bassholes, Cheater Slicks, New Salem Witch Hunters, The Mormons, Proletarian Art Threat, The Conservatives, Quazi Modo and lots of great bands I’m probably forgetting continued the tradition of surviving against all desperate odds. They are intelligent people with character living in a place with a depressed economy, so they take shitty jobs because that’s all there is, get married, settle down and support one another because it was the thing to do. In short, they play from the heart and from experience.

These days, I’m loving the rock n roll made by a Cleveland trio called The New Lou Reeds, pictured above. No, they don’t cover Velvet Underground songs… but they’ve got the spirit of the young, street-wise Reed and the pure Cleveland pathos of every band name-checked above. Someone else described them as "CCR on a Minutemen bender." I'd say that was pretty accurate. My favorite of their songs is called “Poverty Stinks.” It observes but not whines about the current state of affairs in the Rust Belt. Reminds me of what the original punks from the 70s were saying.

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