Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cleveland Roxx #1

An Intro 
“Cleveland hardcore is an infestation of termites that swarms your brain, rotting the foundation and creating a lust in the listener that can only be satiated by more low-budget 7”s, more weird pressing variations, more ridiculous stories, just fucking more! The more pieces of the puzzle you put together, the more so much of the senselessness of that scene starts to make sense.” – Life’s a Rape fanzine “90’s Cleveland” column. Issue #2

Cleveland hardcore, namely 90's Cleveland hardcore, sticks out like a blighting, malignant mole on hardcore history's shaven head.  A seething, mutant punk-metal amalgamation, gummed together in a sordid soft-serve swirl of things most evil, perverse, petty and macabre. It's a sound nourished by the nasty brawling feeling that only a city of perpetual losers un-connected to anything "cool" and "coastal" can cultivate (minus Jim Brown of course), insulated and unsullied by the the Beaver Cleaver-isms and jingoist idealism that made so much other 'core from that era saccharine and unlistenable.  

Of course, none of this shit would even be worthy of discussion (let alone blog-worthy) were it not punctuated with a revolving cast of legitimate freaks (re)emerging in various iterations to beat the shit out of each other and join each other's bands. Weirdos who X'd up at one point and then went straight to inhalants. They owned Severed Survival, Left Hand Path and Love Gun. They wrote cryptic faux-satanic songs about air Jordans, used pro wrestling imagery unironically, publicized their beefs with the rest of the country's hardcore (both real and imagined) and gleefully pissed into hardcore's PC punch bowl for a few years when it could really still be done.

Here’s my (biased and subjective) take on a gaggle of Cleveland HC records you should absolutely embrace, many of which you may have not heard (and one you DEFINITELY have), for when your next faith crisis hits and you finally acknowledge that Insted were boring and lame. 

Part 1
The Mormons – On the Trail West EP 
A delightsome name for a snotty, yet equally delightsome band. The Mormons weren't anything too different from the usual crop of Cleveland wildcore bands, but the name + EP title seal it for me. Also luv to the Ghetto Blaster sound quality, and a band who has their own theme song (er, hymn?) to lead off a record (see "March of the S.O.D...if it led off the record. Never mind). Kinda just a little bit melodic (if you can pick it out) and not too far sonically from H-100s legit-level psycho goofsanity, just a little more PONK. Note it especially in "Your Shit" wriggling beneath the tumult. Yes, according to EP layout, they did actually employ a white shirts + ties gimmick. Easy to find on discogs (as in, you won't need to spend 10% of your annual "increase" to get a copy...) but it's rare enough that any dorky/autistic-grade fans of that era would still kind of want to have one in their collection. Oh, and get a chortle off a track named "Bring 'Em Young," a title which probably laid the groundwork for an entire porno series. 

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