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The Vertical Slum
If you're a Clevelander or a Cleveland sympathizer (or both), you have nothing to feel sorry about this year. In the wake of the garage rock explosion, we're all subject to our own doubts about bands that are described as "influenced by The Stooges, Television, Pere Ubu, and Roxy Music". Well, I'd advise you to put those doubts behind you (at least temporarily) and listen to the new collection of absolute fucking rock by Cleveland's finest, Cobra Verde. Easy Listening, released earlier this year on Wayne Kramer's Muscle Tone Records, boasts eleven excellent tracks of absolute raw fun. So much fun in fact, they got their fan/friend J. Mascis to play guitar on several tracks. The name-dropping (Guided by Voices split 7" coming soon) stops now.
Our fire breathing Ohioans exhibit an amazing ability to bring the ethic and songwriting style of their influences (which they wear on their hearts, not sleeves) together in a cohesive way. Nightlife (1999), despite some of the classic tracks like "Every God for Himself", was too eclectic and inconsistent when compared to Easy Listening. This album cannot let you down if you are looking for an honest rock experience.
All the tracks are equally enticing and worthy of some air guitar/sing-along action. Check out "Modified Frankenstein" and "Terrorist" for a good laugh. Rock out to "Riot Industry" or "Till Sunrise" when you need a good reason to pound one of those PBR's that's been sitting in the fridge forever. If you already like Cobra Verde or are a garage rock enthusiast, this album is for you. If not, you can stay home while we go to the party. Kudos to Cobra Verde! They made the best album to come out of Cleveland in a long time, possibly ever (Sorry Bone Thugz). -- Phil
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