Cleveland Music Scene

There’s something about Frank by ClevelandBloggers
February 21, 2011, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’d like to think that the only reason Frank Zappa isn’t the most popular rock musician on Earth is because he was just too smart for mainstream media. That or he made too many penis jokes to ever be a marketable artist.

The average music fan who hears about Zappa might dismiss him as being too weird. He is, but don’t let that scare you off from what could potentially be one of the most enjoyable listening experiences you’ll have all week. I’ve been a fan of Zappa since middle school, and my love for his lyrical cleverness and melodic genius has grown with every album I’ve hunted tirelessly for in stinky used record shops.

Zappa’s scathing criticism of conformity, politics and all things normal mask the extreme complexity of the melodies, harmonies and almost intimidating array of instruments he used throughout his music career. He was originally the frontman for anti-everything ‘60s group The Mothers of Invention, who released around 13 albums (including a soundtrack to their absolutely INSANE film 200 Motels and not including a slew of bootlegs), and later went on to have an embarrassingly prolific solo career right up to his untimely death from prostate cancer in 1993.

You’re probably asking yourself, why should I care about some weird dead white guy that this writer is using as an excuse to show off her ridiculously bad taste in music with? I don’t know, reader, I guess you should just listen to his stuff and find out for yourself.

Zappa’s nearest brush with commercial came occurred with the the 1982 single  “Valley Girl”, an especially hilarious song if you’re from or have ever been to L.A. The song basically consists of Frank singing in his trademark, chain-smoker baritone about a San Fernando chick with “a whole buncha nothing in there”, while his daughter Moon Unit (yep) improvises a spoken word piece in stereotypical, valley girl fashion. It’s certainly not his best song, but there’s a reason that it’s the only song you’ll hear by him on the radio.

I can’t provide a guided tour of Frank’s career, but I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with what you’ll find once you start digging deeper into his discography. The immature hilarity of the classic “Why Does it Hurt When I Pee?”will make even the most skeptical listener giggle at the genuine anguish of the party involved.

I especially encourage you to check out Zappa if you are easily offended or just a prude in general. Zappa’s songs will never fail to piss you off, and you’ll always have something to rail against if you’re ever feeling exceptionally self-righteous.

Anyway, for those of you still reading this (all one of you), I can only say that the more Zappa fans there are in the world, the better. He is the only artist whose use of irony is meant to make a point, and his cleverness always seems effortless. I’ll listen to anything that makes me feel good, and Zappa never, ever fails to bring a smile to my face. Laugh at the world, laugh at yourself, but always be sure to laugh with Frank Zappa, never at him.

No catchphrase,



February 14th Has Arrived! by ClevelandBloggers
February 14, 2011, 8:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s that time of year again…Valentine’s Day! I’ve noticed the songs I chose this year aren’t as depressing as last year.  Any who, as promised I have created an updated Valentine’s Day playlist. Full of songs great for either hating or loving February 14th. And as always, I promise there will be NO Michael Bolton included. So here we go…THE VALENTINES DAY PLAYLIST #2!!!!!

  1. Okkervil River Song“, by Okkervil River
  2. Yeah Yeah“, by Sam Means
  3. Thanks to You“, by Copeland
  4. First Day of My Life“, by Bright Eyes (Perhaps the sweetest video I’ve EVER seen)
  5. Another Sun“, by Malakai
  6. Bruises“, by Chairlift
  7. You Make My Dreams Come True“, by Hall & Oats
  8. The Bagman’s Gambit“, by The Decemberists
  9. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea“, by Neutral Milk Hotel
  10. Lullabies“, by Defiance, Ohio
  11. Red and Purple“, by The Dodos
  12. Penny Is Poison“, by The Verve Pipe
  13. Home“, by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  14. Yellow“, by Coldplay (It’s not complete without this cheesy song!)
  15. She’s Got You High“, by Mumm-Ra
  16. Let Me Know“, by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  17. You Sexy Thing“, by Hot Chocolate (Stop laughing, you know you love it)
  18. See/Saw“, by Jay Reatard
  19. Anna Begins“, by Counting Crows
  20. Someday“, by The Strokes
  21. I Got a Girl“, by Tripping Daisy
  22. Island Song“, by Ashley Eriksson (The song that plays at the end of Adventure Time)
  23. Such Great Heights“, by Iron & Wine (Cover of a Postal Service song)
  24. Us“, by Regina Spektor
  25. Multiplayer“, by The Voluntary Butler Scheme
  26. Your Arms Around Me“, by Jens Lekman
  27. You! Me! Dancing!“, by Los Campesinos! (Fun video!)
  28. Anyone Else But You“, by The Moldy Peaches
  29. Lazy Eye“, by Silversun Pickups
  30. I Will Follow You Into the Dark“, by Death Cab for Cutie
  31. Excuses“, by The Morning Benders
  32. New Slang“, by The Shins
  33. Friday I’m In Love“, by The Cure
  34. All I Want Is You“, by Barry Louis Polisar
  35. Wonderwall“, by Oasis
  36. Can’t Stop“, by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  37. Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?“, by She & Him
  38. Saturday“, by Moses Campbell (Couldn’t find the recorded version)
  39. Superstar“, by Sonic Youth (Cover of a Carpenters song)
  40. Fell In Love With a Girl“, by The White Stripes

As usual, you can click the names of the songs to watch the videos. Enjoy…and happy Valentine’s Day!


(P.S.) I believe Barry White songs are a necessary part of this day as well.

Dear Current Music Scene: You Don’t Suck! by ClevelandBloggers
February 13, 2011, 4:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


First of all, I do NOT mean any disrespect to Kelly by writing this article. But I completely disagree with the accusations of music today being terrible and unoriginal. Their are SO many great options out there to listen to. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking Lady Gaga. While I admit, I’m not too fond of her…I know many other people are. And there’s a reason for that. Just because things are a lot different then 1973, doesn’t mean things have gotten bad.

I’m not sure anyone has the right to call certain types of music “bad”. While someone might hate one band, another person might love then. So obviously, the person who loves the artist doesn’t think they’re bad.

Not everyone has the free time on their hands…or the extra money for that matter to go to a bunch of “indie” shows (Yes, “indie” music really does still exist). Others just don’t see the point in searching the internet for hours to find something that no one else listens to. For some people, whatever is on the radio is all that’s available for them. And that’s fine!

There are plenty of inventive bands that are actually indie bands. Sonic Youth was incredibly new and different for their time. And to say that the Rolling Stones have burned out is borderline ridiculous! What do you expect? They’re almost in their 70’s! They deserve a pat on the back for the musical revolution they created before the 21st century.

It’s not right to turn your nose up just because you don’t necessarily love what’s being created. Music in the earlier decades was called “garbage” by many but are now considered classics. Good bands of this century such as The Strokes, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, The White Stripes, Modest Mouse, Silversun Pickups, The XX, The Raconteurs, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Decemberists, Peter Bjorn and John, Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire (I could go on all day) are everywhere!

Music today is just as good as the decades before. Every decade borrows from the ones before it, that’s how music and style work.

Music is art…and art is open to interpretation, so you can not just call music “bad” because you don’t personally like it.


(P.S.) Speaking of “cliches”, I’ll be back with my usual insanely cheesy Valentines Day playlist later!

Dear current music scene: Please stop sucking. by ClevelandBloggers
February 12, 2011, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

As far as I’m concerned, the state of the music world has been on a continuous downward trajectory since the 21st century began. Every decade from the 1950s on has more or less been defined by the music it produced as a result of the ever-swinging pendulum of personal taste and youth in rebellion. Examine any sort of timeline of popular music and the generational gaps are blatantly obvious.

Whether it be the shift in interest towards endless string of pop hits produced on the Motown label to the epically long psychedelic jams of genre-defining rock groups of the 60’s; the rebellion against the said jams by the countless bands produced by the punk explosion of the late 70’s; through the complete bastardization of punk by the synth-abusing, pastel-wearing New Wave yuppies of the 80s; all the way up through the small but potent grunge movement against the said yuppies during the early 90’s, and the subsequent girl group and boy band revival at the turn of the new century, all of the bands and music produced during the 20th century have been burned into the consciousness of listeners, and is probably the reason for the absolute, unadulterated hatred I feel towards 99% of the music produced so far in the 21st century.

I think the main problem with the state of music today is the underlying notion that the boundaries of music have already been met, leaving current artists to shamelessly copy 20th century artists without feeling the need to create anything unique (or listenable, for that matter). Read an interview with any currently popular artist ; chances are they’ll discuss what artists they’ve based their sound off instead of what makes their sound unique. If a band validates their existence by the artists they choose to imitate, I really don’t see the point in listening to them when I could just listen to the artist that inspired them; they usually sound better anyway.

This argument does not exclude those artists who do inspire new music. Practically every 20th century artist that has lasted up to this point have lost what made them memorable due to time and the shift in interest to newer artists. Everyone from Elton John to my beloved DEVO and, yes, even the Rolling Stones have become a decaying shell of what they once were, trying in vain to recapture the spark they once lit the music world alight with.

So why this sudden halt in musical progression? As noted earlier, the feeling of there being nothing left to create is the basis of my attitude towards the current musical landscape. The apparent division between excessively popular acts like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rhianna and *gulp* Justin Bieber and the “indie” (because none of these acts are actually on indie labels anymore) or hipster groups like  MGMT and Sonic Youth does not eliminate the obvious lack of creativity or desire to create a generation-defining sound that those generations will be proud to be associated with.

Ladies and gentlemen, THE FUTURE!

Of course, all of this is coming from someone who’s never listened to “Bad Romance” all the way through and couldn’t care less about the difference between Bruno Mars and 30 Seconds to Mars. However, the mass-marketing of musical and cultural movements of decades past to the youth of today is enough proof for me to know that the progression of music will continue to move downward as far as quality and originality are concerned.

So, despite this nihilistic rant about how terrible everything is, I intend to cover the few groups who are giving me at least a fraction of hope for the future, and reintroducing some older obscurities I think are worth sharing with you, dear reader.

Finally starting this whole long term back-patting blog is British group I Blame Coco. Fronted by the androgynous Coco Sumner (daughter of one of my least-favorites ever Sting), the unlikely combination of hypnotic electro-alt and Coco’s husky yet weirdly feminine tenor creates an unforgettable sound unlike anything I’ve heard all millennium. Their debut album The Constant is unfortunately unavailable in the U.S., but you can stream singles from their Myspace page or Youtube. I highly recommend checking out Coco’s earlier stuff, as she was more ska- and reggae-oriented before she got signed to Island Records, which I personally think is a better fit for her amazing voice. Anyway, if you’ re willing to pay for  The Constant in English pounds, you can purchase the album from their official site. Or, you know, find some other way to listen to it.

I’ll be back, hopefully with something catchier than a standard cliche to end my posts with.

-Kelly Sheetz