Video: Cleveland Hardcore Scene, Circa 1986



In 1986, Brad Pedinoff (b. mossman) and I were paired to do a project for our ethnomusicology class at Oberlin College. Seizing on our shared interest in alternative music we decided to make a video of the Cleveland hardcore scene, with which I was familiar from growing up outside of Cleveland. We trekked into the city for the weekend and ran around town filming as much as we could. It was a productive 48 hours. We interviewed record store owners, fans, bands (The Guns, Spike in Vain, and Knifedance) – and filmed Knifedance in their practice space.

It was the first video either of us had made, so the filming and editing is rough — and it is somewhat awkwardly narrated from an enthnomusicological perspective. But it captures a moment in Cleveland’s music history that has received little documentation.

Since then, much has happened. Sadly, some of the people we interviewed died at young ages. Dave Araca, drummer for The Guns and Knifedance, a talented tattoo artist, and really nice guy, suffered a brain aneurysm in 1994 at age 26. Scott Eakin, guitarist for The Guns and Knifedance (and a childhood friend of Dave’s) died in 2007 of a heart attack at age 38. On the brighter side, Bob Griffin (Spike in Vain) went on form the band Prisonshake and to become the president of Scat Records, a successful label that produced Guided by Voices and My Dad is Dead among other notable bands. I’m not sure what became of the other people we interviewed. Please share an updates you have.


[MUSIC] Rachel Zaffira’s Amazing Acoustic Cover of My Bloody Valentine

Rachel Zaffira, a multi-instrumentalist and half of the duo Cat’s Eyes, has recorded a stunning acoustic version of My Bloody Valentine’s “To Here Knows When”.  Replacing MBV’s complex layers of warped, droning electronic guitars, Zaffira uses a spine-tingling ensemble of piano, cello, French horn and other acoustic instruments. The song is apparently part of a solo project currently underway. Can’t wait!

Rave Review: “Life of the Party” by Miskatonic

Miskatonic Life of the Party

Thanks to Joel Simches of Boston’s, The Noise, for this glowing review of my band, Miskatonic’s, most recent album, Life of the Party.

* * * * * * *

Miskatonic returns with their long awaited second full length and follow-up to their brilliant EP (the 2009 release Favorite Records EP). Like it’s predecessor, Life of the Party combines energetic, intense indie rock with flashes of synth pop and sci-fi sonic chocobliss. This album takes their unique sound to a completely new level, making the transition from group to band, with infectious melodies, intricate lush arrangements and stunning production values. Oh, and the songs are great, too! Miskatonic has completely defined themselves with a sound and sensibility that’s uniquely their own. For those who enjoyed their last EP, fret not, for it is included with the nine new songs! Life of the Party is nothing less than a pop masterpiece. I can’t stop listening to this. It is so good it makes my epididymis twitch! (Joel Simches)

* * * * * * * *

The “stunning production” is courtesy of Rafi Sofer at Q Division studio in Somerville, MA. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon and other music websites.

You can read this and other Boston band reviews on the The Noise’s website.

Here’s the video for Goodnight Baby, the first song on Life of the Party. Photos by the always awesome Hans Wendland.

The Future of the Book


The Future of the Book

Mod's diagram of analog vs. digital publishing system.

Thanks to for turning me on to a great 2011 article on the future of the book by Craig Mod, Post Artifact Books and Publishing.

The article covers much ground in discussing the book as pre-artifact (writing and publishing), artifact (the book itself) and post-artifact (the life of a book after being published). Community-influenced writing and digital publishing is clearly blurring the lines between these traditional stages, as well as between author and reader.

Most interesting to me is his focus on the opportunities digital technology creates for books, as opposed to how books can be digitized. He writes,

When we think about digital’s effect on storytelling, we tend to grasp for the lowest hanging imaginative fruits. The common cliche is that digital will ‘bring stories to life.’ Words will move. Pictures become movies. Narratives will be choose-your-own-adventure. While digital does make all of this possible, these are the changes of least radical importance brought about by digitization of text. These are the answers to the question, “How do we change books to make them digital?” The essence of digital’s effect on publishing requires a subtle shift towards the query: “How does digital change books?”

He cites the encyclopedia as an example. Digitizing the encyclopedia results in a Microsoft Encarta CD. Asking how digital technology can change the encyclopedia gives us Wikipedia, a crowdsourced living document that is constantly being rewritten, yet through its system of verification has built a large degree of trust and widespread adoption.

As the digital publishing systems evolve we will have more opportunities to share our highlights, marginalia and reactions to books in real time with large audiences. A book will be in a constant state of being rewritten by its readers.

Like many, I love the book as a physical object and romanticize the idea of an author struggling in isolation to produce a unique work of genius. But I also share Mod’s excitement about being part of a publishing revolution that will bring writers and readers together to create iterative texts that would have never before been possible.

A Kindle version of this article is available for $2.99. Or you can just read it on Mod’s site for free.

[TV] Overlooked: The Life and Times of Tim

Life many of the best shows, HBO’s The Life and Times of Tim quickly garnered critical accolades and a cult following only to be quashed by the network after its second season. But, following rumors that it would be picked up by another network, HBO reversed its decision and ordered a third season, which started in December.

In this animated comedy series, Tim, a New York slacker, finds himself in a variety of ridiculous, uncomfortable situations. His attempts to extricate himself only get him in deeper. He’s a bit like Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm, only younger and more eager to please. And a cartoon.