Video: Cleveland Hardcore Scene, Circa 1986

knifedance

Knifedance

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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

Diary of Anne Frank String Quartet Documentary

Shortly after graduating from college in the late ’80s, I moved to Minneapolis where a number of my fellow Oberlin alums had migrated. Three of them (Josh Feit, Jeff Tolbert and Laura Harada) had formed a strange pop band that traded drums for violin and cello. Another (Barry Madore) shared an interest  in music and cameras, so we teamed up with the local cable station to make a documentary about the Diary of Anne Frank String Quartet. I finally got around to digitizing it and breaking it into two parts so that Youtube can handle it. The video features interviews with all the members and live performances of their wonderful, haunting music. (And, yes, some of the early moments in the film are intentionally silent.)

Part 1

Part 2