“Sonic Reducer” by Rocket From The Tombs

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As a kid that grew up in Cleveland, I’ve always been fascinated by the ways in which my rust belt city left an impression on what might have been called the American underground. We had Derek Hess’s posters, we had Harvey Pekar cartooning in Coventry, we could high five Chrissie Hynde, we had the punk rock of the Dead Boys, and perhaps most confounding of all, we had  Dave Thomas, who called himself Pere Ubu, and who, in the dark and murky 70s formed a band called Rocket From The Tombs. Few tracks, then, could be more Cleveland underground than the Tombs’ version of the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer.” As a cover, it is certainly more straight forward than most Tombs’ songs, much less later Pere Ubu material, but, gritty, sludgy, driving in the manner of the era it is also somehow more radioactive than the original: a sludge pooling at the far end of an abandoned warehouse in the Flats, long before urban renewal, when the river was still burning.

-Mark Gurarie

Mark Gurarie photoMark Gurarie is a co-curator of Brooklyn based reading series, Mental Marginalia, Printed Matter Editor at Boog City and bass player for indie-punk band, Galapagos Now!.

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