Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Styrenes - It's Still Artastic
One of the finest of Cleveland's rich, intense proto-punk menagerie. "Drano In your Veins" is a classic life-affirming anthem.
"The Styrenes are precursors to many of the precursors of the bands that you are listening to now. They have their origins in the burgeoning 70's Cleveland scene that spawned such classic bands as Pere Ubu & Dead Boys. Indicative of this incestuous family of Cleveland bands, the Styrenes were founded by The Electric Eels' Paul Marotta & Mirrors' Jamie Klimek, with an amalgam of attending musicians: Jim Jones (Pere Ubu), John Morton (Electric Eels), Anton Fier (Golden Palominos, Lounge Lizards), Mike Hudson (Pagans). With a style best described as jazzy agro-pop, the Styrenes were a bit "off," a bit too weird, even by CLE standards, kind of like Syd Barret backed by Pavement. Including "Drano In Your Veins" (truly one of the best songs you'll hear, and one of the most joyously violent songs of all time), "Girl Crazy," "Jaguar Ride," "Radial Arm Saws," It's Still Artastic could possibly be the quintessential Cleveland 70's anthem you need in your collection.
This is the genuine article more convincing & more daring, playing host to modern day re-makes & copycats. The Styrenes, on the other hand, experiment with almost every song. The result is indescribable, chaotic, often catchy, and always on-edge. Adventurous and exciting- punk/agro-jazz w/ a tinge of hostility that can only be described as genius. The music on It's Still Artastic sounds just as idiosyncratic now as it did then, and just as prescient. The rest of the world has yet to catch up.
The Cleveland landscape is coming under the microscope again; Pere Ubu, The Electric Eels, & Amoeba (raft boy) (feat. members of the Styrenes) all recently released new albums, Rocket From The Tombs' newest re-issue is selling very well, and Cheetah Chrome is packing the house in Nashville. The time is ripe." - ROIR
"The Styrenes proved to be a crucial missing link between Sixties punk grunge and Eighties avant-rock. It's Artastic is an overdue retro-salute to the Styrenes' rarefied smashup of ragged-ass psychedelia, proto-No Wave guitar noise, corkscrew jazz & pummeling freak rock."
- David Fricke
Screwed & Chopped