Various Artists

Hotel Cleveland, Vol. 3

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Back in 1992, Scat Records issued volume three of what was hoped to be an ongoing series of compilations, documenting the best alternative bands out of Cleveland. For whatever reason, this unfortunately proved to be the last addition to the series, but it still serves as a snapshot of the Cleveland scene in the early '90s. Unlike Scat's other compilation, the excellent archival Those Were Different Times, Hotel Cleveland presents new material. Two of the three groups featured on Those Were Different Times reappear here (Mirrors with "I'm the One," and the Styrenes with "2 Up 2 Down"), showing great stamina. Because of the number of artists on this release, there is a great variety of musical styles included here. The group Boy in Love shows that they've been bitten by the Jonathan Richman bug on the acoustic "Coins," while two other groups explore stranger, synthesized sounds (the warped track "Sugar Shack" by Puff Tube, and the end of "After My Buddies Got Killed in 'Nam" by Supie T and Friends). MDID is off-key and proud of it on "Time and Again," and Doug Gillard projects his larger-than-life, Nick Cave-like vocals throughout the compilation's lead-off cut, "J.H.-S." And besides the music, you'll find a few hilariously named bands, such as the Flaming Telepaths, and the best of the bunch, Burning Lesbians. Even though each track is by a different band (except for two by Doug Gillard), the album has a continuity to it, which is not found in many compilations. If you're in search of rough, underappreciated rock, Hotel Cleveland, Vol. 3 is quite a find.

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