Über Pere Ubu
Cult band par excellence Pere Ubu emerged from the blighted urban landscape of Cleveland in the mid-1970s. Bringing together the nihilistic angst of Peter Laughner and the literary decadence of Dave Thomas, the band's early work re-created the dark squalor of the Velvet Underground and added a combative stance that made the band the apple of so many punk eyes. Their first single "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" is an exhausting bout of chilling restraint and fevered moments of rock release. The second, "Final Solution," offered yet another profusion of ashen anger and existential despair, but its flip side "Cloud 149" gave a taste of the agit-pop weirdness that would come to define the band's sound. With the connivance of guitarist Tom Herman and keyboardist Allen Ravenstine, Thomas spared the listener an easy listening experience by spoiling the rod of dissonant, jagged pop textures and obtuse, surrealist lyrics. Delivered in a Julia Childs-esque falsetto warble, Thomas's bedlamite babble sends listeners on semantic wild goose chases that oftentimes never reach their goal. After a six year hiatus, Pere Ubu returned in 1988 with The Tenement Year, an album which saw the band reining in its experimental excesses for a more accessible and polished sound. Since then, Thomas and company have recorded and toured sporadically, though without surpassing their cult status.