[18 July 2010]
Birthing the likes of such groups as the Electric Eels, Pere Ubu, the Dead Boys, and Rocket from the Tombs, Cleveland, Ohio, is the homeland to some of the most innovative post-punk scenes America had to offer in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. However, you really have to know your Forest City rock history to be hip to Easter Monkeys. Formed in 1981 by former Electric Eels guitarist Jim Jones, they recorded an album shortly after getting together entitled Splendor of Sorrow. But the 1983 debut did not get officially released until 1990 on the small Hit and Run label. This most excellent deluxe edition of Splendor from Cleveland’s indelible Smog Veil imprint comes with a mighty sum of bonus live material, including a particularly visceral rendition of “Cheap Heroin”, a track from the 1982 compilation Cleveland Confidential that for a while marked the Monkeys’ only official release before they called it quits in 1984, as well as a rough audience capture of a 1982 Agora Theatre show on DVD. Any fan of the secret history of Cleveland punk will want to look into picking up this essential version of Splendor of Sorrow.