Mike Uva has been a quiet, steady presence on Cleveland’s indie rock scene since his days as guitarist with Machine Go Boom in the early-mid ’90s. He also ran the Collective Escalators, the label that released their music as well as records by bands like Coffinberry and Goodmorning Valentine.
But he’s had his own career, making sparse, casual-sounding music since his 2004 release Where Have You Been. He hasn’t released anything since 2007, but he’s back now with yet another unpretentious release, Lady, Tell Me Straight. Mike Uva and his band the Bad Eyes (bassist Matt Charboneau, drummer Tony Cross, and pianist Mike Lyford) will play at 9 p.m. tonight at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood. Tinko opens the show.
“I had gone a long time without recording anything,” says Uva. “I really wanted to have a new calling-card batch of songs. I wrote most of these over the last two years and recorded them as I wrote them. I conceived of it as collection of songs other people would be singing instead of me, like a collection of songs written in the Brill Building.”
To finesse limited money, he used “a couple of microphones and a little portable recording machine” to record at Charboneau’s house, mixing it himself. He augmented his core team with other musicians who added trumpet, harmonica, and slide guitar to some of the tracks.
“They put on the finishing touches — little detail type things,” he says.
To do the limited edition vinyl pressing (which comes with an Mp3 download), he turned to Kickstarter, setting a modest goal of $1,500, which he overshot by almost a third.
“It seemed like a lot of people listen to music on their computers,” he says. “The download thing has devalued CDs as an object. I had boxes of CDs from various projects in my attic. My guess is that if people are going to get physical thing, they would prefer vinyl. I don’t buy too many CDs anymore.”