Cle-punk veteran Tony Erba has a hard-earned rep for manic performances inspired by pro wrestling and golden-age hardcore. With 9 Shocks Terror, the Gordon Solie Motherfuckers, and Amps II Eleven, he's ended many a set looking like he's emerged victorious from a cage match. But wipe off the blood, and he has a nostalgic streak.
Erba reveals a seldom-heard sensitive side as singer and lyricist of the Cheap Tragedies, a throwback that sounds like Gorilla Biscuits on a 'roid rage. "Going Going Gone (Vanishing Americana)" is fast and furious, but it flies a flag at half-mast for the scene of yesteryear. Barking like a mad dog, he runs down a list of vanished local landmarks: the Memphis Drive-In, Uncle Bill's record store, Charlie's Chips restaurant, the old Agora. "(My Boss Ain't No) Jewish Carpenter" and "The Target Shoots Back" are screw-the-system mosh-pit cyclones that flatten everyone from straitlaced civilians to over-pierced Suicide Girls.
The all-star band includes monster-drummer Ian Thomas and Lovekill mainman Chris Rager, who proves that once you go post-hardcore, you can go back.