This Moment in Black History has already cast its vote for the presidential race with "Obama (The Pres Is You, the Pres Is Me)." The punk-funk anthem updates the song "Allah Wakbar" by '60s Nigerian Afro-psych-rock group Ofo the Black Company. The Cleveland band had been toying with the tune for more than a year but turned it into an Obama song in the spring. It plays like a lost blast from Sly & the Family Stone.
"For myself, the song celebrates having a potential president who is black, the child of a non-white immigrant and of mixed race," says bassist Lawrence Daniel Caswell. "Those are some pretty big milestones to cross. Now, that perceived upper limit on the potential of what so many of us can be is, if not gone, then generally disregarded."
"Obama" is available on iTunes now. It will be released October 18 as the A-side of This Moment's Raw Black Power EP. The B-side is a cover of Gaunt's "Jim Motherfucker," sung by drummer Lamont "Bim" Thomas. Texas-based Insect Records will release the 7-inch single.
Texas punk veteran Tim Kerr (ex-Big Boys) illustrated the cover. Kerr produced both records by Chargers Street Gang, one of TMBIH frontman Chris Kulcsar's former bands.
This Moment recorded the song in June with engineer Paul Maccarone at Cleveland's Zombie Proof Studio, where it also recorded the upcoming album Public Square. The band is shopping the disc; no release date is set. Caswell - who describes himself as a "newlywed preternaturally indignant black man" - says when the racially mixed group formed, it didn't imagine documenting this kind of moment in history.
"It's the kind of thing there's no going back on," Caswell says of Obama's Democratic candidacy. "It might not be a new America, but it's definitely a better one. The prez is you, the prez is me - and that is a fact worth celebrating."
¥ Hardcore band Heads Held High has set Saturday, November 29, as the CD release party for So Say We All. Peabody's (2083 E. 21st St.) will host the show.
"The newer material is definitely ... I dunno if heavier is the right word," says bassist Rob Edwards. "Maybe darker than the old stuff, at least musically. It's a little more raw, for sure."
Edwards and drummer David "1313" Breda's horror-rock side project, the Punk Rods, opens for the Misfits at Peabody's on Wednesday, October 8. The band released its debut, Murder Ride, last year.
¥ Driver Side Impact will release its sophomore album, Lion, on Friday, November 7 at Peabody's. The band recorded at Cleveland's Track Six Studios with Don Debiase. Frontman Branden Langhals and guitarist Jack McGinty are the only two remaining members from 2007's The Very Air We Breathe, the band's Victory Records debut.
"The music is a lot more mature and focused," says guitarist Mark Woodbridge (ex-Dear Whoever). "We really wanted to be heavier, poppier and catchier. Lyrically, the record speaks of the last two years of the band and the adversity we've had to overcome to be where we are now."
¥ Conya Doss's new video for "What'd I Do" premiered on BET J and is now posted on YouTube. The neo-soul siren plays Cleveland on Saturday, November 8, at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd.).
¥ Cleveland's Bone Thugs-N-Harmony landed at no. 33 in Vh1's 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs, with 1996's "Tha Crossroads." Krayzie Bone was one of the few artists to grace the list twice: His appearance in Chamillionaire's "Ridin'" landed at 91. The five-part series airs all week.
¥ After more than 10 years of on-again, off-again existence, Akron's Equals Four will release its full-length debut on Saturday, October 11, at Musica (51 E. Market St., Akron). Says singer-guitarist Rob Johnson, "It's honest rock 'n' roll - a little Pretenders, Social Distortion, Ramones, etc." The band formed in 1995, broke up in 1997 then reunited again in 2005. Take a listen at myspace.com/EqualsFour.
¥ Singer-songwriter Tommy Wiggins will appear at the Fairlawn Borders (3737 W. Market St.) at 7 p.m. Friday, October 10, with author Les Roberts. Wiggins, who is a character in Roberts' new mystery King of the Holly Hop, will play selections from his new CD, Ten.