"She's on her way, a train a-travelin' / On her way, her mind unravelin'" roars Dave Swanson, as Cleveland's Rainy Day Saints ricochet toward the chorus of "She's Fallen Apart." As his voice rises in intensity, the crunchy garage-pop guitars and percussive splatter eventually give way to an old-school psychedelic freak-out.
Swanson, who's played in innumerable bands including Guided By Voices and Cleveland notables Cobra Verde, originally formed the group as a solo project. When the debut Saturday's Haze was released to national acclaim, he pulled together a live band, recruiting old friends from the Cleveland rock scene.
The Saints are just one of a slew of active bands on Pittsburgh's Get Hip Recordings, which released the Saints' latest, Diamond Star Highway, earlier this year. The label began way back in 1985, when local garage-rock legends The Cynics needed a viable way to release and distribute their music. Now, more than 20 years later, Cynics guitarist Gregg Kostelich continues to release and distribute new material in a similar vein (The Paybacks, Bamboo Kids, The Breakup Society's James at 35), as well as rescuing old underground gems from oblivion via reissues.
While the label generally keeps a fairly low profile in town, Get Hip is switching on the distortion and kicking over the amp with a gonzo all-out bash on Dec. 30, at the Rex Theatre. Taking the stage along with Rainy Day Saints are garage obscurantists Creatures of the Golden Dawn and Philly's Mondo Topless. No stranger to our city's stages, Mondo Topless' jittery, Farfisa-driven jams would be the perfect soundtrack to a "happening" montage in a late-'60s film.
But no Get Hip blowout would be complete without The Cynics, so Kostelich and vocalist/troublemaker Michael Kastelic will perform a special acoustic set (which, frankly, sounds both hard to imagine and a bit magical). You'll also be able to score a free copy of Grass Is Always Greener (on the Other Side), a 21-track sampler of Get Hip's current roster. Sounds like plenty of reasons to get those champagne corks popping early.
Get Hip Recordings' Pre-New Year's Eve Bash, featuring The Cynics, Mondo Topless, Rainy Day Saints, Creatures of the Golden Dawn, and DJs Gregg Kostelich, Sean Grogan and John Doran. 9 p.m. Sat., Dec. 30. Rex Theatre, 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $7. 21 and over. 412-381-6811 or www.rextheatre.com
Cleveland's Rainy Day Saints