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Mike Hudson 

Unmedicated (Sonic Swirl)

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Anyone who had the privilege of seeing the Pagans in their 1970s and '80s heyday can recall the pathos unleashed by frontman Mike Hudson. After the band's decline and his brother's untimely death, Hudson moved to New York City, where he vigorously pursued his passions for making music, writing, and boozing.

There, he found ample inspiration to write rockin' redemption songs that stay true to his D.I.Y. punk ethos. Made with longtime partner-in-crime Cheetah Chrome, these 12 songs were mostly recorded at various home studios. "Anything," "Without Her," and "Downtown Beirut" all feature Hudson's sandpaper vocals over a solid foundation of buzz-saw guitars. Hudson pens reflective, clever lyrics; we'd gladly have traded the covers for more originals.

Billed as Hudson's solo debut, Unmedicated is literally -- and artistically -- years behind his 1989 album with the Styrenes, A Monster and a Devil. A reading of excerpts from his novel Flotsam & Jetsam, beautifully backed by one of Cleveland's most heated acts, it's a much better showcase of Hudson's peculiar genius.

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