One of the city's promising new rock bands, Welcome to Bangkok, will issue its debut album on Sonic Swirl Records, a label with a modest international reputation for down-and-dirty punk. Mike "Swirl" Albertson, one of the label's two partners, hopes that the band will help the label put a new emphasis on rock.
"I love heavy, ugly rock," says Albertson. "And I love guitar solos. And that's what Welcome to Bangkok do. I hope they can help Sonic Swirl branch out a little more. I'd like to do more rock, and they're the perfect band for it."
Bangkok bassist Attila Csapo is handling the engineering and production duties for the as-yet-untitled album, aiming for a spring 2006 release.
"Mike's from Cleveland, and he seems like he'll work really hard for us," says Csapo. "He's excited, and we felt it was the right way to go."
The label works with six small distributors and sells CDs through several mail-order companies, which distribute promotional copies to stores. Albertson says he sends CDs to more than 100 magazines, webzines, and college radio stations. For Bangkok's debut, he plans on an initial pressing of 1,000 copies.
Welcome to Bangkok began as an Amps II Eleven side project, but shortly before Scene readers voted Amps Best Hard Rock Band of 2005 at the Cleveland Music Awards, Csapo and drummer Steve Callahan left the group.
"It was kind of a weird situation," Csapo says of the split. "Everyone had side projects. Steve and I started jamming with these guys, and it worked out. It ended bad, but there were no personal issues."
Welcome to Bangkok headlines the 252 Tattoo Christmas party on Saturday, December 17, at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Road).
· Whiskey-bent, severely alt-country renegades California Speedbag will reunite for one night Thursday, December 22, at the Beachland Tavern's Old Home Night, just over a year after frontman Gary Lupico suddenly passed away. The show, a gathering of former and onetime Clevelanders, will also a include a set of Pere Ubu songs by the Ubuites, which features past and present members of the group.
· After an eight-month hiatus, the Bluescasters have returned to action and brought some long-absent friends back with them. Live-wire singer/harmonica player/rhythm guitarist Bobby Williams has left New York City and returned to the band after two years, joined by former Frankie Starr drummer Todd "Bubba" Ruscin. Catch them Friday, December 16, at 2527 (2527 West 25th Street, Ohio City).
· Cleveland instrumental-guitar ace Neil Zaza has recruited Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and ex-Vinnie Vincent Invasion drummer Bobby Rock to appear on his next CD, which is slated for a spring 2006 release. So that's why Anthony's solo album isn't done yet.
· Gatlin, the defunct modern-rock band that was once a top draw in Cleveland, will play a one-off reunion show on Saturday, December 17, at Peabody's (2083 East 21st Street), approximately 372 days after its final show.
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