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Rotten Deal 

L.A. Label signs Salt the Wound.

Band of Horses at the Beachland Ballroom on January 25. Watch a slide show from the concert - WALTER NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Band of Horses at the Beachland Ballroom on January 25. Watch a slide show from the concert

Cleveland's Salt the Wound will release its debut album, Carnal Repercussions, on Rotten Records. The long-running Los Angeles label's roster includes underground legends like Acid Bath (which featured Deadboy & the Elephantmen frontman Dax Riggs) and D.R.I., in addition to heshers Goatwhore and the genre-defying Polkadot Cadaver (formerly Dog Fashion Disco).

Rotten discovered the band at last April's Cleveland 100 festival, when the company responded to locally based promotion company Gorilla Productions' invitation to visit Cleveland and check out some local bands.

"After seeing them perform live and feeling the energy in the room, I knew then and there I had to have them," says Rotten's president, Ron Peterson. "The fact that they are straight-edge was a definite plus for me, because in this business, so many people in bands are not, and the drugs and alcohol eventually get in the way. They are also very professional in the way they manage and market their merchandise. Signing Salt the Wound was a no-brainier."

The band's eclectic extreme music merges speedy, technical death metal and brass-knuckle, modern hardcore. The quartet recorded the album with producer/engineer Cole Martinez (Years of Fire, Amplexus) at North Olmsted's Conquistador Studios.

Salt the Wound will play a CD-release party on Friday, February 1, at Peabody's (2083 East 21st Street). Then the band leaves for a two-month U.S. tour, followed by Canadian shows. They plan to spend 2008 on the road.

"Rotten Records has a proven track record and the knowledgeable staff with true industry experience to help take our music to the next level," says guitarist Jake Scott. "We had previously released independent [albums] and done fairly well, yet had hit a plateau. With our signing to Rotten, we have the backing and support we needed."

Xela is hosting a musicians' open mic at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, Cleveland Heights) on Monday nights through February. Acts of all types are welcome. The night kicks off at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

User Sets Mode+ — the new project featuring Ascension/Kiddo drummer Craig Ramsey and Racermason/Frans guitarist Derek Lashua and singer Mandy Lashua — is wrapping work on its debut EP. Listen to the new track "Backseat" at www.myspace.com/usersetsmode. Without sacrificing Lashua's melodic flair, the track is their hardest rock yet. The quartet plays the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Road) on Thursday, January 31.

• Kiddo frontwoman and Cleveland expat Lizzie Wittman returns to the Beachland Tavern on Saturday, February 2, with her spunky, new indie-rock band, Friendly Foes. Get a taste at www.myspace.com/friendlyfoes. Regarding Kiddo, one of the city's great shoulda-been-bigger stories, Wittman says it's still alive . . . kind of. "We are still a band," she says. "It's just been really hard to get together. [Drummer] Craig [Ramsey] is so busy with Bears. And being in two different states makes things hard too."

• "Watch How I Do This," the first single from R&B ringer Kev Blaze, is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Napster. Krayzie Bone guests on the track, which is the first taste of Blaze's upcoming debut album, Smoke N Blaze. Following a major internal shake-up, EMI/Capitol's Imperial Records has postponed the album's release. Blaze's manager, Ryan "Blue" Posen, says a new date is expected soon.

• Chimaira bassist Jim LaMarca has formed a new thrash supergroup, Iron Steel, with ex-Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson and Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan. Learn more from LaMarca's blog at MetalSucks.net.

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