Rip Smops

Songs to Get Depressed About (

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Neko Case Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road 9 p.m. Saturday, January 15; $14, 216-383-1124
Rip Smops' Songs to Get Depressed About starts with a tune about chasing cows and ends with him writing off everything as "all fucked up, so fucking shitty, and getting worse." On one hand, it's easy to understand why you probably haven't heard the moody troubadour before, no matter how long you've been around town. On the other, the album has all the lyrical variety pop's been sorely lacking of late.

Rip Smops -- the singer-songwriter formerly known as Erik Von Rippy -- has been penning songs for the past 30 years and recording intermittently for 20. The bulk of this disc was originally laid down in 1983 on a two-track tape of the same name, with Smops rerecording the songs over the last 12 years. He sings, drums, and plunks his own keyboards like a lo-fi Ben Folds, sorting through his daily life in search of something he can peg his hopes to, writing songs that vary from upbeat to downright thrashy. If he can land a couple of shows at the Grog Shop and finally share his songs with an audience, things could finally take an upturn.

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