Chuck Cleaver – “Anything”

Chuck Cleaver first came to prominence fronting the rootsy Cincinnati indie band Ass Ponys from the late ’80s up into the early 21st century, a journey that dragged him across the underbelly of the so-called Alternative Nation many times over. When that band was winding down at the top of the millennium, Cleaver started a new band called Wussy with Lisa Walker, their rangy Midwestern drawls trading lead vocal duties and commingling in spiked harmonies. And although Wussy remains an active concern — check out last year’s What Heaven Is Like if you haven’t — Cleaver is releasing his debut solo album this year.

The reason for this departure is simple: Cleaver experienced such a creative outburst while making What Heaven Is Like that he had a whole album’s worth of songs left over. Those tunes were funneled into Send Aid with help from his Wussy bandmates and members of other Cincinnati indie acts like Lung and Vacation. It’s an album largely about watching the world around you decay, and lead single “Anything” taps into that wavelength with laments about a failed relationship. Atop a lo-fi jangle like backwoods Guided By Voices, Cleaver begins, “It was a perfect afternoon/ But it wasn’t meant to last/ Although it started bold and bright/ The colors were fading fast.”

Here’s Cleaver summing up Send Aid’s vibe:

Welcome to the world of acquired taste. Ten songs about joy, pain, sorrow, regret, fascination, wonder, etc. All the spices that give this place it’s flavor. If you hit a bit of gristle or a smattering of fat, spit it out. Or swallow it if that’s your thing. Whatever the case, you’re welcome to seconds. Have at it.

To promote the new album, Cleaver is going on a solo tour with Walker and their Wussy bandmate Mark Messerly. In various configurations, the three singer-songwriters will perform their own material and Wussy tracks. The dates are below, along with Send Aid’s tracklist and your first chance to hear “Anything.”

01 “Terrible Friend”
02 “Devil May Care”
03 “Mess”
04 “The Weekend That It Happened”
05 “Children Of The Corn”
06 “Bed”
07 “Anything”
08 “Flowers And The Devil”
09 “The Night We Missed The Horror Show”
10 “Folk Night At Fucky’s”

06/08 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway (Wussy w/Superchunk)
07/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
07/26 – New York, NY @ Piano’s
07/27 – Baltimore, MD @ Club 603
08/01 – Albany, NY @ Low Beat
08/02 – Boston, MA @ Midway Cafe (w/special guests Thalia Zedek & Chris Brokaw)
08/03 – Montpelier, VT @ TBA
08/09 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
08/10 – Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub

Send Aid is out 7/19 on Shake It Records. Pre-order it here.

CREDIT: Anna Stockton