Straight Outta Cleveland CD Review: This Moment In Black History “Public Square”

Living in a city as large as Cleveland, Ohio, there are many bands that I have yet to discover for myself. While other people may already have known everything that the band has released, I may be discovering the magic of their music for the first time. It is that first hint at a band that is as good as being the first person to hear the band’s music. One band that I just found for myself is Cleveland’s own This Moment In Black History.

This Moment In Black History is a quartet that is integrated, made up of musicians that are of several different races. It is this mix of backgrounds that help to create a style of rock music that is not stuck in one frame of mind. The quartet of musicians came together as a band after other projects went their separate ways. Combining forces to create this band, the members consist of: vocalist Chris Kulcsar, guitarist Buddy Akita, bassist Lawrence Caswell, and Bim Thomas.

Together, the band creates a sound that draws as much from early rock and punk bands like The Kinks and The Ramones, and bands like Devo, who created their own feel to the music, as it draws from jazz and other music genres. This Moment In Black History blends these elements together to create a style that is mostly punk, sure, but it is so much more than that.

Though I just recently heard my first album from This Moment In Black History, the band’s “history” dates back to 2002. And since that time, TMIBH has created a catalog of music that includes cassettes, singles, EPs, and albums. It is with their latest release of Public Square that I finally got to experience the band.

The Public Square album (which is available as in record format with a free download) from This Moment In Black History begins with a track called “Enter the Intro,” a 20-second instrumental piece that relies as much on improvised jazz as it does on rock tendencies.

“Forest Whitaker (in an uncompromising role)” is the album’s first full-length song. The band lets loose and gives the listener the first real chance to hear the band “rock out”. This track has an equal amount of punk and garage rock feeling to it.

“Pollen Count” takes the album in a slightly different direction. The track begins as an instrumental piece, which lasts for over two minutes until Kulcsar adds his voice into the mix. The song is one of the best rock songs created in more than a decade.

Along those lines, the track “90% Tone” features a great punk/rock mix in the music. This song is one of the strongest tracks on the album.

Public Square is sent in a completely different direction (and I Can’t stress that enough) with the song “My Notes”. Instead of the punk/rock/jazz mix the band usually exudes, the song is a lighthearted song that features a hip-hop beat and Chris Kulcsar rapping about his “notes,” which could refer to many different things. The band allows you to figure out what the song is about.

Bringing the album back to the band’s punk/rock feel, the song “Photonegative” features one of the strongest rock vibes on the release. It works as a great contrast to the rap/hip-hop vibe that is featured on “My Notes”.

“Public Square,” the title track to the newest album from This Moment In Black History, is saved for the second-to-last song of the release. And while the album cannot be called “weak,” having the title track be as strong as it is at the end of the release ensures that the album will be as strong at the end as it was at the beginning.

With the final track of “Precinct,” the band approaches a feel to their music that is closer to heavy metal than it is to the band’s usual mix of rock and punk. And when the listener gets used to the heavier sound of the band for the last track, they kick the energy level up an extra notch or two to finish the final few seconds of the release off with a bang.

There may be plenty of bands like Cleveland’s This Moment In Black History who deserve to be heard near you. Head out into your local music scene and discover some of the great music that you’ve been missing.

To discover the music of This Moment In Black History, find them on MySpace at www.myspace.com/thismomentinblackhistory. Also check out the band’s label at www.smogveil.com. You can also check out the band’s PR firm at www.flypr.net.

To discover Public Square by This Moment In Black History, click on the album cover below:

The Straight Outta Cleveland series is a showcase of some of the talent that can currently be found in the city of Cleveland, OH. The name is taken from the compilation by the same name originally released by Oglio Records. That release can be found here: