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Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

Those XCleavers, Terry Tanger

Retro-Spective, Vicodin Sessions (Neven)

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Those XCleavers were among the most entertaining and substantial bands from Milwaukee's new wave scene, and probably the most enduring. A reissue of choice material from the 1980s reveals their streamlined super-charged sound as part of their era, yet delivered so winningly that the music has dated hardly at all. One thing in their favor was the influence of ska and other Jamaican elements-a couple years before frat-boy bands began doing the same thing with less integrity. The songs have held up as well as the sound. Witness the solo outing by Cleavers singer Terry Tanger, who gives the new-wave chestnuts a Dylan folk guitar and harmonica treatment.