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Waterloo Makes Music: Total Downer, Public Squares, and Jake Sprecher

Waterloo Makes Music is a free concert series on Waterloo as a gift to all the music lovers in the community, and a celebration of Cleveland’s amazing musical legacy.

Jake Sprecher
Jake Sprecher, from the power pop band The Wind-Ups, is here in Cleveland from Northern CA. Having worked as a Swiss Army sideman forJonathan Richman since 2016, frontman Jake has a new 7 inch single “Jonathan Says” on Blue Arrow Records’ label which is a sincere portrait of the special aura that surrounds JR, run through the saturated analog grit and rhythmic fuzzed out power pop drone that The Wind-Ups are so fond of. The track also features Nicole Montalbano (Jonathan’s partner of the last 30 years) on tamboura. 

On side B, “Medusa’s Spell” is a blast of melodious garage punk in tune with The Wind-Ups usual breakneck pace. And on Blue Arrow’s Bandcamp, you’ll find two additional tracks rounding out the 7″ as an EP, including “Little Boy Blue,” which features Jonathan on lead electric guitar. 


Total Downer
For Total Downer, the Cleveland-based power-pop band spearheaded by Andy Schumann, friendship is everything. After linking up with Arfil Pajarillaga, Clay Reid, and Dante Foley, the shape of the band’s debut album Caretaker emerged. As performers and songwriters, Total Downer unleashes a combination of anthemic celebrations and cathartic yelling, juxtaposing thankfulness and grief for the people they love. To aid in this effort, Schumann workshopped his lyrics with Denise Zhou and Bella Olivo, two of his closest artistic confidants. Their edits helped underscore Total Downer’s mission: to release tender music that’s true to experience. That mandate is twofold: the stories they tell, and encourage their peers to tell, reckon with their sexualities, genders, and notions of death and home. From there, Total Downer wants to provide listeners with new frameworks to approach their own experiences. As Schumann elaborates: “I especially try to write the songs that I feel I could have really used as a younger person.”

Public Squares
Claiming to be inter-dimensional travelers piloting human bodies, Public Squares have been evolving since their initial crash landing a few years ago.  A science-fiction aesthetic, philosophically twisted lyrics and music that can go from reminding you of The Cars to The Misfits before you realize what just happened.  Their first release, 2018’s “NWR&P” was an official Record Store Day release, and they followed up with late 2019’s ambitious concept record “From Up There.”  They’re now returning to Earth, full force, to celebrate the delivery of their most fully realized collection of songs, simply titled “HITS!”  Classified as Heavy New Wave, if you’ve ever wondered what early Cure or Psychedelic Furs might sound like if they were somehow fused with Black Sabbath or Black Flag, “HITS!” just might have the answer.


Special thanks to Cuyahoga Arts and Culture for making this event possible.

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