Itchy Self Here’s the Rub 12″

ITCHY SELF is the new group from Joe Chamandy of Canadian art-scuzz ensemble PROTRUDERS, who were avowed and proud card-carrying members of the joint Hearthan Records/Cleveland Confidential Appreciation Society. Here’s the Rub definitely draws its own inspiration from the damaged brilliance of Ohio’s subterranean sounds, but ITCHY SELF dispenses with most of PROTRUDERS’ skronkier tendencies in favor of smart, smudged-up garage blasts that bring to mind some fantasy Ron House project that could have existed between GREAT PLAINS and THOMAS JEFFERSON SLAVE APARTMENTS. Throw in a little scrappy ALEX CHILTON/CHRIS STAMEY-schooled pop charm on “Reprobate” and “God Bless the Ego,” the loose MODERN LOVERS-via-VELVET UNDERGROUND rock’n’drone of “Playing MTV,” and the shambolic rush of those first couple of HOME BLITZ records (for at least one slightly more contemporary reference point), and you’ve got a pretty solid take on what the concept of “proto-punk” could be almost fifty years removed from its origins.