5. Highway Robbery
Highway Robbery's debut, For Love or Money, is almost entirely devoid of meandering bluesiness. Instead, there is a deafening heaviness. The power trio had every reason to believe it would be the next big thing: It shared a management company with Little Feat and The Weather Report and was an in-house favorite. Record execs forced them to add a couple potential hits -- "Bells" and "All I Need (To Have Is You)" -- but the album basically went nowhere, despite an unrelenting onslaught of furious riffing and surprising tunefulness.
Where to Start: Highway Robbery cut only one record, so For Love or Money is it.
Cleveland's Poobah played under-appreciated nuggets of rock 'n' roll, tying acid-addled Chuck Berry shuffling to the psychedelic meanderings of the late 1960s. The band, still gigging today, boasts a healthy boogie sensibility ("Rock N Roll" and "Live to Work") and a wicked sense of humor, displayed on talking interludes between songs long before they were de rigueur in the world of hip-hop.
Where to Start: Their debut album, Let Me In, is the perfect soundtrack for Sunday afternoon knife hits.
Granicus also is from Cleveland, which speaks to the teeming underground rock scene the city once boasted. (What else are you going to do there but smoke dope, play loud, heavy rock 'n' roll and dream of getting the hell out?) Granicus boasted impressively heavy riffs and a singer who screeched like a combination of Ozzy and Stevie Nicks, but somehow you've never heard of them until right now.
Where To Start: The self-titled debut is perhaps the best slice of punk psychedelia on tap from 1973.