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The Ultimate Columbus Mixtape

Each year, any efforts to cover all that the Columbus music scene has to offer is a challenge. It's impossible. With bands seemingly cropping up every weekend, from every niche and genre under our often obscured sun, trying to define or corral what Columbus music "sounds like" becomes an existential rabbit hole. Simply put, we [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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Each year, any efforts to cover all that the Columbus music scene has to offer is a challenge. It’s impossible.

With bands seemingly cropping up every weekend, from every niche and genre under our often obscured sun, trying to define or corral what Columbus music “sounds like” becomes an existential rabbit hole. Simply put, we are lucky to have it all.

In a effort to preserve what has come before, (614) asked a number of reputable musicians, label owners, and radio personalities to pick one song that to them encapsulates Columbus’ musical identity. We took the results and put them together into a seamless, old fashioned mixtape. By no means is this a survey or an attempt to rank and file the classics into a tidy list. Remember, that’s impossible.


“Letter to a Fanzine” – Great Plains (1987)

Classic wit and intelligence from one of the most interesting bands to ever come out of Columbus.

 

— Sue Harshe (member of Scrawl and Fort Shame)

 

 

“Gotta’ Keep A Runnin'” – The Godz (1978)

This band is 100% homegrown and the song reflects the life and times of Columbus in the late ’70s rock scene better than any other band. Many elder, native Cowtowners grew up falling over each other at their wild Newport (then the Agora) live shows.

— Mike “Rep” Hummel (member of the True Believers and the Quotas, as well as infamous lo-fi producer)

 

 

 

“Devo and Wine” – Times New Viking (2007)

 

Of all the TNV hits “Devo and Wine” was the one I looked forward to hearing the most at their early shows.   

 

Sam Brown (member of Operators, Divine Fits, and You’re So Bossy among many other classic Columbus bands)

 

“The Progress” – Greenhorn (1992)

Greenhorn was my favorite band in high school, the band that made me realize that stuff as good as or even better than the tapes I was buying was right on my doorstep. And even though we laughed about how the records didn’t capture even half of how great they were at Stache’s, those recordings still have a pummeling charm all their own. The juxtaposition of all the disparate elements in Greenhorn – the weight, the power; the confusion, the frailty, the endurance and perseverance – is maybe expressed nowhere quite as well as in “The Progress.”

— Nick Schuld (drummer for Nervosas and Ace of Cups sound guru)

 

“Just Like Home” – Tim Easton (1998)

It’s  from his debut release Special 20 following his work with The Haynes Boys and I love it just as much today as I did in 1998. Even though he’s spent time living in Joshua Tree and now Nashville, it’s great he still o.k. with us calling him Columbus’ own!

 

— Maggie Brennan (music director at 90.5 WCBE)

 

 

 

 

“Number One” – Bill Moss (1969)

I knew Bill Moss as a Columbus City Schools board member before I knew about CapSoul. He was the only board member willing to visit Indianola Middle School (where I taught), which at that time was one of four schools that made up the lowest circle of purgatory in the system, where the serious discipline problems were rotated through. He was hilarious and a total instigator – he used to go to board meetings in combat fatigues! I admit to getting teary when he died. This song, besides being catchy as hell and brilliantly produced, captures his optimism and spirit. Essential for fathers of sons. It’s a total classic. 

 

Don Howland (member of the legendary, blues-damaged duo, the Bassholes)

 

 

“Broken Horses” – Moviola (1997)

 

Moviola were an under-appreciated Columbus band that almost got vaguely famous. That they spurned a major label overture to basically work at OSU and own their modest homes makes them a quintessential Columbus band.

— Bela Koe-Krompecher (owner and operator of Anyway Records)

 

“Refried Dreams” – Cheater Slicks (1999)

One of best things about living in this town is having the opportunity to go see one of the best punk bands on this or any other planet play in a bar about the size of your living room twice a month.  They’ve put out almost a dozen stellar records since defecting to Columbus from Boston in the mid-90’s, but if I had to pick a track to include on the next Voyager launch, it’d be the title track from 1999’s Refried Dreams.  I’ve broken my glasses twice whilst losing my shit during live performances of this song.

— BJ Holesapple (member of Necropolis and Vile Gash as well as founder of Columbus Discount Records)

 

“Your Contemporaries” – The Lindsay (2006)

I’m not sure Columbus has ever produced something this gorgeous and violent at the same time.

— Tom Butler (DJ at CD102.5 and host of the Independent Playground)

 

“Jim Motherfucker” – Gaunt (1992)

Because through some drunken miracle it channels boneheaded exasperation into contagious exuberance and perfectly represents the lo-fi punk rock renaissance of the early 90’s.

— Ron House (member of Great Plains, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, and currently the Counter Intuits)

 

“Cinema East” – Earwig (1999)

Lizard Family Music was a little D.I.Y. scrap-rock record label out of Columbus in  the mid-’90s which was founded by a fellow named Lizard McGee. He also happened to sing and play guitar for a band called Earwig. Several LFM bands made it onto the mixtapes of my youth, but this song is LFM’s national anthem.

— Kyle Sowash (member of the Kyle Sowashes and local concert promoter)

 

“The Casualties of Happiness” – Hugs and Kisses (2007)

Hugs and Kisses perfectly embody the reason why Columbus’ cultural products are so great. When you live somewhere that doesn’t have an assumed public identity, you can be anything you want. Rather than feeling that, as an artist, you have to speak to community identifiers, you form a gang based on ideas necessary to crafting the world you want to exist. Not something happy people would know much about either. 

— Elizabeth Murphy (member of Times New Viking)

“Pissing Out the Poison” – Barbed Wire Dolls (1990)

Barbed Wire Dolls were Columbus’ own Sabbath, Stooges, and Stones, all wrapped up in a dirty tortilla of skuzz, and their “Pissing Out The Poison” single from 1990 is their “T.V. Eye.”  I felt like I needed a shower every time I saw them, even if I just accidentally saw them walking down the street.  

— Pat Dull (member of Betty Machete and the Angry Cougars and founder of Break-Up Records)

 

“I’m Gonna’ Keep on Loving You” – Kool Blues (1972)

There were a lot of killer soul tracks released on Capsoul, but this one sticks with me.”

— Brett Ruland (owner of Spoonful Records)

 

“Bristol Girl” – V-3 (1996)

To me it shows Jim Shepard’s direct Velvet Underground influence, where he combines the pretty with the profane. It’s also noteworthy that the song appears on his only major label release and could be interpreted as an attempt to do something “commercial.” Though I think anyone who listens closely will agree that it could never have been a hit by modern day “industry” standards — and that dichotomy makes it a great song.

— Paul Nini (member of Log and founder of Old 3C Records)

 

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Local rocker Angela Perley shines on solo debut

Mike Thomas

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Folk, alt-country, or indie rock—however you choose to categorize her sound, Angela Perley remains a pillar of the Columbus music community—and highly in-demand as a national touring act, to boot.

(614) caught up with Perley to discuss her new album, life on the road, and what it takes to make it as a musician in the Capital City.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

(614): YOUR NEW RELEASE, 4:30, IS YOUR FIRST AS A SOLO ACT. WHAT LED TO THIS CHANGE?

AP: Since 2009 until last year, I had the Howlin’ Moons. It’s always been myself, Chris Connor on lead guitar, and then we had bassist Billy Zehnal in the band up until last year. We’ve had a rotating extended family of drummers. Billy’s not in the band anymore, and we were also on Vital Companies, which is a studio/label in Columbus that did our previous albums.

https://open.spotify.com/album/04pKByd2ygDHXdvl1TcdWP?si=6njCmRpfR5GRWe5kLNghVw

So this one—it’s a solo one, it’s my first independent release. There’s no label involved, I own the masters to the songs. It’s hard to keep a band together, so Chris, who’s been in the band since the beginning, and I, we’re kind of the only members, and we have an extended family of really great and talented people who have other projects they’re in. It just works a lot better with what I want to do.

YOU USED KICKSTARTER TO HELP FUND THE ALBUM. WHAT WAS THE CROWDFUNDING EXPERIENCE LIKE?

Before, with Vital, they had a studio and video production, and they took care of all of our recording in-house. We didn’t realize how expensive everything was. We had paid for studio time [for 4:30] through show money, but to look at all of the other expenses of making a record happen and trying to get it out there, it’s pretty intense! There have been a lot of independent artists that we know that will do Kickstarters, and I’ve never done anything like it before, so I was really nervous doing it. But it was a success, and I actually just finished sending out all of the preorder vinyl that people ordered.

YOUR SOUND IS OFTEN DESCRIBED AS ANYTHING FROM AMERICANA, TO ALT-COUNTRY, TO PSYCHEDELIC ROCK. WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING WITHIN THOSE TRADITIONS IN 2019?

You kind of have to make your own path, because although there is a resurgence of rock ‘n’ roll, everything’s been done before. It has those roots, but we’re not breaking the mold or anything. You just have to be true to yourself and to the music, and just go from there. Everyone’s voice is important as an artist, so that’s important to remember.

YOU’RE ON THE ROAD TOURING QUITE A BIT. DO YOU STILL KEEP TRACK OF WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE COLUMBUS MUSIC SCENE?

Columbus is definitely growing, and moving toward doing things independently. I’ve seen a lot of bands touring, which is good. It’s an affordable place to tour out of, and there’s a community here for sure. Whenever I have a chance, we go out to the shows. We love The Cordial Sins, and we’re having them as our special guests for our album release. The High Definitions, Souther—there are just so many good bands.

When I go to other cities and I realize that there’s not really much of a scene going on, it is kind of cool to see that in Columbus, people are very aware and supportive of musicians. Even the businesses around here, everyone’s trying to work with musicians in some way. There are so many gigs, be it at breweries, at restaurants, or little festivals that pop up. There’s work for musicians here. And some other cities, there’s really not.

IN THE PAST, YOU’VE PLAYED SOMETHING LIKE 150 SHOWS A YEAR. ARE YOU KEEPING UP THE SAME PACE THESE DAYS?

I’m glad that we played that many shows at that time. We were playing anywhere and everywhere, and a lot of that was pressure financially. If that’s the way you’re making a living, you’ve got to take every gig. We’ve spread out the shows since, especially since we have been doing it for this long. We’re kind of gearing more towards quality shows. I will say, playing that many shows—I needed that. We needed the experience, and just the repetition. Every venue is different, every environment, every crowd. You cut your teeth and it makes you stronger.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO LOCAL ARTISTS HOPING TO MAKE A CAREER IN MUSIC?

It’s tough, because for each person it’s so different. Getting out there and working hard, playing as many shows as possible—that's all really great experience. But also focus on the music itself. If you’re going to make a music video or a recording, take your time—don’t half-ass it. Wait until you know what you’re doing. Although, you kind of have to learn from your mistakes, too.

Catch Angela Perley with special guests The Cordial Sins on September 6 at Skully’s Music-Diner for the release show of her new album, titled 4:30.

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(614) Sessions

614 Sessions: Doc Robinson

Mike Thomas

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4QdxpbrZgg&feature=youtu.be

Doc Robinson, the collaboration of Columbus music stalwarts Jon Elliott and Nick D’Andrea, joined us for this session in the 614 offices to share their unique brand of "Backyard BBQ Breakup music."

While here, the duo played stripped-down acoustic versions of their songs "Wilderness" and "Wild Beauty."

To hear more from Doc Robinson, follow them on your streaming platform of choice, or visit https://www.docrobinsonofficial.com/

Be sure to catch the group at Woodlands Tavern on Saturday, September 21, when they'll be joined by Hebdo, Parker Louis, Honey and Blue and many more for their Family Jamboree.

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5O0efDEpkqEmWbXD2zpkjz

Apple Music:
https://music.apple.com/us/artist/doc-robinson/1116027164
———
Producer: Mike Thomas
Videographers: Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper, Mike Thomas
Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley
Video Editing: Mike Thomas
Contact: [email protected]
Website: 614now.com

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(614) Sessions

(614) Sessions: The Turbos

Mike Thomas

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ThYK1D0000

The Turbos’ high-octane heroics have earned the group a fierce following in the Columbus rock scene and beyond. Combining shredding guitar virtuosity with soaring, anthemic vocals, co-frontmen Alex D. and Lucas Esterline lead the group in a sound that combines the best of the old and the new. Rounded out by the multi-talented Cameron Reck on bass and mononymous local music veteran Jahrie behind the kit, the Turbos are leading the charge for a new generation of rockers.

For the first of what we hope will be many in a new music series we're calling The (614) Sessions, The Turbos joined us in our offices for a stripped-down acoustic set. Despite leaving the electrics at home, the power of their performance was still enough to garner multiple noise complaints (sorry, neighbors).

For show dates and more, be sure to follow The Turbos on Facebook. Big thanks to the group for sharing their music as our first-ever guests in this new endeavor!

———

Producer: Mike Thomas
Videographers: Mike Thomas, Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper
Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley Video
Editing: Mitch Hooper
Contact: [email protected]

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