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Choose Your Own Adventure

In lieu of sitting down to write this article, I was tempted to shirk my responsibilities the weekend of my deadline, and travel to a psychic fair in rural Indiana. At Camp Chesterfield, I was promised spiritual cleansing via fire messages, tarot reading, clairvoyant séance, and runes. It’s something I needed—a soul wash, a distraction [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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In lieu of sitting down to write this article, I was tempted to shirk my responsibilities the weekend of my deadline, and travel to a psychic fair in rural Indiana. At Camp Chesterfield, I was promised spiritual cleansing via fire messages, tarot reading, clairvoyant séance, and runes. It’s something I needed—a soul wash, a distraction from the realities of the day. But surprisingly, staying home, transcribing an hour-long interview with Van Dale, and re-listening to their fantastic sophomore album Of The Valley II, had possibly the same meditative effect. The record is better ingested en masse, it’s a metaphorical place to get lost in, or as the song “Vacationhead” urges, to “erase your head.” You need to hear this, hyperbole be damned.

It was exactly four years ago this month when I first crossed paths with Van Dale. Even then, with just a debut album in tow, the trio was making a case for sonic authority in Columbus—no amount of Weezer cover bands could extinguish them. They had an enthusiasm that exuded thrift punk, but balanced any kind of complex attitudes with buoyant fuzz rock and somewhat nonsensical lyrics. Things were much simpler in 2013. The long gestation that has led to the 2017 version of Van Dale was fraught with lineup changes (Travis Hall left and was replaced by guitarist Lisa Brokaw), manic melancholy, and deep, dark thoughts. If Van Dale’s debut was—quite literally—translated as “of the valley,” this is the sequel starring a wiser, evolved, if not defeated, band.

“The idea of the ‘valley’ was a multifaceted tool throughout the record,” says Van Dale’s visionary Joe Camerlengo. “It followed the period of time it took to make the record—everything that was going on in our lives, and everything that encompassed our band. And at the end, we finally came out of the ‘valley.’”

“I don’t want this to come off as pretentious, but the concept of the ‘valley’ is something we used as creative inspiration, but it’s a very real state of mind and a very real existence,” drummer Tim Horak further explains. “It’s a perpetual state of depression, self-destruction, and isolation. It’s about being trapped in a cycle. It’s about waking up and coming to terms with your life, and hopefully getting out of that.”

That “valley” is defined, figuratively, as “any place, period, or situation that is filled with fear, gloom, and foreboding,” it’s hard to imagine the apocryphal musings of Camerlengo coming from anything other than a very positive and whimsical place. He’s the human embodiment of a Pikachu, with a constant surge of electricity passing through him and onto anyone within arm’s length. His passion to connect with the perfect pop song is seen in pretty much anything the kid does—whether it’s the ecstatic, quasi-ritualistic writhing he does when he performs, or the layers and layers of melody he’s piled onto the new record. The band has found a recording guru in producer Shane Natalie, but even more so in the mix and mastering of Columbus expatriate Adam Smith.

Their hands have pushed Camerlengo’s rainbow and bath salt phantasms into mammoth walls of sound.
There’s little downtime when it comes to the “Tuesday Nurse.” Camerlengo works long graveyard shifts at a local hospital in order maintain a rock star lifestyle—and if there is, it’s usually spent toiling in some other musical capacity. He’s grafted his name and persona to the Blanket Boys (which is crafted by his “heart”), Brat Curse (a thrift-punk celebration for which he has “no responsibilities”), Classical Baby (his solo endeavor that is scraped from the “inside of his skull”), and spent countless hours playing with

Counterfeit Madison and Mary Lynn (who are both “blessed”). That scale of local benevolence is much more than idle hands and a scattering of his talents—it’s a sacred rite for Camerlengo.
“There was an adult pivot in my life the day I turned 30,” says Camerlengo about his juggling act. “I never worked at a grocery store in my 30s and never worked as a nurse in my 20s. I’m pretty fortunate that the decision to take a career doesn’t really impact what I want to do in this band.”

And where he wants to go with Van Dale, as it was in 2013, has already been set in motion. The scope of The Visitor, the proposed title of album three inspired by Horak’s very real sleep paralysis, is even grander and more prophetic in mixing the perceptions of how we participate in our own lives.

“Being numb to reality,” says Camerlengo, “that’s the Van Dale vibe. You have to make or create your own reality to live within. I don’t want you to sit and cry with this record, or the next one. I want you to wake up and find the light.”
Are we visitors? Or are we present, here—feeling visceral wounding and healing through music? Van Dale hopes it’s the former.

 

 

 

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Music

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
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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!

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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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