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Here’s Where the Strings Come In

For all intents and purposes, The Cordial Sins could originate and exist in Canada. Per the Great White North Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “back-stabbing” of current American petulance, he described his countrymen as “polite and reasonable,” but they wouldn’t be “pushed around.” The band’s name is indicative of couple Corey Dickerson and Liz Fisher’s approach [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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For all intents and purposes, The Cordial Sins could originate and exist in Canada.

Per the Great White North Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “back-stabbing” of current American petulance, he described his countrymen as “polite and reasonable,” but they wouldn’t be “pushed around.” The band’s name is indicative of couple Corey Dickerson and Liz Fisher’s approach to their beatific yet slightly sinister pop songs. It’s sincere, happy, and strictly from the heart, but like the Canadian people, liable to bite, if provoked.

“Sick of the Hype,” a freshly polished new track from the quintet—which also includes John Allen on bass, Kyle Edwards on guitar, and drummer Mike Ortiz—shows significant fangs. It’s the first since the release of their debut, Only Now, last year, and though the group has had an unmistakable professional drive since their humble beginnings in 2015, Fisher’s lyrics exclaim an anxious call to arms. Ergo, success for the Sins will arrive on their own terms. •

Perhaps it’s a stretch to involve politics in the story of a hard-working indie band? And the Cordial Sins, despite the metaphor, aren’t from Canada, they are Columbus (by way of Delaware), born-and-bred. But when Fisher exclaims that she’s going to “stick to the lines that I know, because they’re good enough,” there’s a certain urgency that, though tethered to the expectations of the industry and audiences at large, is more than necessary in these tumultuous times.

“When we are trying grow the band, figure out your direction, especially when you don’t have a label, it kind of feels like you are overlooked in favor of bands who are predominantly male, so trying to find a way to be a woman in rock presents a lot of challenges,” says Fisher in response to what she’s specifically “sick” of. “There’s a certain intrigue to it, and slowly people are catching up, but at the same time you are always fighting against certain norms. We have to really search to find other women to work with and more diversity.”

To Fisher, a classically trained violinist, who is a career musician often freelancing when not writing and performing with Dickerson and the Sins, navigating the industry can be overwhelming. Spending the last two years vying for plays on streaming sites and playing celebrated shows with like-minded Columbus dreamers from Souther to the Worn Flints, trying to make a name for themselves has become a hamster wheel of sorts, enough so that the couple have taken great strides to up their game, hiring outside management and publicity to make their new sounds more widely known.

Fittingly, “Sick of the Hype” and the latest batch of songs the band has been fine tuning at Relay Recordings’ downtown studio, offers a new direction, one that increases the gloss, and is built for a wider arena away from Columbus. Beyond their penchant for guitar-driven rock reminiscent of ’90s radio, the Cordial Sins now dabble more into the nuances of shoegaze, with gauzy waves of atmosphere and the occasional synth. While a recent press release likened the move to Riot Grrrl punk, that era’s snarl only reveals itself in spirit not sound. The music is more likely to elicit a smiling bliss rather than abrasive scrapes.

As far as taking it to the next level, Fisher and Dickerson had the opportunity to move their musical wagon onto greener pastures of the industry in the west when Fisher was accepted into a program at UCLA, but opted against it in favor of deepening their roots in Columbus. That translates to putting in significant leg work locally to achieve the level of “hype” they feel should be afforded to them. That means buying a van, touring more than just a few weeks out of the year, and promoting each single of their evolution with the same full-tilt blitz as a new album. And this month, the Sins will be playing their most prestigious show yet with a set this month at the inaugural Bellwether Music Festival in Waynesville, Ohio, alongside the Flaming Lips and MGMT.

“Now it’s just a matter of doing everything we can to thrive here, and I feel like we are starting to see a return for the hard work. I love the fact that Columbus is yet to be that big music city that everyone wants. I do think it puts us at a disadvantage because of the lack of ‘networking,’” Fisher says, hoisting the requisite air quotes), “but, you know, we’ve got a house, we’ve got dogs and cats. It’s nice to be a part of that community and be a part of that growth.”

Indeed, and with that quote the Canadian comparisons stick again. In the politest way possible, the Cordial Sins have put out a warning. Take heed.

The Cordial Sins play the inaugural Bellwether Music Festival on Saturday August 11. Visit thecordialsins.com for music and more information.

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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!

———

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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