Today was a sad day in Athens, Ohio. In the early morning hours of Sunday, November 16th a fire broke out somewhere on West Union Street between Court Street and Congress. Extensive fire, smoke, and water has damaged buildings including The Union Bar and Grill, Jackie O’s Public House, Jack Neal Florists, Kismet, Campus Sundry, and Smoke Zone Smoke Shop. The Union and Jackie O’s both received considerable damage, as of now it appears that Jackie O’s kitchen and Public House will be closed indefinitely though the hope is the Brewery side will open soon. The Union received significant damage and more details will be known in the coming weeks. Aquabear Legion stands in full support of all of the business owners and people who lost their homes, a GoFundMe donation site is already up to help Union Street employees during this difficult time and more benefits and work is already in planning. You can read about all of the events here over at WOUB Public Media.
The 7th annual Aquabear County Fair will take place in beautiful Athens, Ohio on the weekend of September 5-7, 2013! And the Aquabear has another round of bands to announce for this ALL FREE weekend of Ohio music featuring (after about a year off) the Athens legendary punk rockers We March who will close out The Union on Saturday night after Wussy’s set. Joining We March in this round of announcements as well are Hyrrokkin (yellow springs), County Pharaohs (athens), Hex Net (athens), and Princess (athens). The new announcements join a lineup that features Wussy (cincinnati), The D-Rays (athens), Weird Science (athens), Supernobody (athens), Unmonumental (athens), and Weedghost (athens/fairborn). More bands are still to be announced and the entire weekend is FREE. We gladly take donations to help pay the bands, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to help.
7th Annual Aquabear County Fair
Athens, Ohio – ALL FREE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
The Union, 10pm
with: Weird Science, Princess, and more
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
Casa Cantina, 10pm
with: Hyrokkin, The D-Rays, Supernobdy, and more
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
The Union, 9pm
with: Wussy, We March, County Pharaohs, Hex Net, Unmonumental, Weedghost
This album seems like a demonstration of how deeply Wheels On Fire can worm four
songs of their greaser surf-rock into your skull. It’s a cleaner break from the straighter
rock sound of Get Famous!, and more in line with beach riffs of Liar Liar. (So much so
that there’s a different version of a song off Liar Liar.) Cherry Bomb’s lead off, “Black
Wave,” starts the dig in your head with a dark beach-party sound, its catchiness only
covered up by the second track (“Broken Up”) and its insistence on including a kind
of ‘keyboard cat’ riff. The title track demonstrates Wheels on Fire’s experimentation with doo-wop harmonies, and the final song of the set is a stripped-down revision of Liar Liar’s “Go Give Your Love Away”. These are all good songs, and the descriptions, admittedly, are simple bastardizations of how you’ll experience them, or what they actually are.
Continue reading “RECORD REVIEW: Wheels on Fire – Cherry Bomb EP”
Orchestraville were one of the premiere bands as I came of age in the dingy clubs of the early ’90s Athens music scene. They stood out from crowd by infusing their music with quirky angularity and a much poppier feel than their contemporaries. I had, at a young age, developed an affinity for XTC, and damned if these guys didn’t nail the sound. It also didn’t hurt that Dave Pascoe was a complete badass on what was, up to that point, the only fretless bass I had ever seen. I was hooked. Two albums, a 7-inch and a few comp tracks later, however, that was that. The band fell into that hazy, excess-soaked gray matter not often called upon, dubbed “the ’90s.”
It was quite a shock this past fall, then, to hear tell of a new record. I usually greet these types of reunions with a fair amount of trepidation. Putting an album out after so many years usually goes the way of having a release show in the lobby of a Holiday Inn or, at best, being a pale imitation of the reasons you loved the band in the first place. Orchestraville did neither of these things. Instead, they decided to put out a 12 track collection of amazing pop songs. Pop in the long, almost-forgotten sense of a band playing intelligent, well written songs with great production that unfold over repeated listening. Pop in the sense of attention to detail. Pop with the sense of, well, not sucking.
Gone are the acute angularities and innate quirkiness of their earlier releases/incarnations. Instead, Chris Forbes, Keith Hanlon, Dave Pascoe and new-to-me Parker Paul have crafted a stellar set of thoughtful rock songs that, considering the influences, sound like Orchestraville. Sure, there are some distinctly British-feeling moments to some of these songs (particularly “Only A Song” and “You Wanna Be Like That”), but these are minor quibbles that tell me you’d rather reference things than listen to music. There is an amazingly attentive eye on all of the arrangements, with layer upon layer of subtle instrumentation always benefiting the song. “Phil Och’s Flag,” “The Bird Without Wings,” “Poison Berries,” and my personal favorite “I Could Stay Here All Night Long” nail the art of pop rock, marrying catchy rhythms and smart lyrics to toe-tapping perfection. I won’t lie—not all of these songs are winners for me. Seriously, though, if the only thing wrong with a record is that I want to skip “I Take It Back” every once in a while…
Poison Berries is a fantastic collection of songs, by people that still give a shit about writing real songs. I highly suggest you go to orchestraville.net and start figuring out how you’re going to get a copy. Oh, if you were wondering—yes, Pascoe is still a badass.
Headlining the evening will be Cincinnati-based psychedelic blues-rockers Buffalo Killers, who last appeared in Athens this past October. Over the past year, the trio has been hard at work on their next record, the follow-up to their Dan Auerbach-produced 2008 release Let It Ride. The latest finds the group self-producing and expanding their already rich sound—Kelley Deal of the Breeders even provides guest vocals on a track. The record should find its way out this year, but in the meantime the band has contributed a cover of “Scalding Creek” to a Guided By Voices tribute album that will be released on April 16th via No More Fake Labels.
Rounding out the night’s bill are Athens regulars Chickenpussy and Hexnet as well as newcomers D-Rays—a new project from Erick Coleman, formerly of the Speedknobs.
Doors open at 9 PM, so come celebrate the (temporary?) return of warm weather here in Athens with some blazing-hot rock and roll this Saturday at the Union!
The guys in Whale Zombie know what they’re doing. They’ve crafted a sound and persona that borrows from numerous characteristics of pop rock history while somehow maintaining an identity that’s all their own. Playing with the vigor of a bunch of teenagers who just bought their first battered secondhand instruments and the finesse of seasoned veterans, Whale Zombie have constructed a solid offering with the debut of their first full-length album. Musical genres are thrown in a blender throughout, but this is accomplished in a way that never jars the listener or upsets its own flow. This is, in part, because the fuzzy, lo-fi aesthetic is one of a few rare elements that remains constant. Add to that quality song writing and skillful playing, and there’s little fault to be found within these 35 minutes of throwback surfy psychedelia.
Any number of Whale Zombie’s songs could be equally at home in a Nuggets compilation or on the iPod of a hungover OU underclassman. It’s apparent that they like to screw around with pedals, which will always earn high praise from me. Still, that never really prevents them from writing some truly catchy, rocking tunes. Some of my favorite tracks are the raucous “Ridin’ the Wave” with it’s singalong melodies, “Battle for Middle Earth”, an instrumental ditty that shakes the walls with its thundering chorus and sprint to a false finish and the wonderfully sludgy “Demons”.
Ultimately, any album review can be boiled down to one simple question: is it worth a listen? In this case, the answer is a clear and resounding “yes.” Check out their Myspace, Facebook and Bandcamp presences for information and downloads. Their label, Dark Circle Records, also has a site, but it seems to be in its infancy as this is being written. Whale Zombie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, nevertheless there is plenty in there for fans of surf rock, psychedelic freak outs, retro pop, heavy instrumentals and Final Fantasy IX to enjoy. Just watch out for the Ultra Sound Wave! That shit can fuck up your entire party.
Buy: Whale Zombie LP
The Athens-based Ohio music, art, and film collective Aquabear Legion is starting to get ready for the third issue of our FREE magazine The Aquabear Reader and we need your help!
The Aquabear Reader needs writers, photographers and anyone who wants to help to contact us. This is a 2,000 hard copy circulation magazine made right here in Athens and available all around town, in addition we also make the Reader available on our website as a .pdf.
We are open to ideas for stories and features and also have a lot of our own if you need an idea.
The Aquabear Reader remains a FREE publication because of support from our advertisers, if you are a local business or organization that would like to reach an audience from Athens and around Ohio while supporting a good cause and organization send us an e-mail to email@example.com and we will send you information on our very reasonable advertising rates (starting at $50!).
CONTACT US ASAP if you are interested we want issue 3 out before summer!
You can also go take a look at the first two issues online here:
E-mail us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.aquabearlegion.com
Support your local Aquabear!
The Aquabear Legion is honored to have our monthly concert at ARTS/West be part of this year’s ART/oberfest. ART/oberfest is a community arts celebration here in Athens complete with all kinds of visual art, music, workshops, vendors, and more.
We are helping kick the weekend off:
Aquabear Live @ ART/oberfest
Friday, October 17th
132 W. State, Athens
Bram Riddlebarger and His Lonesome Band
Find out more about ART/oberfest at their blog
Friday, October 24th
Aquabear Night @ The Union
Aquabear’s monthly concert series Live @ ARTS/West continues with a great show on Saturday, July 12th at 8pm with Athens’ own Sad Bastards and Godversussatan (members of Men of Gentle Birth!). The show will of course take place at ARTS/West (132 West State Street in Athens), music will start at 8pm and its only 3 bucks! Come out and support local music and our new monthly series!
And don’t forget…
Saturday, July 26th
Aquabear Legion Compilation Release
@ Casa Cantina 10pm
Machine Go Boom, Casual Future, 1point3, and Weedghost
Saturday, August 16th 8pm
Aquabear Live @ ARTS/West
with Kaslo and more!