Best of Ohio 2012: Part Four

volume-2-comp-250x250Aquabear is kicking off a brand new year-end tradition by asking some of the state’s best musicians and music related folks to share their favorite Ohio music finds and experiences of the year. Look for a whole bunch of these before the start of 2013! Here’s the second batch featuring Kyle Sowash (Columbus – The Kyle Sowashes), Chris Lute (Athens – Weird Science, Dark Circles Records),  Zach Long (Chicago – Time Out Chicago, ALARM Magazine), Todd Carman (Athens – Skumplast), Brian Ostrander (Columbus – Kobo Live). Look for more in the coming weeks and please share, if you would like to participate drop us a line at contact@aquabearlegion.com
_______

Kyle Sowash
Columbus  (The Kyle Sowashes)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Connections – “Private Airplane”, GBV – “Class Clown Spots a UFO”, GBV – “Bears For Lunch”, The Whiles – “Somber Honey”, Washington Beach Bums – “Party!”

Best new Ohio band
Connections.

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year?
Tossup:
Afghan Whigs/Wussy @ Bogarts, Cincinnati, OH 10.25.12
or Crooked FIngers/ John Vanderslice @ Tree Bar 11.6.12

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Summer.

If you are a musician what have you been working on lately?
Just working on songs for a new record and drinking soda pops with my buddies.

What are you listening to right now?
RIGHT now? Bob Mould – The Silver Age

_______

Chris Lute
Athens (Weird Science, Dark Circles Records)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Paleoweltschmerz by Jay Harmon and the Francis Bacon Band, Homemade Drugs LP by Homemade Drugs, Volume Consume by Tribe of The Mountain, Teen Age by Nathan Moore, Vodou – Fittness

Best new Ohio band
Frankie Teardrop

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Working on new projects. Recording more bands more often. Nelsonville Music Festival.

If you are a musician what have you been working on lately?
Just began working on a project called Elton Johnny with Maureen Neer and Chris Lee. This is a very open-ended project that is based on live improvisation interacting with prerecorded loops, combing elements of Dub, Ambient Electronic, and Garage Rock. I am very excited to work with these guys to refine our process and expand our sonic palette with the incorporation of organ, theremin, etc. Essentially, this project is all about fluidity and progression, creating structure without confinement. We get to play whatever we want, as long as we are in sync with our prerecorded loops (of us playing whatever we want).

Also, recording with Frankie Teardrop, Finishing up an album with Bonzai, and recording for a solo album.

What are you listening to right now?
The Gun Club right now. Lately – Velvet Underground, Elvis Costello, The oh sees, Die Antwerd, Squarepusher
_______

Zach Long
Chicago (Time Out Chicago, ALARM Magazine)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Black Swans – Occasion for Song

Jerry DeCicca returns for another round of tugging at your heartstrings, armed with a batch of tunes that manage to be morose without coming off as mopey. Centered around the tragic death of former bandmate Noel Sayre, DeCicca forms a fitting tribute to his fallen friend with a record that surrounds the singer’s tender baritone with delicate arrangements. The tuneful tragedy of tracks like “Where Are You Tonight?” and “Bad Dream” makes this an album fit for the good times as well as the bad.

Guided By Voices – Class Clown Spots A UFO
The second installment in Guided By Voices trifecta of 2012 releases is the most varied of the bunch, finding the newly reformed group embracing the same kind of sporadic eclecticism that birthed Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. There’s no arguing with the band’s pop rock earworms (“Keep It In Motion,” “Billy Wire”) or oddball interludes (“Worm w/ 7 Broken Hearts.”) As prolific as ever, the Dayton outfit seem to have picked up where the classic lineup left off in ’96. Keep it up, Uncle Bob.

Herzog – Cartoon Violence
Dialing up the distortion and singing about the mundane, the guys in Herzog sound like they’ve spent a bit of time with the music of Built to Spill and Pavement. Clocking in at just under half an hour, the Cleveland-based group don’t mince words, delivering a frantic, tightly constructed rock record that bounces from punk to shoegaze. Featuring members of the stoner rock group Megachurch, Herzog is at its best amid the pounding refrains of closing track “Alexander the Great.”

Hex Net – Future Holds
Providing the soundtrack to many a drunken night at Athens haunts like the Union or Casa Cantina, it should come as no surprise that the songs on Hex Net’s first full length release hold up under more sober scrutiny. In their recorded forms, there’s a newfound clarity to be found in Seth Riddleberger’s growling delivery and the group’s twisting surges of guitar and organ. True to form, the riffs still stick like glue and there’s no shortage of sonic weirdness—all part of a sound that you can’t help but become ensnared in.

Southeast Engine – Canannville EP
A concise companion to 2011’s Canary, the latest batch of songs from these Athens mainstays provides a tidy encapsulation of the group’s greatest strengths. Beginning with the jovial strains of “Old Oak Tree” and continuing with the jaunty bounce of the record’s title track, the band’s historical folk has never sounded more exuberant. The stirring finale of “C&O Railroad” finds singer Adam Remnant yearning for the days of old while, reaching for the track’s choruses with an earnest lilt that conveys the true importance of the past.

What are you most excited about for 2013?
I recently learned that Brainbow (one of my favorite Ohio bands back when I was in high school/college) will be releasing their second LP this January after years of inactivity. After that makes its debut, I’ll be looking forward to new records from Foxygen, Yo La Tengo, Low, (more) Guided By Voices and whatever Ty Segall puts out in the coming year.
_______

Todd Carman
Athens  (Skumplast)

Best new Ohio band(s)
1.sega genocide
2.delay
3.nervosas
4.weird science
5.snarlas

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year?
county pharaohs, d-rays, nick tolford and co. @ bowling alley!
_______

Brian Ostrander
Columbus  (Kobo Live)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
The Kyle Sowashes – Somebody, Delay – Rushing Ceremony, Dolfish – I’d Rather Disappear Than Stay The Same, The Washington Beach Bums – Party!

Best new Ohio band
Whirl

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year?
Anyway Records Weekend – Ace Of Cups 12/21 + 12/22
St. Lenox, Winter Makes Sailors, Obnox, New Bomb Turks, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, NECROPOLIS – covering Gaunt, Belreve, Jenny Mae, Kyle Sowashes, Moviola, County Pharaohs, Connections, Greenhorn

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Winter Makes Sailors full length release, Forward Ohio in Columbus, 18th Annual Blackoutfest in Athens, Nelsonville Music Festival

What are you listening to right now?
The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth
Water Liars – Phantom Limb
Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes

Best of Ohio 2012: Part Three

volume-2-comp-250x250Aquabear is kicking off a brand new year-end tradition by asking some of the state’s best musicians and music related folks to share their favorite Ohio music finds and experiences of the year. Look for a whole bunch of these before the start of 2013! Here’s the second batch featuring Nathan Moore (Yellow Springs/Athens – Sportfishing USA, Hex Net), Brett Helling (Columbus – The Cabdrivers, Winter Makes Sailors),  AJ Hitmar (Athens – Dark Circles Records), Dave Straub (Cleveland – Burger Boys, HOMeOwners, McShitz), Jessica Makosky (Athens – The Revulvas, Whip & Tickle). Look for more in the coming weeks and please share, if you would like to participate drop us a line at contact@aquabearlegion.com.

_______

Nathan Moore
Yellow Springs / Athens  (Sportfishing USA, Hex Net, Teen Age)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Valleyboys – Chronic Youth. I’ve been nagging Chris Lute to put this out for two years, It was worth the wait, and it sounds GREAT!

Favorite new Ohio band
Hyrrokkin. This power trio is one of the most incredible bands I’ve ever seen. Instrumental, weird time signature rock, played by free-jazz aficionados. They are putting out a new full length soon.

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year
Pierced Arrows at the Union in Athens, OH in April. I couldn’t stop smiling during their set.

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Putting out a new full length Sport Fishing USA album!

What have you been working on lately?
Sport Fishing USA just finished tracking drums for a few brand new songs. We are overdubbing like hell. I’ve been spending a lot of time writing new songs and recording them on this little cassette 4-track machine. I love being limited to 4 tracks, it makes me write better songs.

What are you listening to right now?
“Mature Themes” by Ariel Pink. These songs are starting to make me insane though, I keep finding myself singing “bad breath on the cross eye guards” while I’m checking out at the grocery store.
_______

Brett Helling
Columbus (The Cabdrivers, Winter Makes Sailors, The Kyle Sowashes, Swimsuit Edition)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
THE WHILES – “Somber Honey” Hands down my favorite album of the year…Ohio and beyond. It’s concise, warm, distant, melodic, and incredibly addictive. WATERSHED – “Brick And Mortar” Always been a big Watershed fan and it’s nice to see they’re still making great, punchy power-pop for all the right reasons. Joe Oestrich’s vocals are incredible. GUIDED BY VOICES – “The Bears For Lunch” Some very interesting songs on this one and Tobin really shines. I can honestly say I’ve never heard anything like “Finger Gang” and probably never will. A very noteworthy album for a band who has a career filled w/noteworthy albums.

Favorite new Ohio band
Bicentennial Bear(if they still count as new), Connections

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year
Wilco @ The LC (August)

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Should be full-length LP’s this year(finally) from two of the bands that I play guitar in: Winter Makes Sailors – “Moving On” and Swimsuit Edition – “Take A Dip”, The Cabdrivers, my songwriting/recording project should be doing more shows this year and maybe I’ll even write another song?? I accidentally put together a super-group to be my band and it’d be a shame if we didn’t at the very least play a bunch of shows. Nelsonville Music Festival – WILCO!!!  This could be the year that launches the festival into mega-festival status. Went last year and was very impressed and I hate music festivals.

What have you been working on lately?
I guess I sort of answered most of this in #4. Aside from those still playing w/The Kyle Sowashes on bass a lot and I’m guessing we’ll start writing the follow-up to “Somebody” soon. I’ve always been a fill-in for them but it looks like I’m gonna finally get to be on a record.

What are you listening to right now?
I’ve been in an Afghan Whigs phase. I’ve always liked them but just realized how incredible Black Love is and am obsessed w/”Summer’s Kiss”(track 10 or 11?). Ha, I just realized that they are from Ohio also. I suppose if some weird, music apocalypse happened that wiped out all music except Ohio music, my iPod would still be in pretty good shape.
_______

AJ Hitmar
Athens  (Dark Circles Records)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Homemade Drugs from Cincinnati just released their self-titled in November and it sounds great. Also Hundos, the Hundley brothers in Columbus, have made 3 albums this year, each with multiple collaborators. Weird Science in Athens finally released their debut online, rad tunes with the cover art to match.

Best new Ohio band?
I kind of have tunnelvision for the house scene in Athens, so I feel pretty out of the loop. Small Steps and Frankie Teardrop have been putting in some hard work recently though.

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year?
Big Whoop in Columbus was a blast. 35ish bands in two days in the dead heat of July, it was like a punk rock rite of passage. I’m not sure what the organizers have planned for Summer 2013, but I know I’ll be there.

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Dark Circles has a few releases lined up already which is exciting. I’ll be getting as much done in Ohio as I can…I plan on moving to Chicago in July.

If you are a musician what have you been working on lately?
I’ve spent the last few months mixing and mastering an album for a band I was in, Dawgtooth, and it’s just about ready to go. Two other projects of mine, Valleyboys and Vodou, just released albums online. There’s also Cophugger, which had two songs pressed onto a 7″ split earlier this year.

What are you listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to the Trojan Box Sets nonstop, all year. Also Darker My Love, Jaill, The Bats, The War on Drugs, Camp Lo, Caetano Veloso, Pantha Du Prince, Donald Byrd, Can, and Eskmo have all frequently met my ears this year.

_______

Dave Straub
Cleveland (Burger Boys, HOMeOwners, McShitz)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Off the top of my head the founding father’s LP. This is a good record but it is the only one I can think of that I had nothing to do with and I actually listened to.

Favorite new Ohio band
Murderedman but they may already be over with.

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year
Cassette Fest 2012 at Pats in the Flats. The highlight was Murderedman’s performance: involved lights , balloons, mirrors and hard rockin riffs. Homeowners played, Phyllis Dillenger, Wet Brain and some other crap. 10 -15 minute sets fun times.

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Lottery League

What have you been working on lately?
Upcoming Tuk Peenerson and his Wienerman split LP with Sloth. HOMeOwners debut release. PALACES new line up with Rosanna SAfos, Eben Nichols, Jesse Alison, Curtis Frey.

What are you listening to right now?
Goblin, Blouse, SoFt KIll, Litanic Mask, Zombi, THE Frustration and Pretty Things.
_______

Jessica Makosky
Athens (The Revulvas, Whip & Tickle)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Aquabear Legion & Disjointed Records 16 in 16.

Favorite new Ohio band
Skattoo

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year
Porch Stage at the Nelsonville Music Festival

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Recording an album (finally and hopefully) with The Revulvas

What have you been working on lately?
Different styles of drumming (music styles that is)

What are you listening to right now?
Desent/The White Spider (It’s Disjointed Mike’s latest solo project about crazy dudes climbing mountains and dying)

NEW MUSIC: Valleyboys “Chronic Youth” for Free

Athens-based Dark Circles Records is a sweet label run by Chris Lute that has put out stuff by Whale Zombie, Homemade Drugs, and a few other Ohio acts. Dark Circles has two new Athens releases for FREE on the ol’ Bandcamp right now that you all should go stream and download. Chronic Youth is the new album from Valleyboys (and it has “Ghost” on it, also found on Aquabear Legion Volume 4) and it is joined by Fitness a new release from Athens project Vodou featuring Chris Lee (Melk), Charlie Milter (Weird Science, Valleyboys), and AJ Hitmar (Valleyboys, Cop Hugger). Go check them out and support sweet stuff.