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

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

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year?
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?

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
4.weird science

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

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

A Very Special Aquabear Christmas at Casa on Saturday!


Aquabear Legion will host its A Very Special Aquabear Christmas at Casa Cantina in Athens, Ohio on Saturday, December 22 at 10:30pm. The night will feature music from three great Athens bands: Weird Science, Princess, and Elton Johnny. Admission is $3 and proceeds will benefit the 2013 Aquabear County Fair which will celebrates its 7th year and will feature a full weekend of great Ohio music at venues around Athens for FREE!  And we should have some t-shirts and cd’s if you still need a gift for someone.

Aquabear Legion is based in Athens, Ohio and is a collective of Ohio musicians and artists. Since 2004, Aquabear has worked with over 150 bands and dozens of artists and filmmakers from the state of Ohio. We work to promote and support Ohio musicians by releasing compilations of music, putting on shows and events, hosting podcasts, and covering Ohio music on our website at To date Aquabear Legion has released 9 compilations of Ohio music, 8 of them are available for free stream or download on their website, and one is a physical release available for purchase, 2011’s Aquabear Legion Volume 4. The Aquabear Legion provides a community network for creative people. We are dedicated to supporting and enhancing independent music and art in our extended region. We focus on collaborative relationships to create opportunities for independent musicians and artists.