Best of Ohio 2012: Part Two

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 David Obenour (Dayton – Ghettoblaster Magazine), Mike Makosky (Athens – Disjointed Records, Goodbye Goats, Skattoo), Ron Kretsch (Cleveland – Murderedman, Banging Fragiles), and James Harris (Athens – Manasseh Records). Look for more in the coming weeks and please share, if you would like to participate drop us a line at

David C. Obenour
Dayton (editor of Ghettoblaster Magazine)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012? All three Guided By Voices albums, Bassholes – Contains Bassholes Music…, Motel Beds – Dumb Gold, The Dopamines – Vices, Human Cannonball – Let’s Be Friends and probably a bunch more that I’m forgetting.

Favorite new Ohio band
Best new Ohio band? Hyrrokkin, jazz+Dischord=awesome.

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year
Afghan Whigs – Bogarts – 10/25. A band I’d always heard a lot about but had never really gotten around to, that’s all changed now.

What are you most excited about for 2013?
In descending order of probability: three more Guided By Voices albums, four more issues of Ghettoblaster and the Browns making the playoffs.

What have you been working on lately?
New issue of Ghettoblaster should be out in February!

What are you listening to right now?
Prince Paul – Negroes on Ice

Mike Makosky
Athens (Disjointed Records, Goodbye Goats, Skattoo)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Aquabear/Disjointed 16 in 16

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year
I didn’t get out much this year, but the Skeletonwitch/Havoc show at The Union was pretty damn sweet.

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Most excited about either : getting my newest band project named and playing gigs! (its been 4 months of practice so far getting ready): or the release of my solo album – Descent ‘White spider’

What have you been working on lately?
I play in 4 different bands, some regularly, some not so much, also my solo album is about to be released.

What are you listening to right now?
I enjoy a wide range of music, my most listened to right now would be a close split between Sargeist ‘Let the devil in’ and Fela Kuti’s debut 1969 ‘Fela Fela Fela’, but Ghost ‘Opus Eponymous’ probably has the most plays for me in the past year.

Ron Kretsch
Cleveland (Banging Fragiles, Murderedman, Self Destruct Button)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Little Bighorn’s “Chaperones” LP is my #1 by like a mile. Also the Drose 7″. Shitbox Jimmy’s album is pretty damn great too, as is the LP from Mike Uva and the Bad Eyes. Do I even NEED to mention “Attack On Memory?” I haven’t heard the new Mr. Gnome yet, but there’s every reason to assume that it’s just stupid fucking awesome. And the second All Dinosaurs album as well.

Best new Ohio band
Tough call. Goldmines maybe. Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites sure did hit Northeast Ohio like a bomb this year. I’ve been liking Nights, Dead Sweaters and Shitbox Jimmy a whole lot too, but I’m not sure they’re new in 2012.

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year
I’m going to be an egodick and name a show I played on – Murderedman, Drose, Envenomist and Temple of Ur at The Summit in Columbus on October 12th. Despite copious problems with the power in that venue (and a soundguy so blase about them that it ultimately became as amusing as it was annoying), all the performances were illuminating. Except Murderedman’s because the power cord to my amp kept falling out of the goddamn wall. WTF, The Summit? Seriously WTF? But Drose totally slayed, what an eye-opening band they are.

What are you most excited about for 2013?
I’m excited that three bands I am in or used to be in will be releasing full-length albums in 2013. I’m excited to start bringing Drose to Cleveland so they can blow some minds up here. I’m jumping-out-of-my-skin excited for the third installment of the Cleveland Lottery League.

What have you been working on lately?
Both of my current bands, Banging Fragiles and Murderedman, are in the process of finishing recordings. Murderedman intend, fates allowing, to continue to hit the road as hard as we’re able to, as our past trips have been very encouraging. And when Banging Fragiles start getting out more, I sincerely think people are going to like what they see.

What are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to “Counting The Beat,” the lone album by a criminally overlooked 1980-81ish New Wave band from New Zealand called The Swingers that featured former Split Enz member Phillip Judd. It shoulda been a classic, goddammit!

James Harris
Athens (Manasseh Records)

What were your favorite Ohio releases from 2012?
Southeast Engine’s Canaanville EP.

Favorite new Ohio band
I have to say ‘White Girl Raps Fast’ Bailee Moore. She’s a Bobcat, and Athens artists are always my favorite. Jesse Remnant’s Human Cannonball is fantastic too.

Favorite Ohio show you saw this year
Bruce Dalzell’s Open Mic shows in OU’s Front Room will always rank at the top of my list.

What are you most excited about for 2013?
Spending time with my new family, and hanging out with friends in Athens. To keep it related to music … early in 2013, I’ll be exploring tunes by Old Hundred and Maza Blaska.

What are you listening to right now?
‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ album has been on repeat. As has Dave Brubeck’s ‘Time Out.’ Earlier in the year, I was into Sam Cooke and dove back into Southeast Engine’s older albums. At the gym, it was Girl Talk on repeat and some old Dr. Dre mixes.


The Union’s Fall Lineup Includes Rocket From the Tombs, Mike Watt, R.Ring, and More

Legendary Cleveland band Rocket From the Tombs plays The Union on 10/13.

The Union Bar and Grill is putting together a great slate of Fall shows with many more to come I am sure. Head on over to their Facebook page for all the details and updates but make sure to mark your calendars for some great shows.

Some of Ohio’s finest will grace The Union’s upstairs stage: legendary Cleveland act Rocket from the Tombs (10/13), Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery’s R.Ring (9/1), and Athens’ own Skeletonwitch (9/14)all have dates lined up. And Athens even gets a visit from Mike Watt himself on October 22. And even appearances from some more great Ohio bands like Eye, Wheels On Fire, The Kyle Sowashes, Hex Net, The D-Rays, Weird Science, and many more round out the next few months. More shows to be added I’m sure and advance tickets for some shows are available at Haffa’s Records.

8/18 – Burning River Ramblers | Bright at Night
8/19 – John Paul Keith & The 1-4-5s | Hex Net | Weird Science (FREE) 8/24 – Melk | Warren Jackson Hearne (FREE)
8/30 – ACRN presents: The Kyle Sowashes | Vagrant Beat
9/1 –  R.Ring | Hex Net | M.O.P.
9/4 – Deke Dickerson & The Ecco-Fonics | The D-Rays | The Heartlanders
9/14 – Skeletonwitch | Havok | Early Graves | Dune
9/9 – Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
9/19 – Jaill | Fergus & Geronimo | Wheels On Fire
9/21 – White Mystery | Gardens
9/22 – Eye | Hosoi Bros. | Horseburner | Goodbye Goats
9/26 – Pink Reason | Weird Science
10/5-10/7 – FALLOUTFEST: Bob Log III | Cheap Time | Outer Minds | Chain & The Gang and more
10/13 – Rocket from the Tombs
10/22 – Mike Watt & Missingmen | The Makebelives

14th Annual Athens Community Music Festival is August 11

Every year one of the best things about summer in Athens, Ohio (besides the quiet and numerous public parking options) is the annual multi-venue Athens Community Music Festival, which celebrates its 14th year on Saturday, August 11. The night is a sampling of Athens music of all varieties, so get a good nights rest and drink a lot of coffee because there is a lot of stuff to see.

This year’s ACMF will feature 35 acts on 6 stages, including Donkey Coffee, Casa Cantina, Jackie O’s (both rooms), The Smiling Skull and The Union. Proceeds for this year’s festival will again benefit ARTS/West and The Bryan Winland Art & Music Scholarship Fund.

The schedule is still be sorted out (and we will have it here when it is announced!) but the lineup so far features:  Stella (original line-up!), Wheels on Fire, Hellnaw, Scubadog, The D-Rays, Hex Net, Weird Science, Goodbye Goats, Black Spyral Dancer, Dropdead Sons, Leah & Adam, Laura Nadeau, The County Pharaohs, Broken Ring, Dysfunktional Family, The Corbin Marsh Band, M.O.P., Acer Negundo, Hippie Grinder and tons more to be announced!

$5 for any one venue / or $8 for an all venue pass

And.. Jason Frederick (native Athenian musician/artist now living in Chicago) designed and printed this year’s poster! This summer Jason’s work was featured on the cover of the Chicago Reader for their Pitchfork Music Festival edition, and the ACMF poster is awesome as well.

Check out the Facebook event and spread the word!

Aquabear and Disjointed Record New Compilation for 2012: 16 BANDS in 16 HOURS

We are always trying to think of new ideas around here, so it made sense to record as many bands as possible in a short amount of time and put it out as a compilation right? Right? Well, we somehow convinced Mike Makosky of Disjointed Records that it was a good idea and he offered up his awesome studio space in the hills of Athens County. This Saturday, November 5th we will gather out in the country for a marathon of awesome Ohio music, record it and document it, and then put it out next year for you to hear. I have a feeling it will be more then 16 bands by the time we are done too. Look for pictures, video, and more and the more info on the release as we get into 2012.

16 BANDS in 16 HOURS (in order of time, beginning at 11am)
Bram Riddlebarger, Saturn Missile Batteries, The Revulvas, Cop Hugger, Dune, Hookers Made Out of Cocaine, Moon High, Skumplast, Octopus and Owl, State Park, Nate Scheible/Alex, Dead Winds of Summer, Weedghost, Goodbye Goats, Casiotone Orchestra, Saclunch, Remainder

Venue Spotlight: ARTS/West

by Kris Poland –


Go West, Young Bands

There is a place on West State Street where Athens music lovers can see some of the area’s best musicians display their talents. It is a place where engaging local paintings and photographs adorn the walls and where community members meet to consolidate support for the arts. It is a place that has been an invaluable resource for area arts organizations and individual artists since its inception. But its staff is unlikely to serve you vegan burritos.

The place is ARTS/West, and Emily Prince hopes that it will increase its presence in the regional arts community for years to come. Prince is ARTS/West’s program specialist and directs many of this venue’s day-to-day activities. She describes her place of work as, “a venue and a little bit more.” Indeed. The administrative and artistic support that ARTS/West provides to Athens’ performing artists includes establishing press contacts and authoring press releases, organization of events, skilled instruction, technical equipment, as well as additional resources and services. A little bit more than a venue? Prince has a knack for understatement.