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

NEW FREE COMPILATION: Aquabear’s 16 in 16

Way back on November 5, 2011 Aquabear Legion teamed up with Disjointed Studios to hatch the crazy plan of recording 16 different bands over the course of 16 straight hours with the intent of releasing these recordings as a free online Aquabear compilation. We are excited to finally share Aquabear Legion’s 16 in 16 with all of you for download or streaming. Special thanks to Disjointed (Mike, Jess, and Miles), Dale at Long Run Audio for the mastering, Max Wheeler/Gnarly As I Wanna Be for the artwork, and all of the bands who participated. 16 in 16 is Aquabear’s 9th release since 2004 and features bands from all across Ohio including: Bram Riddlebarger and His Lonesome Band, Saturn Missile Batteries, The Revulvas, Cophugger, Dune, Hookers Made out of Cocaine, Moon High, Skumplast, Octopus and Owl, State Park, Alex Henry/Nate Scheible Duo, Dead Winds of Summer, Weedghost, The Goodbye Goats, Casiotone Orchestra, and Remainder. Download it here, and feel free to make a donation to help support the Aquabear Legion.

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

Aquabear Legion Volume 4 is (almost) OUT! Release Party at Union This Saturday!

Things are really exciting here at Aquabear HQ. Our brand new compilation Aquabear Legion Volume 4 is all finished up and ready to be heard by all, coming in at a whopping 38 songs from 38 Ohio bands all on 2 CD’s. We are celebrating the official release THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 11th at The Union in Athens, Ohio with music from Seascapes, Black Owls, Scubadog, and Weedghost. Comps will be for sale (at a special price!) and there will be some awesome music which will start around 10pm.

The compilation features hand screen printed art by Jed Collins and looks real sweet. They will be for sale at the show and then on our website and at good places around the state in the coming weeks.