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 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.

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.


Aquabear County Fair Preview: NIGHT ONE Thursday, March 3 at The Union

Athens' own Wheels On Fire kickoff the Aquabear County Fair on Thursday night with Zoobombs, Valleyboys, and The Pleasure Domes

The 5th annual Aquabear County Fair is coming up this weekend (March 3-6) and we think this year just might be the best yet. The Aquabear is serving up four days of Ohio music with 16 bands.

THURSDAY, MARCH 3rd the  County Fair kicks off at The Union with Zoobombs (Japan), Wheels On Fire (Athens), Valleyboys (Athens), and The Pleasure Domes (Athens). 10pm, cover. The whole night is curated by Blackout!

Zoobombs join the Aquabear County Fair as the only non-Ohio act this year and The Aquabear’s first international collaboration. THE ZOOBOMBS were formed by DON Matsuo (vocals/guitar), Matta (keyboards), and Moostop (bass) in Tokyo in September 1994 and — together with various drummers — have been amazing rock audiences in Japan, North America and Australia ever since. Expect punk, funk, and really anything else you can think of.

Wheels On Fire are a rock and roll band from Athens described as “Elvis Costello meets The Stooges”, and they’ve put out records on Big Legal Mess and Trouble In Mind. This four piece has played clubs all over the USA and Europe, and their new LP Liar Liar is really, really good.

Valleyboys are self-described as “essentially- fast garage rock with repetitive heavy riffs drowned in fuzz.” Sounds perfect to us.

The Pleasure Domes feature Nathan Moore who has also spent some time around town recently with his Sportfishing USA project. We’re excited to welcome them in for what we hope is the first of many Union shows.

See you all on Thursday! And remember…

Friday, March 4 at Casa with She Bears, Whale Zombie, Narrow & The Brights

Saturday, March 5 at Union with Chickenpussy, Megachurch, Hex Net, Scubadog, Left Hand Shake, Weeghost

Sunday, March 6 at ARTS/West with Super Desserts, Brian Harnetty, Adam Remnant

, a four-piece band from Ohio (USA), has been described as Elvis Costello meets the Stooges.

5th Annual Aquabear County Fair (March 3-6 in Athens) Lineups Announced!

This year mark’s the 5th annual Aquabear County Fair so we decided to make it bigger than ever before. We’re pretty excited for this one… many more details to come.

This year we present 16 bands total in Athens, Ohio over 4 days on March 3-6. 15 Ohio bands and even 1 from Japan.

Thursday, March 3 at 10pm
at The Union curated by Blackout
Zoobombs (Japan)
Wheels On Fire (Athens)
Valleyboys (Athens)
The Pleasuredomes (Athens)

Friday, March 4 at 10:30pm
at Casa Cantina – FREE SHOW!
She Bears (Columbus)
Narrow + The Brights (Columbus)
Whale Zombie (Athens)
*donations benefit Aquabear Legion

Saturday, March 5 at 9pm
at The Union
Chickenpussy (Athens)
Megachurch (Cleveland)
Hex Net (Athens)
Scubadog (Athens)
The 65’s (Athens)
Weedghost (Athens/Dayton)

Sunday, March 6 at 2pm
Super Desserts (Columbus)
Brian Harnetty (Columbus)
Adam Remnant (Athens)
*donations encouraged to benefit bands and space

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