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.

Stolen Gear Benefit at The Union This Saturday

Help raise some money to replace stolen gear with some awesome music this Saturday at The Union!

Some jerks stole all of Dropdead Sons (Scott Winland, Chris Burget, Brandon Robinson, Chris Corbin) gear from their rehearsal space last week. Scott put together a really great show to help raise money to get that gear back. The Union in Athens, Ohio will host  a reunited Whale Zombie, The County Pharoahs, Wheels On Fire, Scubadog, and more on Saturday, September 29 starting at around 8pm.

Besides going to the show, you can donate via PayPal to blackoutbooking@gmail.com or even send a check to Scott Winland to The Union, ATTN: Scott, 18 W. Union Street, Athens, OH, 45701. You can attend and share on Facebook too.

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.

FULL COMPILATION TRACK LIST AFTER THE BREAK…
Continue reading “Aquabear Legion Volume 4 is (almost) OUT! Release Party at Union This Saturday!”

ACRN’s Lobsterfest Takes Over Athens

This weekend, June 2nd through 4th, the All Campus Radio Network (ACRN) presents its annual Lobsterfest. This year’s fest features many local and regional bands to create a full and diverse lineup. This event is sponsored by ACRN and in part by the Student Activities Commission and local businesses.

Lobsterfest kicks off Thursday at 10 p.m. at Casa Cantina. Headliners include Columbus band Tin Armor and Athens act Scubadog, while The Kyle Sowashes and Stomp the Condor, both of Columbus, are opening.

Lobsterfest continues Friday at 10 p.m. at The Union. Headliners include Detroit art rockers Child Bite and Columbus post-punk band Narrow and the Brights. The night will begin with Cincinnati act Evolve, and Athens band Nurser.

Finally, on Saturday at noon, Lobsterfest takes over South Green’s lawn for an all-day extravaganza. New York City dream pop band Asobi Seksu and Detroit indie-rockers Prussia will be headlining. Athens favorites Brothertiger and She Bears will also be playing on Saturday. Expect to see many other acts from Athens and Columbus for a full line up check out the Lobsterfest Facebook event or ACRN.com.

To finish the evening on Saturday, Dave Rave, Busted BASS and the ACRN.com DJ Crew will be presenting a Lobsterfest themed Dave Rave at 10 p.m. at The Union.

FULL LINEUP + SCHEDULE AFTER THE BREAK
Continue reading “ACRN’s Lobsterfest Takes Over Athens”

16th Annual Blackoutfest Lineup Revealed

There’s a blackout in store for Athens just a few weeks from today, and fortunately it’s not the kind that will leave you reading by candle light. Rather, the 16th annual Blackoutfest will be taking place April 14-16, organized by the locally-based Blackout Booking and bringing bands from across the nation as well as regional and local favorites onto the Union’s stage for a weekend of wall-to-wall garage/punk-inclined rock and roll. Headliners for this year’s lineup include Columbus’s Times New Viking, who are preparing to embark on a European tour in support of their upcoming Merge Records release Dancer Equired. Also heading up the bill are Tennessee glamrockers Cheap Time, psychedelic devotees Buffalo Killers, Chicago power duo White Mystery and eclectic noisemakers Fergus & Geronimo.

Once again, Blackoutfest will be sharing the weekend with the annual Record Store Day, which means you’ll be able to start your Saturday off at Haffa’s before jumping across the street to the Union for some live music. Tickets are currently on sale at Haffa’s, at $8 a night or $20 for all three days. Doors open at 6PM on Thursday and Friday, and at 4PM on Saturday. Complete list of band (which we’ll update as we receive more information) after the jump!

Continue reading “16th Annual Blackoutfest Lineup Revealed”

Aquabear County Fair Preview: NIGHT TWO Friday, March 4 at Casa Cantina

She Bears make another return to Athens to join Narrow & The Brights and Whale Zombie for the second night of the County Fair. FREE SHOW!

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. Remember to head over to our Facebook to see our favorite videos of all of this year’s bands.

FRIDAY, March 4th the  County Fair at Casa Cantina with a FREE SHOW featuring She Bears (Columbus), Whale Zombie (Athens),  and Narrow & The Brights (Columbus). The show starts at 10:30pm and is FREE, however we do encourage donations which will go to Aquabear Legion and helps us cover some of the costs of the Aquabear County Fair!

She Bears call Columbus home now, but they just can’t stay away from Athens. These guys have been busy the past year… touring around the country, signing to Deep Elm Records, and showing up somehow on both Teen Mom and in the Apple Store. But, trust me these guys aren’t big enough superstars to not want you to buy them drinks.

Whale Zombie are a shoegaze-y, psychedelic, fuzzy band from here in Athens that has really been playing some badass shows lately. They have played basements, bars, and even my workplace, the historic Stuart’s Opera House in January for the Cabin Fever Festival and were loud and noisy at all of them.

Narrow & The Brights feature 2/3 of former Athens group Russenorsk. They love Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen but so does Aquabear so no problem there. Much like She Bears they call Columbus home, so make sure to get out and enjoy their visit.

And it’s a FREE SHOW. So you should all be there. Donations at the show will go to the ol’ Aquabear and help us cover some costs for the weekend. And don’t forget…

Thursday, March 3 at The Union with Zoobombs, Wheels On Fire, Valleyboys, The Pleasure Domes

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

RECORD REVIEW: Whale Zombie – Whale Zombie LP

The guys in Whale Zombie know what they’re doing. They’ve crafted a sound and persona that borrows from numerous characteristics of pop rock history while somehow maintaining an identity that’s all their own. Playing with the vigor of a bunch of teenagers who just bought their first battered secondhand instruments and the finesse of seasoned veterans, Whale Zombie have constructed a solid offering with the debut of their first full-length album. Musical genres are thrown in a blender throughout, but this is accomplished in a way that never jars the listener or upsets its own flow. This is, in part, because the fuzzy, lo-fi aesthetic is one of a few rare elements that remains constant. Add to that quality song writing and skillful playing, and there’s little fault to be found within these 35 minutes of throwback surfy psychedelia.

Any number of Whale Zombie’s songs could be equally at home in a Nuggets compilation or on the iPod of a hungover OU underclassman. It’s apparent that they like to screw around with pedals, which will always earn high praise from me. Still, that never really prevents them from writing some truly catchy, rocking tunes. Some of my favorite tracks are the raucous “Ridin’ the Wave” with it’s singalong melodies, “Battle for Middle Earth”, an instrumental ditty that shakes the walls with its thundering chorus and sprint to a false finish and the wonderfully sludgy “Demons”.

Ultimately, any album review can be boiled down to one simple question: is it worth a listen? In this case, the answer is a clear and resounding “yes.” Check out their Myspace, Facebook and Bandcamp presences for information and downloads. Their label, Dark Circle Records, also has a site, but it seems to be in its infancy as this is being written. Whale Zombie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, nevertheless there is plenty in there for fans of surf rock, psychedelic freak outs, retro pop, heavy instrumentals and Final Fantasy IX to enjoy. Just watch out for the Ultra Sound Wave! That shit can fuck up your entire party.

Buy: Whale Zombie LP

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
COUNTY FAIR NIGHT ONE
at The Union curated by Blackout
Zoobombs (Japan)
Wheels On Fire (Athens)
Valleyboys (Athens)
The Pleasuredomes (Athens)

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

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

Sunday, March 6 at 2pm
COUNTY FAIR DAY FOUR
at ARTS/West – FREE AFTERNOON POTLUCK
Super Desserts (Columbus)
Brian Harnetty (Columbus)
Adam Remnant (Athens)
*donations encouraged to benefit bands and space

Support Local Music! Help spread the word.

Flaming Lips, George Jones, Neko Case to Headline May’s Nelsonville Music Festival

Stuart’s Opera House has announced the headliners for the 7th annual Nelsonville Music Festival on May 13-15, 2011. The Flaming Lips (saturday), George Jones (friday), and Neko Case (sunday) were all announced last night at the “kind of halfway” party at Casa Cantina in Athens. The festival always has a great spread of Ohio bands too, so look for those in the coming month or two and last night Athens bands Scubadog, Whale Zombie, Duke Junior and the Smokey Boots, and Chris Biester were added to the May lineup after playing the Casa party.

Weekend passes go on sale (with a limited number at ONLY $60) this Monday, February 7th and you can get them at www.nelsonvillefest.org or by calling (740) 753-1924.

Maps & Atlases Live at Stuart’s Opera House’s Cabin Fever Festival

For those of you who didn’t make it out to Stuart’s Opera House (my employer and all around awesome place) for the Cabin Fever Festival a few weeks back missed one hell of a show. Great Ohio music from Pomegranates, Wheels On Fire, Alwood Sisters, Whale Zombie, and Bird and Flower in a beautiful space. And Chicago’s Maps & Atlases blew everybody away in their own right.

Here’s a great video from Aquabear’s good friend and fantastic photographer Andrew Spear, who captured the band during their completely unplugged encore surrounded by the crowd in Stuart’s orchestra pit. Check them out doing “The Ongoing Horrible”.
Thanks Andy!

Maps and Atlases- Stuart’s Opera House from Andrew Spear on Vimeo.

Best of Ohio Music 2010

I was very excited to come up with a list of my favorite music from Ohio this year, particularly because not too much on the national scene really blew me away this year. The following list however features some very, very good music and all of it comes at high suggestion for me. Great records from Megachurch, Super Desserts, Wheels On Fire, Sun God, This Moment In Black History, Whale Zombie, The Black Swans, Orchestraville, Manor Animals, Seascapes, and Weedghost. When possible we have included a link and where you could purchase a copy, though a few of these things may be out of print.

I know I missed a few (sorry), and I am putting them in arbitrary order as I cannot possibly rank anything. But, I did limit it to 11, because 10 just didn’t work…

Happy New Year from the Aquabear Legion! 2011 is gonna be pretty awesome.


Megachurch, Megachurch
GET IT: megachurch.bandcamp.com

Super Desserts, Banjo Forever
GET IT: banjoforever.com

Wheels On Fire, Liar Liar
GET IT: Bompstore

Sun God / This Moment In Black History, The Paul EP
GET IT: Smog Veil Records

The Black Swans, Words Are Stupid
GET IT: St. Ives and Secretly Canadian Distribution

This Moment In Black History, Public Square
GET IT: Smog Veil Records

Whale Zombie, LP
GET IT: whalezombie.bandcamp.com

Orchestraville, Poison Berries
GET IT: orchestraville.bandcamp.com

Manor Animals, Rearranger EP
MORE INFO: Manor Animals Myspace

Seascapes, EP
MORE INFO: Seascapes Myspace

Weedghost, 2010 Tour Album
MORE INFO: Weedghost Myspace