With Album Release Upcoming, Cadence Blues Band Has Nothing to Cry About

The Cadence Blues Band (@TheCadenceBlues) may be a newcomer to the Columbus music scene, but their style and sound prove they have an old school mindset. There is already a buzz surrounding the trio as their EP The Seed officially drops next Friday, November 11 at a live show at The Shrunken Head. The young, psychedelic bluesy rockers have the talent to make a good run on the festival and dive scene, which means steady coin for years to come.

The EP starts off moody and haunting courtesy of the over five-minute piece titled ‘No Need’. This tune is a vehicle for vocalist Tony Gregorc to show off. It is the record’s ultimate campfire hippie anthem. This should be no surprise to its growing fan base as per the band’s Facebook profile, the group lists Hendrix and Zeppelin among their influences. One who pays attentions to the song’s lyrics will understand how relevant they were 50 years ago and now, especially with Election Day creeping up.

The pace picks up with track ‘So Damn Excited!’, a hybrid of blues meeting classic rock. If Q-FM 96 ever added this song into its rotation, it would fit into the playlist flawlessly. That stations’ avid listeners are people who thrived in the bar scene and Columbus needs to have throwbacks show millennials how it’s done.

‘Makenna’ is notable for drummer Ty Phillips-Bond’s on-point percussion, but of course he does a solid job from top to bottom on the album. Gregorc’s range gets put to the test on the track, despite this being The Seed’s shortest song. Taking the speed down a couple of notches is the song ‘(More Than) Just a Word’, which sounds like a sped-up ballad that people can move their bodies to.

Lastly, ‘How to Be a Rolling Stone’ is a genius mashup that demonstrates a 1970s attitude with 1990s arrangement. The song is so brilliant, it would be deemed a hit in both distinct decades. Gregorc and bassist Steve Simeon’s vocals are sheer perfection on the album’s final track.

When The Cadence Blues Band takes the stage in one week’s time, if the audience close their eyes and open their minds they will think they are back at the original (and best) Woodstock. They will be joined by solid opening acts Mystic Mamba and Punchdrunk Tagalongs. Per the group’s Twitter bio, Cadence describe themselves as, “A high energy, groove inducing, retro style blues-rock trio formed in Columbus, OH that creates soulful songs with a message, and performs them with feeling!” It is crystal clear The Seed captured this and a whole lot more, but that the live show will be even groovier.

Review: WATM’s Get Busy Living…

Columbus, Ohio’s We Are The Movies (@weare_themovies) have something special with their sophomore EP Get Busy Living… due to be released next Saturday March 26 digitally. That very night, the band will release the CD in their hometown at the Scarlet & Grey Café as part of 99.7 The Blitz’s Local Stuff Showcase. This show and the accompanying record are proof of fantastic things happening for this well-deserving group.

Although it clocks in under 90 seconds, the opener ‘Always the Rule (Never the Exception)’ starts off with a bang with Mike O’Leary and Tim Waters’ solid vocals and Bryan Overholt’s high-energy drum work. If it were a half-minute longer, it would be an amazing single in the same vein as Blur’s ‘Song 2’. It has a chance as a track that could be included in a movie montage, though. ‘The Story So Far’ exudes Overholt’s superb drumming in addition to magnificent guitar play from O’Leary, Waters, and Dan McMillan. The tune also possesses O’Leary and Waters’ spot-on vocals, which will remind pop-punk fans of the genre’s all-time greats Hawthorne Heights, A Day To Remember, and Allister.

The third track ‘Happy EX-Mas (War Is Over)’ has Overholt’s great drum play with its standout guitars not far behind. It is a headbanging, sing-along tune that can be successful on rock radio stations. The song should resonate with listeners due to its lyrics that include “We all want something to believe in, but give me something real like happiness.” Song four is ‘The Best Revenge is Living Well’, which is about utilizing the power of positivity to combat negativity. It makes wonderful use of Stephen Goldstein’s bass skills and the track has great potential as a radio single with in-sync drum work, guitar play, and vocals. With the rise in cyberbullying and social media shaming, the song has a great message as a response to haters.

‘Temporary’ is the EP’s longest tune coming in at near six minutes and is starts off as a ballad with beautiful acoustic guitar work before the group turns up the heat. It could be a radio single if they edited a chunk of it, but that would butcher the track and it is best left alone. The record’s final song ‘By a Thread’ starts off the same way as ‘Temporary’ and is an alternative radio prospect with O’Leary and Waters’ essential singing leading the way.

For next Saturday’s album release show, We Are The Movies will play alongside four other fantastic local groups Absolute Hero, No Dice, The Scratches, and Heroes Like Villains. The gig will be free to the public, but great alternative music lovers will want to bring their wallets to support these groups. Although WATM was founded approximately four years ago, with the musicianship and songwriting exuded on Get Busy Living… show the band members have been honing their craft for much longer. With the new EP and a spot on The Vans Warped Tour in Alaska, great things are in store for the gang for years and years to come.

*Photo courtesy of wearethemoviesband.com

 

Review: Two Years Later’s ‘Dropping Anchor’

Columbus, Ohio’s Two Years Later (@2YLBand) is an alternative pop-punk rock quintet formed in 2013 by principal members drummer Zak Toth and singer/guitarist Jamie Rogers. The duo recruited bassist Mike Johnson and guitarists Chandler Eggleston and Mike Leibrand to fill out the lineup. Two weeks ago, the group made their second album Dropping Anchor available to select fans and on February 20 was released it to online outlets. The official release occurs this Saturday, March 5 at north Columbus’ Spacebar with physical copies available to the public. Given the record’s craftsmanship from top to bottom including Mark Abrams’ mastering and Matt Hagberg’s engineering, the band is ready for the record as well as themselves to go viral. After 20 minutes of taking in Dropping Anchor, the group proves they have the style and substance to succeed.

The EP’s first track, ‘Learn to Let Go’ displays Rogers’ sharp vocals and Toth’s solid drumming skills. The tune is pure pop-punk greatness with fine work from all guitarists. With Rogers as the band’s sole songwriter, listeners will hear songs grounded in a reality that is not all rainbows and unicorns. If one fancies Rogers’ voice on the first song, they will be blown away with what she serves up on ‘You Win’. The song is about the dilemma to sacrifice and concede, even if those are not the ideal things to do. The guitar work is actually more solid here than on the previous tune and each player comes together to concoct a rock radio dark horse.

Dropping Anchor’s third song ‘Pieces’ is pure awesomeness from the arrangement to the lyrics to the musicianship. The theme here deals with experiencing heartache, but ultimately dusting oneself off and moving forward. ‘More Than This’ holds its own on the record as a fantastic song with a fine message put to a wonderful melody. Young people’s empowerment, especially for females, is important in today’s society with the rise of bullying and shaming prevalent due to never-ending technological connections. Whether intentional or not, Rogers has created the next Saturday morning PSA.

Lastly, Dropping Anchor features the surefire rock radio staple ‘Stay with Me’. By far and away, this gem is Two Years Later’s best chance to lead them on the road to fame. #Road2Fame happens to be the group’s first (and already out-of-print) EP from 2014 that lives on in cyberspace. Although consumers will likely compare Rogers to Paramore’s leader Hayley Williams, on this song she comes off closer to highly regarded rock goddess Lizzy Hale.  Johnson’s bass work is spectacular here and Leibrand and Eggleston’s guitar play is on point with everyone else. Toth’s excellence behind the kit is noticeable here and stands out in the final 30 seconds.

Dropping Anchor is a very personal record and all should be grateful Two Years Later and especially Rogers have invited us in to experience it. To promote the EP, the band is taking to the road with stops in Louisville, Charlotte, Cincinnati, and beyond. This band is onto something huge and alternative music lovers will want to join the wild ride.

*Photo by Matt Hamilton is courtesy of the band’s official website

Critique: Kid Runner’s Wake Up Now

Kid Runner (@kidrunnerband) sent out a wake-up call to the music world, so to speak, in the form of their second EP Wake Up Now. Dropped this past October, the unsigned Columbus, OH quintet have delivered a series of tracks that stand up in quality to anything from Passion Pit, OK Go, Walk The Moon, and Fun., who perform a similar routine. If they had the same resources available to them those bands have, Kid Runner would hold their own on late night TV shows as well as the Alternative and Top 40 charts.

The opening track, which happens to be the title track, is disappointing in that it is relatively short but is a nice instrumental intro nonetheless in the same vein of The xx. ‘Thinking Out Loud’ is a would-be hit with fans of Sheppard with strong male and female vocals on display. According to their Soundcloud page, it is the EP’s second most clicked track behind ‘Move’. Speaking of which, ‘Move’ is the track that has earned the group local success as a winner of Radio U’s daily ‘Battle of the Buzz’ competition. Furthermore, the song is also licensed for use on MLB Network. The band also released a video for ‘Move’ that is equally as relevant as major label artists’ videos using a fraction of those groups’ budgets. These two tunes on their own ought to be enough to garner Kid Runner the industry-wide attention they are due.

Wake Up Now has three more tracks that have their own flavor and showcase the five-piece’s creativity and talent. ‘Breaking Away’ is a tune in which the lyrics imply it is a song about destorying figurative shackles and escaping a toxic situation and/or person. It is the EP’s most serious song and one that proves Kid Runner’s wide songwriting range. Even hair metal bands churned out the occasional ballad and life commentary with favorable results. ‘Killin’ Me Now’ is pop brilliance from start to finish with the incorporation of keyboardist Frances Literski’s backing vocals to compliment the strong drum and keyboard work. Litterski’s dove-like vocals are also included in “Higher”, the record’s most dance club-friendly tune.

Alt-pop music lovers willing to take approximately 30 minutes to check out Wake Up Now will experience proof Kid Runner is going places figuratively. Literally, the group is expanding their horizons outside of their local confines opening for Civil Twilight in Pittsburgh on May 28 and playing at Cincinnati’s Burnbury Music Festival on June 5. Those gigs are followed by a return to Columbus on September 5 for the Fashion Meets Music Festival. Alternative and indie music’s true believers and supporters must not miss out on a chance to hear Wake Up Now in addition to their self-titled EP. If this band has the success they have demonstrated they deserve, the alternative and pop rock genres are in great shape for years and years to come.

*Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page

Critique: Midnight Coast Deserves to be Heard Coast to Coast

Released two years ago, Everything In White by Columbus, OH-based then-quartet Midnight Coast (@MidnightCoast) is a fantastic ride from start to finish. With such a polished recording under their belt, the band’s future looks extremely vivid. Despite the group citing Coldplay and Ben Folds as artists who influence them, the group has put together thirteen unique tracks that stand on their own merit. Some of their songs hint at piano-heavy group Keane as an inspiration, which is certainly a compliment. It is only a matter of time before the foursome’s hard work pays off and they get a brighter spotlight placed upon them along with an opportunity to tour throughout the country.

The instrumental first track ‘Drive’ clocks in at less than two minutes and should be part of an action movie trailer. The short, but sweet work of keyboardist Matt Stephan, drummer Kevin King, and guitarist Kevin Murray is a stroke of genius. If the band elected to add two more minutes to it, ‘Drive’ would be one of the rare instrumentals to become a Top 40 hit. The record’s second tune, ‘Runaway’, is the most reminiscent of Ben Folds’ influence on the group. Lead singer Liam Kirkpatrick’s vocals are on point and fit the song to sheer perfection. If Midnight Coast had a record deal in place, ‘Runaway’ would be one of the album’s standout singles with a chance of peaking high on Alternative charts.

The title track is the type of song that would fit right in on a serious indie film’s soundtrack. ‘The Hunter’ would have a fighting chance on the Adult Top 40 stations with its fusion of Ben Folds, Tori Amos, and Train from beginning to end.  ‘Brain Kicks In’, which is the final tune on the album, is the surefire gem that with the right backing would be the band’s best bet at a mainstream Top 40 hit. Kirkpatrick, King, Murray, and Stephan fire on all cylinders and save the record’s best song for last. It is a brilliant way to cap off a disc that has quality musicianship from start to finish.

Midnight Coast is a band that has been in existence for half a decade and they have paid their dues long enough. In short, the band has demonstrated in recording and in concert they are worthy of larger recognition for their talent. The band released an album that is not the flashiest in the industry, however, it holds up well compared to higher budget albums from their influences. While they would fit in on a bill with the likes of other local groups Truslow and Nick Tolford & Co., this now five-piece act deserves a chance to be heard from one end of America to the other and beyond. Now with bassist Nick Ewan in tow, it is only a matter of time before this unsigned group’s day will come and they have the success Red Wanting Blue, Twenty-One Pilots, and Watershed have had coming out of the capital city.

*Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page

Artist Showcase: Truslow (presented by DX Entertainment)

TRUSLOW 2

Truslow (@TruslowMusic) is an American quartet based in Columbus, OH. The band consists of lead vocalist James Truslow, bassist Andrew Lee, guitarist Sean Mackowski, and drummer Matt Myers. The group is among the fastest rising in their vicinity with nearly 2000 fans on Facebook and a slot as part of the much-hyped Fashion Meets Music Festival. The Labor Day weekend-long event faced controversy when then-headliner R. Kelly was met with backlash and he was ultimately fired from performing.  Given the fanfare of the entire festival, expectations will be high for all artists involved.  Based on what’s been heard from Truslow, these guys will bring their best to the stage on Friday, August 29.

For any independent artist, publicity is extremely important.  Having near 3000 fans spread out among multiple social media sites for a local band is commendable.  This band is young and the sky’s the limit for them.  From what’s been heard on their new EP Hurricane thus far. this group should have a record deal and score Top 40 hits sooner versus later. “ADHD” is already scoring airplay on Radio U, which is a station based locally but reaches a nationwide audience.  New Albany’s New Hollow managed to score a hit this year and hopefully Truslow will follow suit. “ADHD” is poppy with enough of a rock crunch to fit in with the likes of New Hollow, 5 Seconds of Summer and R5. The title track to Hurricane starts off like a ballad, but picks up the pace. It is a track that shows the versatility of the band. James Truslow’s voice is going to make the ladies swoon. This Friday is sure to be a fun evening for those who attend the group’s set at the Fashion Meets Music Festival.

In two months, Truslow will be on a bill for DX Entertainment’s first ever show with their set sandwiched between headliner They’re Coming They’re Coming and opener Something Keen.  This will occur at King Avenue 5 (approximately two miles from Ohio Stadium) in Columbus, OH on Friday, October 17. Admission is $5.00 at the door and it is a solid lineup from top to bottom.  For those who live in the area, there is no excuse not to come and see these artists play.  To get a taste of what Truslow has to offer, please check out the lyric video for their new single “ADHD” below.  You’re welcome.

Artist Showcase: Nick Frye (presented by DX Entertainment)

Nick Frye is an American musician who calls Columbus, OH home. This past March, Frye released a four-song EP that is pure genius. The tunes are sharp from top to bottom and after a listen, indie music lovers are going to want more from Frye. He was a drummer for now-defunct Ohio band Bonneville, but has the aptitude to make a serious go of it as a soloist.

The record kicks off with “ZUCKER!”, a tune that gives off the funky image of Adam Ant as frontman of Neon Trees. It’s definitely a track that’s ready for massive radio play. Perhaps that will come one day. “Miles” is the second tune and the song featured in the video above. This track is the epitome of modern electronica with elements of 80s music thrown in. It’s another gem that is worthy of hitting the airwaves.

The longest track is “Phony” and it has more of an 80s sound than the previous tunes on the EP. That alone makes it a standout on its own. It would have been a smash hit back in the day. The final song “You’re So Tired” is the shortest one and is more of a throwback than the prior efforts on the album. This EP leaves listeners wanting more and here is hoping Frye has a successful run to create another record and cash in on his talent.

Listeners will have a chance to see and hear Nick Frye up close and personal as he opens an amazing night of indie rock at King Avenue 5 in Columbus, OH on Friday, October 24. Also performing that night are Motherfolk and the headliner Pseudoname. Admission costs $5.00 at the door and the venue is only two miles southwest of The Ohio State University. It will be well worth it to hear Frye bring his ready for radio tunes to an intimate venue live and in living color.

This record is available now at Bandcamp.

This record is available now at Bandcamp.

Review of Mount Carmel, Nick Tolford & Company, Bummers, and Mama at Woodland’s Tavern – Columbus, OH (3/28/14)

This past Friday night, a splendid four hours of jams were produced by four brilliant local music acts. They all brought a little something different to the table and wholeheartedly delivered sets people not in attendance will regret not witnessing.  After each performance, it is safe to say that the central Ohio music scene is back on track and should be in good hands for years to come.

 

IMG_20140328_221955[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quartet named Mama was first up and played to a dozen plus early birds, but laid it all on the stage like they were performing in front of thousands at the original Woodstock. The group might have a modern look, but their sound is totally vintage and it was performed flawlessly. Their female drummer banged that kit like crazy and one could tell she was totally feeling the vibe of her bandmates.  The lead singer, whose mustache gave off a Freddie Mercury look, had a voice reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. Although the band did not have a record for sale at the gig, had there been one can surely bet that word of mouth would have driven sales of said record. Once a CD from this four-piece is available, not getting an earshot of it is a dire mistake.

 

CAM00046[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychedelic surfer rockers Bummers (@bummersmusic) were second on the bill and the fashionably late Woodlands crowd started to file in anticipating an energetic set from this four-man act. This group of fun-loving jammers are coming off performances at SXSW where they were certain to entertain and turn some heads.  They certainly did their share of head turning of the crowd and then some.  The group implied although their album is complete, it will be some time before the masses can get an earful of it.  Bummers are very smart in allowing a delayed gratification for their fans to help generate and maintain the buzz surrounding their music. Once the record is out later this year, it is sure to be a local bestseller. If they rocked Austin the way the rocked Woodlands, there is little doubt a label deal is imminent.

 

CAM00054[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sextet Nick Tolford & Co. (@TolfordAndCo) were up next on the list and their sound was reminiscent of critically acclaimed Josh Dodes and Fitz & The Tantrums. Honestly, Tolford was more over with the crowd than the headliner, as evident of his constant interaction with them. Everyone on stage seemed to have a great time putting on a performance for the audience and were handsomely rewarded for it.  Tolford’s backup singers were fantabulous in their style as well as with their pipes. It was great seeing Leslie Jankowski, ex-frontwoman of Frostiva and Behind You With Knives, back on stage.  She seemed genuinely happy to entertain again and here is hoping that although she keeps working with this band, perhaps she will strap on a guitar one more time as leader of her own group.

 

CAM00057[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

The band everyone came to see, Mount Carmel (@mountcarmelswag), was fascinating from beginning to end of their set. Most of the material came from the trio’s new record, Get Pure, which was released that evening. The Brothers Reed and James McCain brought everything and the kitchen sink to their performance. They are described as a throwback to power rock with a blues influence.  After checking out some of their tracks from years gone by, Mount Carmel’s lead singer brought some heavier sounding vocals that heard on prior tracks.  Purchasers of Get Pure should expect a bluesy metal approach on this CD that is more fist pounding than previously released material.

This was a solid gig from the get-go and was totally worth the hype. It was probably the best $10.00 well spent at a local show in a long, long time.  Those who could not be in attendance ought to take some time to seek these artists out online for booking information, tracks, as well as upcoming events.  It is a show that may have caused a case of Tinnitus, but the experience was definitely one to be had.