Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The Columbus Sound?
Just to update this one, the whole news out of Columbus in 2007 was the growing appreciation of noise rock and experimental bands, which have been playing around the city for the past few years. Turns out, more bands formed throughout the year. Then one of it's leading shitpop bands, Times New Viking, got signed to Matador. Then Pitchfork was all over TNV. Then people started talking about Psychedelic Horseshit, a band in a similar vein bit a bit more experimental.
Now we're going into 2008 with the bourgeoning possibility that this noise rock scene is exploding in national fascination. It could mean good things for Columbus. But read on, because as I previously pointed out. Bands move in quick cycles in Ohio's capital city.
Stepping back for a look at the Columbus "sound" is a little harder.
Essentially it's an easy thing to dissect because history shows it revolves around the broader "Midwestern Sound" (loud heavy guitars, thick bass, a bit of white trash twang ala Neil Young, and simplistic punk arrangements with a touch of off kilter chords thrown in for good measure).
I think the bands that sum this up are Gaunt, A Planet for Texas, Silo the Huskie and many many more. But that sound then mophed into three paths, one decidedly pop, one decidedly prog and one more punk. I'd paint Howlin Maggie into the pop side and Pretty Mighty Mighty and Miranda Sound into the prog side and maybe Gaunt and Planet for Texas into the punk side.
The weird thing about Columbus is that it's a big city that can feel like a high school talent show contest. That sounds bad, but my point is that things can change quickly. There is a huge turnover for bands. Although Columbus is known for the birth of the Midwestern Sound, what essentially comes to the forefront is any new trend of the times that suddenly becomes popular. There is also a large old school Columbus crowd that goes to shows in order to follow specific musicians no matter what band they are in.
Looking back over the past 10 years, you can see a three year rotation. The mid to late 1990s saw a rise in bands like The Johnson Brothers and plenty of swing groups. So during that period bands seemed to focus on "the show." (It was odd, because the whole swing thing came down from Detroit, passed into Toledo and finally dragged itself to Columbus YEARS after the fact.)
So the Columbus sound has gone from Midwestern in focus, to a trendy modern rock thing around 2000, to a sudden surge in pop elements like Tiara around 2003 or so. The next three years seemed to weigh heavily on bands going back to that Midwestern Sound again. Currently, the thing is to mix experimental music with the Midwestern Sound. There is also a bit of noise pop surging up (which I love) from bands like Terribly Empty Pockets, The Lindsay, The Proper Nouns, Paper Airplane, Church of the Red Museum and many more. Meanwhile a growing singer/songwriter contingent is happening from Time and Temperature to Eric Metronome and everything in between.
See? Columbus is a little harder to explain. Hopefully this made some sense.