The great state of Ohio has raised legends. Cleveland's known for hall-of-famers Pere Ubu and the Electric Eels. Dayton nurtured Kim Deal and Bob Pollard. And from its well-situated spot in between those two cities, the state capital of Columbus is starting to have some sort of cohesive musical identity thrust upon it. What with NME and MTV creaming on Times New Viking and Psychedelic Horseshit. Not to say it's undeserved - I think their excellent live sets in the WFMU studios (TNV) (PHS) are testament enough.
What follows is a sampling - by no means comprehensive - of some of the other Columbus musicians you'll be able to hear on WFMU's Free Music Archive. MP3's from The Guinea Worms, Necropolis, Tommy Jay's Tall Tales of Trauma, Mike Rep & the Quotas, Mors Ontologica, The Lindsay*, El Jesus de Magico, Ryan Jewell, and Sword Heaven after the jump. Feel free to suggest more in the comments.
The Guinea Worms
With just a handful of cd-r releases, the Guinea Worms might be Columbus' most erratic band of the last decade. One moment they're all Nuggets-y ("Haymaker"), or bringing the straight-up anthemic slop-rock ("Hello From Ohio"). Then they whip out the Devocoder on "Chock Fool of Nuts", and descend into syrupy electrofuzz on "Thinking About You". With his direct lyrical focus, wormleader Will Foster is clearly making music for his own entertainment. Now that he's gathered a solid backing band, Foster seems to be taking the Guinea Worms a bit more seriously. They recently toured with Tyvek, and there are about 90 copies of their first slab-o-vinyl, the Box of Records 7'', still available from Columbus Discount Records.
Guinea Worms - Hello From Ohio (mp3) from Duct Tape You
Guinea Worms - Thinking About You (mp3) from Character Assassination Bureau
Guinea Worms - Chock Fool of Nuts (mp3) from Character Assassination Bureau
Guinea Worms - Haymaker (mp3) from Nightmare in a Ravaged Brain
Guinea Worms - Spider Season (mp3) from Fun With Your New Head
This five-piece includes BJ and Adam of Columbus Discount Records. I've seen them compared to Pere Ubu, but Necropolis is all over the map, with way more spazztic energy; this is all punk, no funk. "No Chance" starts with shrill feedback and shark-attack bass chomp, but turns out downright catchy. The raw demos are a real treat, and check out the abrasive angularity of "Van v Art".
Necropolis - Give Up (demo) (mp3)
Necropolis - No Chance (demo) (mp3)
Necropolis - No Tongue, No Talking (demo) (mp3)
Necropolis - Stumpf (demo) (mp3)
Necropolis - Van v Art (mp3) - from the Stumpf 7''
Necropolis - Cocksuckerbastardmotherfucker (mp3) - from the new Song for a Workingman 7''
Mike Rep & the Quotas
Mike "Rep" Hummel makes shit sound good. He has "lovingly fucked with" many of the best recordings to come out of Ohio, including some from Columbus' own Times New Viking, Bassholes, New Bomb Turks, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, and almost every artist in this post. His "LFW" tag is a quality seal for those in search of lo-fi treble-smashed garage punk. And Rep's own group has been experimenting with psychedelic garage rock since the 70's. A Tree Stump Named Desire compiles recordings from 1975-1995, and 2005's Black Hole Rock includes new songs along with re-recordings of some older classics like "Rocket Music On".
Mike Rep and the Quotas - Florida Blue (mp3) - from Black Hole Rock
Mike Rep and the Quotas - Black Hole (mp3) - from Black Hole Rock
Mike Rep and the Quotas - Nautilus (mp3) - from A Tree Stump Named Desire
Mike Rep and the Quotas - Steppin Fetchit Again (mp3) - from A Tree Stump Named Desire
Tommy Jay's Tall Tales of Trauma, originally released on cassette by Mike Rep's Old Age/No Age label in 1986, is seeing a bit more daylight this year thanks to Columbus Discount Records. Let it be known that the Quotas' drummer and a seasoned collaborator is also responsible for an americana psych-folk gem. "Old Hemingway" is like Pearls Before Swine without the whimsy. "Memories" holds a twisted mirror to 80's synth-pop. Tommy Jay seems to be channelling Lou Reed on "Winter Nomad", and "I Was There" - my personal favorite - sounds like Ariel Pink covering the Bevis Frond. Kudos to Col Disc for giving Tommy Jay the CD/LP treatment!
This off-kilter 4-piece brought their dirty guitar and distorto-synth to WFMU last month for a smokin live session on Liz B's show. Their newest LP, the Used Kids Session, was recorded at the top-notch Columbus record store Used Kids by Mike "I don't do no stinkin demos" Rep (and with Tommy Jay providing some LFW assistance). "Massive Action" is a jam. And the song "Washington Beach" refers to the unofficial name for Mors' neighborhood. Washington Beach is home to artists, pawn shops, OSU students, seedy characters, venues like Cafe Bourbon St (RIP the Taco Ninja), and the most excellent Columbus Discount Records store/label/studio. These are just a few of the many jams freely available for download from Columbus' Very Small Scene Records.
Big muff rawk with catchy boy/girl vocals that are either mumbled or yelled, and the chunkiest guitar this side of peanut butter.
El Jesus de Magico
El Jesus' fuzzed out echo chamber provides the perfect backdrop for frontman Jon Witzky's struggles with Jesus and other rants. These are two of the songs from their Funeral Home Session 7'', which was actually recorded in a downtown Columbus funeral home.
Ryan Jewell's been putting out a wide range of electro-acoustic experimental/noise/improv, and collaborating with all sorts (did you catch him guest-drumming with Psychedelic Horseshit live in the WFMU studios?). Stay tuned for his forthcoming cdr with Cincinnati's C Spencer Yeh (Dronedisco/Burning Star Core) and Wasteland Jazz Unit on Italy's Dreemsheep Records.
Ryan Jewell - solo improvisation for a single snare drum and mouth (mp3) from the split double 3" cdr w/ Marcel Turkowsky on the Greek experimental label Hyperblasted. RJ says "All acoustic. No electronics. No overdubs. No processing," which is impressive. This track is 17:23 minutes and I will pass it on to Bryce.
Ryan Jewell - untitled track 2 (mp3) from Autodidect Starfruit Motherfucker cdr on Chocolate Monk. This track is like a 21:27 expedition to the death star.
Ryan Jewell - Homemadepigeon (mp3) from Homemadepigeon split c2 tape w/ Autoerotic Asphyxiation on Delayed Fallout
Sword Heaven is a sheet-metal-wielding industrial noise duo. These two tracks document a live performance at Columbus' Little Brothers from the fall of 2006. It was released on cd-r by Cut Hands in Europe and Sword Heaven's own Little Miracles label stateside. The whole set's smashed to pieces and chock-full of guests, with the pummeling, doom-harbingering "Faceless Nameless" performance for all-time. The album version's available from Load Records, where you'll find another mp3 from the album Entrance.
Thanks to the artists and labels for helping put this together and letting us post their music. Please give them some support if you like what you hear! For more Columbus-related things, check out the Showhio blog, Patradio, Red Hour Recordings (tons of free mp3's from Columbus legends like the Cheater Slicks!), and the Teen Action label.
The recordings in this post are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License