Tag: Columbus OH

New Audio: Columbus Ohio’s didi Releases Surreal Visuals for Ethereal Album Single “Beached”

Consisting of founding members Meg Zakany (vocals, guitar) and Sheena McGrath (drums) with Kevin Bilapka-Arbelaez (vocals, guitar) and Leslie Simizu (vocals, bass), the Columbus, OH-based indie rock quartet didi can trace their origins to when its founding duo of Zakany and McGrath met in college, and began jamming together as a way of exorcising life’s frustration. Bilapka-Arbelaez and Shimizu were local musicians that didi’s founding duo had admired from afar, and they were recruited to join the band shortly after its formation.  The members of the Columbus, OH-based indie rock band cite Sonic Youth and Built to Spill as influences on their sound and approach. However, the band’s songs find the band generally eschewing a single charismatic frontperson in favor of allowing all of the individual members the freedom and ability to write and sing.

Each member of the band proudly embraces their heritage and differing backgrounds, creative ambitions and songwriting styles, and while they seek to give context and bring personal depth to the music they write together, they firmly believe in music as a way to foster positive communication between people of underrepresented backgrounds as a means to grow a positive environment both within the band and outside of it. Interestingly, the band derives their name from Leslie Shimizu’s grandmother Dorothy Sugawara-Shimizu. Didi, as her grandchildren call her was born and raised in Seattle in the 1920s. And until recently, Didi Sugawara-Shimizu kept most of her personal history to herself, not wanting to burden anyone with the story. “I didn’t really think my story was that different from anyone else. Everyone has their story,” Sugawara-Shimizu would often say. However, Didi was taken from her home when she was 13 and placed in an internment camp for Japanese Americans in Idaho for the next two years of her life. 

One’s teenage years can be incredibly difficult but imagine being a teenager —  and being treated as though you were an illegal alien in your own homeland. As the band explains “but the reason we chose to honor her is not solely because of the struggle she face, but is [sic] so that her story and the story of every woman will be told. We want her to know that her life and her story matter, and that we will be telling it for as long as we can. We want her to know that her quiet strength has given us inspiration to be loud. And we need her to know that she will be remembered and immortalized in our music.” 

didi’s sophomore album like memory foam was released last week through Damnably Records and the album’s material thematically seek to explore the power of an ambiguous identity in terms of of race, gender, class and others to navigate difficult or guarded conversations; the pain of forgetting what once seemed to be an unforgettable love; the sing a woman is capable of in the face of an unchecked man socialized to underestimate her and so on. 

The album’s second single, the slow-burning yet gorgeous and atmospheric “Beached” is centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar chords and ethereal vocals. Sonically, the song recalls Mazzy Star and Sun June, as it possesses a similar delicate quality.  Shot by the members of didi and edited by Alex Bloch, the recently released video features the band’s members at the beach — some in the water or running into the water. At one point, the drummer hurls her drums into the water, while another member plays the cello as the waves lap on the shore. The visuals are a feverish and hallucinatory dream. 

New Video: Introducing the Murky Synth-based Post-Punk of Columbus,OH’s Child of Night

Child of Night is a rather mysterious Columbus, OH-based post-punk act and over the course of two EPs — last year’s Breathless EP and Neither of These Alone Is Enough, the members of the band have quickly developed a reputation for crafting murky, lo-fi synth based post punk that sounds as though it were inspired by Joy Division, Interpol, The Cure and others. 

What Remains, Child of Night’s forthcoming EP is slated for a late August release through Altarpiece Records and the EP’s latest single “Sirens” continues on a similar vein as their previously released material — murky, synth based post punk with decidedly goth leanings; however, there’s a subtle refinement of their sound, as there’s a focus on crafting a steady, dance floor friendly groove centered around a propulsive bass line, and four-on-the-floor drumming. It’s as though Antics-era Interpol somehow went a smidge disco and a smudge in the direction of John Carpenter soundtracks. 

The recently released video for “Sirens” fittingly looks as though it were filmed on grainy and completely fucked up VHS tape, which in some way evokes lingering ghosts and menacing presences just out of the frame. 

New Video: The Psychedelic Visuals for Hebdo’s 70s Rock Channeling “Go Back Home”

Joseph Hebdo is a Columbus OH-born and based singer/songwriter and producer, known by mononym Hebdo, who with the release of four EPs and two full-length albums has developed a reputation for an adventurous defiance of easy categorization although sonically, he has generally specialized in a rather anachronistic sound, influenced by Paul McCartney, Dr. Dog, Beck, Andrew Bird and others, complete with layered vocals, incredibly catchy choruses and a deliberate attention to craft. Unsurprisingly, his songwriting process initially begins in solitude, building songs in the studio and experimenting endlessly before brining in backing musicians to flesh out the material and add finishing touches — i.e., overdubs, additional tracking and the like. However, his latest single “Go Back Home” was recorded with a full-band in a single session at 3 Elliot Studio and the single finds the Columbus, OH-based singer/songwriter and his backing band sounding as though they were taking cues from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, The Band and Neil Young with the material walking a tightrope between folk, AM rock, southern rock, complete with a loose, jam-band like vibe and an impressive guitar solo.

Adding to the anachronistic vibes, the recently released video pairs 70s-inspired animation with slickly, shot live footage evoking travel in a variety of forms that’s adds a trippy sensibility to the proceedings. 
 
 

Featuring core members, founder and creative mastermind Isaac Flynn (vocals), who comes from a family of musicians and whose parents own Lawrence, KS‘ well-regarded guitar store, Mass Street Music; Eric Davis (keys, synths) and Garrett Childers (guitar, vocals), the Kansas City-based indie rock act Hembree received regional and national attention with the release of “Can’t Run Forever,” a shimmering and slickly produced, dance-floor friendly track that simultaneously nods at 80s New Wave, St. Lucia, and Interpol simultaneously.

Building upon the success of “Can’t Run Forever,” a track that has seen as of this post, over 500,000 Spotify and YouTube streams, the members of the Kansas City-based band went to record new material at Los Angeles-based Sunset Sound Studios with Chris Coady, who has worked with Beach House, Future Islands and Yeah Yeah Yeahs; but when Flynn returned home to Kansas City, he decided that those sessions should be tabled, and that it was time for the band to take a much different approach. “After ‘Can’t Run Forever’ came out, I was feeling the pressure to make our second single bigger and better, and found myself putting limitations on my writing,” Flynn explained in press notes.. “After being frustrated for several months, I decided to record whatever I want; just let it all pour out.” And with that mindset, Flynn, his bandmates Davis and Childers recorded their latest single “Holy Water,” with Foreign Fields’ Eric Hillman contributing additional production and Joe Visciano, who has worked with The Kills, Jamie xx and Beck mixing the proceedings.

“Holy Water” is a decided change in sound, as the swaggering and propulsive track nods at Kasabian and Primal Scream as the band pairs an an arena rock and dance floor-friendly hook with a slick production featuring layers of undulating synths, twinkling keys, enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats with a “we’re ready to take over the world right this fucking moment” feel. Interestingly, part of the song’s anthemic nature stems from the song’s overwhelmingly positive message. As Flynn says of the song, “The song started with me making a conscious decision to stop letting the bad win. It was time to start embracing the obstacles and then doing my best to overcome them. I really just want to be true to myself and good to others, and I want the same for other people. Perhaps that’s the message from this song.” Certainly, considering how maddening and dire everything seems on a daily basis, any positive message seems desperately necessary.  Unsurprisingly, since the single’s release at the end of last year, the song has seen regular rotation on 10 Midwestern radio markets including Columbus, OH; St. Louis, MO; and the Kansas City area — and the track has seen over 250,000 Spotify steams as of this writing.

 

 

The band will be going on a run of tour dates in the Midwest, with the first show of the tour, finding the band opening for Cold War Kids. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
3/25 Columbus, Express Live
3/27 Omaha, Reverb
3/28 Iowa City, The Mill
3/29 Des Moines, Vaudeville Mews
3/30 St. Louis, Blueberry Hill
4/24 Omaha, Reverb
4/25 Davenport IA, Raccoon Motel
4/26 Des Moines, Vaudeville Mews
4/27 St. Louis, Blueberry Hill
4/28 Kansas City, Record Bar
4/29 Columbia MO, Rose Music Hall

 

Jonathan Hoard is a Columbus, OH-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, vocal arranger and teacher, who has had a lengthy history performing and recording with a number of Grammy Award-winning artists and producers including Regina Belle, Tracy Pierce, Richard Smallwood, Rashad McPherson and DivinePURPOSE and his father, Stellar Award– nominated artist Ronald Hoard as a background vocalist. And with as the frontman of his own act, J. Hoard and The Greenhouse People, Hoard and company has opened for Dwele; however, I’m actually most familiar with Hoard through his work with Gentei Kaijo, the backing band to the popular soul/funk/hip-hop residency The Lesson.

Here’s where things get interesting. Earlier this month, I was at the Women In Music Holiday Party at Le Poisson Rouge when I ran into Melany Watson and a producer/songwriter and guitarist Greg Seltzer. And while chatting with Seltzer, he told me that he recently produced a song by J. Hoard featuring Rabbi Darkside. “Tidal Wave” pairs subtle soul clap-percussion and skittering drum programming with icily swirling synths, guitar chords played through reverb and twinkling keyboards with Hoard’s soulful falsetto which express ache, desire, and joy within a turn of a phrase. Rabbi Darkside contributes a silky smooth 16 bars at the song’s bridge about being in a seemingly turbulent situation and at the mercy at something far larger than yourself in a song that metaphorically views a tidal wave as both destructive and as a cleansing force — all while possessing a a quiet, understated self-determination.