This Friday night, November 4th, 2016
Ace of Cups (Columbus, OH): The Whiles (CD Release), Ghost Shirt and Bicentennial Bear
The Pike Room (Pontiac, MI): Lydia Loveless, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Jeremy Porter & the Tucos.
Obviously anybody who reads Pencilstorm and/or is a fan of Watershed knows we go deep with The Whiles. Ricki C. has been a raving, slobbering fan since their first demos and still wrangles guitars for the Peppercorn brothers. I've had many a late night discussion pleading my case that Colors Of The Year is the best record to ever come out of Columbus. And I've been lucky enough to have Joe Peppercorn help out on both my solo records and the Watershed record Brick and Mortar. And to top it all off, original lead singer Zach Prout is now my son Owen's 7th grade English teacher.
Though the band has stayed active, this show is a release party for Mercury Ghost (Anyway Records) their first new record since Somber Honey in 2012. The word on the street is that it could be their best yet, so needless to say, Ricki and myself are over the moon with anticipation. The band also performs their annual Beatles Marathon every Holiday season (this year it's December 10th) so this may be the last straight show of originals from The Whiles for - ahem - a while, so try not to miss it. You'll be glad you did.
Similar to The Whiles, Lydia Loveless' early records are so damn good they can overshadow her more recent work. And that's a shame, because although it doesn't reveal itself on the first listen, her latest record Real is her best to date and another big step forward for the talented Ms. Loveless. She and her kick-ass band have been touring since what seems like the last time the Indians won the World Series and in the process even became one of the few Columbus ensembles to perform on a national TV show. Click here to check it out.
Hot on her heels in the national sense, the pride of New Albany, Aaron Lee Tasjan has been making waves with his brand new release Silver Tears out on the very cool New West imprint. Aaron left Columbus for Brooklyn before settling into East Nashville where he has amassed a jaw-dropping resume as a side-player while simultaneously cranking out quality solo work. Don't take my word for it, check out his bio here. The title track off his latest record is a must listen and a must watch. Dig it here.
Speaking of cool labels, while browsing around for this article, I realized five of the last eight 12" records I have bought were released on Columbus' own Anyway Records. One of those bands, Ghost Shirt will be making a rare live appearance to support their pals in The Whiles. I flat wore out the grooves of their last release, After the Spark, and I recommend it highly to fans of power-pop that falls not far from the Nick Lowe tree.
Bicentennial Bear is led by Miranda Sound alum Billy Peake and his talent for combining clever lyrics & clever arrangements played at stupid volumes is truly awe-inspiring. If you have never heard the song "Black Quarterbacks," I truly pity you. Click here to remedy that situation.
OK, you got me, Jeremy Porter and the Tucos aren't from Columbus. They happen to be yet another kick-ass rock n roll band from Detroit. There is a local connection, however: Jeremy is longtime friends with Watershed producer Tim Patalan and - in fact - Jeremy added some musical parts to our last single Best Worst Night / Hey Lydia that was just released this summer. Like Lydia and Aaron, Jeremy is a touring machine who has built up quite a following around the Midwest and East Coast. Click here to check out some of the tunes. It's great stuff.
My best advice would be to try and attend one of these amazing bills in person, my next best advice would be to check them all out online and tell a friend.
Colin Gawel thinks it's weird when guys in bands are also music critics. It's like being a baseball player and a sports writer at the same time. But he wrote this, so I guess he is weird. He owns Colin's Coffee and founded Pencilstorm. His latest video is here.