Author Archives: Ben Chenoweth

Sunday Music Series Returns to Goodale Park

Sunday Music In the Park

For years, a summer weekend in Goodale Park has been synonymous with quality local music, provided free to the public. And I’m not just referring to Comfest. After years of gracing the park gazebo, the Short North Sunday Jazz series had recently fallen prey to city budget shortfalls. Short North Foundation board member Alexandra Kelley recognized what a loss the cancellation meant for the neighborhood and decided to approach her organization and other interested community groups to fill the void. The effort at reviving music in the park is very much of the grassroots variety, noticeably devoid of corporate sponsorship and funded solely by neighborhood societies and, yes, Comfest itself.

Under Ms. Kelley’s direction, the musical programming has diversified from exclusively jazz, but maintains the spirit of family-friendly acts with broad appeal. Renaming the events to Goodale Park Music Series is a reflection of this diversity. Beginning this Sunday July 12th with the bluegrass of Dale Vanderpool & friends, the five weeks following will span genres from folk to jazz to pop Americana. All shows begin at noon, and run for roughly an hour and a half. A Facebook group has been formed to promote (and send reminders!) of upcoming shows. A full schedule of bands is available after the jump. Continue reading

Flotation Walls: Nature


MP3: Willis the Fireman by Flotation Walls

Flotation Walls, lead in one version or another by Carlos Avendaño, have been haunting the Columbus music scene for what seems like nearly a decade. During those years there have been flourishes of activity and long periods of apparent dormancy. But one thing we’ve been missing throughout is a proper full length from these guys. So to say that the release of the Nature LP tomorrow at Skully’s has been a long time coming is no exaggeration.

I mean, with all the talk and speculation and legitimate anticipation surrounding a release date and the subsequent passage of those dates, this record is pretty much Columbus’s Chinese Democracy. Really- after the release of a nugget or two in 2003, people were pissed when this thing was delayed until December of 2004. The Chinese Democracy comparison is mostly for the sake of humor, but it has its utility too. In both cases, the elapsed time between conception and delivery was used by the respective captains to tweak, add to, and retool the contents and production in an effort to produce a grandiose master work. To a degree both Carlos and Axl have, in striving for an epic album, managed a certain amount of success and at times to overdo it as well. The analogy begins to break down when looking at the final product though, as the triumph versus try-too-hard ratio clearly favors the Flotation Walls. Continue reading

Preview: The Receiver “Length of Arms” CD Release show – 5/8, Skully’s

MP3: The Receiver – Lenth of Arms

It really doesn’t seem like three years since The Receiver put out their first record, but I looked back into the archives and sure enough, it was 2006 when we wrote something up for the release of Decades. So now, on the eve of the Cooper brothers’ follow-up second album Length of Arms going public, it seems reasonable to ask how evolution has progressed during the time elapsed. Structurally, this is still the same band- the two guys forming a rhythm heavy combination of Jesse’s drumming and a bass, with synthesized keys and Casey’s delicate voice providing the upper atmosphere.

I spent a few minutes revisiting Decades, a record which I liked quite a bit- but in retrospect, it sounds now very much like a collection of new ideas. A little sparse, thin perhaps- in places it seems the mechanism by which two guys could tie whispered, ethereal poems with the less nuanced primary instruments had not been fully dialed in. In contrast, the 2009 offering seems much more fleshed-out thanks to heavy use of layered synth sounds. The songs are almost brimming full, kind of making you forget there’s only two of them. The integration of vocals on this record is really nice as well- gone is any hint of tenuousness or opposition, with strong sung parts becoming much more part of the meat of the tracks. Songs are cohesive and rockin’.

Have a listen for yourself though. I posted the the title track off the new record above. Come check it out in the live setting to see how they’re gonna pull it all off. Rumor has it they’ll be getting some assistance on the stage for the Columbus release show. The Receiver plays tomorrow night (5/8) at Skully’s with Hotel Eden. DJ Kelly Warner (formerly of The Lab Rats) will keep people entertained late.

Columbus Music Co-op Hosts Legal Workshop + drinks & music


The fine folks at the Columbus Music Co-op have had a busy winter with all kinds of happenings, but spring has sprung, the Parking Lot Blowout is on the distant horizon, and a few other events are emerging from the CMC winter chrysalis. First one is happening this Thursday the 30th at The Shelf, where they’ll be hosting a workshop titled “Legal Issues for Musicians” lead by attorney and co-owner of All Hail Records Tony Clark . You got questions about whether you should be signing with Universal or Sony? RIAA or ASCAP? Or maybe just about how to establish copyright and digital music distribution? I really have no idea if Tony is gonna help you out with your major deal, but I’m betting this is an awesome place to get some fabulous free info on legal matters large and small, and a few of your basic questions answered.  The workshop is from 7-9 PM on Thursday- shoot ’em an email to let ’em know you’re coming.

As is the case with almost all the CMC events, this serious business is tempered with a healthy dose of fun. The evening will kick off just downstairs from The Shelf with a happy hour at the Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails, complete with the ladies of the CMC spinning a couple hours (5-7PM) of all local music. I swear a few Commit To Be Lit drinks will make all the legalese magically comprehensible. After the legal workshop, The Shelf space will transition from courtroom to concert hall as it is filled with the dulcet voices of Dan Spurgeon (Bush League All Stars) and Sean Gardner’s solo project Winter Makes Sailors. Music should go from about 9 to 11. If you didn’t get enough booze at Tip Top, bring your own to The Shelf for the show, along with a couple bucks for the performers.

Disclosure: I’m a board member of the CMC

DW Recommends: Rosehips and friends, Treehouse, April 10th


MP3: The Dead Are Watching (LIVE) by Rosehips

MP3: In News by The Nuclear Children

So with the Donewaiting Calander back under construction, plus a general sense of nostalgia, there’s been a bit of a push to start doing more show previews up front here in the bloggity. Seems like a good-cause show is decent place for me to reaccquaint myself with the business end of WordPress.

So this weekend- today, even. Friday. Treehouse. There’s gonna be a rock show with a lil’ benefit twist.  Organizing and headlining the gig are Rosehips, joined by (and sharing a guitar-player with) Rollo. Also on the bill are The Nuclear Children and Ease the Medic. It could be shear vocab coincidence, but I’m leaving open the possiblity that the last dudes were added out of clever band-name suitablity.

See, Cassie Lewis of Rosehips fame has put together a show to benefit some physicians, but more specifically to raise awareness about the state of naturopathic medicine in Columbus, and what it means to practice this sort of doctoring in our state. In addition to all the rock (see above for some MP3 offerings), the physicians of the Columbus Clinic of Naturopathy, Tamara Strickland and Jennifer Ball, will be in attendance at the venue for the evening.  They will be answering questions about their practice and also raffling off a first office call with the clinic!  This will be for a initial two hour consultation with a naturopathic physician.  There will be a table of information (including naturopathic medical schools), and free samples.

Despite the health care industry as a whole getting a lot of attention right now, I really didn’t know a ton about this stuff, so I asked Cassie to help me understand the motivation for the benefit show, and a little more about the issues involved. Her first person account is after the jump. Continue reading

Donewaiting Recommends: Rosehips Record Release, Saturday at Carabar

MP3: In Love With the Sound by Rosehips

With their inaugural full-length album hitting the streets, this Saturday marks the first big apogee in what has been a fairly rapid ascension for the Rosehips . It was just year and some months ago that the first incarnation of the band played what in retrospect seems like a tenuous introductory show.

Since then, the band has made some personnel changes in the rhythm department, put out a 7-inch, cranked up the ferocity of the their live act, turned more than one head in the local media, and collected a bevy of ethusiastic fans. So they enter 2008 in full stride, and celebrate the release of this self-titled record. It’s full of big, wafting riffs with lots of fuzzy guitar, which has evoked comparisons to many of the early ninties indie rock notables, including Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins and Rainer Maria. It seems almost remiss to say ‘Columbus’, ‘early 90s’, and ‘indie’ without mentioning that to my ear, there is a component of the work that gives a well deserved nod to the matriarchs of lady-rock around these parts- the much loved Scrawl.

Rosehips are adept at making the most out of the play between big amps and feminine vocals, often relying more on their instruments to mix up the pace and tone of songs while the sung parts trudge along at a more steady and sedate pace. The album as a whole has a rather uniform feel, foregoing real highs or lows and instead draping the listener in a blanket of drone that’s somewhere between a buzz and a purl.

Rosehips will be sharing the Carabar stage with The Lindsay, Mors Ontologica, and Moon High. Hear more Rosehips on pat Radio.

(photo by Mat Rogers) Staff Favorites of 2007: Ben Chenoweth

Honorable Mention: Menomena, Friend and Foe

This one might have had a place a bit higher on the list, but it was a real late arrival- I just got it for X-mas. It’s worthy of mention for the packaging alone- the Craig Thompson artwork is great, and reminds us that the jewel case can still be a viable canvas and album art matterts. Like the cover, the music is both fun and dense, layered a full of appropriately place holes. Doesn’t that lil’ description just work out nicely.

10. Thurston Moore, Trees Outside The Academy

Sometimes I want it to be Sonic Youth, sometimes I just want the guitar mayhem to just keep flying. But all and all, it’s Thurston doin’ his thing, which is fine by me.

9. Band of Horses, Cease To Begin

I was so ready to hate this record. I was so sure it would fall flat compared to how much I enjoyed last years debut. Well, it’s not my number one, but it’s generally more of the same from the band, and definitely makes the list.

8. Megan Palmer, Take You Away

Mr. Duffy would probably want me to insert some disclaimer about his business ties to this record, but make no mistake about it- this one makes the list on merit alone. These songs are fabulously crafted- smart lyrics, funny and biting, soft and beautiful.

7. The Dreadful Yawns, Rest

I guess this kind of continues in the Ohio nu-folk vein. Hard to call it exactly country, but organs and steel guitar tend that way despite some more poppy elements. Nice quiet melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Maybe Iron and Wine meets Yo La Tengo (in Cleveland).

6. Jose Gonzalez, In Our Nature

I’m startin’ to feel a bit broken recordish with another spacey folk pick, but here it is. It’s pretty and weird, and I find it goes well with coffee.

5. The New Pornographers, Challengers

After those last couple of picks, you thought I was gonna put Andrew Bird in here, right? Nah, dude got bumped this year. But New Pornographers continue to make my perennial favorites list. They can do almost no wrong, as is appropriate for a super group. Might not touch Mass Romantic for pure in your face pop bliss, but this is still great. Maybe a bit more subdued, possibly grown up.

4. Lewis and Clarke, Blasts of Holy Birth

All right, back to that slow, quiet wimpy stuff. It’s no rocker, but man is it nice. Almost classical instrumentation, complete with strings and such, it’s full of contemplative and hypnotic folky swells. Man, that album title makes me think of blasts of afterbirth though. Yeech.

3. The Mendoza Line, 30 Year Low

Man, nothin’ quite like a good rockin’ breakup song. Or an entire album full of them that chronicles the band members divorce from each other. I don’t know how exactly they pulled that off, but holy hell, the results are good.

2. Broken Social Scene presents: Kevin Drew, Spirit If

Perhaps actually more a solo work by Mr. Drew, this one is a little more melodious and less cacophonous than a full-blown BSS record. There’s definitely the messy sonic crash, and a contribution by J.Mascis, so you know this isn’t all fluff. But in general, a bit easier to eat your dinner while you listen compared to earlier Broken Social material.

1. The National, Boxer

Well, what can I say. Clearly I love it, or it wouldn’t be in the ace spot. A lot of other folks have described it better, but there’s a manly coolness about it, like Tom Waits can pull off, with a sweetness to dull the edge. Sooo good.

Pinback: Autumn of the Seraphs


MP3: From Nothing to Nowhere

I’ll admit that I haven’t kept track of each of Pinback’s zigs and zags over the last couple of years as they’ve put out a handful of tour Eps and a single or two. They even had a full length in 2004, (Summer in Abaddon), which despite marking their rise to prominence with Touch and Go, went all but ignored by me. I was perfectly content to listen to the earlier Blue Screen Life over and over, and even recently the track Boo has found its way on to an embarrassing number of my mix tapes. That particular song however, embodies much of what I found attractive in the band- a chilly, almost haunted beauty created by airy vocals over layered, sometimes mechanical guitar and bass. Programmed drums and beats added to the math-y strangeness, and only augmented by the inclusion of sci-fi sound bites.

While no real diversion in terms of technique, Pinback’s Autumn of the Seraphs is a much more overt indie rock record, where some of the cool disassociation is replaced with a crunchy staccato. The opening track seems to set the tone, with snappy drums figuring prominently where they might have previously constituted little more than a metallic tinkle. There’s a punchy rhythmic quality that reminds me of Dismemberment Plan or, dare I say it, Modest Mouse. The more poppy notion is clear on tracks Good to Sea and Blue Harvest, which sound darn near happy. Bass and guitar share almost equal responsibility for creating melody, much as co-leaders Zach Smith and Rob Crow split, or rather cooperate on vocal interplay. Seraphs is not completely devoid of the spooky treatment though, as How We Breathe is a whispered journey into the prevalent oceanic theme and would have been perfectly at home on earlier releases.

This most recent collection of Pinback songs seems to make their eeriness a bit warmer, more accessible, and varied. It also may have lost some of the sort of singular hook that initially made me a fan. Like plenty of other records though, this one is a grower, and with familiarity comes favor. And without exception, Pinback has an ability to create atmosphere out of precision, an organic quality out of beats and programmed drums. This continued craftsmanship, while perhaps resulting in structure that is more space than mass, is the real endearing quality.

BUY: Amazon

Rosehips Celebrate a First Release


Almost exactly a year after their debut, Rosehips have finally made their work indelible with this weekend’s release of a 7-inch teaser on Manup. This pair of songs shows off the Rosehips prowess at capturing the indie rock vibe of distorted guitars blanketing more delicate vocals. That combination brings to mind some mid-90’s female fronted bands like Madder Rose or Rainer Maria (if you haven’t heard, yeah, they’re all women, and no, it’s no shtick). Quick changes in tempo and tone suggest this stuff has as much pop pedigree as guitar drone. The more garage-y aesthetic in the songs suits the media format, as a lo-fi texture is evident. The record is a really nice cap to a year of progression from this band, and if nothing else makes me anxious for a full-blown set of recordings.

Joining the stage in celebration on Friday will be fellow Manup band The Lindsay, Athens, OH based The Snails, and Beard of Stars. The show will be at Camp Manup, aka Carabar, and as always, is free.

MP3: The Remainder

+/- New Record, Tour Hits Columbus


Members of +/- {Plus/Minus} have a pretty well established track record of making delicate, sometimes somber but rather beautiful pop songs. Two of the three, James Baluyut and Patrick Ramos, were part of the acclaimed but extinct Versus, and they continue their habit of tenderly sung vocals concerning the often not so tender aspects of a relationship. Setting the current band apart from prior work is the addition of both Chris Deaner and a decidedly more electronic slant to the songs. While not a huge departure from the 2003 You Are Here album, this electronic influence seems particularly apparent on the recently released Let’s Build A Fire (Absolutely Kosher), where quiet moments are interrupted with patches of abrasive fuzz or skips. The combination of the fragile singing and the electronic dithering create a disquieting, but not unpleasant, imbalance that keeps things dynamic and interesting. Upon first listen, the injection of artificial off-tempo noises and hiss seems harsh and surprising, and has the appearance of interrupting an otherwise perfectly good sad lament. After a listen or two however, their inclusion becomes part of the +/- landscape, which is the rolling terrain of love and intimacy.

They will be playing Sunday, March 11th at Andyman’s Treehouse. Joining them on the bill will be a couple of guys that know their way around a tender song or two as well- the always fabulous Eric Metronome (on’s Sunken Treasure Label), and Mr. Band-to-Watch guy with no band, singer-songwriter Blake Miller. Music starts at 10PM.