Various Artists - " Volume 3"
( 2003, C003CD)

From Aural Innovations #24 (July 2003)

Since 1995, has been covering the Ohio State University/Short North music scene in Columbus, OH, and has just released it's third compilation of local and regional talent. Except for my forays downtown to Madlab I've been criminally out of touch with what's happening in my own back yard (yes, I live in Columbus), so many of the 20 bands on this collection came as quite a surprise to me. Here's the rundown, starting with the heavier bands that most caught my attention:

Silencio's entry is an instrumental with a VERY interesting blend of progressive rock, technical metal and jazz influences. At over 8 minutes these guys get much more time than the other bands, and they definitely need it to develop their music. Excellent!! While not as complex as Silencio, The Husher nonetheless play a melodic brand of metal that displays a thoughtful sense of composition and thematic development. Damn good. The Evil Queens play heavy driving rock with excellent guitar work, not in the sense of flashy solos, but with sophisticated playing and arrangements that also kick your ass. Teeth Of The Hydra crank out excellent metal with a 70's hard rock feel, though the singer has chosen that growling, barely intelligible style that for this listener tends to knock the music down a few pegs. But there's no denying the power of the music so I'll have to check these guys out further. The Sophomores' contribution is a wild as hell song with oddball rhythms and a tasty touch of dissonance. Imagine if Captain Beefheart were a college rock band and you might get something like The Sophomores. And Gypsy Witch play heavy metal la early Aerosmith or Ted Nugent and the like.

Moving out into left field is Brian Harnetty, the closest anyone comes to avant-garde music. Harnetty mixes electronics, efx'd atmospherics and old time country music to create a welcome strange addition to the compilation. But hardly mainstream are the Trailer Park Ninjas, whose off-kilter electro rhythms, melodic guitar, space alien samples, and strange kind of Eminem rap make for an interesting and funny mixture of styles.

The rest of the comp features music of all stripes. Twin Cam play a cool combination of 60's bubblegum and modern indie rock. The Cusacks are a similar band with a 60's la-la-la-yeah-yeah-yeah pop-psych sound. I love stuff like this. DJ Riko concocts danceable hip-hop, and it was fun reading the liner notes listing the many sources which he mined for his samples, everything from Public Enemy, to Steve Martin, to Led Zeppelin. Archetype is the moniker used by Charles Noel, who plays an electronic, drum n bass, beat driven music, with sexy Sade styled vocals by Rosina. The Turds are a guitar/bass/drums trio that play a quirky, punky brand of Ska. Bush League All-Stars play fairly mainstream indie rock with a country edge. The Early Empire are along the same lines playing slam bang indie rock. I guess you might call Justin Lute alt-country. Classical Ass' entry is a short but quirky and quite fun rocker. Mortimer's tune is a melodic instrumental that always seems like it's going to launch into a heavy metal dirge, but never quite takes the plunge. The Black Swans play a heartfelt acoustic song, but paired with the violin gives it a sound that's a bit off the beaten path. And Mrs. Children play light folk-pop that closed the collection on a sleepy note. Overall an impressive collection of talent..... right here in Columbus, Ohio!

For more information you can visit the web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o; PO Box 10276; Columbus, OH 43201.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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