Here’s some occasionally not-so-brief background information on each Old 3C Records artist.
Alyosha Het is a Columbus-area singer/songwriter whose first record, The Purgatourist, was issued by Indiana’s Chain Smoking label in 2010. He soon hipped-us here at Old 3C headquarters to his Marc Bolan-meets-Robyn Hitchcock, home-brewed song-craft, and we brought him aboard for the digital download action. Check out some tracks at his Reverb Nation page.
The Beatdowns — Origin stories…the bane of comics fans and promo writers. Suffice it to say that this humble promo writer must trot out the “incestuous local music scene” trope yet again to explain the biggish bang from whence all Beatdowns life began. Matt Benz, formerly of The Sovines, felt the urge to leave the American roadhouse and enter the UK music hall, if only to justify his purchases of approximately every legal and bootleg Kinks, Small Faces, and Who record extant. With the best tunes Ray Davies and Pete Townshend never wrote in his songwriting quiver, he was soon able to convince four other gentlemen he’d known and played with over the years to enter the garage, so to speak, and embrace the jangle. After a few fits and starts with other musical pals, Mark Wyatt (Great Plains etc. etc.), Ed Mann (Ugly Stick etc. etc.), Gene Brodeur (The Sovines etc. etc.), and John Stickley (The Patsys etc. etc.) were on board. (Trust your humble writer when he says that the “etc.” is saving you a musical family tree so convoluted that it would turn Pete Frame into Rain Man.) The clatter and racket that resulted was both new and old, forever teenage yet acutely in the current age. With just two guitars, bass, drums, and combo organ, The Beatdowns may never change the world, but they just might change your mind.
Beetkeepers were a late-1980s, Columbus, Ohio band featuring the heartfelt songs of J.P. Olsen (Malefactors of Great Wealth, Burn Barrel). Their 1988 LP, recorded in Marion, Ohio and released by Columbus indie label No Other, appears to be their only recorded legacy. Still, they’re fondly remembered by many local music fans, especially for their energetic live performances.
Burn Barrel — Songwriter J.P. Olsen (Beetkeepers, Malefactors of Great Wealth) resurfaced in the 90s with Burn Barrel, featuring good friends Tim Easton (of solo fame), members of long-time Columbus indie-roots-rockers Haynes Boys, and several local legends as guests performers. With that kind of star-power, we’re at a loss to explain why these guys weren’t huge — but that’s a story all-too-familiar to many a Columbus band.
Counter Intuits are a recent collaboration between Jared Phillips (Times New Viking) and Ron House (Great Plains, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apts., etc.). Their first two releases are avery limited edition LPs on Pyramid Scheme Records. Buy them in the USA via Fusetron, while stocks last.
Cruel, Cruel Moon — An eclectic mash-up of influences ooze out of every pore of Cruel, Cruel Moon’s music. Scuttling amongst the ocean of possibilities, their sanguine sound has been linked to traces of delta blues, British RnB, the Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500, Yo La Tengo, and Carolyn doesn’t want to leave out every pre-1968 chanteuse. Band members include: Craig Martin, songwriter, vocals, guitar, bass (Kent’s The Bad Crabs, solo recordings); Tim Gilbride, guitar stylings (Cleveland’s Thermos of Happiness, Riot Architecture, Lowdown, My Dad is Dead, The Channelmasters, currently playing in Uva Ursi, along with making his own home recordings); Carolyn Getson, songwriter, vocals, guitar, bass (Kent’s Betty, The Ragged Bags, Gunk, Cleveland’s OrangeOrange, Lowdown, The Channelmasters, Kent’s The Quarks, in duets with Tim, alone in her kitchen). Drummers include: Mark Keffer (The Bad Crabs, The Channelmasters); Warren Thompson; Derek Erdman (Kent’s Drones, ExDrones, The Beauty Pageant); Ian Penter (Number Station, solo guitarist/singer).
Ego Summit — The concept of an “underground supergroup” is a slight contradiction in terms, yet the phrase has been used to describe Ego Summit. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to simply describe the group as some old buddies jamming in the barn. Nonetheless, the histories of the members are unavoidable, as they are collectively leaving behind an inspired discography that dates back to the Ford administration. The ‘Summit was a gathering of a handful of old-time Columbus, OH indie pioneers — old friends — who had been show-going and collaborating in an incestuous scene for decades, but might not have all stepped into the same room at the same time to make music. And so, Mike Rep, Ron House, Jim Shepard, Tommy Jay, and Don Howland got together in Jay’s studio/barn to play some music. As Rep’s liners note, “it was generally agreed that some documentation to that fellowship should be recorded on tape before the participants doddered off into old age.” That session, recorded by Jay and Rep with some help from Jerry Wick, became the thirteen song album “The Room Isn’t Big Enough,” the first vinyl release on Rep’s Old Age/No Age imprint, previously a cassette only label. Though a short-lived project, the album is cohesive and profound, a modern day DIY masterpiece that pulled sounds and influences from a half-century’s worth of interesting music. Ego Summit manages to seamlessly reference punk, folk, psych, and blues, and is perfectly presented by the band’s rough-around-the-edges 4-track aesthetic. — Dave Hyde, Terminal-Boredom.com
Fungobat (Mike Hagen) is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. What we do know is that one Mike Hagen of Cincinnati was a huge Todd Rundgren fan back in the day (check out the Runt t-shirt and Utopia poster in the above photo) — and that he wrote and recorded a very large number of songs on whatever 4-track tape recorders that were available at the time (late ’70s to late ’80s), along with producing a lesser number of studio recordings. Influences include Todd (of course), but also Ray Davies, classic soul, and the great American songwriters of previous generations — such as Burke and Van Huesen (who wrote songs for Sinatra and many others). The lo-fi artists of the early ’90s may not have heard of Fungobat, but’s clear that they owe him a huge debt. Let’s hope that now he gets his due.
Great Plains were a ‘seminal’ 1980s Columbus, Ohio band led by Ron House, who was also the shirtless leader of Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, and who has fronted Psandwich and Counter Intuits. Other former Great Plains include: Mark Wyatt (One Riot One Ranger, The Beatdowns, etc.), Matt Wyatt (Campfire Walkers, Planktones!, Three Speeds), Dave Green (Screaming Urge), Don Howland (Gibson Bros, Bassholes), Mike ‘Rep’ Hummel (Quotas + solo artist), Paul Nini (Log, Peck of Snide, Househearts + solo artist), Bill Bruner (Dark Arts), and Jim Castoe (Men of Leisure). Great Plains releases appeared on the Homestead and Shadowline (NL) labels, and their songs have been covered live and on record by pals such as Yo La Tengo, Nothing Painted Blue, and fellow Ohioans Swearing at Motorists. (Get even more info at this TJSA/Great Plains/Ron House web-page put together by Justin Frohwirth, like Great Plains of Facebook, and watch a video on YouTube).
Househearts — It was in the hazy days of 1982 when then OSU grad-student Bob Robinson, Columbus-native Paul Nini, and veteran-drummer Larry Altvater started post-punk outfit Househearts. Altvater soon left and was replaced for a short while by Nini’s roommate John Weber, who quickly left and was replaced with a drum-machine. The first line-up cut some demos with Fritz Mossman (who also recorded the first Great Plains release, the “Mark, Don, and Mel” EP around the same time). The final Househearts line-up released the “Counting Fifty Problems” 12″ vinyl EP in 1985, after Robinson took a job in Chicago, and Nini took over the bass spot from Mike Rep in Great Plains. “Counting Fifty Problems” got some nice reviews and quickly sold-out of its pressing. Househearts did more recording in Chicago the following year, and Robinson moved to take a new job in New Jersey, where he’s been ever since. Their never-released LP “Chant and Be Happy!” may come out one of these days too — more on that later.
Log — Here’s the breakdown. Shirley Tobias is a former WOSR DJ and contributor to the legendary Offense fanzine. Keith Dimoff spends his time working to save the environment. Greg Bonnell once played in Naked Skinnies and an early version of American Music Club (both with Mark Eitzel) a very, very, very long time ago. He was also a member of lo-fi pioneers the Dave, and currently plays with our good pals and local stalwarts Moviola. Chris Nini has had a lot of jobs, and also played in long-running Columbus band Vena Cava. Paul Nini writes the songs, and used to be in Househearts, Great Plains, and Peck of Snide. Log has played with a lot of bands over the years, and count the Renderers, Nothing Painted Blue, Yo La Tengo, the Cannanes, Sleepyhead, the Schramms, Versus, Ashtray Boy, Gem, My Dad is Dead, Cruel, Cruel Moon, Ass Ponys, Wolverton Bros, Scrawl, Aden, Superchunk, and the Bingo Trappers as some of their favorites. (Like Log on Facebook, and watch some videos on Vimeo).
The Malefactors of Great Wealth (J.P. Olsen) — This is James Olsen and his new band, The Malefactors of Great Wealth. James started music late and never took a lesson in his life. He was born in Cleveland but grew up in Ohio. It took forever. This is his first recording in a long time. It was recorded in nine locations over a year’s time. Before this he worked as an investigative journalist in New York City and was friends with two people who were later kidnapped by — and escaped from — the Taliban. One hit a Taliban over the head with a samovar and ran to safety. The other got out of Afghanistan because the corporation she worked for sent envoys with bags of cash to ensure her release. She was eventually found, unguarded but chained to a rock, deep inside a cave. James has delivered stereoscopic photos to spies, took a phone call from the head of the NSA, knew the Unabomber was going to be captured a month before he was, and discovered footage of government drug tests carried out on federal prisoners and made a documentary film about it. This is true. These are facts. James Olsen will never lie to you. (Watch a video on YouTube).
The Mealworms are a Kyle Siegrist and Matt Duckworth ragged-but-right recording project where they’re ably-assisted by a variety of Columbus music-types including Pat Ratusz, Amy Alwood, Mark Sims, Craig Dunson, Vern Peltomma, Chris Barton, and The Deep Fryer Choir. Kyle and Matt have been involved in various bands over the years, and Kyle is, of course, owner of local record store institution Lost Weekend. Many stylistic touchpoints abound, though The Fugs and Television Personalities leap to mind — but feel free to fill-in your own.
The New Normal was birthed when Chicago pop fiend Mike Ritt (Peck of Snide, Shades of Al Davis, House of Brunettes) convinced his former bandmates and long-distance pals Tad Hutchison and Jim Sangster (both from indie-legends The Young Fresh Fellows) to learn some of Mike’s demos and set aside time to rock out at Egg, the modest and comfortable recording den with a storied history in alternative/indie Seattle circles. It just so happened that Jim’s brother Johnny Sangster (Dear John Letters) had moved into the producer’s chair at Egg, and is such a badass guitarist that he can engineer and play at the same time, so all the pieces fell into place for a classic two-guitars-bass-and-drums lineup. As well, Seattle-legends Scott McCaughey (The Young Fresh Fellows, REM, The Minus 5), Chris Ballew (Presidents of the United States of America), and Conrad Uno (Egg studio-owner) stopped by to make guest appearances on some of the songs. Anyway, how’s that for some serious name-dropping? Luckily, the results are well-worth the hype. If you like intelligent indie-pop music, then you’ll love The New Normal.
Orchestraville went through many phases in their time. Formed in Athens, Ohio in 1991, Christopher Forbes (guitar, vocals) and Dave Pascoe (bass) asked drummer Keith Hanlon to join them for demo recordings. They enjoyed the experience so much that they brought in guitarist Brendan McKay to complete the group. McKay was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lyphoma, and in 1997 he passed away. This affected the band considerably, but they continued as a trio and released their self-titled and self-released CD in 1998, culled heavily from recording sessions with McKay. They eventually relocated to Columbus, Ohio and began writing new songs. They asked guitarist Matt Duckworth (Lemdaro, The Original Onions) to join them. By 2001, they had a new CD ready, “At Night It Is Particularly Lovely.” Duckworth left the group shortly after its release, but not before writing and recording more songs with the band. These sessions were finally released digitally in 2010 as the “Invent the Machine” EP. Regrouping in 2002, the band began writing new material with keyboardist Parker Paul (former member of Curious Digit and a solo artist on Jagjaguwar Records). They proceeded to record the new material by themselves, and the album (“Poison Berries”) was to be released by Columbus’ Anyway Records. However, the band decided to disband in 2005. Pascoe moved to Denver, Hanlon went back to school and Parker Paul started a family. Forbes and Hanlon later joined The Black Swans and Parker Paul continued his solo career, and now plays with Moviola. In 2010, they began to re-release their past albums as digital downloads. This included material that was previously unreleased, such as the EP recorded with Duckworth, a full-length CD of tracks from the early 90s, and a single they were working on before disbanding. Finally, they decided to release “Poison Berries” simultaneously on vinyl and as a digital download via Old 3C Records in September 2010. (Watch some videos on YouTube).
Peck of Snide formed in the Chicago area in the mid-to-late 80s, and lasted until 1991. In that time they produced a single for Fred Anderson + Ric Menck’s Picture Book label, and recorded the tracks that would eventually be released as the “Moot” CD on the TMIV label in 1997 (said collection has been repackaged and re-released by Old 3C Records). The boys came from various musical backgrounds. Jerry Schweigert had played in the Nines, an early 80s band from Champaign, IL featuring Paul Chastain (who would later pair-up with Ric Menck in the legendary Velvet Crush). Mike Ritt played in a college band with members of Young Fresh Fellows. Steve Lindstrom was known to jump onstage and sing with Champaign’s the Vertebrats during his college days. Paul Nini came to Chicago in 1986 to go to grad school, after stints in Columbus’ Househearts and Great Plains in the early-to-mid 80s.
Psandwich is the Columbus-based super-group led by the legendary Ron House, ably assisted by local veterans Brett Burleson, John Olexovitch, Bobby Silver, and Zac Szymusiak. They released the “Northren Psych” LP on vinyl-dedicated Columbus Discount Records in late-2011. As with the rest of Ron’s solid output, Old 3C Records was happy to launch this into the digital download world.
Randall Douglas Matson is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and Columbus native. He’s a member of the rock band Randall Matson and the Sheraton Two. He’s also a published author of the novel Serendipity. He attended Capital University and sang opera professionally from 1995 to 2001. He has been recording his songs at home since 2008, and it’s from these sessions that his three current Old 3C Records and one current Lonely Ochre Recordings releases have resulted. Stay tuned, even more music is on the way.
Ron House (along with contemporaries/musical pals such as Mike Rep, Tommy Jay, Jim Shepard, Mark + Matt Wyatt, and Don Howland) is arguably one of the most important factors for the generally positive state of indie music in the fair town of Columbus, Ohio from the late 1970s until today. Not only did he write songs for and lead important bands such as Twisted Shouts, Moses Carryout, Great Plains, and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, but he’s also helped shape/bend many a young musical mind from behind the counters of the legendary record stores Mole’s, Magnolia Thunderpussy, and Used Kids. Old 3C Records is happy to make available two records of “solo” material — one a collection of late ’70s/early ’80s material, and the second a criminally-overlooked song-cycle from 2002. If you haven’t heard these songs, then your life is that much poorer, and we truly pity you.
Sanpaulo (Saint Paul, Paul Nini) wrote songs and played in Columbus indie-rockers Log for over a decade in the 1990s and early 2000s. Back in the day he was in Great Plains and Househearts, along with Chicagoland’s Peck of Snide. His first solo collection “Life in These United States” appeared in 1997 on the TMIV label, and it’s since been repackaged and re-released by Old 3C Records. He released “The Mannerist Age” in 2002. “Everyone is Wrong,” had a 2007 release date. The latest collection “New+Old+Huh?” was released in 2014. And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, Paul’s the guy who runs the Old 3C Label Group, and who writes songs and plays in his current band Closet Mix. (Like SanPaulo on Facebook).
Shades of Al Davis formed in Chicagoland from the ashes of Peck of Snide, which Steve Lindstrom and Mike Ritt played in during the late 80s. They coerced Alan Spindle to join up with them, and a single on the Parasol label and a self-titled tape release came about in the early 90s. These tracks (plus some others from that period) have been made available as an Old 3C Records release, as has their second effort, the very fine “The Midwest Peace Talks Vols. 1, 2” CD. Mike and Steve currently collaborate in House of Brunettes, on their own Problematic Records label, a member of the Old 3C Label Group. (Watch a video on Vimeo).
Stark Folk Band — Brady Burkett and Ryan Shaffer continue their 10-plus years home-recording collaboration with collections of Americana rock tunes under the name Stark Folk Band. In 2003, they self-released a two-disc set of their early material called “A Landscape Yesterday: For Seasons.” Their latest efforts, the “Well Oiled” and “Stark Folk” LPs, go in more roots-inspired directions, alternating between acoustic balladry and country-fried rock tunes. (Watch a video on YouTube).
Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, along with the New Bomb Turks and Gaunt, were pretty much the holy trinity of Columbus bands through most of the 1990s. Featuring the biting lyrics of Ron House and the fiery guitar work of Bob Petric, they had full-length releases on the Year Zero, Onion/American, Anyway, and Rockathon labels, along with countless singles scattered over a wide variety of indie labels. Old 3C is proud to put the TJSA full-length releases into the digital distribution stream, and know that fans of intelligent punk will greet them with wide-open arms. (Watch a video on YouTube).
Vena Cava — Having been a staple of the Columbus scene for several years via their live shows, Vena Cava self-produced and self-released their self-titled CDR in 2005. Led by songwriter, vox and guitar-man of many pedals Keith Novicki — and more-than-ably-assisted by Ed Shuttleworth (guitars + vox), Chris Nini (bass), and Ben Fredritz (drums) — the boys make a pretty fine melodic noise, both live and on record. As far as other projects go, Keith also plays in experimental duo Alt, and Chris used to man the keyboards in Log. Chris and Keith also currently play in Closet Mix.
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