Ape Wind

The Columbus Music Scene and Beyond

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I’ll take you through this experience with me step by step kids. As I received the package from my senior editor Salvatore and went back to my laptop to unwrap and listen to this as of yet unheard of, at least by me, musical artist.  D Ferren, For Glare and Gun the CD reads… Okay, my first impression on a surface level is that it looks enviably professional. Being in a band my self, I know the top dollar poor musicians have to pay for vacuum sealed packaging like this. Great album artwork. It depicts two marionettes of hispanic decent, male and female, the male holding a pistelero in his little wooden hand. I also noticed after opening the CD up there is a very unique way of showing off the lyrics with a very cool paper insert composition notebook parody.

for_glare_gunNext, I see this cat is from Fort Wayne, Indiana (my sort of hometown.. long story) and the CD was mastered in Chicago, with ten golden hits on it (presumably), open up my disk drive and feed the CD into my computer… click, whirr… spin… and here we go D Ferren, you have my attention…

I must mention one off note here though, I hate when CDs come up in ITunes and they are not titled. Better luck next time kids, so close to perfection, now for the tunes.

First song “Merilee” is a full acoustic rift that brings in some keys, complimented by a slow dragging drum beat and some nice country-esque vocals, not bad, a bit like Wilco maybe? Then some horns come in, which are a nice surprise reminiscent of Van Morrison. All in all, I like it. it reminds me of Beck’s slow stuff, if Beck sang more clearly. Lyrics are so/so… but that’s no big deal… The next song “Two Dollar Bill” continues with the blue grassy, country feel, a nice rolling drum march, some viola, nice flair. So far I can see where this is headed.

You see, with Apewind, we randomly pick who will review each album. We have a limited amount of writers and as opposed to bigger more established critics blogs and magazines, we don’t have a writer set for each genre, so sending your music to us you are at the mercy of whomever decides to listen. In the case of me, I am an indie rock nut. I love me psychedelic dirty garage jams with weird lyrics and spacey solos. In the vein of Tame Impala or Built to Spill.  So as the CD continues on, I found myself losing interest a little bit. One notable acceptation being the dirty rock styles of song 5, “Miles of Consolation,” which reminded me of a Frank Black and the Catholics tunes getting laid by Camper van Beethoven. Not bad, but also not waking me up and getting me ready for the day quite, either. I would say there are some beautiful things on this album, and if you are a big fan of Allison Kraus, or any other sultry southerny type banjo and acoustic songs. This may be for you.

The female singer on some of the later tracks sounds very nice, along with that steel pedal guitar I hear weeping along with her. All in all, I am indifferent about this album. I am ok with its existence, but I feel it may be respected a bit more by a different critic. The production value and the musicianship of the artists on it outweigh the intrigue of the songs a little bit for me. But I am a slave to the eclectic, what can I say? Not everyone can be Ween, though they made a pretty kick-ass country albums as well. Thanks guys! Keep on rocking.

D Ferren’s music and information can be found on reverbnation at: http://www.reverbnation.com/dferren.

 -Oddfellow

Primarily consisting of two members from Tub Ring, Super 8 Bit Brothers is a life-long love affair with video games expressed through a musical outlet.  Fronted by Rob Kleiner and Kevin Gibson, the CD comes across as an unabashed homage to geeks across the planet that were raised by babysitters with names like Atari, Coleco, Intelivision & Nintendo.

Rob and KevinThe album kicks in with the track “Cyber Space Sirens / Computer Casanovas,” which is a catchy tune that comically laments the Internet dating game. It expresses the sad truth about people finding out that those  they are connecting with rarely look like what their profiles and pictures portray them to be. It is a fun tune that is only more amusing due to the irony that it is actually not about video games at all.

If you are familiarized with Tub Ring, then the variety/inconsistency of this album should come as no surprise. Part of what makes Tub Ring so great is a large part of why this album holds up so well. If you are not familiar with Tub Ring please stop reading this right now and go catch up, then come back. I’ll wait for you.

With any album this diverse, there undoubtedly will be some songs that just don’t catch you. For myself, that lone track was “Goodbye Cruel World (of Warcraft).” Having never been a part of the Internet phenomenon of multi-player gaming, it just didn’t do much for me. To anyone that has played World of Warcraft and listened to this album, I would look to the feedback (in the comments) to see what they thought of it.

I enjoyed the rest of the tracks a lot. The music is typically a hodgepodge of leftover game audio samples piled high with layers of synths and electronic drum loops. The lyrics and vocals are way better than the subject material should allow, leading to a much deeper overall experience than one would reasonably expect. Somehow out of all this you get poppy, catchy, fun and funny music that is simultaneously layered and accessible, which holds up to repeated listenings.

BrawlThe album highlights include “8 Bit Lullaby,” a track that one could easily set beside any track on any Tub Ring album and not seem out of place. That’s as good a compliment as this reviewer can give, by the way. Other tracks like “2600 Refugee,” “Blinky Loves Pepper,” and “Don’t Sell the Barrels to the Monkey” wear their heart on their sleeves for a number of classics from the early era of arcades and home consoles. That last track “Don’t Sell the Barrels to the Monkey” is a brilliant ditty sung from the perspective of the barrel salesman that supplied Donkey Kong with all his materials.

If you enjoy heavily electronic music, witty lyrical ingenuity and inspired song compositions, Brawl is a highly recommended album that will likely have a long life in your music collection if you were a gamer of any soft in the ’80s.

Video Link: 2600 Refugee

There is a band in Akron, Ohio named Simeon Soul Charger. They are group of crazy masterful players. I have had the joy of seeing them live once or twice and recently acquired a CD from them. This simple self-titled EP is six songs that may and probably will sell you as a fan, well five of the songs at least. The band consists of Aaron Brooks on vocals/guitar/piano, Jim Garibaldi on bass, Joe Kidd on drums, Kevin Bjerre on cello, and Rick Phillips on lead guitar/vocals.

Simeon Soul Charger's self-title EP released 2009

Simeon Soul Charger's self-titled EP released 2009

I first pulled out this CD and placed it in my car to be listened to “whenever I got to it.” It’s a serious shame that I did not get to it sooner. The opening track “Sitting on the Rainbow” reminded of Columbus band Black Cat Revival (formerly Wigglepussy Indiana) with strong riffs and amazing sweeping vocals. Brooks can really belt out a line. He has a soft and yet gravelly voice that is both soothing and slightly offsetting, but in a good way. The second song “Trigger” had me thinking of a good mix between Nirvana and Mr. Bungle. The third song “Cocharamoona,” which conjured up thoughts of the TV show True Blood, had forgettable lyrics, but I didn’t seem to care because I was so into the music that it didn’t seem to matter. The voice felt like more of an instrument in this one. The solos were well placed and surprisingly tame.

Then the forth song came on and “oh my god, turn it off” was running out of my mouth in a second. Not that I didn’t want to hear it.  This was the chorus and I couldn’t stop singing along. This song will make you dance even if you can’t. You just feel the need. Musically this song isn’t anything new, but it is an awesome feel good song. This is something we seem to be missing in alt-rock music as of late. I think I hear only a few new feel good alt-rock songs a year on the radio and this can easily compete with those, if not knock every one of them out of the water. I would suggest skipping the fifth song, unless you like ballads. I’m not too particular and it as it made me think of a bad “James Bond” theme and I’m not sure I’d say any of those are too good.

Finally we come to “Rockets.” This is my personal favorite of the disc. I’ve recently been in a mood for more reggae/ska in popular music. Once this song hits the noticeably reggae part it will amaze you. Brooks vocals along with the great lines by Garubaldi and Phillips guitar work will make you shake your booty. If it doesn’t make you move, then check your pulse as you may be dead.

Bemusingly, when one lifts out the CD there is a little message to the owner of the CD stating, “This music is our gift to you. Please support our grassroots movement by spreading the word. We encourage you to burn a copy of this disk for everyone you know.” This statement makes me feel good to be a musician again. It lets me know that there are still a few bands out there just wanting to rock out and have people enjoy their music.  Sure, giving away your music for free doesn’t pay the bills but rest assured, after hearing this group of songs you’ll have to see them live. I’ll tell you this, they pull it off just as well if not better live.

Simeon Soul Charger can be found online at http://simeonsoulcharger.com/. All of their songs off this release can be downloaded freely from that site. I suggest you check it out. The only thing you may lose is your time but I highly doubt that you’ll mind after hearing this.

-V-