Five on the rise
By Travis HoewischerPublished June 1, 2012
These acts still dwell and draw here in the capital city, but with national and regional labels at their backs, it’s hard telling how long we’ll be able to claim them. There’s plenty of bands and artists making noise around town, but these five had a particularly good year.
Twenty One Pilos
A big break almost never happens the way it has for Columbus’Twenty One Pilots. In just a few short years, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have mani- fested a handful of homemade demos into one of the largest cult follow- ings the city’s modern music scene as ever seen. Just after the release of their second album, Regional At Best, TOP did the unthinkable – selling out the vaunted Newport Music Hall by themselves. Three months later, and they’re on a jet to ink a deal with Fueled by Ramen Records, where they sit at the mantel alongside heavy hitters like Panic at the Disco! Paramore and .fun. This summer, they’ll prowl the East coast opening for Neon Trees. From their savvy indie marketing to their kinetic live shows – backflips, skeleton costumes – they’ve crowd-surfed their way into a major label deal on a completely DIY schematic.
So many countrified, whiskey-ish adjectives have been applied to Lydia Loveless – a veteran of the Columbus music scene since pre-Learner’s Permit days – they hardly bear mention here. Know this: her blistering gritty country-punk sets don’t sound like anything else in the country, including some of her famous label mates at Bloodshot Records. The Chicago Tribune labeled her as “a major new voice,” and SPIN Magazine fawned over her record Indestructible Machine, listing it as No. 4 on their year-end list of the best country and Americana records. Did you know a 21-year-old musician from Columbus made a better album last year than Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Ryan Adams? You do now.
The quirky mélange of African percussion and electronic R&B from the Columbus quarter has earned them a spot on the Lefse Records roster, alongside a slew of current indie frontrunners like Ganglians, Neon Indian and Youth Lagoon. Lefse will drop a version of their previously self-released EP Walkability on June 19th.
Once signed to Universal Records, accomplished singer/rapper/beatmaker Rashad Thomas has patiently waited for the chance to unleash his new album, Museum, on his own terms. His production for Ohio native and Maybach Music protégé Stalley and a recent remix for Nas and K’Naan is bringing him new recognition in the national hip-hop game.
With a mix of swamp rock and muddy blues, Matt and Pat Reed, and Kevin Skubak fit in perfectly in post-Black Keys America. Signed to Siltbreeze Records, the trio have been darlings at SXSW and recently got some on-stage props from legend Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down) at Rock on the Range. The boys will also open for The Hold Steady on a short run this month.