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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Photos courtesy of Zane Miller Photography     

            Life gotcha down? Bummed cause you’re stuck, listening to the same old stuff on the radio (and music library)? Well perhaps you should take a trip to The Energy Clinic. This young foursome can take any drab room (or bar) and quickly fill it with colorful sounds of dreamy melodic progressions.

Zane Miller Photography

     Their music is kinda like an uptempo-ish rock with groovy and funky twists and turns - Does anyone remember ‘No Doubt?’ Ok, so think old-school ‘No Doubt,’ with early/mid Incubus progressive alternative rock styles. Now make it really well rounded and polyphonically arranged, and there you have it – the shit is bananas.  

 Zane Miller Photography

     The lead singer has an incredible voice with tons of character and emotion. It wasn’t until I got a copy of their recent recordings that I was able to actually hear the words she is singing in these dance-evoking tunes; and now I realize there’s a lot more going on here than pretty notes and melodies. The girl’s got some shit to say, so listen up.

Zane Miller Photography
      While you could easily spend a show lost in Steff’s vocals, the true meat and potatoes of the band, in my opinion, are the dudes behind the strings, Sam and Raad. Constantly countering each other’s rhythms and progressions, they create an elaborate, well-woven composition that demonstrates how well they are in-tune with their instruments as well as one another. Which then leaves the drummer, John, a hefty task of syncopations, drops, and tempo changes; but don’t worry, he’s no Ringo – this boy can rock his drum set, he just doesn’t always try to be as unnecessarily flashy as some other drummers.

Zane Miller Photography

   The Energy Clinic creates undeniably soul-clutching music, which makes each show an exquisite experience. I truly suggest you find their next show, and pencil yourself in for a musically-induced therapeutic jam session that will re-energize your mind, and probably get your body and soul movin’ (or, mostly likely in your ‘booty’ reigon). The Energy Clinic is a refreshing reminder that in a world of over-produced bullshit, there are still well composed bands with amazingly talented and creative individuals.

Zane Miller Photography

Zane Miller Photography
Zane Miller Photography

The Energy Clinic:

Steff Jeff – Vocals
Samuel Foley – Guitar
Raad Shubaily – Bass
John Bruno – Drums

Zane Miller Photography

Special Thanks:
The Energy Clinic
Zane A. Miller

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Written by Raad Shubaily
Pop music has many faces.  The collage of sounds Karate Coyote ties together to produce their signature synthesizer and effect-laden sound is a statement of that fact.  They put together different pieces of pop music’s past to create their own original style.  From pleasant synth lines to jangly guitar breaks, there are plenty of sounds to keep your ears entertained.

One of the aspects of musicianship that can be easily neglected is working as a team.  With a band like this, it could be easy to overplay because of all the different instruments and singers.  However, they fill out their individual parts perfectly without interrupting the overall sound. 

 The rhythm section is tight and neat, with melodic bass lines that tie everything together. The guitar breaks are slick, and the synth lines float tastefully over the choir-like harmonies.  Synthesizers can be a slippery slope, plenty of bands easily put layer over layer of synth and muddle down the mix, taking away the focus from other instruments.  This is not one of those bands, they know when to use it and when to hold back.

    Karate Coyote has been working for quite some time to forge their sound, which now seems to have been fully realized.  The 2010 release “Inner Animals,” their debut full length album, is a perfect snapshot of this sound.  It seems they’ve carved their niche, as there are really no other bands in town that resemble this eclectic and playful pop-rock group. 

The defining feature of Karate Coyote, I think, is their vibrancy.  Their music has a certain energy to it that seems unstoppable.  It’s like you could dance forever to their music and never feel tired.  I suggest you go out to a show, pick up a CD, and remember to bring your dancing shoes.

STAFF PICK: Raad’s 5 Favorite Karate Coyote selections:
1. Move Yourself
2. Ride on, Pegasus
3.Cooked Beats
4. Tornadoes
5. Spring Dirt Nerve

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE HOT 17 & KOBO for being wonderful hosts


Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Written by Raad Shubaily 
    There are a lot of rock bands in Columbus.  Of course, there are only a handful of truly great rock bands in town.  Without a doubt, The George Elliot Underground (G.E.U.) is one of them.
    From the way they craft dance-floor-ready anthems to their natural rock n’ roll spunk, they basically have all the required ingredients to extend the long standing traditions of rock music.  With a bit of Rockabilly in the mix, blaring guitar solos, melodically tight riffs and fancy dance moves, it’s easy to picture them playing in an arena. Their sound is so big that it almost belongs to be played in a large space.

   They’ve more or less perfected the art of straight ahead rock. A friend of mine described it perfectly, saying it sounds like “comfort rock,” like comfort food, but for rock bands.  Their songs are easily digestible and simply feel good as you’re taking it in.  Honestly, The George Elliot Underground sound as if they popped out of the late 70’s and onto a stage in Columbus.
    Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it right.  For example, it’s shocking how many of their songs are available for immediate and free download off the Internet.  Not every band is like that, a lot of times you have to go through Itunes or Amazon to get a band’s music. It’s nice to see that their music is so easy to obtain.

     Going to a George Elliot Underground show is a lot like going to a party.  You know the music will be good, the booze will be flowing and it’s generally impossible to have a bad time. It’s incredible that bands like this still exist.  Right when everyone starts saying “the 80’s are coming back” or “that band has too many synthesizers,” G.E.U. one ups them all and brings good, old-school rock and roll. Synthesizer free.

For more info, check out:

George Elliot Underground
Matt Zaborniak - Vocals
Marlin Kornegay - Guitar
Jeremy Browning - Guitar
Derek Ultican - Bass
Brian Mayes - Drums

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Written by Meghan Kelly
Photo courtesy of Mike Heslop on Facebook
Mike Heslop is the backbone of a local café you might have heard of: Kafe Kerouac, ( the best coffee shop north of Lane Avenue. How did it all come about, and how did such a small place remain open during these harsh financial times? Mike’s answer, “I’m stubborn and I don’t like to give up.” Really, is there any better business plan than that?

After graduating from The Ohio State University, Mike bartended at the airport while playing music and writing on his own time. That is when he got the idea to open a café’… but this wouldn’t be the standard coffee shop, instead there would be books, games, records, and beer.         

“I had this idea to open a café which would be a place that wasn’t just a coffee shop, but also a bar and bookstore. A place where artists and writers go to hang out, that was the original concept.” Mike

            Mike envisioned a place where everyone would be welcome to hangout, share ideals, ideas and debate. Think of a typical Parisian café gathering spot for artists and writers in the early 20th century; now change that French to English, throw in 50-80 years of progression and what you have is Mike, and Kafe Kerouac. How did the vision become a reality?

The cafe opened in May of 2004, as it took about a year and a half to go from conception to actually being open. Since then, the space has been forever changing and evolving. For instance, after a year they expanded into the room next door, which had been originally used as an extra study and additional storage space. 

            “The second room provides a muting between the rooms; it’s like a sound proofing. So in the front room people can be reading or studying and the sound of maybe a play next door doesn’t disrupt. Plus you have that great ambiance by having books around. We added track lighting for the stage; we added a larger P.A and bigger mixing board. So now we can offer more, and cater to a bigger audience.” –Mike

            What type of crowd will you find at Kafe Kerouac? Just about anyone. You’ll find mostly 20 something grad students working or studying, and the occasional vagabond just passing through. However, what is most noticeable, are Kafe Kerouac’s strong supporters - people will drive across the city regularly to come back and work here. Many customers have developed a strong sense of loyalty, and seem to feel as though they are a part of the coffee shop success.

            “We are considered the ‘hipster hangout,’ the disenfranchised middle class white kids who ride up on their bikes with their tight jeans and All Stars. Those people are great but I never meant it to evolve to one group or social group, that wasn’t my vision, I just wanted a mix of people who are looking to express themselves.” –Mike

            To succeed in the middle of recession (upon recession) Mike keeps his prices low, buys local and has friends that routinely help out. To some it may feel ‘clique-ish’ but Mike and his employees work hard at trying to make everyone feel welcome. I having been going to Kafe Kerouac since about the time they opened and in that time, I have never felt anything other than welcome.

            Mike is not very political, but Kafe Kerouac stands out as a leftist place and so he ends up working as a middle man between heated discussions a lot of the time.  It’s a creative way to go grow academically, to be surrounded and a part of scholarly conversations.

            “Typically coffee shops are known as a meeting place to discuss current issues. I can’t find anywhere else in town that matches the type of intimacy we provide. So after about 5 years it is finally turning into the space I had wanted.” –Mike

            It has been a learning experience, but making a lot of money was never the idea. Instead as a place that provides people a platform, Kafe Kerouac has succeeded.

Every week:
            - Tuesday is game night
            - Wednesday night features poetry slams brought to you by Writers Block.
            - Thursday night is Comedy night.
            - Local musicians and fundraising groups often use the space on Friday night.

Once a month, Kafe Kerouac has a ‘First Draft Poetry” event, which normally has a theme.

Scott Woods, Writers Block Poetry
            “It’s fun to see a group or person start out here and then watch as they sign with a label and their careers really take off.”Mike

            When Mike isn’t behind the counter you may see him onstage with the “Shazzbots” a kids musical group that Mike started out with some friends. They played over 50 shows last year and are on track to put out their 2nd album in 2012. ( A newer project Mike is working on, called the “Black Ties,” is a rotating group of his musician friends. Everyone gets a song list the day of performance and they wing it. It seems as though Mike is like the energy bunny, he just want stop.

            Over the years Kafe Kerouac routinely transforms itself to meet the needs of students, artists, musicians, spoken word or live theatrical plays, and the wait was well worth it. What started out as a one room coffee shop with a few desks and comfy over-sized chairs, now presents itself as a living room (set up to the left), books lining the walls and a classic record collection (to your right).  This adds to the ambience Mike strives to create. Inspired by the people who perform, Mike takes their suggestion and is routinely moving furniture, books and records to change the physical scene and to make things a little better and flow more smoothly. 

            If you are looking for a place to relax, Kafe Kerouac can provide you with that. If you are looking for a place to hold a meeting, Kafe Kerouac can provide you with that. If you want to hear some quality local music and eat some local goodies, Kafe Kerouac can provide you with that. You get the picture. If you’re looking for any or all of that, head to Kafe Kerouac @ 2250 N. High Street and Northwood

Special Thanks
Mike Heslop, Kafe Kerouac

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Written by Josh Weiker

It blows my mind how many good bands there are in this city. Right when you think you’ve started to get a grasp on what the local music scene has to offer, a scattered mess of instrument aficionados congeal to create a new beastly monster of sound - that is precisely what happened in the case of Northwood Project.

            Lets just start with the obvious; when going to a live show, if you see more than 6 people on stage, you can place a safe bet that your ears will be ringing by the time you leave (i.e. - its gonna get loud). Well, this band has nine people … that’s right, I said it – NINE! For the record, that’s a guitarist, a bassist, a trumpet player, a keys player, a few saxophones, a drummer and a power-duo of vocalists that flawlessly blend the strong, soulful voice of Talisha Holmes and the rousing rhymes of Cast the Diety – so basically, take this as your warning: mic’s will be rocked, speakers will be blarring, and the booties will be a-shakin’.  

            Each song brings immense amounts of intense musical power. I was beside myself just listening to how this group moves with syncopated stops, drops, hits and grooves. What’s more, is how they, like so many other great acts, incorporate a wide variety of genres throughout their performances. While the most apparent style hovers around a very funky sorta hip-hop and R & B-ish vibe, you will quickly find yourself in the middle of a relatively heavy rock progression – I found myself double and triple checking the stage to make sure that it was the same band still playing.

            Northwood Project continues the great line of local-based, live-instrument hip-hop groups, with overflowing talent and creatively composed set lists unlike you’ve ever known to be true [see G. Finesse & the N.S.; the L.E.S. Crew; Stretch Lefty]. It is scary how good this band is, for how little time they’ve spent together. I highly suggest you keep an eye out for this group, and go see them at your earliest chance, and don’t worry, you can thank me later.

Check it out:

In BusTown’s latest collaboration, ‘The Oranjudio Sessions,’ we offer an up-close and behind-the-scenes look at some of Columbus’s most dynamic musicians from inside the recording studio …

(VIDEO) Northwood Project – “Let It Go”

… this video features three of the nine members from Northwood Project, with guest sit-ins by Bustown’s own Evan Oberla (trombone) and Joey Gurwin (percussion)

Northwood Project

Talisha Holmes - Vocals
Cast the Diety  - MC
Jason Deran - Trumpet
Jack Menkedick – Alto/Bari Sax
Christian Secrist – Tenor Sax
Josh Altfater – Guitar
Kyle Maloney – Bass
Jake Rapport - Keys
Will Wells - Drums


‘Oranjudio Sessions’ Video captured and edited by Ginger Attack VideoProductions

Monday, December 26, 2011


written by Josh Weiker
“I’m going to see Dirty Girls tonight – you wanna come?” The correct answer without a doubt or any hesitation should be a definite and immediate “YES!” Without even knowing what it is or what’s happening – simply having those two words in conjunction equates for what can only be described as the implication of a magnificent adventure. 

            Fortunately, if you dare venture out to see these dirty, Dirty Girls, your ear holes will be rewarded with a fanciful audial precession of hook-based, high-energy nostalgic rock tunes.  Reminiscent of 1960’s retro-Cali surfer-pop rock, this foursome will have you twistin’ and shakin’ all night long, as if you were hangin’ with the gang at the local malt shoppe.

            Perhaps it’s because every song they play is so damn catchy – but it can be really easy to get carried away rocking out and not even notice how well their songs are written. The lines jumping out of Jeremy Fina’s bass are abnormally melodic, not only for a bass player, but also a lead singer. Meanwhile, holding down the rest of the band’s merry-making melodies are guitarists Stefan Doke and Dennis Tanner; with Matt Whitslar (drums) providing the rhythmic foundation – keeping everything at a steady up-tempo pace. This group of party boys, known as Dirty Girls, blend their sounds with layers of hooks, riffs and progressions that are seemingly simplistic, yet undeniably enjoyable.

            So yes, the cat is out of the bag … Dirty Girls, are actually guys… but come on, the phrase ‘Dirty Guys’ just doesn’t have the same ring, ya know? (plus, its redundant) Nevertheless, go see these guys. They have such an amazing stage presence, and have so much fun on stage that it feels like they are in the crowd partying with you; which just might end up happening … in which case, I suggest you bring your party pants…

Dirty Girls Members include:
Stefan Doke – Guitar
Dennis Tanner – Guitar
Jeremy Fina – Bass/ Vocals
Matt Whitslar – Drums 

For more info., please check out 'Dirty Girls' on Facebook

Special Thanks to Woodlands Tavern


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