A Cure For Love – “Cafeteria Harrison (Isn’t It Grand to Feed the Birds?)”: The devil-may-care indie rockers from Canal Winchester, Ohio return with a sizzler of a single that fits their signature sound, which is great news for their ever-growing following. The latest tune is a message of a terminated relationship of some kind with a predominately upbeat feel that has excellent harmonies throughout, which is attributed to each lads’ individual talents and proliferation behind-the-scenes. From the jump, the song starts off on high speed which enables the lads to showcase their musical savvy as musicians and songwriters. There are moments where ACFL slows the pace and in those areas, they reinforce their craftiness to be able to switch things up with precision. The group’s acclaimed recordings and well-received live shows make them one of the most unique and bubbling under rock outfits in the area. “Cafeteria Harrison” only contributes to the band’s allure as their fanbase will enjoy it and indie rock aficionados who hear it are sure to embrace it. Together for six years and counting, the high-energy and charismatic quartet are breaking through this year with high energy gigs within the Buckeye state and as part of an east coast tour. The band is also working on a new LP, but until that drops those curious of ACFL’s quirky musicianship ought to stream their previous full-length Storm In A Teacup with notable nuggets like “Snowcone”, “Stupid Dog (You Make Me Look Bad)”, “Bjorn”, and more.
The Scratches – “FOMO”: Always high on adrenaline, the Columbus melodic punk rock outfit is back in a big way with their most mainstream song yet. As one will ascertain from the title, the tune is about seizing the day and life itself and that attitude resonates with lots of people during the state of the world. The group’s perspective on what the past two years have meant to them is set to a masterfully constructed song with equal parts pop, punk, and rock. “FOMO” is a well-done track that sounds as though it would come from the minds of Blink-182. Considering The Scratches’ Bandcamp page has a cover of Blink’s “Dammit”, it is safe to say the apple does not fall far from the tree. The dynamic dual vocals combined with massive drum work, perfectly placed bass, and polished guitar play make for three minutes and thirteen seconds of serious fun. The Scratches have themselves quite the head bobber that has potential as a rock and pop radio staple if the chips fall where they should. The song sounds ready for the big time due to the combination of the band’s sharp songwriting and cunning musical chops along with the beloved Jakob Mooney of Mooney Recordings handling the recording and mixing aspects. Due to the pandemic and its continuing effects, the fear of missing out is the message of the decade and “FOMO” is an excellent tune to capture the spirit of risk takers everywhere.
Off Home Road – “This Time It’s Different”: Each and every day, SAUL drummer Myles Clayborne is garnering praise and respect as a soloist and as a Producer at Vigilante Studios. The song’s title is quite appropriate as this is a departure from his previously dropped hard rock single “I’m Fine”. This time around, Clayborne tackles the electropop genre and does so without a hitch, creating what should be a dance club staple. The song is about being close to throwing in the towel, but giving romance another chance. From the opening note to the closing one, it is clear that his experience in a litany of bands and his talents as a multi-instrumentalist have prepared him well in creating this prolific bop. “This Time It’s Different” belongs on Top 40 radio immediately as Off Home Road is a musical act with legs for days. The single has the on-point beats, scintillating snyth notes, 80s inspired guitar, and hip harmonies that pop enthusiasts will adore. The most admirable fact about this tune is that Clayborne wrote it on June 28 at the spur of the moment. It sometimes takes songwriters years to pen masterpieces and for Clayborne to come up with what should be a mainstream smash in a day demonstrates amazing aptitude. The tune’s beats are not the only thing booming for Off Home Road as he recently collaborated with Eliano on the single “NICE (Let It Roll)”, due for a future review. Add his commitments to the metal band SAUL, sensational solo efforts, and top-notch songwriting and production work, Clayborne can hold his head up high on a job well done.
Rumspringa – “Kings Of The Night”: Those who love heavy hitting rock from yesteryear will be enamored by these Central Ohio-based fellas. The quartet comprised of Matt Warren (vox), Cody Schrecengost (guitar), Jimmy Weaver (bass), and Jaxson Tackett (drums) have paid their dues in the local scene by constant gigging, leaving audiences fulfilled. All of that that goodwill has led to the creation of this butt kicker of a track that rock radio ought to take a shining to. “Kings of the Night” is just over four minutes of hard rock done right filled with gritty guitar play, explosive drumming, icing on the cake bass work, and inspiring vocal output. The marvelous melodies and roaring riffs bolster the song’s quality, giving listeners a headbanging single that puts the pedal to the metal. Schrecengost, Weaver, Warren, and Tackett deserve the utmost praise for the marvelousness in helping keep rip roaring rock n’ roll alive and well through their arduous work and determination. Rumspringa’s relentlessness to hone their craft and entertain has led to a lot of accolades such as being on bills with the likes of Saving Abel, Firehouse, Blacktop Mojo, among others. Twice, the band has reached the finals of rock station QFM 96’s House Band competition and have previously gotten play on the aforementioned station plus others. These guys are serious about their trade and their songs, including the previously released original “Off My Case” and their impassioned cover of “Rebel Yell”.
Jinx The Fox – “The Whole World”: Columbus’ fast rising synth indie rock group follows up on their prior 2022 release “Walking Through Walls” with a tantalizing track containing multiple elements to make it one to stream on repeat. JTF has created a song with a memorable sing-along chorus and that is one key to having a successful single. The song starts off sounding as though it will be a synthpop bop, but then seconds later the group takes it into an alternative rock direction with. The entire tune is chock full of attention-grabbing guitar and excellent drumming with some of the most passionate vocals heard in recent memory. From start to finish. “The Whole World” will captivate listeners as it is a prime example of rock music performed and recorded in a quality manner. JTF have themselves an emo rock tune that could cross over to Hot AC and Triple A formats, further expanding their popularity. The band has quickly climbed up the local scene’s street cred meter through live events and cranking out authentic and sincere alternative rock and the second half of the year could see the band broadening their horizons to performing live all around the state and beyond. Their latest single is definitely worthy of earning them a showcase or two for a record deal.
Spice Jar – “Trap House”: When it comes to fast rising Columbus musical acts, the tandem of Zack Elswick and Alonso Zavala are at the top of the heap. Every now and then over the past few years, the blokes will drop either a poppy bop or roaring rock rager. “Trap House” falls somewhere smack dab in the middle leaning towards pop punk goodness. No matter what, Elswick and Zavala are about giving it their all from bell to bell and listeners will most certainly agree after a handful of streams of with astonishing melodic guitar work, dynamite drum work, and solid rock vocals that go back and forth from distorted punk to screamo. The mix works well with the music to generate another top-notch song, which is all this duo knows how to make. In the three years they have been a band, Spice Jar has brought the spice to each and every release and they are sure to draw even more attention with their latest. The guys have assembled a band for live events where they are sure to keep the momentum up and get to the next level as they have earned it.
Cotter – “Never Look Back”: Dropping their first single of the year, the Columbus hard rock quintet are back with a song that is part ballad and part rager showing just how terrific they are as songwriters in addition to performers. Cotter impresses here by having the ability to fusing what sounds like they should be two separate songs with seamlessness. “Never Look Back” has tight harmonies, ripping riffs, and is approximately three minutes of fine craftsmanship. Vocalist Howard Mesharer has the task of going from balladeer to roaring like a lion off and on and he pulls this feat off as only he can. Zack Lukkarila and Kyle Spears are on-point and both guitarists make the most of their opportunity to shine. Bassist Tim Waters brings his veteran efforts to the table and his involvement only serves to enhance the ambitious tune. Drummer Andrew Brzeczkowski keeps everything flowing smoothly by utilizing his durable skills to the max. The band is performing live a great deal, giving them a major opportunity to build their brand of rock and along with their current cut and the prior singles “All In My Mind” and “Keep Driving”, Cotter is making the most of this decade and are on their way to something great.
Wearebaby – “NPR Interview”: The self-proclaimed brat rock outfit reemerges with an eclectic and eccentric single about social exploitation. Sometimes it pays to come out of left field with and indie rock song that has a tad of an old-timey sound to it with modern day relevancy. It cannot be easy to make an upbeat, 1960s sounding tune against the backdrop of relationship toxicity, but credit to the Columbus based Wearebaby for their effort. The lyrics, especially within the chorus, will resonate with listeners who have experienced this type of mental anguish and those who know of someone who has dealt with it. The superb, dreamy lead vocals bring the sensitive subject matter to life intertwined with precise, airy guitar play, bombastic bass, and delicate drums. Towards the song’s second half, the back-and-forth female and male sounding vocals work well together to convey the song’s message to those who need to hear it. “NPR Interview” may light in presence, but contains a heavy story stupendously crafted that proves the band’s brilliance in songwriting and performing. Some of the group’s prior efforts, most notably “Amnesia” and “Control”, will provide listeners and idea of their prowess as musical poets.
Big Smile – “Can’t Even Drown”: Along comes this piece of excellence from the Cincinnati area emo alt-rock quartet with all the potential in the world to be a Top 40 rock chart hit. Things start off distorted with the music subdued and the vocals distorted, but then things quickly become raucous with power packed rock singing on display. The vocals are blended brilliantly with the machete sharp music, making this a sleeper of a single. Everyone is spot on in their roles as the melancholy lyrics are realistic and sung with high-level enthusiasm, all the while maintaining a touch of emo. Add rampaging guitar riffs with slick hooks fused with booming drum play and cucumber cool bass reinforce this as the most upbeat defeatist anthem in recent memory. Since it dropped approximately three weeks ago, “Can’t Even Drown” has garnered over 20,000 streams on Spotify alone which is quite impressive for this bombastic band on the rise. Big Smile has been well received thus far due to releases with hundreds of thousands of streams such as “Pillbox Hill” and “F*ck Off (But Take Me With You)” and many other respected rock tracks. These cats can add their latest to the collection of sensational songs that should take them far in their careers. They work hard, they play hard, and they tour hard. Anyone who gets within an earshot of their music will agree Big Smile has earned a chance to make the big time.
The Street Limes – “Bad Belushi”: The Cincinnati-based band’s latest single is three and a half minutes of indie alternative punk at its finest. The follow-up to last month’s release “Do Without!” is as formidable to its predecessor with glorious guitar play from start to finish, setting the song’s tone. The polished, yet sincere vocal output is beautifully set to the lyrics with marvelous harmony thanks in part to quality drum play, smack-dab bass, and the top-tier guitar work. The vivid verses and the contagious chorus paint a detailed picture and that goes to show The Street Limes are giving it their all in creativity and productivity. Those longing for the alternative and indie rock of yesteryear from the likes of The Promise Ring, The Get Up Kids, and similar artists have found a band that will carry the next generation of respected underground alt rock. “Bad Belushi” is a fine tune that is equally written, performed, and produced at an exceptional level, which is a nod to the quartet as they are now taking a DIY approach to keep things on their terms. They are very much on their way to something great with prior critical acclaim coming from outlets GRIT Daily, Music Industry Weekly, Music Luv HQ with more to follow in the future. Curious ears should sample the aforementioned “Do Without!” plus “See Tomorrow”, which is their highest streamed single on Spotify at this stage.