Spice Jar – “Otero”: Charter members Zack Elswick and Alonso Zavala are back with a banger that makes the most of their hard working and heavy hitting approach to the craft. Their latest showcases great guitar rock play, dynamite drumming, and excellent vocal output making for an emo punk rock narrative ready made for terrestrial and Internet radio outlets. The sheer grittiness is there for the punk fans, but the production value is high standard which is a plus for the behind-the-scenes aficionados. Earlier this year, the Columbus, Ohio tandem obtained airplay on the world famous independently owned alt rock station in town CD 92.9 FM and based on the strength of “Otero” and their prior releases, the guys should expect more spins on that station. Spice Jar just dropped a video for the song that was shot entirely in VHS, giving it an authentic, spontaneous 80s throwback feel. Those unfamiliar with what these two have to offer the industry are best served to play “Otero” on repeat along with prior gems “Nothing” and tunes from their recently dropped EP Rom-Com.

Photo by Kayla Kreller of BlazingChakrams Photography

Cotter – “All In My Mind”: Off the strength of their well-received tune “Keep Driving”, this Columbus rock quintet comes roaring back with a song sure to resonate with pop punk lovers everywhere. The song will win rock enthusiasts over with super solid vocals, well-placed bass, glorious guitar work, and slickly played drums giving the band a great chance at a crossover hit. What takes the tune over the top is the excellent catchy and head-bobbing chorus that is sure to be infectious at their live events. With prolific production, succinct songwriting and crisp musical execution on their side, Cotter is bound for big things for a long time to come. They have already collaborated with Will Deely and Adam Gilbert, of the groups Beartooth and STARSET, respectively. A connection to those heavy hitters is sure to serve Cotter well in the eyes and ears of music big wigs that can assist the lads in soaring to new heights. Based on social media feedback, they have the hometown crowd’s praise and are chomping at the bit to bust out regionally and beyond. “All In My Mind” shows the talent is there as there are no flaws detected with this newest single being the one that ought to attract more mainstream attention from rock fans and industry execs.

Leechwife – “Take This and Be Wire To God’s Throat”: The latest song by Columbus musician Lilith Yoko Grace is part of her upcoming album Nebulae And Debris. Leechwife creates tunes unlike anything most people will ever hear anywhere else and that is just the way she likes it. The psychedelic industrial space sludge metal she writes, plays, and produces will make people pay attention one way or the other. There is a curiosity factor with the song title itself that is sure to raise some eyebrows, luring listeners in to Leechwife’s deeply spun web. Leechwife keeps people tuned in with excellently harmonic rock with elements heard over a series of decades to create something original, memorable, and remarkable. On the chorus, she takes no prisoners with a pedal to the metal approach with delightfully grimy guitar work and wicked vocals that induce goosebumps and chills.

Faith In Failure – “Touched By The Moon”: The Columbus modern hard rock quintet re-emerges with a magnificent harmony laden single worthy of being heard by the masses. On their latest effort, everyone is totally in tune churning out a single that will touch souls and invoke emotions. Lead vocalist Chad Nash II amazingly belts out notes wearing his heart on his sleeve. Guitarists Cole Kaluger and Aaron Perry switch things up from haunting to gritty throughout. Bassist Matt Keeton’s role intertwines with the others beautifully to give “Touched By The Moon” additional spice. Drummer Nick Brady shines as his timing and work ethic keeps every other aspect on point. These fellas sound like they have been together for ages, which reflects their respect for the trade and make the most of the talent they have. Faith In Failure is more than an act in that this brotherhood has what it takes musically and psychologically to make it far in the business. Evidence of their high quality oozes out of this newest gem, but also in songs from the recently dropped EP The Fields.

Befriend Strange Creatures – “Not Mine Anymore”: The Columbus indie rock quartet’s new single is viral in that it is as catchy as the day is long and is unlike most releases out right now. The song is a mix of the trippy 70s with its psychedelic flair, 80s alt rock, and a slice of 90s grunge. Out of that combination comes an ambitious and sincere rock song that should be on several independent playlists everywhere. BSC wants to send listeners on a wild musical roller coaster and for four minutes and five seconds, the band accomplishes that very mission. These blokes want to write and perform with authenticity and vulnerability and listeners are sure to eat it all up and come back wanting even more. The group recently performed live for the first time to much fanfare and that kind of confidence is going to have them dropping dimes to a long time.

Photo by Kayla Kreller of BlazingChakrams Photography

undergrads – “Jimbo Slice”: This Columbus quintet’s latest single is chock full of pop punk greatness that will only bolster their portfolio and profile for years to come. Rock lovers have already taken to the song as per Spotify, it is their second most streamed tune behind “Shinflower”. “Jimbo Slice” contains crisp, professional vocals with foot on the throat guitars, properly placed bass, and spot on drumming which are things that make for a radio ready banger like this one. With the talk of mental health and self-care prevalent these days, the lyrics are an important listen as they can have an important impact. The lads known as undergrads have proven they have what it takes and if the right executives catch wind of them, the world better watch out. The group just released a video for the song, directed by Frank Mareno. The vid is well-crafted and everyone involved comes out more awesome for a job well done. The praise is justified and prior releases such as the aforementioned “Shinflower” and “Crashing Down” are further evidence of that the saying about iron sharpens iron is applicable here.

*Photo by Nathan Shipp

Shape Of The Sun – “We Ignite”: Columbus multi-instrumentalist Nate Linek is back with a bop that will take people back to the prolific days of late 80s and early 90s alternative rock. The latest SOTS release is approximately three minutes of high-level DIY rock that is spot on with equally high musical execution and production values. Furthermore, “We Ignite” possesses gusto in the form of marvelous guitar work, super drum play, and Linek’s passionate indie rock vocals. Imagine Elvis Costello as the frontman of R.E.M. and this is the song that would be bestowed on the public. This kind of throwback alternative rock is essential as it preserves the variety aspect the genre entails. Linek is providing high quality music in a high-quality manner and the talent is bestowed upon listeners in every note played and sung. Similar classic alternative rock outfits in the scene include SUPERTRUST and Bubble Made Imagination, so if SOTS wishes to take his act on the road for live events this would be one excellent bill from top to bottom.

Magoteaux – “Playing in the Leaves”: Respected Columbus Audio Engineer and singer-songwriter Nick Magoteaux recently released this reworked tune that was first written and recorded back in 2014. Over the years, Magoteaux had second thoughts about the retooling the song that is quite sentimental to him. On the version currently up on Spotify, the bloke shows he has amazing vocal and guitar playing acumen. The song is just amazingly heartfelt and sincere making him one a great singer-songwriter in the local scene and beyond. “Playing in the Leaves” is just as emotional to the listener as it is to the performer as this man has more skills in his pinky that some do in their entire bodies. In addition to being wonderfully performed, those engineering skills are put to excellent use as the production is what locals would expect of Magoteaux based on his work in recorded and live music with some of the town’s best artists and venues. If Magoteaux ever wishes to be the show versus running the show, chances are he would exceed expectations as the mind, the look, and the chops are present to wow a live audience.

Pet Rabbits – “There are Ghosts”: The brand new solo project of The Wet Darlings guitarist Bill Patterson is off to an impressive start thanks to this debut single. The Columbus veteran performer shines on acoustic guitar with a campfire ballad that is perfect for a night of curling up next to a heat source and escaping one’s troubles for four minutes. Later into the song, Patterson incorporates a little electric guitar to shake things up a bit. Patterson’s weathered and semi-raspy voice on “There are Ghosts” serves as evidence of his authenticity and skillset as a singer-songwriter. Bill keeps it in the family with Pet Rabbits with his brother Joe (bassist for The Wet Darlings) on board to contribute to the project. Should he wish to take the solo acoustic act to the live stage, Pet Rabbits will indeed end up doing well for himself as an opener as he builds his own brand much like TWD did for the past decade plus.

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