Friday, January 28, 2011


As a kid, I watched a lot of Battle Of The Planets cartoons. I loved it. Sci-fi super heroes with gadgets and cool costumes. I loved the adventures of G-Force vs. Voltar and I always wondered what the hell Keyop was saying. It wasn’t until recently though that I discovered Ultraman and all of it’s awesomeness. Originally a live action Japanese Sci-fi special effects kids show, it was brought to America and dubbed. It features a cool Science Team of heroes that fight big Godzilla style monsters from outer space. I talked to George and Costa recently and it seems that they were hooked on the show when they were younger. Every episode seems to have the same plot, but it doesn’t matter. All we really want to see is the big knock-down drag-out fight at the end between Ultraman and the evil baddie. Guess who always wins? Over the holidays, I found a cheapo DVD collection of the first two seasons and have been really enjoying it. So much so in fact that we're working on some Ultraman themed videos for 2 Earwig songs right now. If we can get the orange jumpsuits and space helmets right, we’ll be all set. Go Science Team Earwig!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Come and see the band

The Mindfish

Earwig is playing at the Treehouse in Columbus on Friday, January 14th. Get ready for a good time. Young Athens upstarts Mindfish will be opening up the show and Columbus rockers Yellow Light Maybe are playing too. YLM is hard at work recording and getting ready for a spring release. Mindfish released their debut record earlier this year and below is a review of said album along with a review of Earwig's 'Gibson Under Mountain' written by Dean from Mindfish. Familiarize yrself with these songs and get ready to sing along. Also! Congratulations are in order for the two winners of our recent Earwig T-shirt contest. Vic Miller (of Columbus) and Chris Witmer (from Michigan) both knew that my favorite hubcap comes from a Mercury! Enjoy your swank new duds.

Measles Mumps & Rebellion - Mindfish
Lizard McGee

On Measles, Mumps And Rebellion, the debut full length from Mindfish, singer Dean Tartaglia starts out with a promise that they’re not dead. That fact is never in question over the course of the album’s 13 tracks of whiplash-inducing rock. Right off the bat, the title track sets the stage for emotional damage and pay back. By the second song they let us know that there’s no turning back and we’re already neck deep in this engaging song cycle about love and loss. Each songs leads us further along in a tale about a young man’s search for fame and acceptance as a small town rock star. We can assume that the band writes from experience using deep vocal harmonies backed alternately with organ, sweetly strummed acoustic guitar and freak-fuzz guitar solos to get their point across. Throughout the album, Tartiglia’s voice goes from smooth and sweet to rough and ravaged by a lover’s betrayal. All along the way the band provides sharp backing to whatever mood the lyrics call for, with drummer Steve Warstler throttling his drum kit or laying out completely where needed.

Slowing down with ‘So Tell Me Now Love’, the band delivers a break-up song that details the demise of a relationship against a back drop of delicate reverb-ed piano then dissolves into a harder, distorted ending, dragging you deeper down the well as our hero’s tale continues. We follow the exploits of the singer as he tries to salvage his sanity even as he loses the girl ("You, Beautiful You"). Mindfish uses these 13 tracks to explore a sound that blends observational storytelling with meat-and-potatoes guitar rock and the heady declaration of youthful enthusiasm. The record is delivered in three acts, casting the hero as an underdog in need of therapy. Tartaglia never appologizes for his panic attacks and emotional failings along the way, keeping the proceedings as authentic as a psychiatrist’s notebook. Imagine if the Arctic Monkeys lived in Athens, Ohio...or if Max Bemis from Say Anything couldn’t afford relationship counseling.

Perhaps saving the best for last, the final act begins with “Monkey See Monkey Don’t Even Know” which captures the band at the height of their powers as a tube amp, distortion crunching pop-rock band. Departing briefly from their trademark sound, they put keyboards and dance influenced production to good use on the sing-a-long “Sell You As Art”. These are two of the albums strongest songs. In the end, Measles, Mumps And Rebellion is a fresh and melodic peek into the dysfunctional mind of love starved youth. We follow the narrator as he comes to grips with fame (or lack of it), rejection and loss. Developed as a Pop Rock Opera, it’s these themes of struggle that permeate the album and help it ultimately to succeed. Layered with commanding ruffs and thick bass, the album definitely delivers with anxious anthems for the emotionally mal-adjusted.
album link:

Gibson Under Mountain - Earwig
Dean Tartaglia

Some artists are just made to last. Ohio’s (Columbus/Athens) Earwig can put their money where their mouth is. Entering almost their third decade as a band, Earwig has put out multiple albums, toured the country and had their music played on national television. And since their debut as a band in 1992, much has changed for the 3 piece 90’s alt rock group, except for the direction they have taken their music by their more than dedicated front man Lizard McGee. Deep in the backwoods of Athens Ohio, Lizard has been transcribing his vivid, connected dreams into fully produced (which seem to be played to him as a recurring TV series), heavy hitting glorious alternative rock tunes often glistening with decades of musical dedication and prowess. In fact, his dreams even preminiscently projected the name of Earwig’s newest album on screen in his mind (literally; he dreamt of a projector portraying the name of their newest album.)
Gibson Under Mountain Starts off with the shimmery guitar driven song “Trees”. Conjuring up mental pictures of the frozen ‘tundra’ of Southern Ohio (for anyone who has every frequented the area in the winter months), “Trees” jettisons the listening into the meat of the album with a bang. The spaced out track “Star Cross’d” and unabashedly alt. rock song “Not About You” set for us the exact tone of what we are getting into. With the drums of George Hondroulis being bashed into your ears on the first few tracks, mixed beautifully with the band, its easy for the listener to recall how the felt when they heard Dave Grohl play for the first time. But don’t make the mistake that Earwig is stubborn about their 90’s roots and out of the Indie Rock loop. With 8 bit keys and keyboard produced and stacked harmonized vocals (“Shiny Morning”), Earwig knows what has occurred in popular and rock music over the past two decades, and they’ve studied it to their advantage.
Some tracks stand out more than others musically, including “Love Sick Cockroach”, with coffee house guitars and Matt Wagner’s big muffed bass (every good album deserves a good bass solo) and the rockin’ pop tune “Glorious and Gloom” with it’s wailing guitars and invitingly overdubbed vocals. Lyrically, the album is not lacking as well. “Wicked” is a better nursery rhyme than the garbage the average toddler sings in nursery school! And it doubles as a poisonous rock tune, as the “spider” McGee has been “bitten by” pumps venom through his heart. The gut wrenching “Last Christmas” brings the listener through a tail of lost love and Christmas cards, culminating with a hard tug on the heart strings of the audience in each chorus as McGee screams, “I’m not crying, I’m spitting up blood!”. But this 11-song piece of art comes to an all too appropriately with by far it’s best track. “Rumplestiltskin” proves to be the best track, and maybe the tour de force to Earwig’s discography. Rooted strongly in the emotions and timbres of the blues (as all excellently crafted rock n’ roll should be) “Rumplestiltskin” makes The Rolling Stones look coy for writing “Sympathy for the Devil”. Crashing ocean waves of guitars, heaving pounding drum explosions, and wailing vocals hold steady as the band shoots their final bullet for the listener to catch. With lyrics conjuring up the devil, harmonized falsetto soulful breakdowns and smearing distorted guitar lines, Earwig proves as a time tested band, that after 18 years, they can still execute damn near perfect rock n’ roll.
These 11 songs show that Earwig is a band of true rock and roll students, historians, and performers. Earwig is not a 90’s revival band; they are a 90’s band. They don’t need to be revived, they have been going strong, alive and well, and continue to do so with Gibson Under Mountain.