E (photo by Ben Stas) E performs at Big Room Bar on Sunday, December 4. Primitives and Mortimur open.

E (photo by Ben Stas)
E performs at Big Room Bar on Sunday, December 4. Primitives and Mortimur open.

There was no college radio station – at least not like I expected – at OSU when I went there in the late ’80s/early ’90s so discovering so-called “college rock” was something I had to do on my own. This typically meant spending time searching through the bins at the basement-level Used Kids location, listening to whatever Ron or Bela or Dan or Jerry was playing and, before I got to actually know these guys, sheepishly trying to identify the artist without having to ask. Truthfully, not sure how Come’s 11:11 cassette ended up in my collection – Did I hear it at Used Kids? Did I read about it? Did I buy it because it was on Matador Records? – but it did and while, admittedly, it wasn’t as grungy as the SubPop and SubPop-related stuff I was listening to in ’92, it was the type of music I had hoped to hear on a college radio station – lo-fi, noisy, dissonant, ¬†scarred and bruised, lacking glossy, sing-a-long choruses.

Thalia Zedek was making noise before Come (Live Skull, Uzi) and has continued to make noise long after that band’s demise. While Zedek may not be a well-known name in the mainstream alt-rock world, her influence on decades of musicians whose start was in a basement or a garage or a dimly-lit practice space is indisputable. In 2016 alone, Zedek has released two albums – one under her own name (Thalia Zedek Band), the sublime Eve (the heartbreaking strings on ‘Illumination’ add wonderful flavor), and the angsty, self-titled album E, Zedek’s latest project, a collaboration with Jason Sanford¬†(Neptune) and Gavin McCarthy (Karate).

Zedek will return to Columbus on Sunday night with E after having performed with her solo band at the Big Room Bar in October. You may want to bring ear plugs to this one!

The Lunar Year

The Lunar Year performs at The Shrunken Head on Friday night with Typewriter John and the Blue Strings and Chris Laster. Doors at 8pm, $10 cover.

On Friday night, the Philly-based band The Lunar Year will warm up The Shrunken Head (251 W. 5th Ave) with their inviting classical-based indie rock. There’s a lot of depth in the six songs on the band’s debut release, Mon Ange Alice, which came out this past summer and you can hear how artists like The Beatles, Radiohead, and Beirut have influenced the songwriting.

I recently had the opportunity to ask The Lunar Year’s singer/keyboardist Katie Burke a few questions.

Can you give some background on how the band came together? You mentioned that some of you are from – or lived in – Columbus. Were you doing anything musically in Columbus before moving to Philly or was it the move that inspired you to start the band?

Well I am from the Philadelphia area and lived in Columbus for about a year and a half. My bass player Zach McCaw grew up in Columbus. Zach and I have been friends since we were teenagers and started playing together a bit when I moved to Ohio. When I moved back to Philadelphia a few years ago, I started writing on my own. He’s got a great ear for music, so we collaborated long distance for a while and he eventually moved to Philadelphia to go to school for audio engineering. I wrote alot of solo pieces at the start and played with some friends here in Philly, but it wasn’t until he moved that we really started seeing a vision for the music. Then we found Steve Heine, our guitarist, and our drummer Kevin Walker. It was really something to see how our musical backgrounds blended so well. I write all of the music and then we come together and see what parts should go where and where we want to take the song. I feel grateful to have found such excellent musicians who understand the music I write and share the same passion for it.

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