manager

If there was a Columbus Music Hall of Fame, Jon Chinn would be a first-ballot lock, honored for both his songwriting contributions (Pretty Mighty Mighty, The Killionaires, Jon Chinn & The 1803) and the production and recording work he did as one of the founders of Workbook Studio. It’s little wonder that everything Chinn has touched, whether it be fronting a band or sitting behind a recording console, shines with high production value and quality, readymade for shrink wrap and shelf space wherever fine albums and CDs are sold.

Though Pretty Mighty Mighty predated the emergence of emo rock, I often thought, as I watched the band perform at venues like Bernie’s, Little Brothers, and Skully’s, that the kids listening to The Promise Ring and Hey Mercedes could easily find a common ground in emotionally-charged music Pretty Mighty Mighty was performing. Not sure how a major label record deal never fell into the band’s lap, but their influence could be heard in bands that emerged on the High Street scene in the late ’90s/early ’00s.

2017 brings us the debut release by Chinn’s latest project, Manager, a band whose sound doesn’t stray too far from the musician’s previous efforts though, this many years later, the songs arrive with more urgency than ever before. With a new-ish supporting cast (Ron Hester – guitars, Lori Cantu – bass, John Dorcas – drums), Chinn’s guitar-rock recalls the glory days of the mid-90s when alternative rock ruled the world – between the music and the falsetto-style vocals, bands like Sugar, Guided By Voices and the Ass Ponys spring to mind. Though now based in New York City, the band members share common midwest roots and strong working class aesthetic – roll up the sleeves, plug in, rock out, sweat on stage and drink a few beers while doing it.

Continue reading

bavachoco_sophmore

Do bands that only release music digitally have “Streaming Release Parties”? Not something I’ve really thought about until realizing that this weekend there are back-to-back honest-to-goodness CD Release Parties, something that hasn’t really been the norm for the last few years. While digital music is convenient, there’s something to be said for bands who still cater to those of us with CD players in our cars. And the new releases by Bava Choco and Sophmore are EXACTLY the kind of music I want to be listening to while on the road.

You’d be excused if neither of these names are familiar – neither band falls into the traditional college-aged kids playing every opportunity they have even if it means a Tuesday night 1am slot at The Summit. (Yikes, if you knew how hard I had to think about a live music venue in Columbus that hosted local bands late into the night/early morning on a weeknight, you’d say, “Yep, dude lives in the ‘burbs and is out of touch”). But, I digress. Bava Choco and Sophmore are both made up of Columbus music veterans who used to do the Tuesday night gig thing back when clubs like High Five, Bernie’s, and Ravari Room were still around. These days, band members have full-time jobs, mortgages, kids and few dreams of signing a record deal with Geffen and going out on the road 250 days a year so these shows are somewhat rare and special.

Continue reading