This here blog is financed by a family company, so I can't refer to The Dolby F---ers in their proper nomenclature. And I hate typing F---ers over and over again. Lee Keeler asked us not to call his band "The Dolbys" out of context, but as long as I have clarified what the real name is, Dolbys seems like suitable shorthand, a sort of affectionate nickname like the Doobies or the Dandies or the 'Mats. You know.

So anyway, the band is releasing its self-titled debut Friday at a show that doubles as Carabar's two-year anniversary. It's a communal recording, the result of Keeler gallivanting around town with a four-track and a six-pack, laying down songs on the spot with a cast of friends he's acquired through years of going to rock shows and hanging around Used Kids too much. It's on cassette tape-fitting for this tattered, well-worn kind of music-but it comes with a coupon to download MP3s. It's consistently solid and occasionally brilliant, and anybody who loves '90s lo-fi would be foolish to sleep on it.

This here blog is financed by a family company, so I can't refer to The Dolby F---ers in their proper nomenclature. And I hate typing F---ers over and over again. Lee Keeler asked us not to call his band "The Dolbys" out of context, but as long as I have clarified what the real name is, Dolbys seems like suitable shorthand, a sort of affectionate nickname like the Doobies or the Dandies or the 'Mats. You know.

So anyway, the band is releasing its self-titled debut Friday at a show that doubles as Carabar's two-year anniversary. It's a communal recording, the result of Keeler gallivanting around town with a four-track and a six-pack, laying down songs on the spot with a cast of friends he's acquired through years of going to rock shows and hanging around Used Kids too much. It's on cassette tape—fitting for this tattered, well-worn kind of music—but it comes with a coupon to download MP3s. It's consistently solid and occasionally brilliant, and anybody who loves '90s lo-fi would be foolish to sleep on it.

When the record begins, as if already in progress, with "Pattern Dykes," you might be tempted to write this off as just a collection of GBV rip-offs. Bob Pollard certainly is among the influences Keeler so openly wears on his sleeve; luckily, the ensuing songs show that while Pollard is a pillar of Keeler's inspiration, he's not the whole structure. In fact, the Dolbys cover a lot of ground: power-chord rock, folk oddities, pop tunes buried in fuzz and the hilariously blunt surf-punk of "The Theme." In translating these styles, Keeler makes like J Mascis, Kurt Cobain, even Ian Curtis, and weaves in collaborators including Tree of Snakes, Kyle Sowash and the Dolbys' stage lineup of Jesse Baker, Jen Delfosse and Zac Szymusiak. But in the face of all that diversity, the record maintains a unified sense of personality. It plays like a gleefully assembled mixtape—one of Keeler's specialties—or the scuzzy sounds of his boozed-up dreams, the kind that emerge in the wee hours after an unforgettable rock show.

This is one of those records that is meant to be ingested as a gloriously sloppy whole, but it has its share of standout tracks. "Sharpshooter" immediately enters the lo-fi pop pantheon, while the beautiful "Bucky Kentucky" shifts from care-free to melancholy in an instant. As noted before, "The Theme" is a first-rate drunken sing-along. The most pleasant surprise is the band's cover of Big Star's "I'm In Love With a Girl," which successfully turns the poignant acoustic ballad into a triumphant, electrified proclamation.

Other than Keeler's knack for crafting memorable tunes, what elevates this album beyond another lo-fi castoff is its generous personal touches. Belches and banter in the mix offer a window into the living rooms these songs were recorded in. Even more so, the copious local references littered throughout (Cafe Bourbon Street, Tree of Snakes, Used Kids, Washington Beach) give the record a near-literary sense of setting. And as Andrew Patton noted, the songs "deal with the real heartbreaks, annoyances, and simple pleasures that make life what it is," from the braindead joy of splurging on records to the solemn request, "Please be in love with me." More than just a collage of sounds, it's a collage of Keeler's life in Columbus.

That life is about to come to a close; Keeler is leaving in a month for grad school in Savannah. Maybe he'll come back here someday, and maybe he won't, but he'll always have this music to transport him here. Thankfully, we get to listen too.