Chris DeVille highlights four local releases.
St. Moses the Black
"Pangea" b/w "West of Tolovana"
Release show: Friday, July 31 at Skully's, Short North
In the A-side's piano-led psych lullaby and the eight-miles-high shoegaze slow drift of side B, this serenely tripped-out debut single is a revelation akin to a burning bush in a barren landscape. St. Moses shows itself as a force to be reckoned with here, wielding spectral pop powers on par with spiritual forebears like Sparklehorse and the Flaming Lips. It'll put you in a dream state, but be sure not to sleep on this.
Release show: Saturday, Aug. 1 at Ruby Tuesday, Campus
Old Worlds' four-song demo unfolds with melancholia at turns muddy and majestic. Sometimes it sounds like Death Cab for Cutie taking a lo-fi stab at Explosions in the Sky's widescreen instrumentals. Other times, Aaron Sturgill and Mike Poston mine Sigur Ros and Radiohead ("The Advocate" reveals a pretty heavy "Weird Fishes" influence). Sturgill's looped arpeggios and other guitar acrobatics are backed by Poston's inventive, occasionally ragtag drums. The duo does well to build walls of sound on these barn-recorded live takes, but their sound begs for something more polished next time out.
"Seventy-Eight" b/w "As She Waits"
Release show: Saturday, Aug. 1 at Carabar, Olde Towne East
From the moment the needle drops on Rollo's first 7-inch, a distinct whiff of Dinosaur Jr. emanates from the grooves, but it quickly becomes clear that Jason Roxas and company are just as informed by the sort of ramshackle power pop that's so prevalent in this latter-day reincarnation of Datapanik Records. Spindly guitars and slightly skittish high-register harmonies characterize both sides, but the clear winner here is "Seventy-Eight," which doesn't wander as far into the woods but benefits from its satisfying simplicity.
"Under the Moonlight"
Release show: Saturday, Aug. 1 at Cementos, Upper Arlington
J.B. Bruck was born and raised in Columbus, but his music is tailor-made for his adopted hometown of Nashville. That's not to say Bruck makes assembly-line country music. Under the Moonlight rambles from Springsteen-infected brass blasts ("Let's Go Dancin") to screaming slide guitar drum circles ("Peace Pipe") to swampy blues-rock stompers ("Boudreaux Swimmin' in the Swamp"), though there is a fair amount of vanilla acoustic balladry in between. Bruck has spent a lot of time working the bar circuit, so these songs should flourish in that setting as he returns home this weekend.