Locals: Mount Carmel

  • Photos by Jodi Miller
From the March 7, 2013 edition

Mount Carmel’s first two records were easy-riders — swaggering, barebones blues-rock beamed directly from the late ’60s to soundtrack sexual conquests and parking lot cruising. The next one might be too, but in bassist Pat Reed’s eyes, Get Pure is first and foremost an angry record.

Reed’s brother Matt, the band’s formidable guitarist, explained: “You know how you get that feeling where you hate yourself and you want to be somebody else? It’s kind of like that, like rage against — like raging into that.”

Get Pure isn’t recorded yet, but it already reflects some significant changes. Mount Carmel will spend more than one day in the studio. The album is coming out this year on a label they can’t reveal yet rather than their former label, Siltbreeze. It’ll have at least one acoustic song and some slow jams.

“There’s no record that’s come out of Columbus, Ohio, that’s ever sounded like this record, I don’t think,” Matt Reed said. “And there never will be.”

Get Pure will also be the first Mount Carmel record with drummer James McCain, whose in-pocket approach fits Mount Carmel’s movement toward conciseness.

“Right now we’re so song-oriented. We’re so, like, ‘Cut out the fat,’” Matt Reed said. “Not that we’re against jamming. We just don’t do it anymore on stage.”

McCain’s first shows were in front of thousands opening for Southern metal supergroup Down, the band that lavished praise on Mount Carmel on stage at Rock on the Range last year. McCain held his own: “He was Ball State right out of the gate,” Matt Reed said.

That’s Mount Carmel’s way; hometown gigs like Saturday’s at Woodlands Tavern with Nick Tolford and Company are anomalies between lengthy tours.

“That’s the difference between good and great bands,” Matt Reed said. “There’s a million good bands that are going to be good and play in the garage and stay in Columbus, and they’re going to be really good. But they’re not going to be great. And it’s not because of their lack of skill. They’re not going to be great because they didn’t go out and play in front of people. If you want to separate men from boys, that’s what it takes.”