Locals: One more for the road: New City Gypsy calling it quits

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From the October 10, 2013 edition

In spite of its name, New City Gyspy has remained tethered to Columbus for the entirety of its decade-plus existence — a time that will come to an end following the band’s record release show at King Avenue Five on Friday, Oct. 11.

“Our horse has been tied to the same post for a while now, which I’ve been content with,” said singer/guitarist Austin Bain. “We don’t really tour, or at least we haven’t. We’re a local band, like, literally.”

Just days after the release show, however, the frontman will finally take on a cross-country trek when he loads up a moving van and heads west to Prescott, Arizona, which he plans to make his home for the foreseeable future. Over iced coffee on an unseasonably warm day in early September, Bain, 32, said he decided to take on the move at this time simply because he could, noting there’s no wife or a girlfriend currently tying him down.

“I feel like there comes a time in a certain kind of man’s life where you need to undertake a personal odyssey,” he said. “I think I could have stayed here and we could have done this band as long as we wanted, but with not having deep roots this was an opportune time for me to hit the old, dusty highway.”

Before departing, the singer wanted to document the songs the hard-rocking crew had been working on the last couple years, and sessions were hastily cobbled together for the Lunar Tides EP, a four-track send-off that veers from bluesy burners (“I Killed a Wolf”) to more menacing cuts that gnash and snarl like slobbering hellhounds (“Juarez (Blood Tide’s Wake)”). The lyrics are almost universally dark — “My dad read me a lot of Brothers Grimm growing up, which might have something to do with it,” Bain said — and mentions of dead bodies, bloodbaths and mountains of human skulls abound.

“I think my inspiration comes from a combination of literature, solitude and substance abuse,” Bain said. “There’s also a part that’s untraceable. You don’t know where it comes from, but when you’re up in your room … with no one around you sort of render it out of the void.”

There are also, scattered throughout, several mentions of reaching a crossroads, a lyrical nod to bluesman Robert Johnson that serves as apt imagery as Bain prepares to move on from the only band he’s ever known.

“I heard someone say the other day you can’t make old friends, and that resonated with me,” he said. “It’s sacred playing with these guys for that reason. They’ll always be lifelong friends.”

Photo by Meghan Ralston