Columbus expat forms new Philly band, releases standout rock record

As the son of a Columbus gallery owner, Will Lindsay grew up with American folk and outsider art all around him. He didn't think about it much at the time, but the experience helped to shape the singer and guitarist's own artistic pursuits.

“There was art everywhere, and no one who was making that art had any training of any kind,”

Lindsay said by phone in late November; his father, Duff Lindsay, has owned Lindsay Gallery in the Short North since 1999. “I don't really have any music theory. I can read for upright bass, but I have no interest in learning songs by other people. I've never connected with music in that way. … It was cool that no one ever told me that was incorrect.”

As a teen in Upper Arlington, Lindsay played in post-hardcore band Pax Romana, and in 2010 he moved to Philadelphia to attend Drexel University, thinking he wanted to study copyright law. Instead, he formed electro-pop group W.C. Lindsay and fell in love with touring.

After a few years of playing for fans across the country on DIY tours, Lindsay confided to friend Jake Ewald of Philly bands Modern Baseball and Slaughter Beach, Dog that W.C. Lindsay felt like it had run its course. “He was one of the first people to look me in the face and say, ‘If you don't wanna do it, don't do it anymore,'” Lindsay said. “That was huge.”

Around the same time, one of Lindsay's favorite bands that he'd admired from afar, instrumental post-rock act Square Peg Round Hole, relocated to Philly. Lindsay went to the band's shows, got to know the group and eventually started playing music with two of the guys, Square Peg Round Hole keyboardist Carlos Pacheco-Perez and drummer/percussionist Sean Gill, along with W.C. Lindsay bandmate George Legatos on bass.

“Square Peg Round Hole is a band firmly based in musicianship. Those guys can play. They're all conservatory musicians,” Lindsay said. “George and I come from a post-hardcore background. We just like making noise and jumping around. But once we started playing together, we realized we were able to meet in the middle. … The chemistry was there.”

They dubbed the new band Caracara and, after writing a couple of songs, the members fully committed to the new project in early 2016, booking seven days of studio time at Jake Ewald's Metal Shop that August. Caracara developed a sound heavy in the mid-range with fuzzy guitars, warm Fender Rhodes and dense bass, and through the studio sessions, Lindsay pushed himself further than ever as a singer.

“Those sessions were honestly some of the most interesting artistic experiences of my life,” Lindsay said. “Jake is brilliant. He's an impressive creative force, and working through vocals, in particular, with him was astounding. … He and I had gotten to be closer friends. We had been reading a lot of the same books that summer, [and] I moved into his old apartment, which was two blocks away from the studio. So when we were doing the record, I didn't leave a two-block radius for seven days straight.”

After a week in the hot, windowless space, located in the back attic of a metal shop (“If you get quiet enough you can hear welding,” Lindsay said), Caracara emerged with Summer Megalith, released in September on Flower Girl Records (a label run by Cameron Boucher of Sorority Noise). It's a remarkable rock record that has the potential to be the 2017 version of Pinegrove's Cardinal — a sleeper hit that reaches across genres and spreads through various underground circles via word of mouth and fan devotion.

On Summer Megalith, Caracara seamlessly incorporates old influences and new elements, like horns, strings and Lindsay's recently discovered freedom in songwriting. “One of the issues I've started to take with post-hardcore and the emo genre over the years is, I appreciate an autobiographical narrative, and I love hearing people write from their own emotional perspectives, but you can only have so many stories,” Lindsay said. “I'm a big reader. I take a lot from fiction, and I don't see why I can't pull stories from other places to keep a story interesting.”

“Everything [on Summer Megalith] is based in true stories one way or another,” he continued, “whether it's my true story or a story I heard or a story of a friend. One of the songs is weirdly based off of an episode of ‘This American Life.' … But every emotion expressed on that record is definitely us.”