New house, new lineup fuel indie-pop quartet's latest five-song EP

Three band members in the Bascinets recently moved into a campus-area house, which has been a positive development in spite of the early descriptions offered about the location during a late-July interview.

“A plane flies over every 15 minutes,” said low-key singer and guitarist Nick Wellman.

“And we're just down the street from the [Ohio State Fair] right now, so parking is just brutal,” continued bassist Nick Shew.

At the same time, the house places the three, all of whom grew up near Grove City, in a more centralized location, while also allowing the band to exist as a virtually around-the-clock pursuit.

“There's just something that comes with living together that makes it a lot simpler to make something because you're not worried about, ‘OK, now we're at practice for this set of hours,'” said singer/guitarist Tristan Huygen (new drummer Trevor Joellenbeck completes the current lineup). “Yeah, it's crazy and hectic, but also it's available at any time. There's no line between regular life and band time.”

As a result, the Bascinets have seen a sharp uptick in productivity in recent months. The group recently released a five-song EP, 378 Vol. 1, which takes its name from the address of the home the bandmates share, and 378 Vol. 2 is expected out in September. Then there are the 18 other songs the musicians have already written, along with the new tunes just starting to take shape.

“It's really all we do,” said Huygen, who will join his bandmates in concert at Kafe Kerouac on Thursday, Aug. 2. “We're otherwise pretty boring people, I think, so we kind of just amass songs. … I don't think any of us would mind if all we did was hang out and write and record and we never did anything else.”

This attention to song craft is apparent throughout 378 Vol. 1, which moves from Belle & Sebastian-indebted indie-pop numbers (“Quiet Kills”) to vaguely Brit-pop-spiked tracks such as “Whatever Happened?” “I don't want to hurt you. No, I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to hurt you anymore,” Huygen sings, purposely pausing a few beats before delivering the barbed punchline, “than I have to.”

Huygen and Wellman split lyric-writing duties, with Wellman favoring a conversational approach compared with Huygen's more carefully crafted verses. Both, however, are equally drawn to heartache and alienation.

Part of this inclination, according to the songwriters, can be traced to writing and recording during a period of transition, with members graduating college and moving into young adulthood. All agreed a similar transition was likely in the band's music moving forward.

“I've been listening to more angular stuff like Gang of Four, electronic stuff. And Happy Mondays have been a huge thing for me lately because they're very off the cuff,” Shew said. “For me, a good song is a thousand monkeys on a typewriter, and then serendipitously something great comes out of it. And that's totally what the Happy Mondays are, because they're just a bunch of English hooligans who started out stealing all their instruments.”

To which Wellman added, “I feel like the spirit of that music might come through two EPs from now.”