Tin Armor

Chris DeVille, Columbus Alive

Unbeknownst to most of Columbus, Tin Armor formed three years ago and immediately became a favorite in the bustling Campus house-show scene.

The group has since tackled nationwide tours of basements and clubs, released the spectacular debut A Better Place Than I Have Been and cut two fine singles, all while insulated from the bulk of the local music community.

Now, Tin Armor is ready to introduce its music - a spunky, thoughtful hybrid of indie rock and pop-punk - to the rest of the city. "Anybody can go to a house show, but only so many people do," singer-guitarist Matt Umland said.

The group hopes more and more listeners outside their beloved DIY community will discover their music as they expand into new venues and play with different kinds of bands, whether opening for acclaimed acts like Frightened Rabbit and Born Ruffians at Skully's or playing the Off-Ramp Stage at ComFest.

So far, the expansion plan seems to be working. (They are being featured as an Alive Band to Watch, after all.) And the feeling of excitement is mutual. As more of Columbus discovers Tin Armor, Tin Armor has been psyched to discover Columbus.

"It is a very full scene, in a way that I didn't always realize when I moved here," Umland said.

Umland arrived from Dayton five years ago and played in groups like Young Zeus and Cats & Dragons before forming Tin Armor with bassist Matt Golightley and drummer Matt O'Conke. Last year, Umland's brother John joined as a second guitarist and songwriter, allowing Tin Armor to push its sound into more adventurous territory while staying true to a pop plumb line.

The evolution bodes well for the group's second album, which they hope to record this year between shorter, more professional tours. And of course they'll continue to explore new realms of local music.

"The goal," John Umland said, "is just to do more - to get out more - to be a part of the Columbus music scene in every way possible."