Sensory Overload: Peloton Records

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Steve McGann lived through the much-mythologized Columbus music scene of the 1990s, when groups like Gaunt and New Bomb Turks were carrying this city's sounds to far-off lands and record labels frequently sent A&R men to local clubs, searching for the next big thing.

"I remember that feeling, that real buzz in the air that something was happening in this city," McGann said.

Later that decade, McGann's band, the alt-country titans Big Back 40, had a deal with Polydor. But it had been a long while since the bassist had been excited about Columbus music when, strolling through Goodale Park during ComFest this year, McGann felt that familiar electricity.

"Recently I've kind of felt a resurgence of the scene, personally," McGann said. "I just felt like this town is ready to explode again musically."

So McGann decided to start a record label and do whatever he could to support the artists that so inspired him. The result was Peloton Records, named for the bicycling term indicating a pack of riders who save energy by traveling close together.

Peloton launched over the summer, reissuing a six-song EP by Erika Carey and the Calamities, but the label's second release is more of a statement of purpose. The 20-track compilation City Sampler is a snapshot of the expansive community McGann hopes to document.

Six of the acts on the disc will perform at a release show Friday during happy hour at Rumba Cafe, including the Calamities, Wonder Twin Powers, Bygones, Matthew Hoover, Heidi Howes and Todd May.

McGann is tight with the local Americana crowd, but he hopes to make his label a resource for musicians of all stripes. He didn't cast as wide of a net as he wanted this time out, due to the deadline he imposed on himself in the name of getting the album out quick.

There's still a good deal of variety on the disc, from the artsy electronic pop of The Alphabet to the scratch-happy instrumentals of DJ Drastic to the futuristic soul of Wonder Twin Powers with the Super Friends Hip-Hop Orchestra. It's padded out with lots of rootsy rock and folk acts like Megan Palmer, the Calamities and Deerhead.

McGann hopes City Sampler will be the first step toward publicizing the many local bands he thinks deserve recognition. Even if acts don't release a record on Peloton, he still has their back.

"I still want to promote the city in whatever way I can," McGann said.

Peloton Records

What: "City Sampler" release show

When: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6

Where: Rumba Cafe, Campus