Locals Only: The Kyle Sowashes

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Oh, what a glorious thing, to be a Sowash!

When bearded, beer-gutted, indie-rock nice guy Kyle Sowash's band Tom Foolery and the Mistakes ended in 2005, he created a new project in his own image.

Tom Foolery established Sowash's M.O. In skuzzy, scrappy guitar pop straight from the mold cast by Superchunk and Archers of Loaf, he dropped poignant observations about heartbreak, frustration and the grind of everyday minutiae as seen through the warm glow of lowbrow pop culture.

After Tom Foolery dissolved, Sowash refined his shtick. Under the name The Kyle Sowashes, he recorded all the parts for an album and recruited a rotating cast to play it live. Eventually guitarist Justin Hemminger and drummer Dan Bandman settled in as regulars, but the bassist slot remained a carousel.

Sometimes that bassist was me.

I met Sowash in 2003 at a Spoon/Crooked Fingers concert in Granville and often ran into him at shows around Ohio. I was later charmed to discover that the friendly dude with the big glasses had a band, and they were a hell of a lot of fun. I offered to fill in if needed, and sure enough, he recruited me.

I'm not sure when I first played with the Sowashes, but for a while I was a frequent presence on weekend tours. I thoroughly enjoyed rocking out with these guys and partaking in their love for fatty foods.

Life got busier, though, and my appearances had become increasingly rare by last June, when I played my last set with the Sowashes at an outdoor fest in Athens. They've been in good hands with Lonn Schubert ever since.

We fell out of touch - so much so that I had no idea they had a new album on the way until I read about it online this spring. Sure enough, "Nobody" exists, and it's coming out on Columbus' venerable Anyway Records. It won't be available nationally until July, but locals can grab one Friday at the Treehouse.

I caught up with Kyle on his porch last month, and he was so psyched to have Wussy's Lisa Walker and Chuck Cleaver (of Ass Ponys fame) guesting on the record and John Curley from the Afghan Whigs recording it. His teenage self wouldn't have believed it; his adult self barely can.

The album is vintage Sowash. Workingman's lament "Rough Week" strikes a balance with consumer revenge anthem "I Would Like To Speak To Yr Manager." "Double Dragon" recalls puking at Tee Jaye's on tour after getting paid in PBR.

On "When We Unloaded the Van," Sowash sings: "We played some music for a while until it dawned on us that we had already gone out of style."

It's true - there's nothing cutting-edge about The Kyle Sowashes. Still, these dudes know exactly what they like, and whether that's gourmet hot dogs or aw-shucks indie rock, they execute it with relish.

E-mail your local music news to Chris DeVille at cdeville@columbusalive.com

When: 10 p.m. Friday, May 21

Where: The Treehouse, Grandview

Web: myspace.com/kylesowash