Local music: The Spruce Campbells

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There are at least two sides to every story - and to Jason Matthew Kusowski's muse.

So despite his excitement about the garage rock he was kicking out with The Nuclear Children, in 2008 Kusowski sought out a new outlet. He had an 8-track of full poppy, psychedelic demos and an imagination running wild.

Former CD101 DJ Mike Folker invited Kusowski to his recording studio to bring the music to life. Because the name Trappist Monks was already taken - and because Kusowski loves The Dandy Warhols almost as much as he loves puns - they called themselves The Spruce Campbells.

The band functioned as Kusowski's solo studio project until early this year, when he parted with Folker over artistic differences, teamed with producer Jay Alton and assembled a live band featuring the full Nuclear Children lineup plus singer Chelsea Moore and Exceptional Edward's Jason Turner.

The Spruce Campbells made their live debut last spring and a few months later began releasing a series of EPs called "Bipolar Coordinates." Each four-song release contains a set of counterpart tracks, less A-side/B-side than he-said, she-said.

"I wrote this song, and it kind of told me what I wanted it to, but there was more to it," Kusowski said. "So I wrote another one, and that that one turned out being way darker. And I started realizing that maybe one song wasn't enough to tell it."

They'll celebrate the third of five EPs Friday at Skully's. "The Lessons We Learned From Ghosts" continues the Campbells' streak of big, bold psych-pop anthems that would do inspirations like MGMT and The Dandy Warhols proud.

They hope to have the EP series wrapped up by spring, though that won't be the end of their output. Kusowski still has 230 demos on his hard drive.

The Spruce Campbells

10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10


1151 N. High St., Short North