2010 in Review: The year in Columbus music

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Call it a comeback

Hip-hop was reborn nationwide with boundary-pushing releases from Kanye West, Drake, Janelle Monae, Nicki Minaj, Kid Cudi and more. Columbus rap experienced its own renaissance.

Fly.Union and The 3rd made big moves and music to match. L.e for the Uncool unleashed his exceptional "The Measure"; his Milk N Syrup cohorts P. Blackk and Fabrashay A put out promising work, too. Alleyes Path brilliantly blurred lines between cliques.

More strong work came courtesy of J. Osceola, SupaNatra, Trek Manifest the list goes on. Even Kreg & Dez' gloriously goofy "Stupid Fruity Hookah" resonated.

Ambitious endeavors unfolded

Synth-rockers The Town Monster aced their monthly EP series. Ghost Shirt altered their one-song-a-week project and released a stellar sophomore album, "Daniel," instead.

Shin Tower Music beautifully blended audio-visual disciplines everywhere from ComFest to Carabar to the Oval. And the Peach District collective - led by comedian Zachariah Baird and Trains Across the Sea's Andy Gallagher - presented a series of refreshing variety events known as The Greatest Show.

Dance culture rag ed on

The hipster dance explosion ratcheted up another notch. Get Right exported to New York; Sweatin' evolved to feature a steady stream of local and global talent; DJs took over Fort Rapids indoor water park for a pair of all-night raves. Best of all was the continued ascent of roeVy's dark, demented DJ/VJ show.

CDR kept killin' it

Columbus Discount Records continued to be unparalleled curators of their fertile niche. Landmark LPs from Deathly Fighter, Guinea Worms and The Unholy Two sync swimmingly with reissues from Ohio weirdos like Nudge Squidfish, Ron House and Mike Rep & Tommy Jay.

Columbus got soul

Rock 'n' soul powerhouse Nick Tolford and Company capped off an incredible year with debut "Extraordinary Love." On the funkier side, Mojoflo dropped their second strong EP, "Whatcha Think About That?"

Long-awaited projects emerged

After interminable delays, The Alwood Sisters, The Main Street Gospel, The Floorwalkers and New City Gypsy released impressive debuts. Tree of Snakes and Orchestraville cleared the vaults. Time and Temperature finally made her music available to the general public. And the late Camu Tao's ahead-of-its-time solo showcase "King of Hearts" saw the light of day.

Locals rocked the radio

Karate Coyote, Phantods and Colin Gawel 's slick new CDs got deserved airtime on CD101. Not sure if CD101 alums Earwig got similar honors this year, but "Gibson Under Mountain" exudes would-be hits.

Programming directors should also consider the latest from The Spruce Campbells, Twenty One Pilots, The Wet Darlings, House of Heroe s and Joseph Anthony Camerlengo, whose "Plastic Teeth" is the catchiest song out of Columbus this year.

Cute got creative

Twee morphed into exciting new forms: Way Yes ' electro-tropical output, Super Desserts' symphonic bliss, Arlo & the Otter's prog maneuvers.

Folk rock flourished

Saintseneca's "Grey Flag" cassette split the difference between Old Hundred's rambunctious self-titled CD and Moon High's warm, whispery "Smoke Before My Eyes" 7-inch. The Black Swans communicated beauty through words and gibberish alike.

Wordless wonders

Among others, Ultra Detersivo and Monster Rally dispersed brainy, stimulating instrumental tracks on limited-edition cassettes, 7-inch singles and web streams.

Familiar faces joined forces

Several exciting supergroups formed: psych-metal shredders Eye, widescreen indie rockers Feature Films and primitive garage specialists The Ferals.

Punk persisted

Another supergroup, formed in late 2009, headlined Columbus punk for me this year. That'd be Exwhites. I also dug Savage Pinkos' writhing fury and the blustery pop-punk of New Creases.

Bringing country to the city

I didn't spend much time with the rootsy side of Columbus this year. Neither did Two Cow Garage and Megan Palmer, judging from their increasingly poppy new releases. Lydia Loveless, Mooncussers and Angela Perley & the Howlin' Moons kept twang alive with notable debuts.

Slapdash pop don't stop

Columbus continues to overflow with roughshod indie rock. Times New Viking's Clean-ed up "No Room To Live," Day Creeper's gnarly "Blah" and Obviouslies' shoegaze/power pop platter are must-haves.

And few songwriters carve out such a singular voice as Andrew Graham and Swarming Branch or The Kyle Sowashes; both unveiled awesome albums.

Charity compilations

The Peach District's compilation benefited sexual trafficking shelter Gracehaven House. Local blog Done Waiting and Cincinnati's Each Note Secure assembled an Ohio Christmas album for Gracehaven, too. Many groups also raised funds for stray-gunfire victim Alix Reese.

Most prominently, after CD101's Andyman Davis died, the city rallied to support his family and his charity event, the Andyman-a-thon. Countless benefit events culminated in a Thanksgiving eve blowout with reunions by Howlin' Maggie and The Toll.