Passionate, Dayton, Ohio-based indie quartet The 1984 Draft released their Heisman Trophy Winner via Gas Daddy Go! on November 6. The band, who channels alt-folk sensibilities through a ‘90s emo and indie lens, is recommended for fans of The Replacements, Beach Slang, The Smoking Popes, Sugar and Cheap Girls.
For those unfamiliar with The 1984 Draft, or its primary singer/songwriter Joe Anderl, few Dayton, Ohio-based musicians have enjoyed the opportunity to support as broad and diverse a list of nationally and internationally recognized musicians as Anderl has with his various projects. To name just a representative sample, he’s supported everyone from indie rock heavies like Maritime, The New Amsterdams, The Wrens, Murder By Death, Limbeck and Ink and Dagger, to celebrated songwriters like John Vanderslice, Richard Buckner, party rocker Andrew WK, and even hardcore heavies Everytime I Die and H2O. He’s also toured alongside The Gunshy (Chicago), Adam Torres’ Nostra Nova (Austin) and Tender Mercy (Louisville).
2015 finds The 1984 Draft as one of 24 Ohio bands featured on the 10th anniversary Aquabear Legion double vinyl compilation. Early in 2016, the band plans to release an LP, titled Return to Tall Boy Mountain Again, and another EP, Makes Good Choices.
We recently caught up with vocalist/guitarist Joe Anderl and guitarist Eli Alban to talk about their faves of 2015.
Joe Anderl, The 1984 Draft
As a newlywed, father of two step wonderful step children, I may have not been able to keep up on the latest releases as much as I would have like to. So instead of just focusing on my top 10 releases of 2015, I will give you my top ten musical moments. Some are records, some are experiences, but the following really blew me away.
10. Adam Torres – MOTR Pub – Cincinnati, OH
When I think of an angelic voice, I immediately think of Adam Torres. Adam put out one of my favorite records in the early 2000’s Nostra Nova. After a few years off, time in Costa Rica, and a move to Austin, Adam’s original album was re-released and a tour ensued.
Playing a combination of new and old with a cast of Austin musician’s in tow, Adam reimagined his earlier material while introducing truly majestic new musical pieces. He is so careful with every note and word, all landing in their proper places. I only imagine hours of combing lyrics and notes, much like Leonard Cohen to craft every part.
The band and Adam delivered that.
9. Mike Adams at His Honest Weight – My House – Dayton, Ohio
I’m pretty sure Mike Adams’ Best of Boiler Room Classics made my top five last year. This is another band I give credit to my wife for turning me on to.
We try to have a house show in our tiny Kettering home once, maybe twice, a year. When the opportunity came to possibly have Mike we jumped on it. Part lounge singer, part story teller, part humorist, part amazing dude, every word out of his mouth was hung on by the crowd of 30 that scrunched into my 854 sq. ft. home.
I prefer Mike full band but this was probably a once in a blue moon opportunity for this to happen. I’m thankful it was in my living room.
8. The New Old-Fashioned / Repeating Arms – Hilltops and Highways
These are two of Dayton’s premiere rock and folk acts, coming together for a single EP. I’ve watched David Payne (NOF) grow as a songwriter over the last 10 years. I am so proud to call him a friend and this record shows how much he has grown, comfortable in his own band, and comfortable with collaboration.
If anyone ever asked me if Dayton had any Americana bands to check out these two are on the top of my list. This record gets into the top 10 purely on “Radio Waves.”
7. Arms Race – Spacebar – Columbus, Ohio
Date night for the wife and I. We drove to Columbus and had dinner at Northstar Café.
Put aside the band includes my brother and the drummer from my own band, Arms Race is the band I wished I could be in but don’t have the time.
Their set included their release from 2014 Brought a Knife to a Gunfight and a Hum cover (“The Pod”) and it felt like they dropped a heart shaped bomb that night. Between Tim’s stage presence, spitting every word with a fire that perfectly matches Justin’s drum beats, and Kris and Cole’s aggressive guitar work, you can’t but help want to sing every word with them. Arms Race is a band of the people. It’s also a band of people I love the most in this world.
6. Iron Chic – The Constant One
While released in 2013, this is the first year I heard this record. Iron Chic was playing in Dayton on Sunday night and I knew I would not be able to make the show because of family obligations. I stopped by the bar around dinner and found them hanging with my good friend Josh Goldman (The Raging Nathans / Rad Girlfriend Records). We chatted back and forth and I embarrassed myself exclaiming “In One Ear” was my anthem.
With that said, I ended up with a copy of this record. For me, Iron Chic is the band I want to be in. Every time I have a hard day, a hard moment, or just need to throw my fist in the air, I put this on.
“It takes all of us just to hold it up……..”
5. The Kyle Sowashes – Everybody
Quick disclaimer, I have a 30 second vocal part on this record. Outside of that, Kyle Sowash himself has been building a cast of players for years to bring his songs to life. Kyle is a gem in music today. Always humble, always entertaining, and always the first person to help you when you need it. This record is a culmination of over 10 years of The Sowashes. Kyle brought in as many of his old band mates as he could. He brought to the table, what I would say, is the best collection of Sowash tunes yet. One listen to “King S**T of F**K Mountain” and you quickly realize that Kyle is the perfect person to channel the humor of Weird Al and combine it intelligently with the riffs of Superchunk and the Archer’s of Loaf.
4. Me Time – Dayton Music Fest – Dayton, OH
Andy Smith is the love child of the Beatles and Jeff Magnum. His live shows are charming, engaging, endearing, and humble.
On this particular night it was a combination of solo material, a backing band put together at the last minute, and an audience that would sing every word he asked them to.
That is Me Time, a mess of brilliancy, innocence, and pure honesty.
Tell him you love him because I do.
3. The Pomegranates Reunion – Southgate House Revival – Covington, KY
I missed the Pomegranates when they were first a band. My wife was a big fan. I think I saw them once, but I’m not 100 percent sure. That being said, when they announced their reunion for two shows in one night, I knew that I had to take her.
What I was treated with that night was quite simply some of the best musicianship I have ever seen from any band. Multiple vocal harmonies, band members switching instruments every song, songs that were so perfect I left at one point and considered quitting playing because I would never be able to fully execute anything in the way that they had.
On top of that, my wife knew every word and was happy.
2. The Gunshy – “At 35”
I’ve been following Matt Arbogast since the early 2000s. At the time, I wrote a review, went simple on it and gave the obvious Tom Waits/Bob Dylan meets punk singer songwriter statement.
Since, I have toured with Matt, seen five different incarnations of his band, had Easter with his family, played his living room with Andrew Bryant, and done probably too many shots of Jameson and grapefruit to count.
Through all of it, I remain a fan and friend. Matt is a true troubadour. Every word he says isn’t covered in any sort of sugar coat. When I hear Matt sing, I know he has lived it and he means it.
With “At 35,” Matt has his best band to date and he is saying everything I wish I would be honest enough to say to myself.
“I will die a content man in my lover’s hands. I will not die alone”
1. Beach Slang – Midpoint Music Fest – Cincinnati, OH
When I was 15 and 16 I looked for bands that said all the things I wanted to say and get out of my juvenile mind. I found my voice in people named Blake, Billie Joe, Ben, Jeremy, and Joel. These were the men whose words tugged at every piece of my heart, seemed to explain the things I couldn’t, and gave me comfort in my teenage mind.
In my 20s and 30s I thought I was supposed to be above that sensitive and simple thought of music. I wasted a lot of time on interesting and experimental bands I was supposed to like. While I learned a lot and heard a lot of different things it never quite hit me in the heart. At 36, I was waiting for the pied piper and I finally found him. His name is James Alex and the people following him, Rueben, JP, and Ed are what I’ve been missing for 20 years.
The show was at 5 p.m. on a Sunday in a parking lot in Cincinnati. When I arrived 1 hour before start time there was one other person in the parking lot. By the time Beach Slang finished there were close to 100.
At 36, it’s very rare for me to stand in front of the stage and sing every word I knew but I did. I had my hand in the air, my voice was horse in the end, I was sweaty, I was smiling, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Punk was fun again. I was allowed to be who I am. I didn’t have to worry about being cool.
That’s Beach Slang to me. No expectation, just doing what they love and praying that people love it too.
Eli Alban, The 1984 Draft
Apart from listening to new and old records, I have been enhancing my daily commute with podcasts like Marc Maron’s WTF, Sound Check Chat, Dig Me Out, All Songs Considered, Snap Judgment, Hardcore History, Morning Joe, and Rachel Maddow.
1. Dilly Dally, Sore
The quality of Dilly Dally’s debut, Sore, lives up to the hype offering a solid line up ’90s inspired rock. Toronto rockers Katie Monks (vocals, guitar) and Liz Ball (lead guitar) make familiar, yet refreshing noises that will have you playing air guitar and singing along after just a couple of listens.
2. Best Coast, California Nights
Best Coast continues to refine their catchy indie pop sound on their latest release. Bobb Bruno’s guitar work really stands out here.
3. Kurt Vile, B’lieve I’m Goin Down
KV’s most accessible and fun record to date.
4. Bully, Feels Like
Bully’s debut, Feels Like, is a simple straight forward ’90s Alt Rock album that makes grunge sound cool again.
5. Deerhunter, Fading Frontiers
Creeper album of the year: Repeated listens reveal a distinct and memorable album from a band at the top of their game.
6. Courtney Barrett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
2015 brought plenty of impressive debut records. Aussie, Courtney Barrett took the U.S. festival circuit by storm this summer. Sometimes I Sit and Think… is sure to be the first of a long string of hit records by this young artist.
7. Built to Spill, Untethered Moon
Preparations for Nelsonville Music Fest 2015 found me digging into Built to Spill’s back catalogue as well as their newest, Untethered Moon. Built to Spill wear their age like a badge of honor. These indie rock veterans delivered the goods with thi latest release.
8. Motel Beds, Mind Glitter
Hometown heroes, Motel Beds, delivered another indie rock gem with Mind Glitter. The latest release offers a diverse selection of rock anthem and dreamy pop numbers.
9. Low, Ones and Sixes
This band continues to release striking music characterized by their slow tempo, distinctive vocal harmonies, and minimalistic arrangements. Ones and Sixes shouldn’t disappoint old fans and may even find some new ones with standouts like: “No Comprendre” and “Lies.”
10. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
Electrifying release from veteran rockers coming off an extended hiatus. More of this please!