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Native means: I am from here. This is where I am. I got bones. And my bones is filled with diamonds. Somewhere between concrete corncobs and the Serpent Mound there is an Ohio aesthetic. It goes something like this: Ohio is the center of the Universe....

In a place where anything is possible, Midwest rock music has managed to cultivate an elusively distinct sound. Problem is, you almost gotta leave to know you were hearing it. Out here in the future-zone between Appalachia and the Rust Belt, the TOWNSMEN stand like a singular tree at the center of an Ohio winter farm field. At the crossroads of science fiction and the mule driven plow, the TOWNSMEN are one of Columbus, Ohio's native pioneers.

And these boys got blood. Behind the drums, Brad Swiniarski reins in the stunning prowess glamorized in Bob City and The Means. Here he takes a turn in the woodshed carving out beats exactly where they belong and no elsewhere.

On the string bean machines, veterans Ed Mann, Jeff Clowdus and David Holm renew vows to self-styled craftsmanship after their debut on the scene circa 1990 as the venerable cow-punk outfit Ugly Stick. Mr. Mann leads the trunk with eighteen-wheeled bass lines and a lyrical sense for organic melody. Clowdus is a dark horse running, combining introspective writing with anvil iron vocals. And Dave Holm has never sounded sweeter. Two decades of song-smithing has placed the angelic Mr. Holm right in his prime.

But it's the collective spirit that is intoxicating, and a collective sound that renders the dreamscape of this County Fair on Absinthe, X, Alice Coltrane, Neil Young, Nirvana, Yo La Tengo, Gram Parsons, and Sly Stone. You ever go over to the goat building and just stand in there until things start to seem sort of...extraordinary?

Free Country. The TOWNSMEN are writing damn good songs for the sake of writing damn good songs - some of the finest you'll hear in the neighborhood. So know where you are: you are right here. And some fine night turn it on to the TOWNSMEN. The invisible mountain is everywhere divine.




the flames