steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Ohio Riots

"Cigarette Commercials" CDR-EP

Agriculture Records

Genres: lo-fi, indie pop, space pop

July 1 - July 7 2002

The Ohio Riots are, or rather is, Erik Schmall - who also goes under the pseudonym Woody Whatever. This, his most recent musical release, is a very lo-fi affair. Not only is the packaging homemade, but the recording itself is rough and self-produced. However, those familiar with Schmall's work to date (including his membership in Tobin's Heroes) won't be surprised by this - it's his style, man.

The first noticeable thing about this EP is that it is quite different from Woody Whatever's Roar EP. The Guided By Voices influences aren't as obvious, and Schmall appears to be experimenting with his songwriting a bit more. "The Famous Copywriter", for example, is a spacey guitar-and-vocals piece with pop influences that aren't as obvious as in Schmall's previous works. Although it is catchy after the third or fourth listen, Schmall appears to be more interested in crafting an atmosphere, rather than just jumping into the standard pop hooks. This is very atypical of the Roar EP, which was, for the most part, a rough, bare-bones lesson in pop songwriting. "Theme From Tobin's Heroes", on the other hand, is a nod to Tobin Sprout, and the song is very similar to the Guided by Voices member's solo work. The other four songs on this EP continue in the same vein - spacey, homemade pop recordings - and it's all over in a bit more than ten minutes.  But those who like lo-fi pop will enjoy these ten minutes - I sure did.


Matt Shimmer