Old time radio

This is where I would normally write some sort of introduction to college students that hopefully makes them want to learn about the city they live in.

Used Kids, and Embassy Skateboards to the north. Yao’s Chinese Bistro and Magnolia to the south.

Ok now we’ve said that. Kafe Kerouac, Cazuella’s, Dirty Dungarees. Ace of Cups closer north. The Westside  and Eastside probably have places you can have fun and meet people who went to the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD).

Call me a small town nitwit, but I found myself walking to White Castle and Starbucks at Lane and High. I can remember when that area didn’t look like an area in New York that you might stop at while headed somewhere.

While making this walk, I noticed families moving their kids into campus living. I walked to Panda Express and saw people playing beer pong in the nearby houses.

The contrast between young humans and their families and slightly older young college students drinking made me think about the fact these college freshmen are nervous, excited and in the least moving into a new life.

Watching parents and students rendering the chores for a better future was endearing to me.

To see human beings sincerely love each other with vulnerabilities is often lost while we debate the political climate, or try to understand why some people are superior at making music than others. The practicality of the environment helped numb that sense of rebirth.

I probably wouldn’t walk up to an 18-year-old moving for the first time and say “Welcome to the Capital City. Do you like skateboarding, punk rock or graffiti?” unless I was promoting something. I might want Columbus and its transient population to enhance each other’s growth. I am not really into useless conversation.

At least I think: this person is about to study art, sociology and grow as a human.

I wasn’t near the dorms, so maybe the beer pong people had enough friends that they didn’t need their parents help to move.

I spent the bulk of the summer sitting in White Castle listening to music, drinking cheap beer and becoming friends with their staff. The staff started to refer to me as family, which is kind, considering from their reference point I was a man drinking beer by himself.

I listened to the satellite radio playing rap songs and R & B hits. Sometimes I played artists who have done New York events with White Castle. This is usually either Cam’ron, Wu Tang Clan or Beastie Boys.

During the walk there and back I played my headphones. Vacation’s new album Zen Quality Seed Crystals via Detroit’s Salina’s Records was in constant rotation. Vacation is playing at Ace of Cups September 2. Vacation is a Cincy band, but their bass player and designer Evan Wolf lived here for a couple years.

Cincinnati made me think about college cities and developers. Clifton, near the University of Cincinnati, looks like the OSU campus. The common thread was contrasting the townies with a trend to put luxury apartments and Starbucks near each other.

I’m one who drinks coffee and loves local history.

As for recent history, Vacation’s label Salinas released All Dogs a few years back. Vacation’s previous albums were released by respected indie labels. Mouth Sounds was released from Let’s Pretend. Non Person was put out by Don Giovanni.

If you don’t know these imprints, their music reaches enough people so they can tour the country in places like Ace of Cups, but they aren’t quite as popular as a band who makes the bigger blog headlines regularly.

Zen Quality Seed Crystals begins with a “Hole That Once Held a Screw” which sounds like someone simplified the elements of a Velvet song – muted guitars, keyboards, slightly off key singing which ends abruptly in a manner that makes you say…I like this band. Let’s keep listening.

“Me and Mr. Bathory” sounds like a ballad but not in a way that makes you think Vacation is contrived. This song uses a piano that allows the singer to lament a censoring. The song says someone stopped the singer from speaking with confidence and he would start speaking again if someone didn't remove his ability to talk.

I had listened to Zen Quality Seed Crystals about for two months before I realized “Rebel Rebel” was about drugs. This is effective because I’m not really into drugs, but drugs are a part of music.

While sex, drugs and rock’n’roll are a thing…drugs aren’t really something that Vacation’s new record exuded to me.

Vacation’s album is something I would play for a new art student. They combine the Velvets, Breeders, GBV, Sebadoh, doo wop melodies and Columbus noise rock with a feel that makes you think a Saintsenaca fan would like them.

My advice to college students... research and don’t worry about anything but the fundamentals.

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