The Upshot: Roll over Bob Pollard, and tell the Grifters the news!
BY FRED MILLS
Lo-fi: You might’ve heard of it. Particularly if you were part of the indie-rock circle of trust during its Guided by Voices/Grifters-steered mid ‘90s heyday; I know I was, not the least part of my participation, at the time, being as a contributing editor to Magnet magazine. Which of course not only championed the form (doubtless a reaction to the post-grunge commercial alt-rock teenage wasteland at the time), but also made GbV’s Robert Pollard its recurring-cover poster child throughout the era.
The aforementioned is merely context, because any discussion of a Columbus, Ohio, band releasing records on a Columbus, Ohio, record label is bound to raise that L-F issue. But shoot, let’s ditch the whole “issue” issue here: This artful, rockin’, and, yes, lo-fi outfit has not only revisited that gorgeously shambling indie rock aesthetic that made so many of us swoon with untampered abandon back in the day, it has also restored, hopefully, at least more than one (which would be moi) music lover’s devotion to all things un-polished and un-self-conscious.
Indeed, from the pounding, Who-like anthemism of “Month to Month,” and its signature echoey vocals that beckon one to the teen ideal of dancing in the streets; to the moody/bluesy “All In All,” which could pass for a long-lost Badfinger or Paul McCartney number; to the riotous romp that is “Moore’s Nautilus,” all hectic riffing and damaged-seventies sentiments; this is a band that cares naught about but the proverbial kick-out-the-jams-and-damn-any-resulting torpedoes aesthetic.
Connections, incidentally, have as their roots the Dayton ‘burbs, and per the above-noted GbV note, founding members Kevin Elliott and Andy Hampel signed to Robert Pollard’s Rockathon label for three albums and also toured with Guided By Voices. Connections eventually emerged from the usual din of bands trying to “make it,” and released Private Airplane (2012), followed by Body Language and Into Sixes. Nowadays they simply bill themselves as “Kevin, Andy, Mike, Dave, and Phil” and can be found at their Facebook page, natch. It’s up to you whether or not you intone the tired term “lo-fi,” of course, but my suggestion is that you simply report to them, “You guys fuckin’ RAWK.” Hell yeah, they do.
Consumer Note: Grab it on hot black wax, jack. Since the LP includes a digital download, you’d be dummy to spring merely for digital.
DOWNLOAD: “Month to Month,” “All In All,” “Fourth”