“Assisted Living” b/w “I’ve Had a Few”
Columbus Discount Records

Columbus Discount’s December entry to their singles club is the second straight to feature a Columbus monument, and this time it is Ron House, the granddaddy of all local heroes in Columbus. If ever a person were to write the definitive text on what it meant to be punk in Ohio, it would be Mr. House, whose vocals have blessed a handful of legendary recordings spanning almost three decades and whose presence is consistently felt among generations of the record-buying, beer-swilling, literate thinkers around the OSU campus and beyond. House’s newest band came together at last year’s Columbus Rock Potluck, an annual band mixer of sorts where local musicians are randomly assigned new combos and come up with original songs to perform. Ron brought a couple of his own to the table and liked the band enough to keep it together and record.

As is de rigueur with House, his nasally wail and tales of debauchery take center stage, but luckily he’s found a secret weapon in John Olexovich (The Lindsay) on guitar. Ron and John take turns as the stars of the A-side, a slow-burning tune with buzzing synths beneath strangled guitar solos and a rhythm section that sounds like they’ve been together for years. “I’ve Had a Few” introduces a garage/surf vibe to the mix, with Ron crooning a bit more than usual. Both songs are great, amounting to what may be the best 7-inch of CDRSCY1 yet. Sandwich LP coming later in the year.

Blues Control
“Snow Day” b/w “Paul’s Winter Solstice”
Sub Pop

The December entry from the Sub Pop singles club also happens to be its strongest to-date. Queens duo Blues Control play with their mashed potatoes a bit, setting aside the usual guitar deconstructions for two holiday-themed jams. “Snow Day” skates in figure eights to a plastic-classical melody that is warbled, trippy and quite beautiful. “Paul’s Winter Solstice” begins in a similar manner before settling into a sleigh bell–infused parade with the real electric light orchestra. It almost sounds like those instrumental Christmas cassettes you can find at truck stops year round, processed through heavy delay and a couple of spliffs.

This may not be the best way for BC to reach out to new, unsuspecting Sub Pop fans, as the sound herein is slightly atypical of the band’s regular ethereal guitar/key/harmonica workouts. But this here huge Blues Control fan is quite fond of the results. My package even came with psychedelic Santa paper, which, when combined with the snow-white vinyl and fruit cake sleeve, makes me want Russ and Lea to retire to the North Pole and make holiday albums forever. Instant holiday classic.
Doug Elliott