new music: debut ep from ohio indie rock band betsy ross #soundcheck

October 24, 2014

I’ve probably seen over 3,000 bands at this point in my life, but I can count the number of times I watched someone perform and didn’t want it to end on both hands. Most bands either have a good sense of how long their sets should be for maximum awesomeness and play not a beat longer, or they mistakenly think their every note is a gift and go on until the room is empty. Le sigh. But there we were in Columbus, Ohio’s House With No Name, watching Betsy Ross’ Charity Crowe run through an acoustic set of Betsy Ross songs (her drummer had to bail for personal reasons, so she went on solo). 11 of us, most of whom had been performers ourselves that night, sat in enraptured silence while Charity Crowe’s voice cracked and wailed out a set as what we joked was “the world’s best Betsy Ross cover band.” When she announced her last song, a palpable feeling of disappointment captured the room. No-one wanted it to be over. Allow me to share that disappointment: their self-titled EP is only 5 songs long, but damn is it stellar.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

“Seaweeds” builds from a delicately finger-picked intro into an indie rock explosion. That it’s a little rough around the edges creates a sense of balance against Charity Crowe’s flawless vocals. As it was in her live set, “I-75” is the jam here. A wall of impassioned guitar tears against Schuyler Crowe’s melodic bass, and David Wegner’s bursts of percussion, which here especially seem reminiscent of Frightened Rabbits’ drums-as-melody-instrument. Riding atop that is Charity’s strongest hook on the record.

There’s an undeniable sincerity and passion to this whole EP that ties it together. There’s no denying that Charity Crowe has a killer voice on a technical level and could apply it however she so chooses. So what’s striking, particularly on “Someone Like You,” is the way she let’s her vulnerability and humanity show through beneath that vocal control. This may just be their first EP, but this is a band to keep an eye out for. At the very least, if you find yourself in Columbus, wander over to the House With No Name. That’s one DIY space at least that Vice Media isn’t likely to shut down.