It’s hard to find out too much information on Miss Ohio as they keep and have kept a very low profile for the last 15 years of playing live! They consist of David Wilson on guitar and vocals, Ed Roesller on guitar, Brandon Loikits on drums, Pietro Lorino on bass and sometimes Jim Kaznosky. (Though traditionally a four-piece band since 2008 the band has also had the inclusion of Ed Roessler both on bass when Pietro went on hiatus and on lead guitar when Jim Kaznosky did the same).
They hail from New Jersey and have been playing music and recording for said 15 years, mostly in and around New York City. Recordings in the past have included 2 full-length albums and 3 eps including a 2014 release Whippoorhill Road, their fourth release. They began playing a monthly residency at the Lakeside Lounge in NYC’s East Village, and this would astonishingly turn into a five-year run where many of the songs on White Hot were tested before recording actually begin.
White Hot: The Best of Miss Ohio provides a retrospective of the bands career and was released last year on Pyrrhic Victory recording. Starting with their 2004 recording the garage sounding Another Wasted Summer, through to 2008’s moody LP Low, and culminating with the newest single 14, the latter reflects the rapport that the band developed from years and years of playing live. It’s been a lengthy and under the radar journey for the band and this retrospective captures the spirit of this voyage.
First track 14 starts with a stop, start rock sound that is alternative and builds to an unrelenting drum and guitar. Then halfway through it changes tempo and sounds like a psychedelic Pixies/Nirvana. This is robust rock (bordering on prog rock in places) that has many layers to it and starts the album well. Elephant has grungy, crunchy guitars playing a kind of lullaby with a tight blend of layered guitars and melody that reminded me of 80s American alternative country band The Long Ryders meets early Kings of Leon. Magnet is a country-tinged song that is rolling and gentle with gravelly vocals. It is moody and broody, perfect for a contemplative February weekend.
Home to You is a stripped-back song that has a jazz and bluesy-tones about it. It has a languid, unhurried feel about it and the rich vocals lull you. It starts to drag on a bit until later on in the song where the guitars pick up the tempo again. This, coupled with The Last of your Kidnapped Brides has an element of the Eels about it (especially Beautiful Freak era). The subject matter brings some dark humour to the song with its quirky eccentricity. This is Americana meets English peculiarity. It’s very Tom Petty in its style of delivery and there’s a touch of female harmony in there before a vaudeville style piano jumps in in ironically. “Flowers still grow by the front door, I guess we never expected more”.
Called and Raised has a jaunty guitar and tight guitar line reminiscent of the Byrds. This is really catchy and decisive. Divine Order gets down and dirty ZZ Top meets Seasick Steve blues-style. “Rise up you sons and daughters, there’s ain’t no Divine Order, there ain’t no divine in me”. There’s a great reverb halfway through as well that makes you want to get dancing! KGB has more jangly guitars with a sturdy melody with vague echoes again of Nirvana meeting REM on a chilled- out day. Love it! Another stand-out.
Day Job is another tight, punky, alt-rock infused track as is Bobby Fischer with more grungy guitars which brought to mind Placebo, a quirky, electric guitar solo towards the end and a persistently effervescent beat.
This is an accomplished collection of songs from an obviously popular cult band with elements of indie, punk, blues and great harmonies that really get your feet tapping! Whilst this is an exhaustive look back at their work it is certainly not the zenith as they are now re-energized, and recording new material, this time with all five members.