There's this little township you've never heard of in Ohio. Spacious place. You can drive for miles before you see any light. Back in the trees, down by a lake that's not big enough to mention, there's this little log cabin. You can't see it from the road unless you really look. Out there in that little cabin, there's a powerful sense of patience. This feeling of clearer intent. [Dillinger made a hideout of it.] If you drive by and happen to see a flicker of a window, the Villains are in there.
They're quiet guys. The strong silent type, I guess. You never know what's going on in their heads unless you're in the gang. Seems like they're always a couple of steps ahead of what me and you are used to. Every now and then they leave this cabin, go into the cities. It always leaves an imprint on the locals. I think it has something to do with that cabin, and them spending so much time there. Down in the cities, there's all this competition. Everybody wants to look like a bigshot in front of their friends. The Villains have bigger plans.
In no time, they went from small-time to local headlines. It's all in the way they harmonize. Each does what he's best at, and together they're devastating. Crowds are left hypnotized and the Villains just fade back to that little cabin, way out there in the woods.
Out there in the woods, if you roll the windows down you can hear music that reminds you of times that never happened. Voices as milky as stars in the morning pour over rhythms like the best day of your life. If you listen real close, you can make out words you've always known but never heard. And you might see a flicker of a window as you drive by, if you look real close. The Villains are in there. People have a way of becoming their surroundings. Check in 20 years, the cabin's still going to be there.
-- Michael Heck
John Weimer - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Jack Wiley - Backing Vocals, Bass
Thomas Salvatierra - Backing Vocals, Organ
Paul Kennedy - Drums
The Villains (EP) - Released October, 2005
Six Volt Glow - Released April 29th, 2006
Sun Set Stomp - (coming soon)
The Villains Six Volt Glow CD Release Show
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By Jody Ng If you’re just looking to stay current on bands and their categories, I offer two s...
By Jody Ng
If you’re just looking to stay current on bands and their categories, I offer two suggestions: you could either find something else to read, or you could raise your standards and drop your expectations at the Elbo’s door this Saturday, where The Villains will release a phenomenon.
Let me get the tiny bit of negativity out of the way first by saying that something doesn’t sound right to me on Track 8 of their new CD, Six Volt Glow. I’ve tried to tear it apart and put my finger on what it is, but it escapes me. It’s a great song that I think almost represents The Villains’ sound, but something about the track just sounds...off. And that’s the worst I can say about the whole album.
I can’t imagine the best thing I could say about it. It’s well written, original, talented, and all that. But it’s also a step sideways. From the intro to Six Volt Glow, the listener is led into a textured, orchestrated experience with the eye-level soul of Nowhere, Ohio.
Lead singer/songwriter John Weimer told me recently this album is partially an effort to produce “not the stuff you would listen to on your car radio while lying in the grass, but the feeling of those kinds of moments.” This shouldn’t lead readers to assume the music is all fluffy clouds on a spring day. Some moments are so blind-siding and powerful they leave the listener stunned at the top of a swell, with no real desire for escape.
The band produced this album themselves after some hiccups, and bassist Jack Wiley was still concerned about the quality of the final product.
“We sent one song out to be mastered professionally as a test, but it came back sounding like crap. So we mastered the whole thing ourselves,” he said. “Our studio isn’t really set up for that sort of thing, but we’re the only ones who really knew what we were trying to do with our sound. So we gave it all our attention and tried anyway. We’re all really happy with it.”
The more you listen to these songs, the more you discern the subtle and immense layering of musical characters. John Weimer’s strong, clear vocals are often the character that pulls the scene along without the aid of a spotlight.
“I tried to write these songs just as instrumentals, and when I would step out and listen to them as an outsider, I’d think ‘that might sound good with a voice making this kind of sound...’” he said. The result is a deadeye, honey-dripper style in the ranks of Frank Sinatra, Chris Isaak, Tom Jones, and Elvis (yes, I’m serious), drifting along with imaginative instrumental and choral compositions kindred to Brian Wilson, Ennio Morricone, or Combustible Edison.
While the origin of the Villains’ name was never revealed to me, I’ll venture a guess that it has something to do with the fact that some members live in a cabin where John Dillinger once holed up in the middle of B.F.E. It could be that their name is a reference to the damage they could cause to Dayton’s population of four-chord screamers who get by on rock trends. It might be about the triggers they hold to countless moments of nostalgia. By the end of my second listen, Six Volt Glow completed my collection of 10 disks I'd want with me on that desert island we all prepare to be stranded on.
The Villains’ CD release party for Six Volt Glow will take place at Elbo’s, corner of 5th and Jefferson Streets, on Saturday, April 29. For more information, call (937) 461-elbo.
Reviewing The Villains
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by Jody Ng …thanks again for tuning in here at DCP. We’ve had a few requests for this next band,...by Jody Ng
…thanks again for tuning in here at DCP. We’ve had a few requests for this next band, a velvety little 5-piece from Tipp City called the Villains. They’re the new kids in school, the ones everybody’s got their eyes on, & if you’re smart you will, too, because they aren’t just the new flash-in-the-pan, flavor-of-the-month, Johnny-come-lately with a retro-looking time card. And they aren’t the bad boys with their hearts of gold all you young dreamers hold out for. They’re more like the good kids who will meet you under the bleachers if you want to see something neat.
I met the Villains under the bleachers, so to speak, with a heaping handful of other curious yokels at Elbo’s this Thursday past, and learned that rocking is the easy half of rock & roll, and your buddy with the air guitar will likely agree. I can’t doubt that a dozen of Dayton’s rockingest went home that night to ponder the day’s lesson, furrowing their jaded brows in a vain attempt to understand what it is that gives these out-of-town freshmen such a fine way of rolling.
This dedication goes out to them—all the lettermen out there, the hot-shots who know how to stay on top of the scene—and it comes from the past with a little reminder that it’s not who you know, but what you do that counts. And speaking of what to do, you can’t learn if you aren’t in school, and class begins again this Thursday, September 22 at the Canal St. Tavern.
I personally can’t wait to see them in this intimate & low-key setting where the naturally-sober acoustics should be a real compliment to the Villains’ unusual vocal talents & brush-on-skin drums. If you want a real treat, bring a dance partner. The Villains are the only—and I mean only—band I’ve ever seen that inspired couples to take hand and dance without all the contrived style of retro-swing, the mechanical repetition of line-dancing, or the boneless nonsense of hippy freakouts. This is real-deal stuff we’ve got here, treats for the senses & sensibilities, so go ahead & set a place for them at the table, cause mom & pop are going to love them, too.
H.A.M. VS. The Villains
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It’s time, once again, for the Canal St. Tavern Dayton Band Playoffs. I was excited for the first sh...It’s time, once again, for the Canal St. Tavern Dayton Band Playoffs. I was excited for the first show of the first round of the playoffs, now in its 22nd year. But, before I made it out to the show, I had unfinished business with the finale of that other beloved musical tournament, American Idol. And just like last November, America voted incorrectly. Bo Bice should have been my next American Idol, but I digress.
The first round of the Dayton Band Playoffs is usually my favorite because it’s by no means crowded, which is just fine for an agoraphobic anti-social like yours truly, and because you get the occasional quirky anti-hero of ironically awesome music (like last year’s Mud E. & the Mud E Bud Es). Speaking of which, there’s still time for you Procrastinating Petes out there in upstart bands to register for the playoffs. It’s good exposure, at least one guaranteed show at Canal St. and between you and me, with so few people showing up to first round contests, it’s pretty easy to get a win. Check out CanalStreetTavern.com or just go there to sign up.
The night’s festivities would pit alt-blues-rock-ish kinda band, H.A.M. against laid-back Garage Rock revivalists, The Villains. Despite missing half H.A.M.’s set (because of American Idol), I didn’t feel I missed much at all. I take that back, the front man’s fretless bass was pretty cool. Other than that, they really seemed like one of those bands that only get together to enter the playoffs, which somehow, couldn’t possibly be the case because they have a recording of their music. This fact left me riddled with fear and a bit empty the rest of the night.
The Villains were up next and exhibited a slow groove of energy lacking garage rock nostalgia. The youngsters have a sound similar to Dayton’s own extremely charismatic, showbiz ready group, The Professors and past Playoff winners Crazy Joe & The Mad River Outlaws (see them this Saturday June 4th at Gilly’s), though the Villains’ energy levels are turned down to acceptable levels. Mid tempo jams seemed slower when accompanied by the lead singer’s bassy voice, a voice that I, paradoxically, enjoy thoroughly, despite its lullaby frequency. Bear in mind, though, that I have Black Flag in the “slow jams” section of my I-Pod.
Their energy picked up when they announced that they’d be covering “Dream Lover” by Bobby Darin. “Dream Lover,” I groaned to myself, quickly to be sucker punched in the face and knee caps by a really great version of a really great song. The energy conjured from this kept up the entire set as the rest of the band kept up with the energy that the super fantastic drummer had been emitting throughout the entire set.
The Villains will go pretty deep into the playoffs, I feel. They got that garage rock and roll/R & B sound that’s as timeless as it is suddenly hip. And they have the fact that Canal Street draws in as much of an older age crowd as they do a younger one working for them. Also, they’re pretty damn talented.
My suspicions were confirmed when it was announced that the Villains had won the night and will advance to Round Two in the playoffs. If only my predictions were correct about American Idol. Damn you, Carrie Underwood, Damn you.
That Means I Mean It
Hot Rod Love
How About Later
My Heart Is Blue
Gutter Soul Blues
Don't Cry For Me
There are no upcoming dates at this time.