Giant Wow
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Giant Wow

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Rock Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Locals Only: Like, Wow, Man"

by Ezra Waller

Sometimes a band is best defined by what they're not, particularly if they have few stylistic analogues. Giant Wow is definitely some unique strain of Power Pop, but beyond that, descriptions and comparisons lack. What is not lacking is the band's motivation, nor is the response that they've generated in only a year together.

All of the members are scene veterans who met during the '90s. Guitarist/vocalist Jesse Gilsinger was playing lead guitar for St. Louis-based Small Ball Paul when they opened for Bad Brains in Cincinnati. At that show, he was introduced to bassist Robert Moore (former Starshaker) by mutual friend Chris Lee. Around the same time, drummer Keith Adams was performing with another well-known regional band, Sound Mind. The three remained aware of one another's projects, but only last year did they finally get around to collaborating.

"We've all been at it for a long time, but this is by far the most fun," admits Moore.

"I remember Rob putting together this giant festival at Annie's when he was like, 19," recalls Adams. "He conned all these big local acts into playing, and it was a huge success."

That's exactly the kind of gonzo enthusiasm that they share. Adams owns his own multimedia service company, Fluid Media. Gilsinger recently built a fully functional studio in his place in Northside. They also share promotion and other duties, so no one has to bear the brunt of the work. As a result of this cross-functionality, Giant Wow has excelled as a self-managed band. They were one of the 30 (out of 1100) unsigned bands chosen to perform at CMJ's Rock Hall Music Fest in Cleveland earlier this month, and one of two bands asked to play on Cleveland's Fox 8 Morning Show.

Giant Wow is adept at both upbeat Pop tunes and more melancholy compositions. Their distinctive sound recalls '80s music, but not just the instruments and attitude that many revivalists focus on. Instead, they apply the dense songwriting approach that Synth Pop outfits were known for.

"One of my heroes in music is Henry Mancini," says Gilsinger. "He's always got at least one melody going at all times. I mean, why have a song with one hook? Why not have a bunch of hooks? That was the sensibility of the '80s keyboard bands."

Their sound is also devoid of Grunge, Indie, Emo and most other influences that have dominated the airwaves for the past 15 years. And there's a trademark Cincinnati component missing: "We have none of the Folk that creeps into everyone else's music," says Gilsinger. "That's why we don't sound much like anyone around here."

Like the band's music, Gilsinger's voice sounds eerily familiar but impossible to place. In fact, people are always telling him he sounds exactly like ... someone. "I tell them if they figure it out, let me know." With power and tension throughout his impressive range and a decided lack of theatrics, I'd suggest a combination of Men At Work's Colin Hay and The Outfield's Tony Lewis.

As seasoned players, Giant Wow's smorgasbord of influences lends taste and complexity to their music. "I love that challenge of bringing Latin and Hip Hop beats on an acoustic kit to give the grooves an otherworldly Rock feel," Adams explains. "Jesse does all these percussive things on the guitar, and Rob is the center point."

"We all do little out things, but we're not trying to be some Prog Rock power trio," adds Moore. "Jesse plays a lot of lead parts, which definitely helps the hook factor."

And hook people it has. Since they started back in November, Giant Wow's fans have been demanding recorded material. They banged out a dozen songs in Gilsinger's studio over the last few months, and the final mixes are positively luminous. After some paring, they picked seven tracks for Erwin Musper at The Bamboo Room to master. The results will be available soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the band's buoyant live show and another of their best assets: quirky, incisive humor.

"We sound just like Muse if you cut a limb off of everybody and gave two of us lobotomies," insists Gilsinger. "Just like Muse."

- Citybeat (Cincinnati)

"Liner Notes: Giant Wow - Cosmonaut"

For Cinncinnati power poppers Giant Wow, the girly devotees of Cosmopolitan magazine were the perfect hunting ground for a sugary sweet sounding rock anthem. The band’s flair for social commentary and fun give this week’s edition of “Liner Notes” some serious food for thought. Try to sit still for a second and read Robert Moore and Jesse Gilsinger back story to “Cosmonaut” before you annoy the neighbors trying to harmonize with the band.

“Cosmonaut” is a song I wrote and started playing about 15 years ago. The title is an easy play on words derived from Cosmo magazine and the space cadet tendencies of its devotees. The lyric, pointed at consumerism and the over-simplicity of life and mind that it leaves young women with if they become a slave to it, has remained unchanged during its lifespan — save for the bridge. The bridge once made references to pop culture examples which eventually became dated, while the rest of the song still had a timeless quality. The melody has evolved only slightly to accommodate changes in the accompaniment over time. The structure of the tune has gone through four main versions, each rewrite a little more intricate, although ultimately it is still a simple song to play. For the listener there are only pleasant surprises as the tune rolls by, usually sounding happy, sometimes wondrous, and a bit old-timey in spots—exciting yet benign."

"Many of my songs have a bitter pill to swallow in the middle of a catchy moment. This song is like that almost the whole way through. Often at live performances I am afforded the opportunity to play this song directly to the crowd it was aimed against. It is profoundly cathartic for me to be able to deliver that message directly, from a perceived “place of safety,” but it never made me any bimbo friends."

- Jesse Gilsinger - Samantha Coren,

"HEY GIRL EP Review"

Album: Hey Girl EP

Artist: Giant Wow

Release Date: November 2009

When I was given the press release I groaned quietly inside, I’ve seen too many of these things to take them seriously, and fighting the impulse to throw my laptop out the window… I pressed play instead. Thank goodness.

From Cincinnati, Ohio, Giant Wow play an impressive strand of alternative power pop, I thought of The Wannadies at first listen. This combination of powerful male vocals uses more than what you usually hear: it’s not un-educated screaming and shouting. This EP, Hey Girl is five tracks long, a pretty standard amount for an EP, which is probably the only thing on the record that is. They’ve been working in the studio with Erwin Musper who’s work includes a few artists you may or may not have heard of…David Bowie, Def Leppard, etc… to name a few.

Giant Wow have a pretty balanced sound and they don’t fill the bars with unnecessary lyrics. The guitarists create some pretty interesting riffs to keep the listener entertained when the singing takes a break. “Wicked Girl” is probably the best song to get to grips with these guys highlighting all the catchy little details they work into the songs, this time to a heavier background.

It’s hard to see from looking at them where the effeminate edge comes from. Let’s not get it twisted – there is nothing girly about this music or any such nonsense, but if you believe like I do that music is an entity that can exist outside the stereo then it is not a far push to state that this said “entity” has a gender… still with me? The music has all the integrity of a strong rock outfit while keeping it fun and not taking itself too seriously.

A sound EP (excuse the pun) having a trademark quality and a solid foundation. 3 singles and 1 EP already available on iTunes and Amazon there’s more than one place to get your hands on a copy, so instead of sounding like a bad chat-up line (and yes, I have used it) Giant Wow’s Hey Girl EP is definitely a winner.
- David Couch,

"The Week in Music - SGH"

It's a CD release show for Giant Wow, one that pulls the curtains back on the quartet's irresistible choruses and big rock high-fives that recall Sloan, Big Star and Tigerlilies. - the Southgate House (music venue)

"Giant Wow CD Release Party"

By Daniele Pfarr

Release alert! Release alert! Giant Wow just got “Hey Girl,” its five-song EP, pressed and packaged, and they look nice. Wanna get your hands on one? Make the trek over to the Southgate House parlour to celebrate with the band, Bootleg Rider and Goose. The new EPs are enhanced, so that means in addition to the five songs, the disk has five extra mp3s, photos and a video for the song “Cosmonaut.” The band has a knack for writing catchy pop tunes, the kind that stick in your head. I dare you to listen to “Cosmonaut” and not keep humming it for the rest of the day. If you can’t make it to the show, don’t fret – the EP is now available on iTunes. - Metromix Cincinnati

"Giant ‘Wow’ for New Local Albums"

by Mike Breen

Local Pop/Rock foursome Giant Wow celebrates the release of Hey Girl this Saturday at the Southgate House’s Parlour room with guests Bootleg Rider and Goose. The disc is an EP … sorta. The band — which expanded to a four-piece after drummer Keith Adams moved to guitar and Kevin Sturgill came in to take over drums— has crafted Hey Girl as an enhanced CD, meaning you’ll also get five bonus songs (on top of the five “regular” songs on the disc), a video for lead track “Cosmonaut,” photos and extra liner notes when you put the disc in your computer.

Giant Wow has gotten noticeably better in the few years they’ve been playing, with Hey Girl being the pinnacle so far. The solid songwriting (of the melodic Pop/Rock variety) is enhanced by Jesse Gilsinger's always-impressive and imaginative guitar work (dueling with Adams’ own crafty fretwork) and superb harmonies. “Wicked Girl” is a standout track, a love-vengeance tale with irresistible hooks and driving, spiraling rhythm, sounding like Queens of the Stone Age minus the machismo.
- Citybeat

"Wow! Giant Wow!"

By Daniele Pfarr

Congratulations are in order for our own Cincinnati trio, Giant Wow. They were recently chosen to perform at the CMJ Rock Hall Music Fest on June 9th. This is a three-day music festival that takes place June 8-11 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Giant Wow will be among talented and renowned artists such as Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Grandmaster Flash, Digable Planets, Spoon, Powerman 5000, and the Pixies, and approximately one hundred other acts are scheduled to perform. Giant Wow is a band that consists of Jesse Gilsinger on guitar and vocals, Keith Adams on drums, and Robert Moore on bass.

Gilsinger is no stranger to the CMJ scene. His former band, Small Ball Paul, from Saint Louis, was a regular CMJ charter. Keith Adams comes to the band from Cincinnati industrial rockers, Sound Mind (Acid Itch/ JAMM Recording Artist). The music is self-described as rock/powerpop, and it definitely provides enough variety for the fickle music lover. While visiting myspace again (yes, I am addicted), I found the three songs to be very well chosen because it gave me an idea of their varying style. Check them out on myspace (, or live at the CMJ Festival Village in Cleveland on June 9th.
- Only Locals Music

"CMJ Says"

by Mike Breen - 5/25/2005

Local trio Giant Wow have been invited to the new satellite CMJ music festival/industry showcase in Cleveland next month, joining an impressive lineup that includes the Pixies, Spoon, Stephen Malkmus and Cincinnati's own Heartless Bastards. The group (featuring former members of Sound Mind and St. Louis' Small Ball Paul) formed last year as "Luba Luft," but recently switched to Giant Wow after being confused with a singer with a similar name. The band is working on a full-length album, due out this summer. You can check them out in the flesh this Friday when they play alchemize with Dayton's Captain of Industry and Columbus' Paper Airplane. - Citybeat

"The Year in Your Ear: Best Local Recordings of 2009"

Thinking back to 10 years ago, wrapping up the year in the local releases meant re-examining a stack of CDs and maybe a cassette or two. In 2009, cassettes are long gone but the format choices have broadened — among the best local recordings of 2009 were vinyl releases (of the 12-inch, 7-inch and 10-inch variety), digital, online-only ones and, still, lots of CDs. It’s a safe bet that “physical copies” will be even less common as we hit 2019.

But format, shmormat. The real story this year isn’t how the latest music from Greater Cincinnati was delivered; it’s how it sounded. And 2009 sounded pretty kick-ass if you were a follower of local music.

• Giant Wow – Hey Girl
On the Hey Girl EP, solid songwriting (of the melodic Pop/Rock variety) is enhanced by Jesse Gilsinger’s always-impressive and imaginative guitar work (dueling with Keith Adams’ own crafty fretwork), strong vocals and superb harmonies.
- Citybeat Cincinnati


- Kitten/Enough (single)
- Insomnia/Bubblegum (single)
- The End of Something/Nice to Meet You (single)

Available via iTunes, Amazon, etc.



Giant Wow crafts hook-laden, melodic music that turns on a dime. Their radio-friendly sound wastes no time getting to the point and delivers payoff after sugary sweet payoff.

Reviews pegged the band as distinctive and catchy, "Giant Wow is definitely some unique strain of power pop, but beyond that, descriptions and comparisons lack."

In late 2009, Giant Wow released the EP, HEY GIRL. The quartet worked with acclaimed engineer Erwin Musper (David Bowie, Van Halen, Chicago, etc) on the recording.

Notable performances: CMJ Rock Hall Music Festival (Cleveland, OH), Fox 8 TV Morning Show (Cleveland, OH), and Jammin' On Festival (Cincinnati, OH), and 2010 Taste of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH).

Accolades: HEY GIRL was listed as one of the top 2009 local recordings by Citybeat.