Ruetschle
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Ruetschle

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"Mid Point Music Fest"

Mike Ruetschle Band
(Indie Pop)

Pimping excellent, crafty Pop Rock steeped in classic BritPop tradition, Dayton native Mike Ruetschle creates the same kind of unforgettable songs that made Bob Pollard the Indie Pop icon of the past decade or so. Calling Ruetschle's songs catchy is like calling water wet; the singer/songwriter seems to have been born with the Pop gene, emitting sparks of melodic brilliance with almost every line. He seems intent on making every part of his songs hook-laden, instead of leaving it all up to the choruses.

With a just-raw-enough lo-fi approach, there's an enchanting immediacy to his sound that would be lost with too much polish. Ruetschle spent four years in Portland performing in his brother's band Spacefighter before returning to his Dayton homebase. He retained his Pacific Northwest ties though, enabling him to release his fantastic recent album, Lesser Than Opaque, on Seattle's Pop Tek Records. Though his songs can clearly stand on their own, Ruetschle enlisted a powerhouse band to back them up. The group is currently recording the tentatively titled Exotic Destinations. For fans of Power Pop who don't like it when artists skip on the "power" or the "Pop," you won't be disappointed in Ruetschle's remarkable abilities.

Dig It: Guided By Voices, early Who, The Kinks - City Beat/ Mike Breen


"The Highs and Lows of MidPoint"

Moose On Main hosted several cream-of-the-crop Pop/Rock bands over the fest's three days. The Mike Ruetschle Band from Dayton played a set of warm, incredibly well-crafted Pop songs that took on a bigger life without the lo-fi trappings of their recordings. The Breakers left a good taste in the mouth of the crammed-to-the-edge-of-the-stage audience at Moose's Friday, showcasing their majestic, creative brand of passionate Pop. And on Saturday, The Swarthy Band provided a MidPoint highlight with their ardent display of expert Bash 'n Pop. Singer Swarthy wins the best frontman of the entire fest award, rolling off the stage and into the audience repeatedly to dance with fans as they sang the words to seemingly every song. - City Beat/ Mike Breen


"Ruetschle and Mona Rock Elbo's"

It was cold, but not too cold. Not cold enough to keep people away from Elbos last Sunday, December 5th. The two-band pop punch of Ruetschle and Mona was the perfect pairing for an odd winter night. Each band played as a three-piece, and in their own way, expressed emotional, heartfelt songs with a Brit-pop edge.

Ruetschle was up first, and performed a pleasing mix of old and new songs from their catalogue. Lead singer and guitarist Mike Ruetschle joined drummer Andy Ingram and bassist Justin Ingram to play several tracks from the latest album, "Lesser than Opaque." Several of the songs were surprisingly short, but just as catchy as the longer pieces. The standout song was "Who wanted to see?" from Ruetschle’s self-titled debut.

They have been playing as a three piece since the departure of their keyboard player this fall, but are no less for the wear, and still manage to create a varied mix of sounds. Last year, they were included on the "Dayton After Dark" compilation. According to Ruetschle, the band is hard at work on their next record. All this comes from a band that consistently creates some of the best flyers and posters in town.

Mona hit the stage next, opening with an improvised rap by a visiting MC from Cleveland. The band, featuring lead singer and keyboardist Nick Brown, has gained a lot of attention in the process of winning this year’s Canal Street Tavern Dayton Band Playoffs. Brown began the project as a duo with guitarist Jason Wilson, and has since added drummer Vince Gard, who brings a new punch to their sound.

Mona brings a unique sound to the Dayton, combining the soulful rock of Jeff Buckley, with the R&B stylings of Ray Charles, and the occasional Grateful Dead-style jam. They rock hard on some songs, and play softer songs with a delicate intensity. They recently released a live DVD, and are also working on their first album. With all their style and talent, it is easy to see why they won the Dayton Band Playoffs.

Both bands are definite must-sees in the Dayton scene. - daytonbands.com/ Keith Klein


"Short Bits"

Exotic Destination
Artist: Ruetschle
Label: Poptek Recs
Here we have a pleasant trip through fun Brit-pop. Most of these songs average three minutes or less in length, providing for a short less than thirty minute quick listen album that could have easily come out in the late 60’s. There’s obvious influences from Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones, and Procol Harem. Standout tracks include “Summertime,” “Could I Understand,” “Can You Remember” and “Don’t Turn Around.” (James Morovich)
- The Phantom Tollbooth


"Mike Ruetschle- Lesser than Opaque- Poptek Records"

When Dayton native Mike Ruetschle commits his music to tape expect lo-fi, yet pristine pop compositions that will inextricabley link him to other great songwriters of the singer/songwriter genre. To my pleasant surprise, Lesser Than Opaque covers a lot of indie-pop’s important legacy, a feat that only a truly clever and coherent songwriter could manage his first time out the gate. Ruetschle navigates slowcore jams with overwhelming vitality as demonstrated on “Radiate The Cast of Grace,” which immediately reminds me of both Calla and Ida. On “The Real Thing,” Ruetschle joins Dayton’s tradition of great, basement-made pop songwriting by delivering a song that is roughly a cross between Guided By Voices aesthetic and the head-register singing of J. Mascis. “Can’t Remember” breathes and withers with the character and flavor of those great R.E.M. ballads of yesteryear. “Going Solo” is where Ruetschle really comes into his own voice. While his particular sensibilities on this song slightly resemble Velocity Girl and The Push Kings, it is pretty apparent that this is where his natural tendencies align. It’s probably important to mention that while this is a solo project (with occasional help from a couple of friends), Ruetschle pushes his set-dressing beyond the acoustic guitar and voice formula (though that’s on here too – “Working Class Girls”). The background is filled with an array of instruments: electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and keyboard are attributed to Ruetschle in the liner notes, but there is also a fair amount of percussion in the way of drums and tamborine. Turning out a total of ten tracks, Lesser Than Opaque demonstrates that skill, artistry, and an appreciation of those who’ve come before are inseparable. It also leaves Mike Ruetschle’s own unique, and relevant mark on pop music’s map.
-Tim Anderl
- bettawreckonize.com


""Architect Learns Music in a Beat""

"I got into music kind of late in life," said Mike Ruetschle, a Dayton architect and part-time songwriter who released his second album, Lesser than Opaque (Poptek Records) in mid-May.

"I'm 31, and I didn't get my first acoustic guitar until I was out of college. I was the bass player for a couple of years for a band in Seattle called Spacefighter, and then I moved back to Dayton at the end of '99." Though he was relatively new to playing electric guitar and songwriting,
Ruetschle adapted quickly, as his new release proves. In just 30 minutes, Ruetschle and a crew
of backing musicians deliver 10 short but tasty pop confections that draw inspiration from such
British acts as Oasis and Blur.

"I love doing music on the side because it is everything architecture isn't," Ruetschle said. "With music there is immediate gratification ... They're both in the creative realm, but in entirely different areas." According to Ruetschle, Lesser than Opaque
was self-recorded in his basement studio on a digital 16-track system between June and
December 2002. Ruetschle formed Poptek Records with his friend and primary drummer Andy Ingram.
- Don Thrasher - Dayton Daily News- Don Thrasher


"Soundbytes, May 22-28"

Pop music has grown over the past 20 years since bands like the Beatles transformed it into a brand of uplifting rock-and-roll. Since then, a conglomeration of indie sounds and other unprecedented interpretations of sound have melted into what we now refer to as pop rock. Dayton indie band Mike Ruetschle, named for its front man, takes on a European pop flare with a grain of salt.

"The pop sensibility is the most important and the most neglected aspect of rock'n'roll," Ruetschle said. "I like this style of music because it is the only thing that comes to me naturally, and the only music I would choose to create." Earlier this year, the group finished recording Lesser than Opaque, its second album. In order to release the record, Ruetschle and co-founder Andy Ingram also launched a fledgling record label called Poptek Records based out of Seattle.

"I just moved back to Ohio a couple of years ago from Oregon," Ruetschle said. "I grew up here but left during my formative musical years." For such an innovative musician, Ruetschle's experience with songwriting has not existed for as long as listeners give him credit. "I bought a bass
guitar when I was 25 and formed a rock band (Spacefighter) with my brother," Ruetschle said. "Since then I picked up an electric guitar and drums." Despite the newness of the music, Ruetschle and his
band mates seem to have a good head on their shoulders. "The lifestyle is a love affair with melody,
which can be a labor. It's much easier to come up with dribble than a great pop hook," Ruetschle said.
"The emphasis is on the melody rather than the lyrics."

On Lesser than Opaque, the band carries the essence of British pop sound. "It's expressive
and brooding and screaming and dreamy all at the same time. Basically it has a huge pop sensibility, a lot of guitars, dynamics and a faux-British accent," Ruetschle said.

An all-acoustic, "songwriter Night" featuring the Virgin Trend, Chortle, Emily Strand, Steven Gullet and Mike Ruetschle will take place at Oregon Express, 336 E. Fifth Street in Dayton at 10 p.m. on Friday, June 6. The show is in conjunction with the release of Dayton After Dark, on which Ruetschle's song "To See the World" is featured. - Dayton City Paper- Leslie Benson


Discography

- Ruetschle- Color Theory (Poptek Records. 2008)
- Ruetschle- Exotic Destinations (Poptek Records. 2006)
- Mike Ruetschle- Lesser than Opaque (Poptek Records. 2003)
- Mike Ruetschle- self-titled rock lp (2002)
- Pizza: The Movie soundtrack- featuring "All I Get From You" (2004)
- Dayton after Dark compilation- featuring "To See the World" (2003)

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Bio

RADIO CHARTS:
#4- KQAL/ Winona, MN
#7- KCAC/ East Camden, AR
#10- WMPG/ Portland, ME
#12- WEEM/ Pendleton, IN
#15- WXDU/ Durham, NC
#15- KOPN/ Columbia, MO
#27- KSLU/ St. Louis, MO
#16- WRBC/ Lewison, ME
#21- Rainy Dawg Radio/ Seattle, WA

What is it about Dayton, Ohio that makes its natives dream of other places? For that matter, why do Americans long to get out of a land that so many want to get in? Is it the water? The history, or lack thereof? Or is it just hard for people to be content exactly wherethey are? While far from a concept record, Ruetschle ponders these questions on their new album and their third full-length, Exotic Destinations. And in the long process the band has produced their most confident and consistent effort yet.

Exotic Destinations is an album complete with no-nonsense pop songs that evoke a feeling of anything but the Midwest. Instead the quartet are in a mood, sonically dreaming of exotic islands and foreign lands. Jetsetters, mods, and J-pop kids. And a simpler time when “pop music” wasn’t considered a curse word. But this all makes sense in light of Ruetschle’s previous output. The band has always had a surfy, innocent, “Buddy Holly meets the Jam” aesthetic. Therefore Exotic Destinations is more of a fulfillment of sonic ideas already explored. What really sets apart Exotic Destinations is just how much more consistent it is.

“I know everyone says this about every record . . ” Mike Ruetschle, leader of the band of his namesake, is reluctantly gushing, “ . . . but I think this is our best yet.” “I agree completely,” drummer Andy Ingram chimes in. “I think we had good songs on the first two records. We just didn’t care about recording them. So I think our lo-fi attitude held those records back in the long run. This record is still a tad raw, cause that’s who we are as people. But now we not only have the most complete batch of songs Mike has written, but we have no excuses either. ”

Read down the track listing and you can’t help but find a surplus of catchy, nostalgic pop singles. “Can You Remember?”, “Don’t Turn Around”, “So Complicated”, “She’s Alright”, “Shine one Me”, “Coming Round”, all could be international pop radio hits. Even the moodier songs like the soft, acoustic “Summertime” or the eerie “Be Best” are turning out to be some friends and fans’ favorites. That’s the mark of a quality record, when the even the bad songs are good.

Beyond the quality of the songs, Exotic Destinations is further bolstered by the contributions of new guitarist Shawn Johnson. Ruetschle explains, "Andy and I both liked what he did in Morella's Forest and Gem City Rockers and we became friends through mutual connections. So after we had the record done we asked him to add some guitar parts. He recorded lines for about half of the songs and we kind of tricked him into playing live with us. We are still amazed that he is a part of Ruetschle. He really makes some of the songs."

Quiet, placid bassist Cooper chimes in, “Now that the record is done. I just hope we get the songs in front of people who will appreciate them.” And so now the bigger challenge begins. As Exotic Destinations releases for public consumption, their journey ensues in the hope that their innocent, addictive wonderings can be as big to rock/n/roll audiences everywhere as it is in their own foreign daydreams.