There is something about a place with gloomy weather that seems to give rise to cheerful, upbeat rock music.
The notoriously wet and dreary United Kingdom is home to the raucous party anthems of the Arctic Monkeys. Minneapolis, where the sun sets at 4:31 p.m. in the dead of winter, birthed proto-alt rockers the Replacements.LISTEN IN
Even among the brooding giants of grunge who put the Pacific Northwest on the map, Built to Spill remains an upbeat standout.
In those places whose inhabitants are subjected to depression-inducing weather patterns, heroes of rock emerge to lift listeners from their meteorologically induced funk.
Central Ohio, where winters spanning six months are the norm, has found such heroes in the burgeoning alt-rock outfit Cousin Simple.
Self-described as "Columbus' youngest alt-rock band," the boys of Cousin Simple - Luke Hamrock, Will Hoag, Henry Morris, Ryan Ulibarri and Mitch Whittaker - have cemented their place in the growing Columbus music scene by winning Groove U's Instaband contest in 2017. Think of this as the biggest high school battle of the bands in the region, with the winners earning the opportunity to record a studio EP and professional-caliber music video.
Four of the group members still are in high school: Hoag, Ulibarri and Whittaker are seniors at Bexley's St. Charles Preparatory School and Morris is a junior at Columbus Alternative High School. Hamrock graduated from St. Charles last year and is a freshman at Ohio State University.
The group members credit the CD102.5 radio station's support of local and national artists in helping to form their sound.
"The town is great and the music business is hopping," Hoag said.
Hoag also points to the meteoric rise of central Ohio's own Grammy Award-winning duo, Twenty One Pilots, as a source of motivation.
The band's latest single, "This Is a Robbery," will be released in anticipation of Cousin Simple's headlining performance at the Basement in May.
The track tackles the all-too-relatable theme of trying to work up the sand to approach a girl at a party, but it handles the situation with a maturity beyond the group's years.
The tune is infectiously catchy, taking sonic cues from Brit rockers the Kooks, with shades of Oasis and Tokyo Police Club tossed in for good measure.
Check out Cousin Simple -- joined by the Fuad Farah Trio, Girl Fox and Personal Public -- on May 25 at the Basement to celebrate the release of the new single and kick off a long-overdue summer of good vibes.
Mike Thomas is a feature writer for In The Record Store. Each week, ThisWeek is featuring a local music story from the organization, which focuses on central Ohio music discovery and involvement.