OMatic – Dog Years (Grass Records) 1996. One of the tracks from Dog Years by OMatic came up on my iPod this past week and it completely sent me down memory lane. So I went looking around on the web and found very little. The CD seems hopelessly out of print, yet readily available for $0.01 used on Amazon. OMatic should get more respect. Dog Years should be in print and better known.
OMatic came from Dayton, Ohio…a town I lived in for one very long year. If you want to understand Dayton, I suggest you read here. It will tell you all you need to know! Dayton, like a lot of cities in Ohio, has a rich musical heritage. A few bands I love from Dayton; The Ohio Players, Toxic Reasons and Brainiac.
Remember Brainiac? They, along with Six Finger Satellite, brought synths roaring back in the 90′s. This was at the tail end of the grunge era and it was a total breath of fresh air. Both bands looked cool too. Stylistically they were as anti-grunge as you could be and their graphical look and musical approach were very influential on indie and post-rock in general.
Brainiac’s first show was in 1992 in the cafeteria at Wright State University. I remember this well cuz I was there. I attended Wright State for one year before transferring schools. The set wasn’t that memorable…it was before they had nailed down their sound. I remember the guitarist Michelle Bodine. She was just so fuckin’ cool. Kinda like a white trash, Midwestern, younger version of Kim Gordon.
After the release of Smack Bunny Baby in 93, Bodine left Braniac and was replaced by John Schmersal. I still remained a devout Brainiac fan and kinda forgot about Bodine. In 1996, I rented Dog Years by OMatic from the Columbus Ohio City Library (where I was then living), got home and realized it was Bodine’s new band with her brother Scott.
Dog Years is one fucking beast of an album. First of all, it is loud as hell. Michelle’s vocals are completely perfect in a superficial mall-girl sort of way. Scott also sings and his vocals are pretty killer as well. The whole album is obsessed with Midwestern trashiness from song titles like “Teenage Makeout King” to the flaming hot-rod graphics that cover the LP.
I would liken the whole OMatic experience to one greasy, sleazy, Midwestern punch in the face. Clearly it didn’t occupy the same stylistic place as Brainiac and it was apparent why Michelle would part ways from Brainiac. Instead, OMatic was similar to a lot of the things going on at Am Rep. I dunno why it wasn’t more successful at the time but that’s how it goes.
After Michelle left Brainiac, they continued on making us Ohioans (both native and adopted) proud. Their Hissing Prigs in Static Couture LP was a highlight for me from the 1990′s. All of their Touch and Go stuff is available here. Co-founder and moog player/vocalist Tim Taylor died in a tragic car accident in 97 which ended the band. John Schmersal went on to form Enon who I saw at the T&G festival last year.
After OMatic went nowhere Michelle played briefly in the Breeders. Then Michelle went on to join the band Shesus who released Loves You…Loves You Not and Ruined It For You, a couple of GREAT post-punk albums.
Shesus was another really cool and obscure band from Ohio that was probably a good 7 years ahead of its time. I don’t think Michelle is playing in a band at this moment but here’s hoping that she does again soon…