OMatic – Dog Years

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.

Left to Right: Scott Bodine, Michelle Bodine, Will Gale, Rob Tarbell = OMatic

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…

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14 Responses to OMatic – Dog Years

  1. Qomhogns says:

    cleveland’s not so bad. there’s a lot of cool stuff going on there now — and they get twice the touring bands as st. louis! so. ha.

    i remember Shesus, vaguely. i was in boston by that point, but the name stood out.

  2. Good ol’ Ohio, what a lovely state! I spent the first 16 years of my life in Cleveland and couldn’t wait to leave when I went away to college! I’ve been in Chicago for about 20 years now and haven’t once wanted to move back to Cleveland. Of course I have a ton of hometown pride for all the great bands from Cleveland over the years but I ouldn’t imagine living there. Now Dayton- Jesus!! That musta been a long year for ya! Yikes!

  3. Joe says:

    I used to have a theory that the shittiness of a city was inversely proportional to the quality of bands. Dayton was no worse than Saint Louis and Columbus was much much better. Its all a matter of perspective. If I had a choice in the matter, I would be back in Denver where I spent the last 5 or so years.

  4. mrowster says:

    Wow – never heard of these folks before but the CD zip file sounds TOTALLY GREAT. Wild heavy rockin’, effective lyrics, bitchen voices. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Joe says:

    Annie! Wazzup?

    Shesus played the East Coast numerous times back when you were in Boston. I was there at the time too and I can testify that they were GREAT. You can see a great set of audience reviews of thier NYC, Boston and Columbus shows here:

    http://blogcritics.org/archives/2003/04/23/125650.php

    Just read the feedback.

    I used to drive up to Cleveland to go record shopping when I was in school in Columbus. Always seemed like a cool town to me. Its kinda unfair to compare cities like Cleveland (or St Louis) to Chicago or NYC.

  6. chris says:

    Wow, just searched Youtube and found shesus videos. Great stuff. Thanks for the tip, Joe.

  7. Jamillah says:

    omigod, i still have this on cd. I remember one of the tracks, maybe No Pinky, No Leather being on a grass records comp i picked up when i was in high school. Another gem on that record was Infant by A Ten O Clock Scholar, who maybe were also from ohio? Ohhh, youre making me feel old Joe!

  8. elliott says:

    wow. at first i wasn’t sure i was gonna like this. man was i wrong. yes it’s loud. great though. singer is perfect as you said. man i’m really branching out. thanks for sharing. pretty sure my friends won’t like this but i know i sure do.

  9. Michelle Bodine says:

    Hey! Thanks for all of the great reviews and for keeping the memories of our bands alive!

  10. Joe says:

    Hey Michelle! Thanks for blowing my mind back in the day!

  11. Eric S says:

    Jamillah, A Ten O’Clock Scholar was indeed a Dayton band.

  12. Seth Kondrath says:

    My girlfriend at the time lived next door to the drummer Craigo on Wilfred. I’d even see the van from the CD cover parked out front. Talk about the coolest bunch of people. I’d go see ‘em at the usual Dayton spots as well as The Southgate House in KY. Good times. THANKS for the good times Craigo, O-Matic, Cage, Brainiac, Liquid Legbone, Gong Kicker, Troubadour and all the other Dayton bands that were a staple of my adolescence.

  13. Danielle says:

    I still have this album all the way back from 1996/1997 and its on a regular rotation on my ipod. Of course I found out about it through the Grass Records alternative sampler that I’m pretty I bought for $1.99 back in the day. Glad to see there are other OMatic fans out there!

  14. Joe says:

    So am I. Its kinda neat to get this many comments on an obscure Ohio CD from the mid-90′s…

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