Self described as "a merry bunch of goofballs" Discount Nostalgia is a band that loves food and memes just as much as they love making music. You can usually catch them playing at Howard's Club H, house shows around Bowling Green, or The Ottawa Tavern in Toledo. Over the past couple years this band's soft rock sound has really become a staple for music goers in their hometown of BG. This past January the group journeyed to Nashville, Tennessee to lay down their original material for a debut LP called Songs for Dogs at BombShelter Recording Studio. Along the way the band enjoyed many great meals, the consequences of those meals, tide pod memes, and quality studio days which they were gracious enough to share with me this past weekend.
Discount Nostalgia is made up of A.J. Graber (Vocals/Guitar/Drums), Tom Cadaret (Vocals/Guitar), Eric Lamarelle (Drums/Guitar/Vocals), and bassist Mike Stram. The group also includes the unspoken fifth member Conor Schall who provides the band with high quality photo and video content as well as the occasional appearance on piano. Together they traveled to fully analog Bombshelter Recording Studio where they worked for a week with sound engineer Drew Carroll on their twelve song release. The Discount boys feel that the analog style of recording fits their sound better than digital recording. As Tom explained it "we aren't digital haters by any means, we just wanted to try it for our debut...we want to sound like ourselves warts and all". Tom, who recorded as a hobby growing up narrowed his sights in on Bombshelter Studio after reading about it in magazines. A.J. recalled being particularly fascinated by the reel to reel taping of their music. Rewinding and fast forwarding to get to different parts of the track was real and tangible.
The band was amazed by the quantity and quality of instruments available for use in studio. Mike recalls using a B15 Ampeg James Jamerson type setup with a variety of vintage basses for recording on the album. The others enjoyed using different set ups as well and at times all members were on different percussion instruments. Eric described the experience as "unique and unifying...every song has something special from us as a collective unit". In addition to being happy with the physical studio the band also loved working with Drew, who willingly braved the ear shattering volume of a B3 organ hooked up to a Leslie cab. With the organ Discount will be featuring John Estes, who had previously recorded with Kesha. Stram jokingly refers to it as the "crown jewel of the album". The band really enjoyed working with the studio staff highlighting their professionalism and sense of humor. Everyone worked together really well and the band couldn't be more satisfied calling the week of recording a maturing process. They got a lot of reps on songs and were able to fully visualize their sound as a group.
Discount Nostalgia is pleased with the recordings and they enjoyed the week as temporary Nashville residents. One thing that Discount loves to check out when they travel someplace new is the local grub. Nashville hot chicken was a favorite, Mike loved it but the Medium heat chicken was much hotter than he expected. They enjoyed a variety of fare during the stay, and as they described in excruciating detail it sometimes came with an unexpected increase in bowel movements.
I truly loved interviewing Discount Nostalgia, they are a great, fun loving group of friends and from the sounds of it they could not have had a better recording experience. The album to be released in March is titled Songs for Dogs. The title pays tribute to the band's first critics. A parent's garage which served as an early jam space happened to be right next door to a neighbor who owned a lot of dogs (the band estimates 16 or so dogs with at least one hound dog). During practices every song the band played would be followed by a thunderous response of barks, woofs, and howls - a constant source of entertainment. Through thorough analysis of the barks the band developed their repertoire and felt that they had to somehow pay homage to their canine critics. Check out their new Plug Profile, follow them on social media, and make sure you do not miss their release show March 23rd at Howard's Club H right here in Bowling Green, Ohio! Even if you aren't a dog you just might hear something you like.
All photos of Discount Nostalgia by Conor Schall.