The Midwest, and Ohio in particular, has a proud history of hatching an over-abundance of hidden gems all across the musical spectrum. Some of the more iconic entries include Pere Ubu, Devo, the National, New Bomb Turks, Brainiac, Guided By Voices, and, sure, Pure Prairie League. Often overshadowed by their coastline counterparts, these bands have become favorites of collectors, critics, and fans seeking intimate artistic connections by exploring sonic highways less traveled.
Perhaps even more hidden is the case of Columbus’ Moviola. On the fringe of the indie Rust Belt scene since the 1990s, the quintet has quietly forged a low-key career of high-quality recorded output, issuing 10 records and countless 7” inch singles over 25 years. In this artistic continuum, Moviola has evolved from everything from 4-track fuzz-pop to hi-fi country soul. Today, the band steps forward with Broken Rainbows, its strongest collection of songs to date, written, recorded, and mixed inside the group’s HQ in Columbus.
Jake Housh Housh started Moviola in 1993 in the shadows of Ohio State University (all its members have graduated from OSU) as a noisy, fuzzed out indie quartet. However, over the years, the band has morphed into a unique DIY music and art-making collective with five distinct singers and songwriters, recalling the creatively democratic lineage of The Band, The Mekons, Pink Floyd, many others. Moviola is Jake Housh, Ted Hattemer (Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments), Scotty Tabachnick, Greg Bonnell, and Jerry Dannemiller.
“We’ve learned to keep our ego in check, and bring each other’s songs to life,” Jake says. “Everyone plays other instruments and all efforts are in service of the songs.” Friends for nearly 30 years, it’s the kind of musical shorthand borne out of a lifetime of artistic pursuit rarely encountered.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the music video for the album’s second single and title track, “Broken Rainbows.” Kicking off on a soulful note with a simple organ line, the song features plenty of twangy guitar and the kind of robust (brotherly) two-part harmonies that bring to mind the alt-country sounds of groups like the Jayhawks, the Deadstring Brothers and the Byrds. There is also a throwback rock and roll elegance that recalls the more countrified work of the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. Lyrically, the song examines many of the social ills that currently plague our country, many of which are especially pronounced in the American rust belt. The video, shot on location in nearby West Virginia, and in Columbus, is directed by Michael Ivey (IG: @michaeliveydirector)
Jake Housh describes the inspiration behind the song:
“Broken Rainbows” I wrote it back in June and was thinking a lot about my general disappointment in American society. I was also processing feelings about the BLM movement and police relations. I had recently worked in West Virginia and had some of those images in my mind; the rural people and places I saw, the concentration of the opiate epidemic there, the way you can see and feel what the towns once were.
The lyrics read like a personal narrative of someone who’s gone missing, but could also represent a broader loss of things like the idea of a melting pot, unions, social services, and just plain old civility.
The winter imagery of the chorus and “broken rainbows with only shades of blue” seems like an apt metaphor for this sad time in American history.
Photo credit: Camille Housh