If you asked any local in Columbus, Ohio with even the slightest grasp of music who Moviola is, they would most likely respond brightly, describing the band’s career with a glow on their face, even comparing them to local legends Guided By Voices, before shifting suddenly into a look of dismay while being reminded of Moviola’s lack of success outside Ohio. Indeed, Moviola are one of those bands who have their entire state of origination behind them, even if their universal status is generally unknown.
Either way, Ohio has kept the band going into the second millennium. Jake Housh, Ted Hattemer, Jerry Dannemiller, and Greg Bonnell met while students at Ohio State University, which is the location in which all four hold jobs to this day. They appear to have their beliefs set on equal distribution; several of the members play a variety of instruments and you are most likely to find sets of about three or four different vocalists on the album, though Jake Housh is often considered the primary vocalist. While their sound is maleable and often undefinable, the diversity has built them a steady local fan base who finds great joy in the four-piece’s unpredictable behavior.
Their first release came in Frantic, an EP released in 1992 that later saw a reissue in 2000. Their first full-length, The Year You Were Born, was released in 1996, over three years after Frantic, and drew comparisons to Robert Pollard’s Guided by Voices. The Pollard comparison came in the style of Moviola’s lo-fi approach, often incorporating distinct melodies over several aspects of alternative and country; slide guitar, endearing vocals, and slow-shifting percussion. Throughout the years, Moviola’s sound has remained largely the same with indistinguishable patterns and unpredictable structures, all while presenting entertaining forms of songwriting with different musical styles often peeking through. The majority of the albums also appear to be quite lengthy, with thirteen or fourteen tracks of longing songs being the norm. However, with such a diverse style being utilized in each song, most of the releases have never become tiring or dull. Their most exceptional release is often considered 2000′s Durable Dream, an album that was a particularly rousing presentation that rendered most of the group’s strong points with romantically symbolical lyrics and devastating instrumentation.
Their seventh release, Dead Knowledge, has a bit of an ironic name considering the band’s aged experience and knowledge regarding what it takes to produce and write an album. Really, it is far from dead at this point. This album is where Moviola began to finally show their age, and that is meant in a complementary sense, as this is the album where the four members implemented their previous successes while abandoning flaws of the past. In doing so, they crafted an album that may even be more likable than Durable Dream. In the subsequent years, Moviola has added Paul Wilkinson (a.k.a. Parker Paul) to their ranks, releasing digital singles at a relaxed pace while playing the occasional show.
“Waste” 7-inch single (MindWalk/Eardrop/Anyway, 1993)
Lookin’ In 7-inch EP (Anyway, 1994)
“All By Myself” 7-inch single (Ratfish, 1994)
Frantic 10-inch EP (Anyway, 1995)
Cowtown IV split 7-inch EP (Anyway, 1995)
“Empty Ford” split 7-inch single with Cobra Verde (Wabana, 1995)
The Year You Were Born LP/CD (Anyway, 1996)
“Payday” split 7-inch single with Eric’s Trip (Me Too, 1996)
Glen Echo Autoharp CD (Spirit of Orr, 1997)
Propane Brainhole 7-inch EP (Wabana, 1997)
“Crowding the Sky” 7-inch single (Home Base, 1997)
Next Door 7-inch EP (Ata-Glance, 1997)
Kitchen Waltz Preamble 7-inch EP (Kim Will Kill Me, 1998)
Durable Dream CD (Spirit of Orr, 2000)
Frantic CD reissue (Spirit of Orr, 2000)
“Spark” split 7-inch single with Eyesinweasel (Spirit of Orr, 2001)
Rumors of the Faithful CD (Spirit of Orr, 2001)
“St. Vincent” split 7-inch single Handsome Family (Spirit of Orr, 2002)
East of Eager CD (Anyway, 2004)
Dead Knowledge CD (Catbird, 2007)