Made in the Midwest


Giliann Karon

There‰’s something different about local music. A tiny part of you feels indebted to them, like it‰’s your duty to listen for the sake of repping where you come from. The listener and the artist have both driven down the same roads, eaten at the same restaurants, and rooted for the same sports teams. Culture drives our identity. Music is simply a manifestation of the artist‰’s and listener‰’s common experiences. Identity directly influences the music that one creates. In turn, listeners feel a bond with artists from their hometown.

I grew up in a suburb 25 minutes outside of Cleveland. Northeast Ohio isn‰’t really known for cranking out renowned artists, save the Black Keys and Kid Cudi. Thus, us Clevelanders are forced to take some responsibility for every artist that calls Ohio home.

Lincoln, hailing from Cincinnati, proudly exclaims his heritage with his EP titled “A Constant State of Ohio.‰” Syrupy basslines and soft drums fuse with smooth vocals, making for what I can only describe as a refined version of Sorority Noise. Much like other bands of this genre, Lincoln sings with and about apprehension. “There‰’s nothing worse than making friends,‰” he wails in “Smokey Eyes,‰” which he wrote when he first started college.

He melancholically croons in “Banks‰” with his Cameron Boucher-esque voice. The third verse reads like a painful confession. Each line flows into the next as Lincoln begins to come to terms with a breakup. “I am just not what you want/Though you‰’re in everyone I meet,‰” he admits. In my favorite song, “How I Survived Bobby Mackey‰’s Personal Hell,‰” he strings youthful quips with realizations about a past relationship. He escalates his voice to a passionate yell before launching into the song‰’s final refrain.

The entire album feels like a house show. It sounds like exhaustion and PBR hangs in the air, but in a good way. It‰’s bursting with coming-of-age one-liners like “well, if there‰’s one thing that I’m sure of/It‰’s that I think too much about shit that doesn‰’t matter‰” and “And we can argue semantics over who left who first/But one thing‰’s for sure: I needed you most.‰” Lincoln takes your feelings over new experiences and failed relationships and turns them into eloquent lyrics. The last verse of the final song, “Downhill,‰” spirals into a tasteful cacophony of heavy drums and airy vocals. The EP is only five songs, so it slips from your hands far too quickly and leaves you thirsting for Lincoln‰’s next release.

LIYL: Joyce Manor, Modern Baseball, Sorority Noise, The Smith Street Band