There's an inordinate amount of great musical talent from the state of Ohio, not the least of which is out of Dayton. My favorite band of all time, Brainiac, is from Dayton. Guided By Voices, the Deal twins... Lou Barlow was born there. To me, that sums up the best of the 90s. So it was no surprise to learn that Toads and Mice, one of my favorite finds in recent memory, also come from the "Little Detroit" of Ohio. Maybe it's something in the water there that makes people so talented... too far from the infamously flammable Cuyahoga River to be some congenital effect from the toxic sludge that flows there. Perhaps it's some industrial chemical from the nearby auto manufacturing plants that give predispositions to musical ass kicking.
Idiotic speculations aside, I don't have a great frame of reference for the brand of rock Toads and Mice play (or... played, I should say, as the band is no longer). They had a distinct '90s flavor and melodic tendencies that might categorize them as "post-rock", bringing to mind other artists of the genre. Imagine an 18-year-old Sam Prekop, on the verge of a mental breakdown, fronting a disjointed Karate. While not as jazzy as The Sea and Cake or Karate, Toads and Mice employ the subtle and richly decorative guitar lines that largely defined the output of both. Their music is inventive, engaging, and as it steadily unfolds over the course of these 12 songs, I felt myself slightly entranced and more than willing to invest in repeated listens. Easy to do, as all the songs bleed into one another, making this more of a compositional voyage (sans pretensions). Toads and Mice kept it modest, dynamic, and rocking.
I suggest listening to it from start to finish. Rinse and repeat.
Toads and Mice - S/T