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Motel Beds to deliver laid-back music, ‘surf-pop feel,’ in Columbus performance

Courtesy of David Obenour

Dayton-based band Motel Beds struggles in defining its own sound. Its members try hard not to be connected with the “indie” title and prefer to describe their music as “rock ‘n’ roll.”
“I think we’re so far from the word indie – or (what) I think is indie – that I really don’t know any other word to describe (our music) but just rock ‘n’ roll,” said drummer Ian Kaplan.
Rock ‘n’ roll is just what concert-goers will hear from Motel Beds on Saturday. The band is scheduled to perform at Café Bourbon Street at 9 p.m.
Motel Beds’ sound seems to be a testament to the band’s influences. Kaplan and guitarist Darryl Robbins have said they are fans of The Who and Cheap Trick.
Robbins said he has been told his playing adds a “surf-pop feel” to Motel Beds’ music.
This sound has been picked up by students at Ohio State, such as Andy Ondrejech, a second-year in exploration.
“They have a good take on garage-pop,” Ondrejech said. “(Motel Beds has a) really nice mix of laid-back but still positive music … It’s kind of feel-good (music).”
Ondrejech also said “Dumb Gold,” Motel Beds’ sixth album and the one it’s promoting on tour, “is a really great example of their sound.”
Motel Beds is efficient in releasing new music. “Dumb Gold” is the fourth album released by Motel Beds in less than three years.
Robbins attributes Motel Beds’ quick output to the band’s chemistry.
“We’ve been together long enough to where we know what our strengths are, what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t be doing,” Robbins said. “So the songwriting process just keeps getting faster. It’s one of those deals where we all kind of instinctively know that the more we think about this stuff, the worse it gets. Which is why we tend to put out stuff fairly quick.”
Robbins said songwriting is a very casual process.
“It happens very, very naturally,” Robbins said. “There’s no sit-down sessions or anything serious. It’s usually about 50 percent giggling anyway. It happens very naturally.”
“Dumb Gold” is one of Motel Beds’ finest records, Kaplan said.
“(‘Dumb Gold’) flowed really easily, it’s arranged really well,” Kaplan said. “I really like this record. It definitely carved out what we are. This kind of puts a period on that. We now have figured out who we are, so this is us going forward, I guess.”
As such, Kaplan said concert-goers on Saturday can expect Motel Beds’ set list to consist largely of newer songs from the three most recent records: “Dumb Gold,” “Tango Boys” and “Sunfried Dreams.”
Motel Beds hopes to play larger venues that are not bar-focused in the future, but for now the band plans to just “play as much as possible,” Kaplan said.
The members of Motel Beds enjoy playing live, but the band enjoys practicing together just as much. It is for this reason that Motel Beds goes on tour and performs shows.
“We don’t do this for any other reason than we are all friends and we like to play music,” Kaplan said. “We have a hell of a lot more fun when we’re playing in front of people, but we get just as much of a thrill in practicing (and) out of playing.”
Café Bourbon Street is located at 2216 Summit St. A $5 cover will be charged at the door.

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