The Bucko stops here

Cincinnati band takes on Yellow Springs’ Peach’s

By Justin Kreitzer

Emerging  Cincinnati indie rock quartet Bucko—formed just last year from the ashes of the beloved local acts Black Owls and Killtones—consists of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Losacker, guitarist/vocalist Ed Shuttleworth, bassist Josh Pilot and drummer Brian Kitzmiller. The band is currently writing and recording their debut album, due to be released later this year, which will highlight their eclectic hybrid alternative rock/Americana sound that incorporates everything from touches of Cure-like dream-pop and catchy New Wave synths to atmospheric and cinematic indie rock similar to The National.

In anticipation of their album, the band has played shows throughout the Dayton and Cincinnati area and will be making a stop at Peach’s Grill in Yellow Springs on Saturday, May 28, along with Speaking Suns.

Dayton City Paper spoke with Brandon Losacker of the band about their influences, the new album and more.

One of your standout tracks, “Neuvo Nova” has striking similarities to hometown heroes, The National, with its anthemic baritone vocals, chiming guitars and chugging rhythm, but there is so much more to your music. As an introduction for new listeners, who are some of your least obvious influences? 

Brandon Losacker: Thanks for saying that! I really dig The National and EL VY. We’ve actually heard that we sound like an Americana version of The National, but not as depressing! Maybe that’s just a Cincinnati thing? I’d say some of the least obvious influences would be Fleetwood Mac, Bauhaus/Peter Murphy and possibly The Cure and The Smiths. Although I think we draw inspiration from a variety of art. I really love the sound and phrasing of groups like Interpol and Queens Of The Stone Age, but I still go back and always find something new in The Cars and David Bowie records.

How does Bucko’s music compare/contrast to your previous bands Black Owls and Killtones?  

BL: It’s more focused on vocal melody and hooks as opposed to in-your-face rock. It’s more alternative or indie I suppose. I also think there is more of a focus on the songwriting in general. I really wanted this to cross genres if possible. I’ve always felt that a good song is one that a 5-year-old can bop his head to as well as a 65-year-old grandma can get into. Ed Shuttleworth and David Butler were also the primary songwriters for Black Owls, and Clinton Jacob and Josh Pilot were the primary writers for Killtones, so this is totally different for everyone. I’m still coming to grips with the fact that I am now the front man and have to sing!

You are gearing up to release your debut album later this year. Where are you in that creative process?  

BL: Good question. This is the first time any of us have created/recorded an album completely D.I.Y.  We recorded, mixed and mastered all of it by ourselves. You will hear me coughing, a beer bottle breaking or background chatter in a lot of the tracks, but it was a conscious decision to leave it in. I felt it gave the tracks some substance and frankly I think those little nuances make the album unique. I always loved old bootlegs of Beatles and Zeppelin tracks where you can hear those little mess-ups. In some ways I think they make the song. So, it’s a warts-and-all type thing. We should have it ready for release in June.

Does the record have any unifying lyrical themes?  

BL: The lyrics do have a theme, I think. I wrote all of these in the middle of meeting someone, falling in love, getting married, having a baby, separating and getting divorced all within a two-year period. So lots of ups and downs and the range of emotions that goes along with all of that. All of the lyrical content is subjective though and I would hope a listener can take away whatever it means to them.

Another standout track, “Wallow”—which is accompanied by a Go Pro-inspired video— looks and sounds like a fun one to play, what is your favorite song to play live and why? 

BL: “Wallow” is a blast to play! Especially for me, since I get to do a weird guitar solo. My favorite song to play live is an unreleased song called “Shot In The Dark.” We typically open with this song since it has a really cool, almost tribal, pounding type opening with guitars that sound more like a sitar than a guitar and then all of a sudden it goes into more of a poppy, Tom Petty/Strokes-type song and it has this super heavy breakdown towards the end. It’s a fun one, because it’s like five different songs in one, but totally all works together.

Bucko will play with Speaking Suns on Saturday, May 28, at Peach’s Grill, 104 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs. Doors open at 10 p.m. with no cover, ages 18 and up. For more information, please visit or
Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at

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Justin Kreitzer
Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at

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