On their Web site, The Comforts call themselves â€ścrowd pleasers at biker bars and church festivals.â€ť Listening to their latest release, the six-song EP Come On In!, itâ€™s hard to tell whether that nod to their evident fan base is tongue-in-cheek or honest, because the Anderson Township-based band actually sounds pretty damn good for a grown-up bubblegum band content with hitting the suburban circuit.
These guys (and gal) churn out new-wavey guitar Pop with just the right amount of attitude, playful irony and an unabated sense of fun. Lead singer Frances Lynne Merk sounds like a warmer, folksier Debbie Harry, and when guitarist/singer Paul Lake pipes in with his calls-andresponses and sturdy harmonies on songs like â€śCircles Never Endâ€ť or the excellent â€śSmall Town Girl,â€ť the results almost recall late-period B-52â€™s (think â€śRoamâ€ť) or maybe even X but with more laid-back flair than flamboyance.
Elsewhere, thundering drums, plucky, flanged guitar, and saxes soundtrack songs about growing up, riding the bus, and the general awkwardness of getting through the day. Also worth mentioning is the production, which overall is pretty impressive, with the clean-yet-loud guitars recorded in a particularly up front manner. The real imminently likeable thing about this CD, though, is those well-honed Pop sensibilities and the general good spirit the Comforts exude.
Catch â€™em at a church parking lot near you this summer, or head to Anderson Bar and Grill (8060 Beechmont Ave.) for their CD release party at 9 p.m
Stoned on Video
Union, Ky., Alternative poppers Philosopherâ€™s Stone took the crown at last Novemberâ€™s Legacy Rocks band competition in Newport, and the grand prize included a music video by Bob Mills of Mills Films (millsfilms.com) in Edgewood. Six months later the final product has arrived, and itâ€™s in the form of a slick, professional-looking DVD.
The video itself is for the song â€śPaintâ€ť and features the band hanging out in artistically lit stairwells and goofing around with friends, keyboards and picture frames. There are also plenty of shots of them playing at the York Street Cafe and on the roof of a Cincinnati building with the Carew and Fifth Third towers in the background at either sunrise or sunset (my directional orientation skills are way too pathetic to allow me to say for certain).
Philosopherâ€™s Stone celebrates the video release with a show at York Street Cafe (738 York St., Newport) at 8 p.m. on Saturday. $5. (myspace.com/philosophersstone)
Other Local Notes
â€˘ Our beloved Sundresses return home from their recent Sandwich Tour (whose intent was to challenge the â€™Dresses to â€śeat a sandwich every day and rock the fuck outâ€ť on each stop along the way). Fresh from Toledo, the fearsome threesome land at the Northside Tavern Friday for a free 8 p.m. show. Bring â€™em each a Cincy-style sandwich.
â€˘ Folk experimenter and Southgate open mic commando Billy Catfish re-christens his musical self the Billy Catfish Orchestra with a free 9 p.m. show with Steve Girton on Sunday, May 31 in the Southgate House lounge. It seems that even with the newly appended â€śOrchestraâ€ť tag Mr. Catfish will still be a solo act, unless heâ€™s playing with the Chauncers or the Lonesome Tumblers.
CONTACT ALEX WEBER: firstname.lastname@example.org