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MPMF.09 Bands H-O

By Staff · September 11th, 2009 · MPMF
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Halo Stereo
(Nashville) Progressive/Alternative
Halo Stereo is the face and sound of contemporary Progressive music, combining classic influences with every facet of modernity — technological advances, emotional detachment, bug-eyed wonder, misty-eyed nostalgia. Without drifting into meandering half-hour excursions up their own asses, Halo Stereo makes exciting and concise songs that quiver with Indie Rock energy and astonish with Prog bombast.
Dig: The grandchildren of Led Zeppelin and King Crimson kick ass and avoid writing suites.
Mainstay Rock Bar
Thursday, Sep 24, 11:00

Hank and Cupcakes
(Brooklyn, N.Y.) Electro Pop
That’s Hank on bass, driving the juddering dance rhythms with the prowess of a lead guitarist. That’s Cupcakes behind him on the drums, playing and singing with a swinging intensity. Stylistically, Hank & Cupcakes combine Soul, Pop, Funk, Electro and Rock with a breezy, jittery attitude and boundless energy.
Dig: Belle and Sebastian soaked in a thousand gallons of bathtub gin and Soul.
Below Zero Lounge
Friday, Sep 25, 12:00

Harley Poe
(Kokomo, Ind.) Folk/Punk
What turns a Christian band into a full-throttle Horrorbilly band? To be fair, even when Joe Whiteford was fronting the Christian-tinged Calibretto 13, he was writing songs that his label made them remove from their album. As Harley Poe, Whiteford is free to give free rein to his dark muse; transvestite cannibals, necrophilia, zombie brain eaters, vampires and the Apocalypse are all on the set list.
Dig: The Violent Femmes and the Pogues collaborate on the soundtrack to a documentary on Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Inner Peace Center
Friday, Sep 25, 12:00

Heartless Bastards
(Austin/Cincinnati) Rock
The Bastards’ rise from local heroes to international acclaim — capped off with an opening slot for Wilco at the Aronoff Center in June — has been an impressive feat for a band headlined by a shy girl from suburban Ohio. Yet one listen to Erika Wennerstrom’s big, soul-stirring voice leaves no doubt that widespread adoration was inevitable. The Bastards’ vision — the band now includes bassist Jesse Ebaugh and drummer Dave Colvin — has expanded from its initial Garage Rock base: the freshly minted Fat Possum-release The Mountain dips into more overt Blues, Bluegrass and Pop waters. And while they’ve relocated to Austin, Tex., in 2008, they didn’t forget to name-check their roots during a recent appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, correcting the host’s boast that they were from the Lone Star state: “We’re from Cincinnati.” Welcome home, Bastards.
Dig: The Black Keys fronted by Janis Joplin, PJ Harvey by way of Memphis.
Grammer's
Friday, Sep 25, 9:30

Al Hidalgo
Arnold's Bar and Grill: Thursday Sept. 24 8:00

Hojas Rojas
(Minneapolis) Rock
Four albums in, this Minneapolis quartet seems as though it could go on forever, leaving a collection of songs that effortlessly move from Garage Pop to Post Punk to Blues. Secret weapon/frontdude D.J. Kukielka possesses the kind of endearingly flawed voice that sticks — think a cross between Wayne Coyne and Paul Westerberg.
Dig: A less eccentric Flaming Lips, a heartland version of Bloc Party, Jack White on uppers.
Know Theatre: Saturday Sept. 26 8:30

Hollus
(Chicago) Rock/Roots
What a difference a hiatus makes. This five-member Rock & Roll machine began life as a strutting mesh of bluesy Rock and feisty Glam. After losing its bassist, the quintet took a break and singer/guitarist Michael Lux-Sauer ventured to Nashville, developing a love for classic Country music. While still utilizing its bread-and-butter original sound, Joker and the Queen, the band’s most recent release, shows that sometimes, you can never have too many great influences when it comes to making music.
Dig: The Small Faces, The Black Crowes, Gram Parsons.
Courtyard Cafe On Main
Saturday, Sep 26, 12:00

Ric Hordinski
(Cincinnati) Alternative
Guitarist Ric Hordinski entered the local consciousness as the original guitarist for the band Over the Rhine, but he has since gone on to great heights as an in-demand, Grammy-nominated producer who works with everyone from new Cincinnati-area artists to established acts like David Wilcox and Phil Keaggy. Hordinski's solo music retains the airy, hypnotic atmospherics he often brings to other people's projects.
Dig: Ambient Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Daniel Lanois.
Contemporary Arts Center
Friday, Sept. 25, 9:30

Hugo
(New York) Indie/Pop
Calling his style “Indie Pop Piano Rock,” this singer/songwriter (and, yes, pianist) shares qualities with the masters of melodic, piano-driven Pop songwriting like Billy Joel, Elton John, Ben Folds and Joe Jackson. With clever, witty lyrics (which have an almost cabaret-like playfulness) and a cheery, infectious bounce, Hugo’s music could probably be used as therapy — listening to it makes it really hard to stay in a bad mood.
Dig: Todd Rundgren, Ben Folds, Power Pop night at the piano bar.
Cadillac Ranch
Saturday, Sep 26, 9:00

II JUICY
(Cincinnati) Blues/R&B
Sassy R&B and sultry Blues have made this five-person crew a hot hire on the local club scene. The group is fronted by the charismatic Michele Feaster (aka Michele Feaster) and sports an experience and accomplished assemblage of musicians.
Dig: A seasoned, well-rounded vocalist getting brassy on some Blues.
Mr Pitiful's
Friday, Sep 25, 10:00

In Cadeo
(Brooklyn, N.Y.) Indie/Rock
Together just over a year, Indie trio In Cadeo is already garnering widespread acclaim, drawing positive reviews from NPR, Relix and many other media outlets with its powerful brand of darkly-shaded Indie Pop. While the band’s songs have lots of memorable hooks and can get fairly upbeat and propulsive, this isn’t sunshine-and-lollipops Pop music. In Cadeo imbues its sound with a sense of melancholy, which is exhibited in everything from the low-register vocals to the slithering, dynamic arrangements.
Dig: A more Technicolor version of The National, a more minor-key, black-and-white version of The Jam.
Cadillac Ranch
Saturday, Sep 26, 8:00

instrument
(Hartford, Conn.) Indie/Pop
Consisting of four musicians coming from disparate backgrounds, instrument makes mildly rootsy and mostly laidback Pop that floats on simple instrumentation and superb melodies. The band’s hometown weekly paper, The Hartford Advocate, named these guys “Best Indie Band” in the region and they have been invited to play everything from the Warped Tour to the M.E.A.N.Y. Festival in New York City.
Dig: American Analog Set, Coldplay, mellow bands that are memorable for substance and not flash.
Javier's Mexican Restaurant
Thursday, Sep 24, 11:00

Jake Speed and the Freddies
(Cincinnati) Folk/Roots
One of Cincinnati’s favorite Folk sons, Jake Speed is a traditional songwriter in the style of early Folk music. With a sometimes cutting, always charming wit and a clever take on a variety of social/political issues (among other topics), Speed and his amazing Americana backing band The Freddies have matured over the years, developing their retro-ness into something more unique and dynamic. Garrison Keillor loves ‘em (the band was on his Prairie Home Companion); so should you. Check them out and you probably won’t be able to help it.
Dig: Woody Guthrie reborn as a smart, redheaded 21st Century troubadour.
Washington Platform
Friday, Sep 25, 8:30

James and the Rainbros
(Detroit) Indie/Funk/Soul/Reggae
With an energetic, optimistic approach, James and The Rainbros use Reggae, AltRock, Soul and breezy Folk Pop to come up with its groovy sound. The band has been a busy, popular presence in the Detroit-area club scene and recently released its debut, a self-titled live EP.
Dig: Curtis Mayfield goes to college, learns to play Reggae and listens to a lot of Modern Rock.
Courtyard Cafe On Main
Saturday, Sep 26, 11:00

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
(Florence, Ala.) Roots Rock/Soul
Jason Isbell spent several years as a member of Southern Rock giants Drive-By Truckers, but in 2007 he decided to give a solo career a whirl. Like the songs he wrote with the Truckers, Isbell’s southern roots (he’s an Alabaman) shone through on his debut, not just in a Lynyrd Skynrd kinda way but also touching on the influential Blues and swaggering Soul that emanated from the region. To tour, Isbell formed a backing group he dubbed The 400 Unit (after a mental ward), which must’ve rekindled his love of being in a band, because his latest record is more of a “full band” album than his debut. And he also called the record — which pays sonic homage to everything from Muscle Shoals to Big Star — Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Guess you can take the boy out of the band but you can’t take the band out of the boy.
Dig: Early Wilco, Steve Earle, Dylan, southern sounds.
Grammer's
Thursday, Sep 24, 9:30

Javelins
(Detroit)
Detroit Indie trio Javelins has played with popular touring Indie bands like Vampire Weekend, Manchester Orchestra and The Fiery Furnaces. The band’s sound is an anxious meld of jittery guitar rhythms, plucky keyboards and rubbery melodies.
Dig: Built to Spill, The Walkmen, Pomegranates.
Know Theatre
Friday, Sep 25, 11:00

Jeff Scott Roberson
(Cincinnati) Americana/Folk
A couple of years ago, Jeff Scott Roberson decided that when he wasn’t tearing shit up with Len’s Lounge, he should be hitting his mark in the solo spotlight, something he hadn’t done for nearly two decades. That eventually led to his compelling 2008 solo album, Summer’s Here, a Folk/Roots triumph and one of the year’s best in any category. Roberson will be out with his solo back-up band, the Murder Creek Assembly, and that’s a damn good thing, Martha.
Dig: Guy Clark ghost whispering songwriting tips from Fred Neil.
Madonna's Bar & Grill
Saturday, Sep 26, 12:00

Jiva
(Detroit) hard rock
Dubed a mix of Lenny Kravitz and Aerosmith, this Detroit squad’s soul-filled take on Hard Rock has garnered it attention from fans across the U.S. and in Europe. The group — which hits the regional circuit pretty hard and regularly — is currently working on a full-length album.
Dig: Sevendust, Living Color, Velvet Revolver.
Mainstay Rock Bar
Friday, Sep 25, 11:00

John Eichleay
(Brooklyn, N.Y.) Pop/Rock
He earned his experience playing Jazz, Folk and Blues, but John Eichleay’s solo work is fairly direct, timeless Pop Rock with trace elements of the aforementioned styles (and others) woven in subtly. After years in Chicago playing guitar with jazzer Alfonso Ponticelli and touring the world, Eichleay decided to focus on his own music and the results can be heard on in his self-titled debut album on Copper Beech Records. Oh, and tonight at MidPoint!
Dig: Later poppy Jayhawks, a jazzy, more chill American Arctic Monkeys.
Arnold's Bar and Grill
Friday, Sep 25, 10:00

John The Savage
(Milwaukee, Wis.) Rock
A boozy, deliciously ramshackle aesthetic informs nearly every aspect of John the Savage’s sonic stew. Diverse, sturdy rhythms hold together incongruent arrangements that toss in everything from accordion and trumpet to upright bass and coordinated shouts. Largely instrumentals, Savage’s songs conjure the soundtrack to a Sergio Leone pirate movie set in an Irish saloon. You’ll get woozy just listening.
Dig: Mogwai on a tequila bender in Tijuana, Tom Waits, The Pogues doing a Jim Jarmusch soundtrack.
Know Theatre
Thursday, Sep 24, 9:30

John William Gordon
(Oakland, Calif.) Jazz/Fusion
Initially inspired by John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra as a teenager, John William Gordon discovered Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk in college and ultimately applied all of it and more to his unique freeform guitar style. While he claims Punk/Rock inspirations like The Sex Pistols and Van Halen, they’re filtered through more traditional Jazz influences like McCoy Tyner and Art Tatum. There’s plenty of Gordon’s translational skills to be heard on Technot, his latest album.
Dig: Bill Frisell and Gary Lucas cutting heads at the Crossroads.
Mr Pitiful's
Friday, Sep 25, 11:00

johnnytwentythree
(Cincinnati) Indie Rock
This politically minded local outfit’s performance at InkTank during 2007’s MPMF remains a personal festival favorite, a dynamic display made all the more powerful due to the makeshift venue’s intimate environs and Stephen Imwalle’s spot-on visional accompaniment. For the uninitiated, johnnytwentythree delivers mood-altering soundscapes that flow from shimmering atmospherics to intense, guitar-ringing crescendos and back again. Expect to be moved.
Dig: Explosions in the Sky, a vocal-free Sigur Ros.
Contemporary Arts Center
Friday, Sep 25, 10:30

Jon Justice Band
(Cincinnati) Blues
Cincinnati’s music scene got a gift when guitarist/singer/songwriter Jon Justice landed in Cincinnati after leaving his successful touring band The Recipe and embarking on a Blues career on his own terms. With the Jon Justice Band, the Neo Bluesman set out on a rigorous tour schedule supporting his latest release, The Rebound. Justice’s Rock and Soul-informed take on the Blues is impressive not only because of the technical proficiency, but also thanks to the strong songwriting.
Dig: Tinsley Ellis and Tommy Castro team up for a vintage Soul music album.
Southgate House
Friday, Sep 25, 10:00

Jookabox
(Indianapolis) Indie Rock
Many changes have washed over Jookabox in the last year. Originally known as Grampall Jookabox, an unearthly vision (ooh, scary, boys and girls) inspired David “Moose” Adamson to shorten the name of his one-man band, which has since expanded into a real quartet. The upcoming new Jookabox album, Dead Zone Boys, is a mix of thumping Hard Rock, quirky Indie Pop and Hip Hop rhythmatism as a soundtrack for the concept album’s zombie love story.
Dig: “We Are the World” as conceived by Ozzy Osbourne, Ween, The Beastie Boys and Peter Gabriel.
Courtyard Cafe On Main
Thursday, Sep 24, 11:30

Karate Coyote
(Columbus, Ohio) Indie Rock
Karate Coyote is a six-person Post Rock aggregation from Columbus with an interesting sense of eclecticism that allows them to shift from edgy Punk discord to lilting Math Pop to engaging New Wave, sometimes within a single song. Karate Coyote is one really great song away from a career-changing iPod commercial.
Dig: Neko Case fronting a Broken Social Scene side project that melds Lounge Pop and Math Rock and Jazz Punk.
Below Zero Lounge
Thursday, Sep 24, 10:30

Karl Walters Jr.

Trio
(Brooklyn, N.Y.) Jazz
Band bios can often be misleading, histrionic affairs. Here’s hoping this sentence from the Karl Walters Jr. Trio’s version is true: “The KWJ TASTES like croutons, that Trojan Horse of spiced carb indulgence that cleverly infiltrated that holiest of holy health sanctuaries, the salad.” Translation: KTJ — which, oddly enough, doesn’t seem included anyone named Karl Walters Jr. — isn’t afraid to indulge in its creative whims, as evidenced by the trio’s winding, unpredictable arrangements and spry rhythm section.
Dig: Ornette Coleman after a 12 pack, a key-free Herbie Hancock on peyote.
Arnold's Bar and Grill
Saturday, Sep 26, 8:00

Kentucky Nightmare
(Bloomington, Ind.) Roots Rock
Kentucky Nightmare has been together for four years now, and in that time they’ve become an amazingly adept Americana trio. Quiet acoustic passages. boiling electric leads, gorgeous harmonies and compelling melodies, all in the service of engaging songs about falling sideways through life and love.
Dig: Wilco and The Samples making contemporary mountain music for contemporary mountains.
Inner Peace Center
Friday, Sep 25, 10:00

Ketch Harbour Wolves
(Toronto) Indie Rock
Ketch Harbour Wolves have been garnering all kinds of great press at home in the Great White North; the quintet’s 2008 EP, Dead Calm Horizon, made all kinds of Top 10 critics lists for the year and KHW were recently tagged as one of Canada’s 10 hottest bands. The National, Arcade Fire and XTC are frequent reference points, as KHW exhibits a similar sense of moody exuberance, dark melodicism and expansive beauty.
Dig: Bruce Cockburn and David Byrne collaborate and co-front the Canadian version of XTC.
Blue Wisp Jazz Club: Thursday Sept. 24 10:00

Kinetic Stereokids
(Flint, Mich.) Indie Rock/Hip Hop
Kinetic Sterokids blend melodic Indie Rock and beat-crazy Hip Hop in a way that at first inspires and then completely transcends comparisons to The Beastie Boys, Beck and Aphex Twin. KSK’s sophomore album, Kid Moves, was produced by Detroit icon Jim Diamond and shows off the band’s array of other influences, including Jimi Hendrix, Can and Radiohead.
Dig: How long have you got? Let’s just say blazingly passionate Indie Rock and beatbox sampledelica.
Inner Peace Center
Thursday, Sep 24, 10:00

Kingsfoil
(York, Pa.) Pop/Rock
Though hailing from Pennsylvania, Kingsfoil’s brand of Pop is more reflective of emotive British Pop bands. There’s an Emo quality, as well, as the band pumps out piano- and guitar-guided tunes bursting at the seams with catchy, yearning vocals, hooks and lyrics.
Dig: Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol.
Below Zero Lounge
Friday, Sep 25, 8:00

Kink Ador
(Nashville, Tenn.) Alternative/Rock
Fronted by singer/bassist Sharon Koltick, whose has an animated vocal personality similar to Karen O’s, Kind Ador’s approach is vivacious and groove-heavy. The band recently put out its second release (another EP) titled Animal.
Dig: Gwen Stefani becomes the lead singer of The Police.
The Lodge Bar
Friday, Sep 25, 12:00

Koala Fires
(Cincinnati) Indie Rock
Last year, Koala Fires were up for Best New Artist at the CEAs and the band’s work since then proves they’re not far from mantling some trophies. The quartet’s stuttering time signatures and twisted melodicism puts them in the ballpark with Pavement and Sunny Day Real Estate. Play ball.
Dig: Frank Black and J. Mascis pitch pennies for dibs on the side stage gig at Huskerdupalooza.
Courtyard Cafe On Main
Friday, Sep 25, 9:30

Kuchi Guru
(Lexington, Ky.) Folk/Americana
“Trailer Park Thrash” and “Screwgrass” are a couple of the creative descriptors this Kentucky quartet have yielded from listeners. While Tom Waits is an obvious touchstone — frontguy Jimi Bliss’ voice is a nice combo of grit and grace — Kuchi Guru cooks up its own unique batch of Americana due to the presence of a mood-altering electric violin and other odd instrumentation. That they hail from a trailer park only adds another layer of mystery.
Dig: Tom Waits, John Prine at a junkyard, a less garish Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Courtyard Cafe On Main
Thursday, Sep 24, 10:30

Lab Partners
(Dayton, Ohio) Space Rock
Lab Partners’ music straddles the sound of Brit expansionists like The Verve and Spiritualized and the similar dirty Psych Rock perpetrators like The Dandy Warhols and Secret Machines. The fact that The Partners have great songs beneath the skyscraping noise swell is icing. The Dayton group — which now features the excellent former drummer of The Heartless Bastards, Kevin Vaughn — consistently receives great reviews and has increased its national profile with tour jaunts with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Warlocks. Fans are anxiously awaiting the band’s new album, which is apparently ready to roll.
Dig: The Verve’s early, spaced-out work, an all-astronaut version of Interpol, floating in outerspace.
Southgate House
Friday, Sep 25, 11:00

Lauren Frost
(Chicago) Folk/Soul/Pop
Lauren Frost’s résumé has bullet points of the .357 variety: Starred in a number of Chicago musicals, starring role in Disney’s Even Stevens, played Mini-Barbra on Streisand’s 2000 Farewell Tour. That’d be plenty, but Frost keeps notching accomplishments for her fans (dubbed Frosties, naturally), the latest being her debut album, Words for the Birds. What’s next? Singing at Obama’s second term inauguration, if we’re all lucky.
Dig: Karin Bergquist and Norah Jones collaborate on a straight Pop album.
Madonna's Bar & Grill
Saturday, Sep 26, 10:00

LAZ
(Chicago) Funk Rock
This Chicago trio — individually known as bassist Sam the Lalk, drummer Tim of the Ilko and guitarist Mike of Canton — isn’t afraid to let its Funk flag fly, mixing metalized riffs and soaring, affected vocals with nimble bass lines that would find Flea in heat. LAZ titled its 2006 full-length debut Razzmatazz and a Feckle of Sidewinders (another full-length and two EPs quickly followed). We’re not sure what that means, but it evokes the band’s playful brand of Prog Funk perfectly.
Dig: pre-Mike Patton Faith No More, Primus on Pixy Stix, Incubus via Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Blue Wisp Jazz Club
Saturday, Sep 26, 10:00

Len's Lounge
Arnold's Bar and Grill
Saturday, Sep 26, 11:00

Lewis Brothers
(Chillicothe, Ohio) Folk/Americana
With a driving Rock mindset and Americana chops out the wazoo, this band of tight-harmonizing brothers (and a drummer pal) coalesced at the crossroads of the players’ varying influences, right on the corner of Roots Rock Blvd. and Acoustic Americana Drive. The bros (who play guitar, bass, mandolin and banjo) started playing together after getting over that impossible-to-avoid, sibling-rivalry-driven adolescent angst and mutual disrespect. Since then, they (and their music) have been as tight as … well, brothers.
Dig: The unmistakable sound of siblings harmonizing perfectly.
Washington Platform
Saturday, Sep 26, 8:00

Light In August
(Royal Oak, Mich.) Indie/Folk/Rock
Despite the hazy, laidback vibe of this quartet’s sound, it’s actually as intricate as it is delicate. Flavored with additives like flute, sitar and ethereal backing vocals, Light in August produces magnetic songs that have a vintage feel but rarely sound like reprocessed versions of already existing tunes. The melancholy-summer atmosphere blends gorgeously with the band’s horizon-kissing melodies and thoughtful, literate lyrics. What else would you expect from a band named after a Faulkner book? The band released its debut, Places, earlier this year.
Dig: Belle & Sebastian, Nada Surf on a heavy Nick Drake kick.
Below Zero Lounge
Thursday, Sep 24, 8:30

Lightning Love
(Ypsilanti, Mich.) Indie/Pop/Electronic
Formed just a couple of years ago, Lightning Love is a joyous Pop trio with Electronic flourishes (not in a Daft Punk way, but more a low-key Seedy Seeds way) and a charmingly innocent approach. In December of last year, the band released its debut, November Birthday.
Dig: The Deal sisters going ElectroPop, Ladytron with a K Records mentality.
The Segway Room
Thursday, Sep 24, 11:00

Look Mexico
(Tallahassee, Fla.) Indie Rock
Intricate, intertwining guitar work and yearning vocals anchor this Florida foursome’s addictive Post Punk anthems. In fact, nearly every track on the band’s 2007 full-length debut, This Is Animal Music, will have you reaching for the “repeat” button. Look Mexico pull off the near-impossible trick of being heartfelt without being heavy-handed, eccentric without being too esoteric.
Dig: Death Cab for Cutie on a Polvo kick, early Modest Mouse, Beulah after a math exam.
Know Theatre
Thursday, Sep 24, 10:00

Los Honchos
(Cincinnati) Garage Soul
The Parlour bands tonight are excellent, but if you’re not in the mood to be hypnotized by thoughtful personal insight and decelerated soundscapes, recharge your batteries with Los Honchos. The band’s adrenalized take on classic Soul music will grab those haunted souls and get them on the dancefloor.
Dig: Buster Poindexter accidentally running into his New York Dolls friends at a voodoo lounge in New Orleans.
Southgate House
Friday, Sep 25, 9:00

Loudmouth
(Cincinnati) Punk/Ska/Rock
Ska music has been adapted by almost every generation of musicians since the music first sprung up in Jamaica a half-century ago. Loudmouth leans a bit more on the “Punk” side of the Punk/Ska equation, resulting in a sound that is energetic, urgent, raucous and pummeling. The band’s party vibe when they play live has made them a popular draw in the region in a relatively short time.
Dig: An updated Mighty Mighty Bosstones with better vocals, Rancid, a Ska CD from Fat Wreck Chords.
Mainstay Rock Bar
Thursday, Sep 24, 10:00

Louise Mosrie
(Nashville) Americana/Folk
After a long career in broadcasting, journalism and advertising — the soul-sucking trifecta — Louise Mosrie opted to pursue her desire to translate her creativity into music. And we’re the better for it. Mosrie nabbed one of six awards in the New Folk contest at this year’s Kerrville Festival and her latest album, Home, has got her fans clamoring for more … and it’s not even out yet.
Dig: Joni Mitchell and Kathleen Edwards in a three-legged race with Shawn Colvin’s guitar as a prize.
Madonna's Bar & Grill
Saturday, Sep 26, 9:00

Love in October
(Chicago) Indie Pop/Rock
Love in October is what happens when Swedish brothers cook up a Pop band in Minneapolis and bring it to a boil in Chicago. Erik and Kent Widman (and a fluid cast of Octoberites) mix dance rhythms with jittery ’60s/’70s guitar wave Pop to create a swirling hybrid of Scandinavian sugar disco and American garage Pop.
Dig: Peter, Bjorn and Kraftwerk and The White Stripes, but no whistling. Thank God, no whistling.
Know Theatre
Friday, Sep 25, 8:00

Loyal Divide
(Chicago) Ambient Pop
The bio for this Windy City fivesome reveals this intriguing statement: “Truly a live act, Loyal Divide knows how to produce electricity from frustration — frustration with poverty, each other and the road.” If the songs on its two EPs are any indication, expect a curious, slow-burning sound that glides along via atmospheric synths and subtly layered vocals.
Dig: Can, a funkier late-era Radiohead, Stereolab on whiskey-laced cough syrup.
Contemporary Arts Center
Thursday, Sep 24, 9:30

MachineGun Mojo
(Chicago) Hard Rock
Machinegun Mojo wears its Classic Rock influences like a vintage patch from a thrift store rather than faux retro-chic from a catalog. The Chicago quartet cooks thick, smoldering chunks of Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin into a steaming and authentic Blues Rock gumbo that’s both filling and tasty.
Dig: The good old vinyl days when even the best and hardest Rock had to wait for the record to be turned over.
Mainstay Rock Bar
Friday, Sep 25, 9:00

Mack West
(Cincinnati) altcountry
An array of Cincinnati scene veterans — anchored by husky-voiced guitar slinger Zach Mechlem — populate up this impressive Tex-Mex Country Rock outfit. A curious conceptual element runs through the band’s songs and presentation: Mack West looks and sound as if they just walked off the set of a classic western in which they play the black-hatted villains with hearts of bronze. Perhaps the band describes it more succinctly: “Cowboy Theme Music.”
Dig: Johnny Cash backed by Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks for Sergio Leone.
Washington Platform
Saturday, Sep 26, 10:00

Mad Anthony
(Cincinnati) Rock
Mad Anthony’s impressive local pedigree (Phratry Records released MA’s Mike Montgomery-produced debut EP) makes sense the moment one hears frontman Ringo Jones’ voice, an impassioned roar ably matched by a robust rhythm section and a trashy guitar attack that ducks and weaves with the best of ’em. Sometimes sinister and often sexy, Mad Anthony’s version of soulful Post Punk will leave many an ass kicked.
Dig: The Constantines, X in a whiskey-fueled knife fight over a girl.
Courtyard Cafe On Main
Friday, Sep 25, 8:30

Magic Shop
(Detroit) Garage Country/Rock
With a vintage sound driven by chiming guitars and head-bob beats, Magic Shop is a Motown-based Garage band with a rootsy streak and a solid knack for Pop songwriting. The vocals have some of that Iggy swagger, with a hint of a snarl creeping out of the alluring melodies.
Dig: Early Stones jam with early Byrds in Mudhoney’s basement.
Blue Wisp Jazz Club
Friday, Sep 25, 11:00

Makers of Sense
(Chicago) Electronic/Dance/Experimental
Brother El and Cristián Huepe are Makers of Sense, an intelligent duo that crafts highly-grooving Dance music and blends elements of Hip Hop, House, Trance, Dub, African and South American music. The music is a result of the twosome’s varied backgrounds — Huepe is a Chilean musician and physicist, while Brother El is an indie label/studio operator and acclaimed solo artist who founded “The Hip Hop Project” at Loyola University Chicago’s radio station WLUW 88.7 FM. Together, these two creative minds conjure up engaging Dance music that is adventurous and cerebral but still fully capable of making one shake their booty. This ain’t your mama’s Dance music (no matter how old your mama might be).
Dig: Kid 606, Prefuse 73, IDM and Glitch Hop without many boundaries.
Know Theatre
Thursday, Sep 24, 10:30

Mallory
(Cincinnati) Avant Rock
Following an extended hiatus, this local fav is back on the scene in preparation for its long-awaited follow-up to 2002’s One Hundred Years, an artful debut that moves from guitar-driven Post Punk to ambient moodiness, often within the same song. If the band’s recent live shows are any indication, look for the new record to showcase a more tripped-out, Blues-inflected feel.
Dig: Deerhunter, a spacier Autolux, Explosions in the Sky fronted by Aleister Crowley.
Blue Wisp Jazz Club
Friday, Sep 25, 9:00

Mardelay
(Indianapolis)
Mardelay started life as a Jam band but soon shifted gears completely to reflect influences like U2, The Foo Fighters and Built To Spill. The result is an emotive, majestic sound full of drama and passion. The band is currently supporting its debut full-length, What We’ve Become, which features sweeping cello, adding another interesting texture to the group’s dynamic approach.
Dig: Jimmy Eat World, Coldplay minus the piano/whininess, Rob Thomas minus the suckiness.
Cadillac Ranch
Thursday, Sep 24, 9:00

Matt Stell and the Crashers
(Center Ridge, Ark.) AltCountry/Americana
Arkansas native Matt Stell didn’t get into playing and writing music until he was in the Midwest, going to college on a basketball scholarship. An AltCountry bar opened near the school and, encouraged by friends, he began to perform there regularly, building a following. Stell’s Southern roots are strongly evident in his music, which effectively incorporates dashes of southbound Soul and Blues.
Dig: Memphis BBQ-flavored Country with a side of Delta Blues.
Washington Platform
Saturday, Sep 26, 11:00

Matthew Pop
The Segway Room
Friday, Sep 25, 9:00

Matthew Shelton's Picnic
(Cincinnati) Acoustic Folk
Not many people can name-check Daniel Johnston, Nick Drake, Pavement, Lou Barlow, Ween, Magnetic Fields and Leonard Cohen as influences and make them all relevant to a single sound. But Matthew Shelton does it seamlessly, with a little help from his ace band, which provides piano, clarinet, strings and more. I defy anyone to write a better drugs-and-love song than “our PICNIC: 3000 Xmas Lights.”
Dig: Pete Seeger and John Prine drop acid and play Daniel Johnston covers in Mr. Rogers’ sweater closet, which is the universe.
Subway Bar and Lounge
Friday, Sep 25, 11:00

Mavis 'Swan' Poole
(Brooklyn, N.Y.) R&B/Neo Soul/Jazz
Mavis Poole is a gifted vocalist who has trained with the likes of Ira Wiggins, Kurt Elling and Branford Marsalis and has earned degrees in Music Education and Jazz Vocal Studies. But some things can’t be learned — Poole’s voice is a thing of ingrained beauty, dripping with pure soul. Flavors of Hip Hop and Jazz are prevalent, but this is contemporary Soul music at its finest.
Dig: Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, R&B and Soul music that actually has soul.
Mr Pitiful's
Saturday, Sep 26, 12:00

Mean Tambourines
(Nashville) Indie Rock
Mean Tambourines remember a time when New Wave was still charged up with the residual energy of Glam and was unafraid to show it. The Tambourines swing like mad on their debut EP, released back in July, and it’s generated a big buzz for the band already. Note to Mean Tambourines: Hurry up with the full-length already.
Dig: Supergrass and Spacehog and David Bowie and the Cars in the Rock version of Survivor.
Cadillac Ranch
Saturday, Sep 26, 12:00

Messerly and Ewing
(Cincinnati) Pop/Rock/Roots
When Mark Messerly and Brian Ewing went on hiatus, it wasn’t even official. The attention on and success of the Cincy band Wussy kept Messerly busy (he plays bass in the band) and Ewing had a similar schedule with Catalog Cowboys. But somehow they still found time to do acoustic gigs together. Last year, the pair resolved to celebrate their 15th year together by focusing on the bigger Digits on the volume knob and putting out a new album. MidPoint founders Sean Rhiney and Bill Donabedian are their backing band … anything’s possible from there.
Dig: R.E.M. drunk on a merry go round with Velvet Crush and The Jayhawks.
Madonna's Bar & Grill
Thursday, Sep 24, 8:30

Micachu and The Shapes
(London) Avant Electro Pop
That'd be London, England, not London, Ky. Micachu (aka 21-year-old Mica Levi) is supposedly a big fan of Harry Partch, a DIY guy who famously crafted homemade instruments to create unique sounds. The influence is immediately apparent on the band's Rough Trade debut, Jewellery, as Micachu and her Shapes (drummer Mark Pell and keyboardist Raisa Khan) deliver a brand of crafty junkyard Pop that made Beck a genre-mashing scene-stealer more than 15 years ago. Hyperactive beats back a clanging array of indistinguishable instruments and sounds (was that silverware falling to the floor?), yet the kitchen-sink arrangements never fail to cohere via the band's keen ear for Pop songcraft. Levi's modest sing/speak vocals are just another instrument in the eclectic mix, only occasionally breaking through with an overt chorus like ‚I won't have sex because of STDs.,
Dig: Beck in junkyard mode, Bjork, MIA minus the baby bump.
Grammer's
Saturday, Sep 26, 8:00

Middle Distance Runner
(Washington DC) Indie Rock
What is so entertaining about this five-member band from our nation’s capitol is that the members don’t seem to put any restrictions on where the songs can go. A honeysweet, Curtis Mayfield-like, falsetto Soul vocal? Hell yeah! Handclaps? Sure. A Rap break? Why not. Distorted vocals with a Thom Yorke snarl? That’ll work. High-flying, majestic choruses straight out of a Muse song? Shouldn’t be a problem. Coldplayian string swells? That’d be cool. Dust-up Blues/Rock, complete with harmonica? Sounds fun. And it is — all of it. The “lack of focus” might not be cool with big-time record execs, but for listeners and undoubtedly the band members, it’s a blast and a half.
Dig: Mindlessly flipping the TV channels when there’s “nothing on” and being stopped in your thumb tracks repeatedly by “the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Blue Wisp Jazz Club: Thursday Sept. 24 11:00

Mike Fair and the Adventure Seekers
(Cincinnati) Indie/Roots/Rock
Led by longtime sideman Mike Fair (Ma Crow and the Flock, Wojo and the Blue Ravens), this Cincy foursome finds Fair showcasing his strong songwriting skills and stepping up to the mic for the first time. The band’s bittersweet Folk/Rock/Pop (with several genre tangents) was on glorious display on the 2006 debut release, I Am Smiling, Dammit, and the group is currently wrapping up work on a new release.
Dig: Jeff Tweedy, Memphis Soul, Stones ballads.
Mr Pitiful's
Thursday, Sep 24, 8:30

Mock Orange
(Evansville, Ind.) Indie/Rock
Having been making music and touring for more than a decade, this Hoosier foursome has perfected its “Classic Indie” sound, drawing from some of the heavy hitters of the ’90s, but putting its own singular spin on the proceedings. The vocals — an enchanting, falsetto-y lilt blended with a lower-register harmony — deliver sledgehammer hooks, which are wrapped up with wiry guitar licks (a la Television) and crafty rhythms. The band has recorded with Indie hero J. Robbins (Jets To Brazil, Dismemberment Plan), toured the U.S., Europe and Japan multiple times and has had its music featured in TV shows like CSI: Miami and Viva La Bam. Mock Orange should be every bit as big as some lesser Indie bands that have formed in its wake and gone on to widespread critical acclaim. Who knows — maybe the best is still to come.
Dig: Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, Television.
Inner Peace Center
Thursday, Sep 24, 11:00

Moon High
(Columbus, Ohio) Indie Folk
Moon High may not know exactly what kind of band they should be, primarily because they're great at everything. At the core, the Columbus quintet pushes out a straight up acoustic Folk vibe, but then you notice there's a Space Rock ambience and Jazz-like dissonance and a '60s Pop feel and that the whole thing is layered with total Indie Rock coolness.
Dig: Mazzy Star retrofitted as a Folkgrass band and guided by a Joe Pernice Fan Club compass.
Know Theatre
Thursday, Sep 24, 8:30

My My My
(Chicago) Indie Pop/Rock
With a jangly, buzzing glide and some hooky but dynamic song structures, this Indie Pop fivesome has earned a reputation as a Chicago version of The New Pornographers. Guy/gal lead vocalists trade off and harmonize, the guitars slant like The Afghan Whigs and the melodies practically beg you two sing along.
Dig: Catching a baseball game at Wrigley with The New Pornographers and going out for cotton candy after the game.
Cadillac Ranch
Friday, Sep 25, 11:00

Nathan Xander
(Chicago) Roots Rock
With his latest album, The Fear, Nathan Xander transitions from coffeehouse troubadour to Roots Rock major leaguer. There are the obvious Dylan comparisons (which don't bother Xander in the least, thank you very much) but Wilco's dusty atmospherics, Ryan Adams' broad Pop appeal and Patterson Hood's desperate passion are all here as well.
Dig: Bob Dylan, Wilco and Drive-By Truckers in a hall of mirrors.
Arnold's Bar and Grill
Saturday, Sep 26, 9:00

Nelly Kate
(Staunton, Va.) Electronic
Nelly Kate's affecting Electro Pop stands on a refreshingly minimalist backbone of ‚antiquated Casio synth,, her childlike vocals and spare percussion. Kate's bio states that she likes to project homemade films about bicycles, rivers, wind and Rwandans during performances. Let's hope her projector makes it to Cincinnati; I'd hate to get anything less than the full Nelly Kate effect.
Dig: A bedroom version of Lali Puna, Mirah, Björk at age 12.
The Segway Room
Saturday, Sep 26, 8:00

Nick Arnold
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) Country/Pop
Who says Bootsy and his crew don't have eclectic tastes? Hey, one of his buddies is Charlie Daniels! Indiana singer/songwriter Nick Arnold might seem an unlikely presence at a Bootzilla-presented event. But Arnold's got a shot at going places, having developed his Country sound with a live band in the clubs of Indiana and, again, drawing the Bootster's attention.
Dig: Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Country-to-Pop crossover successes.
Havana Martini Club
Saturday, Sep 26, 8:00

Noctaluca
(Cincinnati)
Singer Jason Ludwig leads this Cincy foursome with his jaw-dropping, versatile voice, which ranks as one of the best in the city. Inspired by the timeless Classic Rock of Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Sabbath, Noctaluca concocts its own unique style via clever, non-rote songwriting and some amazing musicianship. The band's latest release, Still the Wicked Rest, was inspired by political and social concerns, but the group's sweeping, groove-driven Rock & Roll soul keeps things from getting too preachy or weighed down.
Dig: Monster Magnet without the cheese, Soundgarden spreading its wings.
Cadillac Ranch
Thursday, Sep 24, 12:00

Numa
(Washington, D.C.)
Numa's incendiary Rock & Roll boogie has helped the band earn gigs with Avenged Sevenfold, get invited to play a fest at RFK Stadium, sell out shows in our nation's capital's best mid-sized clubs and get its music played on Rock and College radio stations across the region. Singer Chad Burrows may have the most versatile voice in Rock, he alternately sounds like Ozzy Osbourne, Layne Stanley, Bruce Dickinson, Chris Cornell and Steven Tyler, and he even does a really solid guttural roar.
Dig: Monster Magnet, upper-register-dwelling Hard Rock vocalists a la Iron Maiden and Soundgarden.
Mainstay Rock Bar
Saturday, Sep 26, 10:00

Old School Abbey
(Beckley, W.Va.) Americana/Roots Pop
The list of influences on Old School Abbey's MySpace page reads like the index for the Encyclopedia Rockannica, but in the final analysis, the band's gift is giving old sounds a new spin. OSA nods to the crop of new acoustic rockers, but the phrase ‚old school, isn't a part of their name for nothing.
Dig: The Black Crowes and The Wallflowers sing modern sea shanties and electric waltzes.
Cadillac Ranch
Friday, Sep 25, 10:00

Oxford Cotton
(Cincinnati) Rock
Well, this band is kind of the big mystery of MidPoint. The only info we know is that it's a Cincinnati band with former/current members of The Greenhornes, Pearlene and The Heartless Bastards, three of the best Rock & Roll bands to ever call Greater Cincinnati home. With a peDigree like that, you can't be blamed for expecting this might also be the big surprise smash of MidPoint, as well.
Dig: The Greenhornes, Pearlene, The Heartless Bastards.
Southgate House
Saturday, Sep 26, 10:00

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