Giant Wow (pictured) has gotten noticeably better in the few years they’ve been playing, with Hey Girl being the pinnacle so far. The solid songwriting (of the melodic Pop/Rock variety) is enhanced by Jesse Gilsinger's always-impressive and imaginative guitar work (dueling with Adams’ own crafty fretwork) and superb harmonies. “Wicked Girl” is a standout track, a love-vengeance tale with irresistible hooks and driving, spiraling rhythm, sounding like Queens of the Stone Age minus the machismo. (Get show details here.)
• Local power trio Sparrow Bellows celebrates the release of its solid self-titled debut, a collection of well-played, soulful and tuneful Rock & Roll songs, this Friday at Stockyard Café (on Spring Grove Avenue just before you get to Northside).
The show also features some excellent openers with SB (or rather SB bassist) connections: Cash Flagg is fronted by Shawn Bracken, Bellows singer/bassist Sammy Wulfeck’s brother in late Roots Rock faves The Stapletons, while Goose features Wulfeck on bass. (Get show details here.)
• Tickled Pink — a Cincinnati-based trio featuring local scene veterans Scott Covrett (vocals/guitar), Bob Nyswonger (bass/vocals) and Bam Powell (drums/vocals) — celebrate the release of its latest CD, a self-titled affair, Friday and Saturday at Sidebar in Covington. The disc contains 14 diverse, hook-laden tracks, with songwriting credits equally distributed between the three gifted and experienced musicians.
Fans of the pyschodots/Raisins/Bears school of Rock (Nyswonger has been involved in all three, while Powell was an early member of the Raisins) take note: Tickled Pink picks up the Pop/Rock torch and sprints to the finish line with this superb effort. The musicianship is expectedly flawless (all three have done extensive session work), but it’s the eclecticism (the songs veer from Blues to Roots Rock to Power Pop) and songwriting that’ll have you coming back for more. (Get show details here.)
• Last but far from least, Indie Pop collective The Minor Leagues return with the new This Story Is Old, I Know, But It Goes On (released by Chicago/Cincy imprint Datawaslost), another dazzling, epic album that revolves loosely around a concept/storyline yet lacks all the pompousness of a “Rock Opera.” The Leagues take the history of Pop Rock music (from The Kinks to Blur to Apples in Stereo) and shape it into their own image, sounding a little like everything and a lot like nothing you’ve heard.
The group’s live shows have become rare (the band’s MidPoint showcase in September was its first since 2007) but remain must-sees, as the already-large lineup (around seven members in all) is often augmented by additional friends. For the release show this Saturday at Northside’s Mayday (the old Gypsy Hut) with openers Slant, Koala Fires and Cougar Ace, expect the band to pull out all the stops. With output as strong as This Story, The Minor Leagues should be getting called up to the bigs soon if there's any justice in the world. (Get show details here.)
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