Youngstown, OH • Indie/Progressive
Sam Goodwill isn’t a guy but a trio that makes creatively shaped Art Pop, folding in elements of slinky, twilight Soul, skittish Funk and subtle Electronica. It’s not often that you can say a musical act is doing something truly unique but here’s one of those rare instances. The song structures twist and turn inside out regularly, as if guided by a maniacal GPS gone haywire, but it’s somehow never jarring due to precision and telepathic interlock between the band members and the fluid vibe inherent in their sound. Atop the busy arrangements flows a steady stream of melodic, soulful vocals, another element that just shouldn’t work, but Sam Goodwill makes it sound effortless.
Dig It: The musical equivalent of Matt Damon’s common-man genius character in Good Will Hunting solving an impossible equation like he’s tying his shoelaces. (MB)
10:30 p.m. Friday at Mixx Ultra Lounge
Sam Lamont Band
Morgantown, WV • Americana/Singer/Songwriter
With his self-titled and self-released debut and his 2009 sophomore follow-up, Good Intentions, West Virginia native Sam Lamont makes the definitive statement that he belongs squarely among the artists he is so frequently compared against. Lamont and his group play with the supple invention of a Jam band, the freewheeling abandon of an Americana outfit and the timeless passion of a Blues troupe. Sam Lamont has a Rock & Roll heart, a Country soul and unmistakable talent.
Dig it: Phish, Steve Miller and the Dave Matthews Band hit the Golden Road to do soulful takes on The Grateful Dead’s catalog. (BB)
9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club
Say it With a Smile
Champaign, IL • Indie/Folk
The five members of this Illinois band combine for a gentle sound that captures the vibe of summer’s end and autumn dawns. Husband/wife songwriters Jaron and Katherine Kamin are at the core of the band’s peaceful, easy vibe, which sounds like 21st century Soft Rock informed by the current Indie Folk revival. The group’s debut full-length, Places We Call Home, is currently in the works.
Dig it: Bread and Seals & Croft basking in a beachside sunset. (MB)
8:15 p.m. Saturday at Media Bridges
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Chicago, IL • Indie/Pop
Last year’s MidPoint was a stellar, successful event, but it wasn’t without sour notes. One had something to do with a mechanical bull, but the more important and potentially tragic one was when news arrived that Chicago Indie Pop troupe The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir was involved in a bad van accident and wouldn’t make it to their MPMF showcase. The band is fully recovered and makes its triumphant return this year, probably even more spirited than ever. SYGC’s self-titled debut for Bloodshot Records is a marvel of theatrical, orchestral Pop music that shifts moods from track to track, making the listening experience almost like watching scenes from a film unfold.
Dig it: The energy of an old-time Gospel revival and the spirit of a lively Broadway show refracted through an Indie Pop prism. (Mike Breen)
12:30 a.m. Friday at Main Event
Cincinnati • Indie Rock
Brothers Aaron and Ryan Morgan launched Seabird in 2006 and within two years the band had released its debut album, ’Til We See the Shore, gotten songs on television (Grey’s Anatomy, Numb3rs, Pushing Daisies), claimed the Artist of the Year trophy at the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards and hit the road with NeedToBreathe, Jars of Clay and many others. Seabird’s sophomore album, Rocks Into Rivers, blends Classic Pop/Rock elements with contemporary Indie Rock energy and emerges with some of the most heartfelt and powerful piano Pop of the past decade.
Dig it: Coldplay channels Rufus Wainwright, dials back the drama, notches up the passion. (BB)
Midnight Friday at Mainstay Rock Bar
The Seedy Seeds
Cincinnati • ElectroPop/Folk
The Seedy Seeds’ MidPoint appearance last year at the CAC was a revelation, a medium-sized peyote button away from a religious experience in a sweat lodge. The Seeds are without question one of the truly astonishing bands to rise from Cincinnati’s local scene in recent years and the band’s next recording could very easily kick them into the stratosphere, perhaps a foregone conclusion for a band that won a pair of Cincinnati Entertainment Awards bookends (Best New Artist and Best Experimental/Electronic Band) in its first year together (and three more last year). Making soul-stirring Electronic Pop out of a thrift store collection of instruments, The Seedy Seeds will alter your personal space/time continuum.
Dig it: The Postal Service and Dolores O’Riordan get locked in a pawn shop’s music window overnight and start a band. (BB)
8:30 p.m. Friday at Grammer's
The Sewing Circle
Port Clinton, OH • Alternative Pop/Rock
With The Sewing Circle’s bouncy AlternaPop effervescence, slyly obvious-yet-obtuse lyrical content and guy/girl vocal harmonies, it’s easy to think of The New Pornographers. When the trio slows down to an acoustic crawl, it’s easy to think of Neko Case’s solo output. And when it Punks up the joint, it’s easy to think of X’s glory days. But after spinning the band’s eponymous debut and new album, I See Stars, it’s easy to think of The Sewing Circle as a great band on its own merits.
Dig it: The New Pornographers band-battling with The Dandy Warhols for the right to be king and queen of the Pop/Rock prom. (BB)
11:30 p.m. Thursday at Mixx Ultra Lounge
Chicago • Folk/Pop
Folk, Rock and Americana.figure big in the sincere, emotive songs of Chicago-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Shelley Miller. Steady touring and the versatility to play acoustic in a coffeehouse or full-on electric in a Rock venue has helped her grow a fanbase. It also helps that she releases strong albums, like this year’s When It’s All Gone, You Come Back.
Dig it: Patty Griffin, Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams. (MB)
11:30 p.m. Saturday at Madonna's
She’s in Orbit
Cincinnati • Garage Rock
Some bands don’t just wear their influences on their sleeves, they make complete sleeves out of their influences. Heavy, woolly, itchy sleeves that don’t show the band’s nice, bulked-up original arms. The guys in She’s in Orbit have nice original arms and they don’t mind showing them off. They’ll definitely give you a glimpse of how they’ve been working out with The Kinks and early Who but they’ve got some pretty spiffy moves of their own. This show is She’s in Orbit’s debut. Oh, and SiO is yet another project featuring the talents of MidPoint’s founders Bill Donabedian and Sean Rhiney.
Dig it: Early Nuggets-laced Rock boiled down to its essence, stirred with the broken neck of a Les Paul and served piping hot. (BB)
10:15 p.m. Thursday at Inner Peace Center
Shiny & The Spoon
Cincinnati • Roots/Folk
Two years ago, Magnolia Mountain guitarist Jordan Neff partnered up with singer/songwriter Amber Nash to become Shiny and the Spoon (ostensibly she’s the former and he’s the latter, although the arrangement seems malleable). In the interim, Nash has boarded the Magnolia Mountain express as a vocalist and Shiny and the Spoon has become one of the city’s most extraordinary stripped-back, old-time, front-porch outfits. Like Johnny and June, Neff and Nash are personally connected, which makes Shiny and the Spoon much more than your standard Folk duo. And their prominent use of ukulele has made them favorites in the uke-lovers underground (yes, there is one).
Dig it: Elvis Costello and Patty Griffin channeling Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris with a ukulele. (BB)
10:30 p.m. Saturday at The Original Tax Place
Osaka, Japan • Indie Pop
When Shonen Knife roared out of Osaka, Japan, Ronald Reagan was in the first year of his first term, The Ramones were just four years into their world domination plan and the Pop pixies of Puffy Ami Yumi were 8 and 6, respectively. The trio has surfed the vagaries of an excitedly indifferent music industry, the brutal whims of fickle fandom and the shifting soundscape of popular opinion by embracing every genre and filtering them through their Pop/Punk prism in pursuit of the perfect naive musical moment. Those moments are all over the Knife’s latest disc, Super Group: the Garage Pop of “Slug,” the Prog ambitions of “Muddy Bubble Hell,” the Country/Punk nod of “Deer Biscuits,” the acid-burnt sheen of “Pyramid Power” and their joyously breathless reading of Sir Paul’s “Jet.” Super Group is Shonen Knife’s first album with new bassist Ritsuko and features all English lyrics, but who listens to Shonen Knife for the profound message? Cuckoo evil birds may well be building nests on their balconies but we can only thank the stars that Shonen Knife has the skills to set that indignant act to an infectiously ass-shaking soundtrack.
Dig it: Grrrl power creates the soundtrack to Popzilla. (Brian Baker)
11 p.m. Thursday at the Contemporary Art Center
A Shoreline Dream
Denver, CO • Alternative Rock
There’s definitely a tendency toward Shoegaze and Stoner Rock in A Shoreline Dream’s sound, exemplified by sheets of rippling guitar chaos. At the same time, there is a love of gorgeous Space Rock and hushed ambience at the heart of ASD’s sunrise, with influences like the Cocteau Twins, Sigur Ros and Dead Can Dance bubbling to the surface and making perfectly beautiful sense within the cacophony. A Shoreline Dream creates a universe of guitar squall then aims it straight for the cleansing singularity of an ambient black hole, where it emerges both adrenalized and becalmed.
Fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy (and great) ride.
Dig it: Divers that are slow, drivers that swerve, black emperors that are godsped, floyds that are pink, bunnymen that are echoed and the dancing dead. (BB)
9:30 p.m. Thursday at Main Event
Detroit, MI • Indie/Electronic
Blending driving, distorted guitars with New Wave synths and frenetic beats, Detroit duo Silverghost’s flashback sound manages to capture the spirit and essence of good ’80s Alternative music without coming off too much like a retro novelty. The boy/girl vocal trade-off is also effective because, instead of, say, Human League, it more resembles a fantasy group fronted by Mark Mothersbaugh and Siouxsie Sioux. Instead of winking and making fun of the ’80s, Silverghost actually sounds like it’s tributing the best music of that decade.
Dig It: Devo, Berlin, The Cure, The Banshees. (MB)
10 p.m. Friday at FB's
Indianapolis, IN • Indie/Experimental
Making ethereal, avant-garde music with elements of Indie Folk and electronic music, Slothpop concocts its own genre with a sound that floats in the same stratosphere as Yeasayer and Grizzly Bear, with the fearlessly adventurous curiosity of Bjrk providing the jetstream. Frontwoman Kristin “Slothpop” Newborn’s vocals (and the choral, angelic harmonies that engulf them) are the magnetic core of the group’s mystical, mysterious sound, possessing an otherworldly aura that is engagingly spooky and dreamlike. Slothpop is weirdly beautiful and beautifully weird.
Dig It: Animal Collective, Yeasayer, Joanna Newsom. (MB)
8 p.m. Thursday at Below Zero Lounge
Nashville, TN • Indie Rock
Don’t be fooled by the Mapquest location above — Slow Claw rose up from the ashes of Cincinnati’s own Junior Revolution and reconfigured into its current trio status (guitarist Rob Barnes, bassist Brian Miller, drummer Chris Denholm). The band’s debut album, last year’s Grandfather Clocks, received glowing praise for its juddering rhythms, quirky melodicism, subtly powerful arrangements and raw emotionalism, just as they were relocating to Music City. The prodigal Claw returns … welcome home, guys. Now get out there and shake what Cincinnati gave you. We’ll shake back.
Dig it: Ryan Adams and Thom Yorke sit up front at a National show and take copious notes. (BB)
9:30 p.m. Friday at the Contemporary Art Center
Tuam, Ireland • Indie Pop
Brian Kelly’s punchy, effusive Pop is one of the MidPoint calendar’s most scintillating sonic confections. In “Laughing Disaster,” the So Cow mastermind croons, “Oh, life goes fast when having fun/And being young/And romance is on the cards,” with so much sweet charm that it makes delving into his substantial discography worth the jump. Even with his predilection for the simplicity of melody, Kelly has ambition, too — he once wrote and sung a song in broken Korean.
Dig it: The poppier side of Punk’s inaugural wave, Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg and the best sort of Pub Rock. (RA)
9 p.m. Friday at the Southgate House
Cincinnati • Indie Rock/Electronica
Soapland is: a) an appropriate nickname for Cincinnati; b) a Japanese term for a brothel where the prostitutes wash the clientele; or c) a new band in Cincinnati. Trick question … it’s all three! The quartet is working on self-recorded demos at the moment and has just two songs on its MySpace page (you know it’s a new band because they only have seven friends), but we want to hear so much more. Comprised of the lovely Amy Jo on vocals, Wolverton Brothers bassist Jay McCubbin and ex-Roundhead guitarist Steve Metz and drummer Bill Bullock, Soapland is twisted Indie Rock run through a synth filter and turned up to industrial levels.
Dig it: Cindy Wilson of The B-52s fronting the resurrected Flying Lizards and beating Brian Eno with an olive branch. (BB)
10:30 p.m. Friday at Main Event
Chicago • Indie Rock
Chicago Indie foursome Soft Speaker rolls between gentle, twinkling soundscapes and fuzzed-out, imaginatively-arranged rockers with the common thread being sublime melodies inspired by the classic Pop of the ’60s and ’70s. The band released its second EP, Stranger In The Alps, earlier this year..
Dig it: Slanted Art Rock that wanders, wonders and works. (MB)
10:30 p.m. Saturday at Mixx Ultra Lounge
Seven Mile, OH • Indie Rock
With the same five-man lineup for eight years, Sohio has built a deep musical bond that radiates from the stage. Putting out two solid albums, with a small-town vibe and large vision, these artists write emotional, smart songs that naturally stick. The visually-driven sound led them to TV/film success when songs appeared in the HBO comedy series, Tourgasm and the Cannes-noteworthy independent film, The Speed of Life. Welcoming and magnetic, Sohio’s tunes delicately blend a combination of heart, innovation and pure, tight, engaging Rock.
Dig it: Feeling like you’re in the band, songs getting stuck in your head. (CAM)
8 p.m. Saturday at Washington Platform
Sons of Hippies
Sarasota, FL • Psychedelic Indie Rock
In just two years, Sons of Hippies has evolved from the synthesized Psych Rock duo of Katherine Kelly (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Jonnas Canales (drums, vocals, percussion, synthesizers) to a full-fledged band with the addition of bassist/vocalist Ryan O’Neill (Pro-Pain guitarist Tom Klimchuck lent a hand as bassist and producer on the band’s 2009 debut, Warriors of the Light). Sons of Hippies has been rightfully lauded by the Florida media for their contemporary classicism. Don’t miss the buzz, man.
Dig it: Veruca Salt and Guided By Voices hit the road as The Mamas and the Jefferson Airpapas. (BB)
10 p.m. Saturday at FB's
Cincinnati • Indie Rock
Sparrow Bellows began life as The Emeralds a scant two years ago, and in that time have provided highlight moments for two MidPoints (their first a mere five months after forming). Since that first appearance, they’ve downsized from a quartet to a trio and changed their name to avoid further confusion with Japan’s Emeralds. Ric Hickey is a guitar god visiting in human form, Sammy Wulfeck has a bassist’s rhythmic intent and a lead singer’s lecherous swivel and Brian Kitzmiller drums with lounge cool and blast-furnace heat. Sparrow Bellows’ self-titled debut attempts to bottle their musical lightning, but their full glory is best witnessed from an audience’s perspective.
Dig it: Adrian Belew ouijas up the spirit of Frank Zappa and channels him into a Mahogany Trower Power Pop trio. (BB)
9:30 p.m. Friday at Mixx Ultra Lounge
Star and Micey
Memphis, TN • Folk/Pop
Star & Micey is an exquisite ensemble (built around a core trio) that takes the ingredients of traditional Folk and Americana, swirls in a dash of old-school Soul and blends it all together for a dynamic, uplifting, intoxicating Roots Pop sound. Though masterfully performed and flawlessly executed, there’s an endearing wide-eyed innocence and simplicity to the band’s music and the members have been known to charm any and every audience they come in contact with.
Dig It: Velvet Soul music, rolling Roots music and non-pandering Pop music that puts a smile on your face. (MB)
10:30 p.m. Thursday at Madonna's
Cincinnati • Indie Rock
Frontdude Scot Torres’ affecting voice —which moves from whispery croon to full-throated croak with equal conviction — powers this dynamic Cincinnati trio’s winding, emotion-packed Indie Rock. The band’s recent full-length, Dear Hearts & Gentle People, for local Phratry Records features 10 songs of almost operatic intensity as Torres juggles piano and guitar duties (often in the same song) while singing of paper ghosts, skeleton keys and death valleys, all of which is anchored by a fluid rhythm section. The State of this Song is strong.
Dig it: Sunny Day Real Estate, prime-era Weezer but with conviction and a better singer. (JG)
9 p.m. Thursday at The Contemporary Art Center
The Strange Boys
Austin, TX • Garage Rock
When Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones first partnered up in the early ’60s, they rallied around their abiding love of authentic Chicago Blues, a love that inspired them to name their band after a Muddy Waters song and record their own sessions at the legendary Chess studios. Austin’s Strange Boys don’t have that kind of historical lineage, but they sure as hell play vintage Garage Blues and R&B as if they do. Raw, feral, immediate and visceral, The Strange Boys aren’t doing anything groundbreaking, but give them half a chance and they’ll kick your Garage loving ass up between your well abused ears.
Dig it: Swaggering Blues and R&B from Chicago, Texas, USA. (BB)
12:30 a.m. Saturday at Main Event
Cincinnati • Indie Blues Punk
Eight years on and The Sundresses are still one of the most compelling and hair-raising bands in Cincinnati. Skronk-fueled Blues Punk heathens banging on the city’s rusty gates, not for admittance but merely for the lovely percussion afforded by rusty gates. Songs of social, political and cultural dissolution. Or this illusion. Or piss diffusion. And now here comes the trio’s third album, Sundresses Off, which is what they are. It’s a live record, a setting The Sundresses have always, always done the most effective damage, a guitar/bass/drum carpet bombing that leaves little but exultation and slack-jawed wonder in its wake. The needle is pegged, the adrenaline is high, The Sundresses are On when they go Off.
Dig it: A sonic knife fight between Nick Cave and Stan Ridgway, with the winner carving his bloody initials into the Hank Williams box set. (BB)
Midnight Saturday at Below Zero Lounge
Columbus, OH • Pop
As stated elsewhere in this encyclopedic festival roundup, you can glean a lot about a band from their avowed influences. A quick perusal of Super Desserts’ MySpace listing reveals their inspirations include “pink and purple sprinkles, powdered sugar, lemon cremes.” Considering its name, that seems appropriate. And you can hear it in the sound, a contemporarily energetic take on the shiny and bright Folk Pop of five decades ago, when The New Seekers and The New Christy Minstrels roamed the earth. Don’t forget to brush after Desserts.
Dig it: The Free Design time-travel from the ’60s to the new millennium and are enraptured by The Polyphonic Spree, Poi Dog Pondering and She and Him. (BB)
10:30 p.m. Thursday at MOTR Pub
Palm Beach, FL • Indie Rock
For a band that’s been around just over a year, Surfer Blood has already notched some impressive accomplishments. The Florida quintet’s first single, “Swim (To Reach the End),” came in at No. 37 on Pitchfork’s Best 100 Songs of 2009 and the band’s appearance at this year’s South By Southwest created a major buzz. Released just eight months ago, Surfer Blood’s debut album, Astro Coast, has garnered glowing press comparing them to Weezer, Pavement and Built to Spill. Surfer Blood is ready for its big-time close up.
Dig it: Brian Wilson and Lou Reed re-imagine the Beach Boys as the West Coast version of Velvet Underground, and Pete Townshend notes that the kids are better than alright. (Brian Baker)
11:30 p.m. Friday at The Cincinnati Club
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
Washington, DC • Rock
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Everyone’s favorite politically-inclined D.C. punk refuses to slow down or release a shitty album — this year’s The Brutalist Bricks is as invigorating as anything in Leo’s now-robust discography. Ted is still drunk on spiky guitars and dense wordplay, and when, in “Woke Up in Chelsea,” he repeatedly sings, “We are born of despair,” one can only be thankful that Leo and his Pharmacists are around to lift us up.
Dig it: Elvis Costello after three espressos, The Jam, Thin Lizzy fronted by Joe Strummer (Jason Gargano)
11:30 p.m. Friday at the Southgate House
Munci, IN • Indie Pop
“Can I get a high fuckin’ five?” goes a line in Thunderhawk’s Power Pop gem “King Basement,” a fitting title for a “band” that is really the solo basement recordings of singer/songwriter Josh Hall. Hall writes, records and plays all the instruments on Thunderhawk’s releases (the latest of which is Thunderhawk VI, recently issued on Indy’s Standard Recording Company). Hall plays shows with a full band (they recently did a “brew pub” tour on the way to their first South By Southwest appearance this year), but if there was a way for him to play all the instruments live at the same time, he probably would.
Dig It: ’70s Power Pop, Not Lame Recording Co. releases, Robert Pollard minus the incomplete song “snippets” and plus a better work ethic. (MB)
Midnight Thursday at Below Zero Lounge
Cincinnati • Americana/Bluegrass
Three years ago, The Tillers coalesced around a hillbilly jam between guitarist Sean Geil and banjoist Mike Oberst, leading to the duo’s first gig within a week. After a few street-corner outings, they decided to add bassist Jason Soudrette. With experiences in the Punk community and influences ranging from Folk to Bluegrass to back-porch old-time music, The Tillers evolved quickly; the band’s 2008 debut, Ludlow Street Rag, was mostly covers, while 2009’s By the Signs was primarily originals. The trio took last year’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Folk/Americana and wound up in a Tom Brokaw documentary about Route 50. Ray-Ban may not make a pair of shades dark enough to dim the brightness of The Tillers’ future.
Dig it: The grandsons of Bill Monroe and Del McCoury turn Bluegrass into the new Punk. (BB)
11:30 p.m. Friday at The Original Tax Place
Phoenix, AZ • Indie/Folk
Tobie Milford took his classically-trained skills as a violinist and decided to try something different, writing original songs built around the sounds put out by his primary instrument. Accompanying those violin plucks, stabs and sweeps (enhanced by loop pedals set to repeat patterns and create textures) with his ghostly vocal wail, Milford ended up with an elegant, artsy sound that has been mesmerizing listeners in Phoenix ever since. With his debut Alyosha, he’s taken his “one-man symphony” on the road to see if he can do the same to audiences across the U.S.
Dig It: Andrew Bird, Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, The Dirty Three. (MB)
9:15 p.m. Friday at Media Bridges
Chardon, OH • Folk/Blues
If you close your eyes and open your ears and mind while listening to Northeast Ohio singer/songwriter Tom Evanchuck, it would be easy to imagine him being a popular artist during the ’60s Folk revival. Evanchuck’s voice has a ring of authenticity that can’t be faked and his fingerpicking acoustic guitar skills are astonishing. It’s almost shocking to see Evanchuck’s photo after listening to his music for a while — he looks like he’s not even old enough to drink. Fans of traditional Blues and Folk should grab a copy of Evanchuck’s album Tom immediately.
Dig It: Bob Dylan’s voice circa 1964 paired with Mississippi John Hurt’s fingers circa 1930. (MB)
9 p.m. Friday at Jack Potts Tavern
Tom Tom Club
The influence of Talking Heads on Modern/Indie Rock can’t be overstated. In fact, there are likely a few dozen bands at MPMF this year who might sound quite differently if the Heads didn’t roll. The rhythms of the band were as vital a piece of the Heads’ sound as anything, so give thanks to Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth for helping to shape how a lot of your favorite bands move and groove. The drummer and bassist are bringing their Funk/Dance party machine Tom Tom Club, which they formed in 1981 as a side outlet, to MPMF this year. TTC’s music reflected the burgeoning Rap scene of the time (a weird irony considering the amount of Hip Hop artists who would sample TTC’s music over the next three decades), as well as the classic Funk and R&B the couple loved. The debut album’s second single, “Genius of Love,” became the Tom Tom Club’s biggest hit and, over time, it has proven to be a timeless classic thanks to samples used in even bigger hits over the years, most notably Mariah Carey’s No. 1 smash “Fantasy,” which featured TTC prominently. Chris and Tina are Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members, Modern Rock foundation-layers and a common presence throughout the history of recorded Hip Hop..
Dig it: New Wave, Vintage Funk, Hip Hop and dance music. (Mike Breen)
9:30 p.m. Saturday at Grammer's
Brooklyn, NY • Indie Rock
The dilemma in describing (The) Tony Castles is similar to finding the words that adequately clarify the sound and direction of Cincinnati’s own Foxy Shazam. (The) Tony Castles, relative newcomers to the Brooklyn scene, swirl around a sonic core that could be considered Weezer-like, with occasional forays into Roxy/Enoesque Art Pop affectations and My Morning Jacket explorations (if they’d been raised on a steady diet of Dub and Space Rock and ’60s AM Pop), capped off by a ball-straining falsetto. (The) Tony Castles might be hard to describe but they’re fascinating to hear..
Dig it: Clem Snide in a Chillwave mood until the acid kicks in and the hallucination of the Vienna Boys Punk/Pop Choir appears. (Brian Baker)
7:30 p.m. Saturday at Grammer's
Nashville, TN • Adult Alternative/Pop
Some dudes get into music because they think chicks will like them more if they see them as a bad boy rocker that mommy will hate. But the smarter way to go is to be the quiet, talented artist type with the acoustic guitar and sensitive songs. It’s just easier on your body. Trey Lockerbie probably gets a lot of chicks. The heartfelt, gentle Pop songs on his debut The Hummingbird EP have been drawing attention from the music industry and, having backed up and written with fellow singer/songwriter Josh Kelley and toured extensively (living in Nashville helps, too), he seems well prepared for his shot at solo success.
Dig It: John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw, James Morrison. (MB)
11:15 p.m. Friday at Media Bridges
Nashville, TN • Indie/Pop
Paste Magazine named Tristen Gaspadarek (you can just call her Tristen) one of its “Best of What’s Next” artists and one listen to her EP, Deceivers Are Achievers, it’s easy to see why. She and her band concoct a sparkling, enchanting brand of Indie Pop with a trad Country undercurrent. This January, her debut full-length, Charlatans At The Garden Gate, is due for release, at which point Paste might just name her “Best of What’s Now” and put her on the cover.
Dig It: Jenny Lewis, Neko Case, She & Him. (MB)
8:30 p.m. Thursday at MOTR Pub
Nashville, TN • Americana/Roots
Mary Beth Zamer and Mike T. Lewis have weirdly cool résumés. She sang backing vocals for the late Eva Cassidy’s Method Actor, while he had a No.1 Pop hit in South Korea in the late ’90s and plays upright bass for Jimmie Dale Gilmore on the road. As Twangtown Paramours, Zamer and Lewis combine to create an elegantly soulful urban Americana that folds in just the right amounts of Pop, Country, Gospel, Folk and Bluegrass and remembers that music is about feeling and not production.
Dig it: A Bizarro musical universe where Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell stayed together and became Country’s Captain and Tennille. (BB)
8:30 p.m. Friday at Madonna's