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Hedges Dabbles in 'Alchemy'

By Mike Breen · October 27th, 2010 · Spill It
This week, Joe Hedges, frontman for July for Kings, will be celebrating the release of his new solo album, Alchemy, with a unique release show. Friday’s event is a multimedia extravaganza timed to downtown’s “Final Friday” art gallery walk and taking place at the St. Theresa Textile Trove space (1329 Main St., Over-the-Rhine). Along with performing songs from Alchemy, Hedges will also unveil some of his latest paintings and premiere a music video. The art opening kicks off at 6 p.m. and Hedges performs at 8 p.m. Head to www.joehedges.com for more details and a free download of Alchemy track “Half-Right.”

As shown on Hedges’ 2007 solo debut, Curvature, the singer/songwriter’s solo material is quite different from July For King’s radio-ready Rock. Instead of going “solo acoustic,” Hedges uses the studio like another band member/instrument and the results, while still accessible and often catchy, are definitely more “artsy” and versatile than JFK’s output. Hedges (who produced and played all instruments, save drums) finds a nice balance between acoustic instrumentation (piano, drums, guitar) and smartly sculpted electronics on Alchemy (overused Autotune “robot voice” effect notwithstanding). Drum loops and synths are used prominently, but tastefully and creatively, more in the way Peter Gabriel works than the overbearing manner in which many ’80s-lovin’ bands today utilize technology. Likewise, Hedges’ compositions — which range from broadly atmospheric to more direct and upbeat — are elegant, his songwriting mature and accomplished and his soundscapes provocative and full of depth.

Along with his strong, expressive vocals, Hedges ends up with an album that feels warm and natural, putting it in the same league as works by modern electronic-based “one-person-bands” like Owl City and Lights, but with more experimentalism at work.

Call it imaginative, soulful ElectroPop for grown-ups.

Mala in Se’s First Stab

“Noise Rock/Art Metal” quartet Mala In Se releases its self-titled, debut full-length Friday at the Southgate House Parlour, with Kry Kids, Black Signal and Sometimes (featuring members of 1000 Arms and Kasparov) opening. Admission is $5, which includes a copy of the album and a download card giving access to two newer bonus songs.

Mala In Se has a diverse pedigree, featuring former/current members of 24hourflu, Hilltop Distillery, Knife The Symphony and Angels Of Meth, all bands known for having a singular slant. That combination of members lends itself well to an open, adventurous collaboration, and Mala In Se’s zigzag song structures and fearless progressiveness are certainly a reflection of that. Brutal, creepy, dissonant, sludgy, angular and spontaneous with Math-y rhythmic switch-ups, huge, lacerating riffs, primal-scream vocals and the ability to go from earth-shaking to pin-drop quiet in a blink, Mala In Se is like a Black Flag Progressive Rock album written and produced by Mike Patton.

Though played with unbridled creative energy and deft precision, the compositions are intricate and complex, making it a challenging listen for the average music fan. But for those who get off on the thrill of music that consistently surprises, Mala In Se is like musical porn. (malainse.com)

Tricks, Treats and Tributes

Friday and Saturday at Northside’s Mayday, even the musical performers will don Halloween costumes as WVQC: Radio Free Queen City, the community-minded, low-powered FM station (at 95.7 FM) that plays tons of local music, hosts a fun fundraiser. The “Hellaween” celebration features a group of local musicians (Dave Cupp of Caterpillar Tracks, Scotty Wood of Murder Junkies and Jackass, Jason Knarr of Jackass and Amoeba Men, Jason Snell of The Chocolate Horse and others) performing in full costume as four different classic bands (each with its own “tribute band” name). Friday, you’ll get The Muscle Cars (a tribute to The Cars) and The Ted Kennedys (playing Dead Kennedys), while Saturday the group becomes SSIKStupid Sister (KISS and Twisted Sister).

For the full schedule of events, www.maydaynorthside.com  or http://www.wvqc.org.

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com



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