Hard to believe, but the annual South By Southwest music showcase/festival/conference in Austin, Texas, kicks off on March 12. As always, the huge event is featuring some artists from the Greater Cincinnati area, including SXSW returnees Buffalo Killers. Two other SXSW-bound local acts are playing kick-off shows this week to help raise some funds for the trip (the price of gas today makes traveling all the more difficult for independent acts).
• Great Cincy rockers The Harlequins are heading to Austin for SXSW for the first time this year. The band is slated to perform at the festival on March 16 with the esteemed Gringo Star. Frontman Michael Oliva says the group will be playing shows on the way to and from the festival in Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky.
The Garage/Psych Rock trio — which is planning a new EP release in April — is performing its “bon voyage” show on Thursday at Over-the-Rhine’s MOTR Pub with guests Stephen Paul Smoker. The show is free, but the band will be offering a limited edition screen print of the night’s show poster for $5. The band is also sweetening the pot by releasing a new single for free at the MOTR gig.
You can also help The Harlequins out by donating to their gas fund online via their secure Paypal account. The link is accessible on the trio’s official site: theharlequinsmusic.com.
• The always dazzling Seedy Seeds are returning to SXSW this year for the fifth time, journeying to Austin with pals The Ridges, a fantastic Athens, Ohio-based orchestral Indie Folk squad that has become a favorite in Greater Cincinnati thanks to regular visits for shows.
The two bands will be performing shows together around the South and Midwest on their way to Austin, including a show at the Southgate House Revival in Newport on March 6.
The Seedy Seeds will dash off to Toronto right after SXSW to appear at the annual Canadian Music Fest. (theseedyseeds.com)
• Though not a performer (anymore), Brian Penick of local promo company The Counter Rhythm Group is heading to South By Southwest this year to drum up interest in his forthcoming eBook, Musicians’ Desk Reference. Penick wrote about his plans for the trip and the interactive industry guidebook for his monthly guest blog for citybeat.com this month. Check out more on the book (as well as the in-progress Kickstarter campaign) at musiciansdeskreference.com.
More Local Notes
• Local Rock/Soul/Pop crew The Guitars celebrates its newish release, Higher Action, this Friday at Northside’s Mayday with special guests Animal Circles. The recording is actually an expanded version of The Guitars’ phenomenal 2011 EP, High Action, with two bonus cuts — “El Alamein” and a cover of Billy Vera/The Remains’ “Don’t Look Back”— culled from an “Ultrasessions” live recording. Oh, and this new Higher Action is being released on cassette by California indie label Burger Records (the label has put out material by The Black Lips, The GO, King Tuff and many others). The Guitars are presently preparing to start recording new material with local artist/producer Brian Olive. (wearetheguitars.com)
• Latin/Salsa supergroup Tropicoso ended its 14-year-plus, every-Monday-night residency at Corryville club The Mad Frog back in January, but this Friday you can catch the band’s first date of a new residency at the club. Tropicoso will now play The Mad Frog the second Friday of every month beginning this week. The shows are open to fans 18 and up and admission is $7. Doors open at 8 p.m. (tropicosomusic.com)
• After a pair of albums on the Universal Music Group-distributed Credential Recordings, local Pop Rock quartet Seabird has decided to go the independent, D.I.Y. route with its next album (with a little help from their friends/fans). After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the band has been working on the album at Nashville, Tenn.’s Smoakstack studios, owned by Grammy-nominated producer Paul Moak (Third Day, Mat Kearney, Lovedrug). Seabird hasn’t done a local show in a while now, but this Friday the band is playing U.S. Bank Arena, delivering a full concert following the Cincinnati Cyclones’ 7:30 p.m. hockey game against the Toledo Walleye. Admission to the concert is free with your hockey ticket purchase (ranging between $13-$26.50). The show is the cap-off to the hockey club’s “Faith Night.” (seabirdmusic.com)