At long last, Cincinnati Rock foursome Fists of Love will see the release of its debut album, I Sang My Heart Out to a Snake Once. The album has been “virtually street-ready” since FoL bassist/producer John Curley took a hiatus to tour the planet with his “other band,” The Afghan Whigs. Curley has returned from the road and will join his bandmates — guitarists/vocalists Chris Schadler and Donna Rubin and drummer Cedric Rose — this Friday for an album release show at Northside Tavern.
Friday will also mark the end of Fist of Love’s Kickstarter campaign to have I Sang My Heart Out to a Snake Once released on vinyl. Supporters can still give to the Kickstarter fund and earn some of the perks available for the different tiers of donation. The vinyl version is expected in June.
Admission for Friday’s show will be $5 (a rarity for the usually “free” Northside Tavern); download cards for the new album will be on sale for $5 as well, and you can pre-order the vinyl at the show. Halvsies opens the night at 10 p.m.
Given the history of the members of FoL (who’ve played with the likes of The Fairmount Girls, Snake Punching Contest and other acts over the past couple of decades), it’s not surprising that I Sang My Heart Out is an impressive first effort. The album is a sonic voyage from start to finish and a great recording to absorb as a whole (like how “albums” used to be). The arrangements on each track take the listener through unexpected twists, turns, textures and rhythms, showcasing a psychedelic spirit that is mesmerizing. The album touches on the “Psych” Rock, Pop and Folk of the past half century, but never sounds emulative, as the musicians turn it all into something uniquely Fists of Love.
Rubin and Schadler have a compelling creative dynamic, trading off lead vocals and harmonizing frequently as their guitar parts dance together throughout.
Highlights include the crawling, spooky “Trees,” the Mazzy-Star-meets-early-The-Verve-meets-Karen-O-styled “Sat Nam,” the winding “Man Without a Plan” (which features some cooly unexpected flute soloing) and the driving rocker “Lizard 99,” an endearing ode to the ’80s/’90s Cincinnati band of the same name (Schadler celebrates their legend and tells the story of a road-trip with the band in 1991 with his vocals).
I Sang My Heart Out to a Snake Once is 10 tracks’ worth of progressive, engaging Rock experimentalism at its finest. (fistsoflove.com)
Record Store Day, Nati-Style
This Saturday is Record Store Day (RSD), which began in 2007 as a way to celebrate (and draw business to) independent, brick-and-mortar record shops all over the globe. In the Cincinnati area, four longtime record shops with loyal fanbases will officially participate — Everybody’s Records in Pleasant Ridge, Shake It Records in Northside, Mole’s Record Exchange in Clifton Heights and Phil’s Music & Memories in Cold Spring, Ky. That means you’ll be able to get your hands on some of the thousands of exclusive, RSD-only releases coming out this year from a wide range of acclaimed artists, new and old. (For the full rundown of RSD exclusive releases, click here.)
The local shops usually do it up big for RSD. At Everybody’s Records, you can listen to live music (including a 2 p.m. acoustic set from Jody Stapleton and Brandon Losacker of Jody Stapleton and the Generals) and DJing (from local Reggae DJ squad Queen City Imperial Soundsystem at 5 p.m.) throughout your RSD adventuring at the store.
At Shake It, Grammy-winning (for his work on Dr. John’s last album) rocker Brian Olive performs at 6 p.m., while Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker of Wussy play at 8 p.m. Shake It is offering a 10 percent discount on purchases for anyone bringing non-perishable food items for Churches Active in Northside’s Choice Food Pantry.
Shake It’s “record label” branch is also getting in on the RSD fun, putting out a pair of new, limited, exclusive releases by a couple of local music giants. Saturday at the shop, you’ll be able to pick up a live vinyl album featuring a performance at Shake It by The Greenhornes more than a decade ago. The Live at Shake It Records 2001 LP featuring 14 tracks representing the band’s first three albums (one song was previously released by the label on a 7-inch in 2002, but it went out of print instantly). Shake It will also release an EP of songs by Walker and Cleaver — a.k.a. Wussy Duo, which plays when the full band is not available. The CD features seven tracks from the slimmed-down lineup.
Area Rock trio Buffalo Killers will have a new EP available for RSD. The band — which will play a free release party Friday at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine — is releasing the six-track EP, Ohio Grass, on “Herb Green”-colored, 12-inch vinyl for RSD.