Modeled after DIY-minded Punk/Post Punk labels of the ’80s and ’90s like Amphetamine Reptile and Dischord, Cincinnati’s Phratry Records is one of the best modern independent record labels in the region. And every addition to its catalog only beefs up its legacy. Along with high quality music (ranging from Punk, Metal and Noise to Post Rock, Folk and Indie Rock), Phratry’s releases — often available on vinyl — are gloriously assembled with distinctive artwork and packaging.
The label’s newest release, coming just as Phratry enters its 10th year of existence, is one of its most unique yet. Playing off the “split single” concept, which usually only features a pair of bands, the latest Phratry release is a four-way split showcasing a song a piece from Cincinnati’s Mala in Se and Knife the Symphony, reconvened ’90s Ohio band Aperiodic (featuring Holy Fuck drummer Matt Schulz) and Croatian Noise rockers Joe 4.
Spread across two vinyl 7-inch records, with each band getting a side, the packaging design is stunning, with a stark black-and-white photo close-up of a speaker on the cover, a folded insert with track info and, of course, two beautiful black vinyl platters with a band photo and logo on each label, housed in simple black sleeves. The capper is a postcard with a download code (because it is the 21st century), but customers don’t just get the four songs from the vinyl. The download also includes an additional new track from each band.
You can pick up a copy in person this Friday at Phratry’s release show at Mayday (4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, maydaynorthside.com). Presumably due to the long, expensive trek from Croatia to Cincinnati, Joe 4 is not performing, but the other three split-singlers will play sets, joined by like-minded rockers Subsets. The show is free and music starts at 10 p.m.
If you can’t make the show, the release is also available through phratryrecords.com and you can sample and download the eight tracks by clicking the widget below.
Freak Gets Its EP On
Tight and brutal Northern Kentucky Metal quartet Freak unveils its recording debut, a self-titled EP, this Friday in conjunction with a release party at the former Bocca Billiards, Bocca Live (749 Ohio 28, Milford, boccalive.com).
You can get a taste of Freak’s powerful sound — a deft blend of classic Thrash and more modern Metal stylings — at reverbnation.com/fracturedcircus, where the pummeling track “Children of the Apocalypse” is currently streaming. You can also check it out below:
Freak’s release show kicks off at 9 p.m. Split the Abyss, Defy the Tyrant and Siegelord will also perform. Admission is $5 for those 21-and-up; cover charge for fans 18-20 is $8. Keep tabs on Freak at facebook.com/fracturedcircus.
Good Music, Good Causes
• Saturday night at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club (700 Race St., Downtown, thebluewisp.com), several of the city’s finest local Jazz musicians team up to support the Withrow University High School Marching Band. Since 2005, the acclaimed marching band has led to numerous college scholarships for students/band members, though with education cuts and a hobbled economy, funding the ensemble has fallen on the shoulders of the school’s Alumni Association.
The Wisp benefit will raise additional funds for the marching band, which is scheduled to participate in a pair of national competitions in the coming months. The marching band’s director is Mike Wade, who also happens to be one of Cincinnati’s best Jazz trumpeters. On Saturday, Wade will perform fellow Withrow graduates/acclaimed Jazz artists Kathy Wade, Marc Fields and Craig Bailey, as well as Phil DeGreg, Greg Artry and Brandon Meeks. The star-studded group will play two shows — at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. — and admission for each performance is a $20 donation.
• The popular ’00s Jam band Grand Oversoul is reuniting this Friday for a great cause. The group, joined by The Dual Brothers, will provide the musical component for a multi-faceted fundraiser at York Street Café (738 York St., Newport, yorkstonline.com). The money raised will go to Transitions Global (transitionsglobal.org), a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that assists girls saved from lives in the worldwide sex trafficking trade.
The event — dubbed “It’s Hip to Help” — is being organized by Dan and Jessica Brill and will also feature an exhibit of Dan Brill’s photos, shot while on a trip to Cambodia with the Transitions Global group. The exhibit is free and open to the public, running 6-9 p.m. in the venue’s third-floor gallery; Transitions founder/CEO James Pond will speak at 7:30 p.m.
Music starts on the second floor stage at 9:30 p.m. Admission is a $10 donation. Visit brillcreative.com/yorkstreet for more details.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: firstname.lastname@example.org, @CityBeatMusic or on Facebook here.