Very promising Cincinnati newcomers Injecting Strangers will be promoting the release of their debut recording, a three-song EP titled Nightmare Nancy, Saturday at Mainstay Rock Bar (301 W. Fifth St., Downtown, mainstayrockbar.com). The free show starts at 9 p.m. Chicago area band Dr. Manhattan opens.
Injecting Strangers’ elastic Indie Rock sound is impressively — but never cloyingly — theatrical, with the arrangements and sonics bending with the storylines in the lyrics. The tracks “Nightmare Nancy pt. 1” and “Nightmare Nancy pt. 2” show this Rock Opera-esque attribute most clearly, but the tale of murder, medicine and a disgraced doctor, which flows like scenes from a film, begins with the EP’s “single,” “Lucky” and the jarring refrain, “I’m a lucky little fucker.” (There is also a solid secret bonus track, “Second Class Angel,” on the release.)
There’s a lot of violence in these songs, but the sonics and performances are buoyant and sometimes downright jubilant-sounding. Injecting Strangers has a frisky flair for the dramatic, but thankfully steer clear of melodramatics. The band’s music almost seems to have its own sense of humor, hopping playfully from movement to movement. The group’s unconventional arrangements result in a “concept” record that is completely devoid of pretention. Though smart and often unpredictable, the EP is also dripping with ear-tugging Pop hooks.
Injecting Strangers sound like they’re having such a blast on these recordings, it’s hard for the listener to not get caught up in the fun vibes. Nightmare Nancy is infectious Art Pop with a brain and hard-beating Rock & Roll heart. If your record collection includes releases from Pulp, Mr. Bungle, Tripping Daisy and Foxy Shazam, Nightmare Nancy is a no-brainer addition.
Injecting Strangers’ EP is available for free download at injectingstrangers.bandcamp.com.
More Local Notes
• Veteran local songwriter Maurice Mattei and his band The Tempers will wrap up their 2013 “trilogy” of releases Friday when they officially unveil Stray Belles: The Ballads of Maurice Mattei and The Tempers.
The album follows the band’s two other thematic releases from earlier this year — Ragged Dolls: The Rock & Roll Music Of Maurice Mattei and The Tempers andDarker Angels: The Country & Western Music of Maurice Mattei and The Tempers. As you may have guessed, the new release features some of Mattei’s engaging ballad writing.
Mattei and The Tempers host a release party for Stray Belles Friday at York Street Café (738 York St., Newport, yorkstonline.com). The event — which is also doubling as the group’s annual Christmas show — begins at 8:30 p.m. and admission is just $5. Northside Garage also performs. (mmattei.com)
• Widely acclaimed area rockers Buffalo Killers are gearing up for another busy year thanks to the imminent release of their forthcoming fifth full-length. The album — which was recorded in Cleveland with Jim Wirt, who has worked with artists like Fiona Apple and Incubus — will be the band’s first for Sun Pedal Recordings, an emerging label (also home to James Taylor and Carly Simon’s son, Ben Taylor) with major distribution through the Warner Music Group. The label says the new LP will be released in early 2014. In the meantime, you can catch Buffalo Killers live Friday at Southgate House Revival (111 E. Sixth St., Newport, southgatehouse.com). Local Pysch Rock newcomers Electric Citizen and Blues/Rock/Roots crew The Screaming Walls (formerly known as Grooveshire) open the 9 p.m. show. Tickets are available for $8 in advance through ticketfly.com; they’ll cost you $10 at the door. (buffalokillers.com)
• Before heading off for Christmas break, the talented students at School of Rock Mason will perform a handful of concerts. The young players will present two shows this weekend to show off their honed chops. Friday at 8 p.m., a group will play the music of Van Halen at the School of Mason’s built-in venue, the Sonic Boom Room (755 Reading Road, Mason, 513-770-1257); they’ll do the same show at 6 p.m. Sunday at The Redmoor (3187 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, theredmoor.com). On Saturday at 2 p.m., the students present the music of “Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Friends” at the Sonic Boom Room, then again on Sunday at 1 p.m at The Redmoor.
On Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m., the School of Rock Mason will host a “Winter Solstice and Holiday Concert” at the Northside Tavern (4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northside-tavern.com) featuring special guests Melissa Fairmount (of The Fairmount Girls) and Joe Klug (of Wussy), both of whom work with the school regularly. Klug’s Wussy pal Chuck Cleaver is also expected to make an appearance. Admission to the Tavern show is one item to be donated to the Churches Active in Northside Food Pantry (anything from soap, toothpaste and toilet paper to canned and boxed non-perishable foods). For tickets and more info on these shows and the school in general, visit mason.schoolofrock.com.
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