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Megadeth, Noel Gallagher, Meshell Ndgeocello and More

0 Comments · Monday, December 5, 2011
Since my last post, the 2011 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards have come and gone, and what a show it was — a most excellent night of honoring one of the best, classiest and most diverse music scenes in the country.  

Nirvana, Feist, Gillian Welch, Marianne Faithfull and more

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
In 1991, Nirvana roared out of Northwest obscurity and into the global consciousness with Nevermind, an album of almost incomprehensible magnitude and influence. Three short, tempestuous years later, Kurt Cobain turned his back on his brief run and enormously potent legacy in a horrible, irrevocable act of abdication.  

Art Brut, Joseph Arthur, David Bazan, Eddie Vedder and more

0 Comments · Monday, October 17, 2011
Art Brut channels the visceral elements of New Wave/Punk from a time when bands churned out clockwork, jerky Pop rhythms while frenetic frontmen delivered the goods in a half-shouted/half-spat/fully-sneered fashion. Over the past three albums, Art Brut has perfectly emulated the style with a contemporary edge, like Billy Bragg fronting XTC in a Punk tribute to Blue Aeroplanes.   

Manchester Orchestra, The Cars, Christopher Cross and Warren Haynes

0 Comments · Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Over the past seven years, Manchester Orchestra has evolved from post-high school baroque Emo Pop naifs to a viscerally muscular, Southern modern Rock force. Throughout their development, the Atlanta quintet has managed to keep their hearts close to their early influences and their antenna tuned to contemporary concerns, creating a fascinating sonic graft of the two musical branches.  

Fleet Foxes, Beastie Boys, Emmylou Harris and Todd Rundgren

0 Comments · Thursday, August 11, 2011
Robin Williams used to have a great line in his act, back when he was coked to the gills for most shows: “If you remember the ’70s, you weren’t there.” Unbeatable as a drug reference, the phrase makes even more sense on a musical level, with many current bands effectively channeling that wrongly-maligned decade’s best elements even though they literally weren’t even born when their influences were plying their trades.  

k.d. lang, Meat Puppets, Bell X1 and Steve Miller

0 Comments · Friday, July 22, 2011
My review calendar may be hopelessly mired in the past but my head remains firmly ensconced in the present (sort of) and that moves me to offer condolences and well wishes concerning recent sad events. On June 18, the world’s music community was forced to say goodbye to Clarence Clemons, the Big Man of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band. Clemons parlayed his incredible saxophone skills and imposing physical stature into an amazing career and a larger than life persona that made him one of the most unique and identifiable figures in Rock & Roll.  

Hot Tuna, Band of Heathens, Broken Bells and Britney Spears

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 29, 2011
If Uncle Tupelo taught us anything, it was that two incredibly talented and hypercreative personalities will find it difficult to co-exist within the same band structure. Apparently, the principals of the Band of Heathens didn’t bother to learn that particular lesson, as their Austin quintet is that rarest of all musical entities; a band with three distinct frontmen.  

New York Dolls, J Mascis, Smoking Popes and If By Yes

0 Comments · Thursday, May 19, 2011
In the new millennium, David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain of New York Dolls have been more obvious about their love of Doo Wop and the street corner vocal groups of the ‘50s, and that influence shows up on High Heels on the son-of-Spector “Fool for You Baby,” the tossed off majesty of “Streetcake” and a sweetly ragged take on the Rene brothers’ “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman.” But even with his voice 40 years beyond the punky sneer that savagely attacked his lyrics back in the day, Johansen proves he can still swagger with the best of them.  

Lucinda Williams, The Majestic Silver Strings, Dropkick Murphys, Big Head Blues Club and Rival Schools

0 Comments · Thursday, May 5, 2011
Lucinda Williams has traveled an eclectic path since her debut in the late ’70s, coming to prominence as the singer/songwriter who provided Mary Chapin Carpenter with one of her most recognized hits, “Passionate Kisses,” and ending up a bona fide Americana icon nearly a quarter century later. She has christened her tenth album Blessed, which she may well feel, given her newlywed status and a relative calm in her personal and professional life, but she’s definitely kicking at the stall door with the dozen songs that make up her new album.  

The Twilight Singers, DeVotchKa, Ben Ottewell, Drive-By Truckers and Bayside

0 Comments · Monday, April 4, 2011
During his tenure with Cincinnati’s beloved Afghan Whigs, Greg Dulli was so intent on burning his brand into the universe’s ass that he nearly imploded from the Herculean effort. Even in the band’s quietest moments, Dulli quivered with an intensity that was as terrifying as it was breathtaking, and with all of the standard excesses that accompany the demons that fuel that level of performance, more than a few observers predicted an early check out time for the hypnotic frontman.  

Over the Rhine, David Lowery and North Mississippi Allstars

0 Comments · Friday, March 11, 2011
I think this month’s Grammy ceremony is worthy of some small examination. Perhaps the biggest surprise, other than The Arcade Fire’s dark horse Album of the Year win for The Suburbs, was the relative lack of awards. After the first 75 minutes of the broadcast, only Train had taken the stage to claim a statue for Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, with frontman Pat Monahan thanking Justin Bieber for not being a duo or group. Apparently, the lower tier awards are now given out off the air (Producer of the Year is a lower tier award?), with the broadcast concentrating on performances and the Top 10 or so awards of the evening.  

Destroyer, Fujiya & Miyagi, Wanda Jackson and John Vanderslice

0 Comments · Friday, February 11, 2011
Dan Bejar’s reputation as Canada’s resident sonic oddball has been established with his wonderfully strange contributions to The New Pornographers and his eclectic solo/band catalog as Destroyer. Bejar’s previous Destroyer outings have been fascinating Indie Pop excursions that weld his lyrical pretzel logic to a compellingly quirky soundtrack, giving him a mad studio scientist tilt akin to Robyn Hitchcock and Brian Eno  

Cake, Edie Brickell, The Decemberists and Social Distortion

0 Comments · Friday, February 4, 2011
A new album from Social Distortion is like a four-way from Skyline — a reliably good product from a recipe that hasn’t changed significantly from its beginnings. That formula remains largely intact on Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, as frontman Mike Ness continues to blend Punk energy with Roots Rock passion as an anthemic soundtrack to songs about society’s luckless and downtrodden (and the occasional outlaw) who can still find fist-pumping redemption with life’s jackboot on the back of their necks.   

The Roughs, The Posies, Monster Magnet and Aficionado

0 Comments · Sunday, January 23, 2011
The release sheets promise to get a little fatter as the new year progresses but 2011’s first new CD Tuesday was thinner than a Phil Spector alibi. One new release and a handful of reissues, none of them too terribly compelling, was all that was being served up last week, leaving me to my own devices as far as reviewage was concerned.  

Frank Zappa, Duran Duran, Eric Johnson and The Volebeats

0 Comments · Monday, January 10, 2011
Captain Beefheart is dead. What a suckass Christmas present. Born Donald Glen Vliet, later morphed to Don Van Vliet, but forever known by the nickname bestowed upon him by Frank Zappa when they were teenage music-makers in Lancaster, Calif., the Captain changed the course of Rock with his Howlin’ Wolf-as-painted-by Salvador-Dali vision of the Blues.