We here at CityBeat and others associated with the fest did a lot
of campaigning to get people into the smaller venues to check out some
of the lesser-known acts and MPMF-goers did better than in any previous
year showing love for artists who had yet to infiltrate their personal
Blues/Rock/Soul ensemble Tedeschi Trucks Band, fresh off of their chart-busting album release, Made Up Mind, headlines the inaugural Ohio River Throwdown, alongside Los Lobos, JJ Grey & Mofro, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound and many other American Roots music all-stars.
The workhorses of No Age project the
sensibility of a band that’s deeply D.I.Y., Punk to the bone and
extra-mindful of everything they do. From an outsider’s perspective,
it’s tough to gauge whether No Age’s tenacity stems from a ceaseless
need to be productive, a compulsion to stay in the spotlight or the
desire to build up to a certain kind of goal.
Mangrenade vocalist/guitarist Nick Thieme
has just driven a sparkling new (to him, at least) van off the lot. But this new van (nicknamed “Vangrenade
2.0” or “The Deuce”) isn’t just a new touring vehicle, it is also a
symbol of Mangrenade’s determination to make it, car payments be damned.
As Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Aly Spaltro is currently
earning attention for raw, poignant tunes that glow with gusto — both as
wandering, relatively skeletal acoustic-rooted numbers and feisty,
forceful electric-propelled tunes. In either instance, she decorates her
songs with imagistic, compellingly detailed and often innocuous lyrics
about troubled relationships and scattered trepidations.
Mardou is a young Cincinnati band that’s
made a name for itself as an energetic Post Punk quartet. Having played
their first show May of 2012, the members of Mardou have released their
debut offering of four songs, known as Cardigan EP.
Buddy Guy may be 77 now, but he doesn’t act
anywhere near his age. He’s energetic and passionate about Blues and is
doing more shows this year than many musicians half his age. Guy and
longtime friend B.B. King, though, are among the last of the major Blues
stars from the post-World War II wave of Blues artists still alive and
On last year’s eponymous full-length and their just released Sex Change EP, Cincinnati's The Harlequins have evolved to the point where they’ve stopped emulating their inspirations and started assimilating them into their own unique sonic amalgamation.
Grizzly Bear is the kind of band that
sneaks up on you. Its atmospheric, richly textured songs take time to
process, its hooks less overt than your typical Indie Rock outfit’s. The
band’s four multitalented members are just as understated in
personality and presentation, all of which makes Grizzly Bear’s steady
upward trajectory somewhat surprising.
Besides being an extraordinarily resonant
Americana singer/songwriter, Sean Rowe is in the rare, fortunate
position of knowing the sound of a tree falling in the forest. A devoted naturalist as well as a performing songwriter whose album The Salesman and the Shark
is getting widespread praise, Rowe once spent 24 days completely on his
own, foraging in a forest.
Cincinnati Americana ensemble Magnolia Mountain has always exhibited a
broad sonic diversity, moving easily from Country to Folk to to twangy Rock. Frontman Mark Utley has decided to use his solo debut as a
repository for the more Country aspects of his writing spectrum, leaving
the heavier, bluesier, funkier tracks for Magnolia Mountain.