At its most basic, Slothpop's sound is restrained Indie Pop. The arrangements are tempered and utilitarian in design, the melodies are sweetly sonorous but not overbearing and instruments move in and out with clockwork care. The overarching minimalism means you have to dig around for nuance and listen intently to soak it in. Slothpop's sound tends to not come to you; you have to get closer to it.
Neither hot producer nor veteran session musician, Gregg Gillis — recording as Girl Talk — is a brilliant sonic collagist with a gift for combining shards of existing and incredibly disparate work by renowned artists and turning them into supreme mash-ups.
A testament to the sheer quantity of quality releases by Cincinnati area artists this past year is the fact that before I went to the archives for a little memory jog about what came about in 2010, I did an off-the-top-of-my-head list and came up with 50. Immediately. In years past, the year in local recordings wrap-up has usually hovered around 40 or so releases. And that was post-archive scour.
What'cha wanna know? The best songs to walk your dog to? Some album that must be in your collection? The funniest anagram for the band name Freelance Whales? Or maybe you want to recall the best moments of Cincinnati music or MPMF. Whatever your motivation, we brought together local musicians and writers to create over a dozen top 10 lists for your amusement and delight.
Our Beautiful Dark Listed Fantasies: Local musicians and music scribes pick their fave moments of 2010. Whatcha wanna know? The best songs to walk your dog to? Some album that
must be in your collection
This wasn't a plentiful year for CD and DVD box sets, but there weren't many misses in this year’s crop of releases, either. Here are the best of the bunch to my ears and eyes, from Springsteen and Hendrix box sets to DVDs of legendary 'Soul Train' and 'T.A.M.I. Show' performances.
Dan Williams and Uncle Dave Lewis helped create the WAIF show 'Art Damage' about experimental music, and it eventually led to the creation of The Art Damage Foundation and Lodge. This outlet for experimental music is undergoing some changes, as The Lodge hosts its last shows this weekend. Lewis talks about 25 years of 'Art Damage' in Cincinnati.
Roger Klug is the first to admit that his recorded output has been somewhat sporadic over the course of his career, which started in the early '90s. His creative glacier finally began to move last year with the release of the startlingly great 'More Help for Your Nerves,' the album he'd been working on for several years. "I walk around with records playing in my head that I haven't even recorded yet," he says. "The bitch is getting it out into the tangible world."
Let’s start at one of the most basic concepts I can imagine about being a potentially amazing, well-rounded and successful artist in your own right, let alone by “industry standards.” This is the idea: As an artist, you have to be able to appreciate and respect the idea of music, even in music that you can’t stand. You have to be able to separate which music is made “for you” versus which music is made for other demographics of fans and consumers.
A ghost in its own right, the title track on The Hiders' new album, 'Four Letter Town,' is one that lead singer/guitarist Billy Alletzhauser kicked around for years before the band even existed. Although he calls it a "simple song," he recorded various versions, enveloped in a tricky, drawn-out struggle to harness and reveal the tune's true essence. Some songs sit and smolder before they rise up to burn and glow. Some apparitions do indeed come alive.
Although they didn't grab any mantle accessories at this year's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony, the audience reaction when Skeetones were announced for their nominations in the New Artist and Electronic categories is evidence that the band might consider drafting acceptance speeches for 2011. The band has been generating big buzz since its official debut just over a year ago, even though drummer Robby Brokamp says the guys have been playing together "for like eight years."
No concept album theme has been examined more exhaustively than Christmas. A fresh angle within the holiday music realm seems unlikely, but longtime Cincinnati radio personality Brian O'Donnell, now a fixture on WGUC and WNKU, and local guitarist Jose Madrigal teamed up to craft one with 'Ring: A Cincinnati Guitar Christmas for Public Radio.'
Darker My Love have garnered comparisons to Psychedelic and Shoegaze titans like Pink Floyd, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain and even The Rolling Stones. Their lates album, 'Alive As You Are' doesn't sound any more contemporary. If anything, it sends their aesthetic another decade back, evoking Psych-shaded 1960s and '70s Folk.
For years, Rock historians have said the reason Cincinnati's King Records doesn't have the enduring public regard that, say, Detroit's Motown or Memphis' Sun labels have is because it didn't have a readily identifiable sound. King recorded too many kinds of music — even too many kinds of R&B, its greatest strength — and so for every James Brown or Hank Ballard classic there was less distinguished stuff. But a new theory is emerging.
The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards program is an attempt to remind local musicians that their contributions are greatly appreciated. It's also an attempt to bring together musicians (as
well the non-musicians who work to support and nurture the scene) from across the local music spectrum to have an outrageously good time. Having a full bar in the room might be a factor, too, as will be in evidence Sunday night at the Madison Theater.