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Peter Mayer’s Retrospective

A reminder of local songwriting excellence

1 Comment · Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Over the past 30 years, Peter Mayer has created an impressive body of music within the Cincinnati scene but has hardly enjoyed the rewards or reputation as his similarly vintaged peer group. He's succeeded on his own terms but he wouldn't mind a touch of recognition for his labors.  

Blue-Collar Swag

MC Vincent Vega prefers full-bodied lyricism over flamboyant fizz

0 Comments · Monday, April 4, 2011
Whenever Michael Leonard’s at a loss for words, he apologizes because he knows he’s a reticent talker. But during performances like his set opening for Method Man and Redman at Madison Theater, Leonard’s MC alter-ego, Vincent Vega, commands crowds. Named after John Travolta’s hit-man character from Pulp Fiction, Vega is a lion-heart behind the mic and damn confident he’s a lyrical assassin.  

The Thousand Day Civil Wars

Succeeded quickly for a band that almost didn’t happen

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Just over two years ago, Joy Williams and John Paul White were maintaining separate and fairly successful solo careers. Williams had been singing since her teenage years and had a number of hits in the Inspirational genre, but had tired of the category’s constraints. White had established himself as a rising singer/songwriter, while recording an album for Capitol, but he was hopeful for the future.  

The Fearless Kaki King

A virtuoso embraces the weirdness of of stringed instruments

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Call Kaki King a guitar god. It’s OK — Rolling Stone did. To her, it’s a compliment, though she’s not entirely sure what to make of such a lofty tag. “When someone says you’re a ‘Guitar This’ or a ‘Guitar Warrior Princess,’ ” the 31-year-old Georgia native says, “it means that someone had something nice to say and didn’t really know how to say it. I take it as a compliment and walk away from it."  

Ra Ra Riot Breaks Out

Indie group continues its upward climb in the music world

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Ra Ra Riot grabbed a slot at the CMJ Music Marathon less than six months after forming on the campus of Syracuse University in early 2006. It’s been onward and upward ever since. The sextet released its 2008 full-length debut, The Rhumb Line, amid a rush of hype earned by the album’s vibrant, instantly addictive Indie Pop, which was set apart by a deft rhythm section and the unconventional use of cello and violin.   

Horn of Plenty

CCM's new Director of Jazz Studies trumpets arrival of his first album

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Trumpeter Scott Belck — who holds a doctorate in music studies, so that’s Dr. Belck to you and me — has a résumé that is almost ridiculously annotated with some of the greatest names in Jazz and Pop music, including the Woody Herman Orchestra, Manhattan Transfer, Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin, Doc Severinsen and our own Blue Wisp Big Band.  

Hip Hop (Un)Scene: On to the Next One …

Rushing into a new project can rob potential of current one

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Bleak-ass February is over. This, as far as I'm concerned, means winter is over. Oh, it might still snow in the next two to three weeks, but it's such a punk-ass snow. Winter in March is like an abusive alcoholic father you dealt with as a child and then grew up to see as nothing more than a sad old man swiping at the air and falling over. Snow all you want, old man — your time is near.  

'Theatre' Revival

Old 97's infuse latest album with propulsive energy of live shows

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 23, 2011
With last fall’s release of The Grand Theatre Volume One, Old 97’s added yet another twang-fueled burst of Power Pop/Roots music to their illustrious and lengthy career. The Dallas quartet began in 1993 as an AltCountry-styled Indie band, spent time on a major label, got dropped and then rebounded on wide-reaching independent label New West Records.  

So Say The Seedy Seeds

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Seedy Seeds have a "Verb Noun" on their hands. That's the new record, a darker-yet-still-danceable side of their Cincinnati-cultured, Indie/Electronic/Folk/Pop worth a thousand hearts. Or as the trio says...  

I Am Newman, Hear Me Score

New Randy Newman musical has local connection

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Randy Newman’s foray into southwest Ohio this week, performing at Miami University’s Middletown campus Saturday, is a rare treat. It’s not that he doesn’t like going on the road, but he has so many competing interests it’s often difficult to find the time. In addition to being a singer/songwriter whose often-ironic, satirical and sometimes-character-driven compositions have become contemporary Pop classics, he’s also become a major composer for film.  

The Sweetest Redo

Mush Records releases physical version of Eat Sugar digital LP

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 15, 2011
It’s a proud moment when a band can celebrate the release of its debut full-length album, but slightly more unusual to celebrate the same release again six months later. But, as any fan will tell you, Eat Sugar doesn’t do much by the book.  

Fire on the Mountain

Mark Utley spearheads project to fight mountaintop removal mining

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Poets have long understood the metaphorical power of music to move mountains, but Mark Utley hopes his new compilation album, Music From the Mountains, has the literal power to stop mountains from moving.  

Tokyo Police Club Entrance

A random chat with Tokyo Police Club guitarist Josh Hook

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tokyo Police Club will probably deliver another EP of Electro-laced Indie Rock in late 2011, but most of this year brings month-long tours and time for jamming. So says guitarist Josh Hook, who checked in by phone from Austin, Tex., more than 1,500 miles from his home in Toronto.  

That’s the Spirits

Sacred Spirits brings Psychedelic context to Post Punk on debut album

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 1, 2011
With their first anniversary still months away, Sacred Spirits’ sonic identity is still evolving, giving the band plenty of latitude to experiment in the studio and on stage. Plans for the coming year include recording their new material, working as many local gigs and as much regional touring as its members' schedules allow and continuing to push the boundaries of their creative expression.  

Playing By Heart

The Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd releases first solo effort

1 Comment · Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Though he started out playing drums with The Flaming Lips, in recent years Stephen Drozd's role as cosmic tinkerer has expanded to include invaluable multi-instrumental contributions to the band’s sound. His recent soundtrack album is very much like an instrumental Flaming Lips record, but Drozd alone has crafted something here that is much more fun and engaging than the band’s recent output.