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Beat Assembly

Hip Hop producers and spectators come together for The Beat Lounge

2 Comments · Wednesday, May 4, 2011
When producer R.H. Valentino Sweeten, better known as “KontraX,” hosted the first Beat Lounge Beat Battle at Clifton Heights’ Baba Budan’s, he says he saw himself as a “people person” wanting to integrate local Hip Hop and not as a promoter. After the first Beat Lounge’s successful turnout, the bar booked the event every third Saturday for two years.  

Wild at Heart

Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers dip into Rock & Roll's disheveled corners

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 26, 2011
It's not often that someone sketches out his or her life path as a 13-year-old and sees the results materialize in adulthood, but Shilpa Ray is an exception. At that age, the New Jersey-bred, Brooklyn-based musician heard The Velvet Underground for the first time, an event that had a massive impact on her.  

New Kids On the Rock

Cincinnati’s Kry Kids want you to dance and think … and dance

2 Comments · Tuesday, April 26, 2011
One of Kry Kids’ live trademarks is a structural complexity that finds everyone but Donaldson moving constantly between instruments and roles. Like a well-choreographed but also intuitive ballet, the switch-ups are planned and practiced but come across graceful and natural enough to not be a momentum killer.  

The Funk Inside

Bootsy Collins' new album is an incredible, conceptual labor of love

1 Comment · Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Many adjectives accurately describe Tha Funk Capitol of the World, Bootsy Collins’ first new album in five years. “Commemorative,” “visionary,” “eclectic,” “explosive,” “star-studded.” But just one word embraces everything within Funk Capitol’s 75-minute duration: “conceptual.”  

Ghost in the Record Machine

Jukebox the Ghost makes blazingly original Indie Pop

0 Comments · Monday, April 18, 2011
Jukebox the Ghost seems to be under so many influences that it should have a designated driver. Just two years after the band’s accomplished debut, Let Live and Let Ghosts, the Philadelphia trio’s sophomore album, Everything Under the Sun, was easily one of the most surprising albums of 2010.  

Desolation Angels

The Black Angels tweak their droning Psych Rock style on new album

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The Black Angels’ music often sounds as if the world is coming to an end, which is just how singer Alex Maas likes it. The Austin, Texas-bred band has been spreading its ominous, reverb-drenched drones for more than five years now, along the way converting a flock of passionate followers who likewise believe that 1966 was popular music’s creative apex.  

Ungaming the System

“Chiptune” artists like Anamanaguchi move the 8-bit aesthetic beyond novelty

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 13, 2011
It's been 26 years since the Nintendo Entertainment System came to North America, accomplishing the kind of colossal feats that few products do. In another example of how profound the Nintendo's impact was, a thriving subculture is still dedicated to tapping into the machine’s rudimentary sonic palette to make new Electronic music compositions. Chiptune (aka Chip Music) existed before the NES, but today the genre is predominantly associated with that console.  

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.