Every once in a while it's good to take a breather, a vacation from our various stress-loads. But Jay Farrar, the longtime Son Volt bandleader, doesn't subscribe to this. How can he? Within the last 15 months, he's released two totally diverse record projects and is now engaged in a nationwide solo tour. He's still on the open road and running with it.
You might deduce something from the fact that Ken Stringfellow lives in France, Jon Auer just returned from Finland and The Posies' new album, 'Blood/Candy,' primarily was recorded at a studio in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain. The Posies have a big, dependable following in Europe. It's their commercial lifeblood. They return to the U.S. for a co-headlining a bill with Brendan Benson that stops Sunday at the Southgate House.
For nearly 10 years, the duo of Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong, known collectively as The Books, has pursued a singular and almost unclassifiable musical direction. Combining Brian Eno’s Ambient sound, found-sound elements and warped Indie Rock sensibilities, The Books’ discography is a sonic collage of skewed beauty and intelligence.
It's not entirely rare for musicians to have unusual onstage accompaniments. Rob Zombie, for one, surrounds himself with spooky, kitschy ornaments. But Cloud Cult has an interesting addition of their own. The Minnesota-bred Indie Pop band performs as two painters create original works next to them.
Five years ago, The Greenhornes were ready for a break. They'd stormed Cincinnati after forming in 1996, and the rhythm section of Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence got involved in several projects with The White Stripes' Jack White, eventually leading to the formation of The Raconteurs. Although The Greenhornes seemed inactive, the trio (including Craig Fox) continued to gather to record new songs, and now the band is releasing its first full album of new material in eight years.
There was a time when David Rhodes Brown was one of the hottest guitarists in town. He began as a teenager, playing in a string of garage bands ("I was singing 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' before I even knew what it was," he says), which led to a succession of Alternative Rock/Punk outfits, including the Warsaw Falcons. Amazingly, he's just now releasing his first solo album, 'Browngrass & Wildflowers,' which he says was inspired by public radio station WNKU's 25th anniversary.
Kim Taylor is not content with a single dream. Her desire to live off her musical endeavors has largely been fulfilled with a steady stream of physical and digital releases (the latest being the gorgeously sparse 'Little Miracle') and the required supporting gigs, an increased profile from advantageous song placements on television shows (including 'One Tree Hill,' 'Eli Stone' and many others) and frequent appearances with her friends Over the Rhine.
He calls Cincinnati music a "wild dog." Although Josh Eagle (vocals, guitar, harmonica) spent time in Hawaii last year, he's back in Northside, living like a poet in a house in the woods where he creates. With a fresh album out ('Show Your Teeth'), he seems serious and engaged. Tall and wiry, he kicks back on a picnic bench, wearing new glasses, new shoes, a new haircut.
I've officially written 12 columns for CityBeat, which technically amounts to a year (although it's now been more than a year). Hey, it's a free paper, so who's counting? What I want to do is write a quick recap of what the first year's worth of advice has amounted to. Awesome how I can just cram it into one column.
Let's flash back to the summer. Westin Glass is sitting in his downstairs neighbors' apartment. He pops in The Thermals' forthcoming release, 'Personal Life,' and awaits their feedback. Perhaps Glass skips around, touching on crunchy AltPop tracks, and perhaps he mentions that Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie produced the record. "Well, you're a better drummer than that, right," the neighbors ask.
We had joy, we had fun. We had some frustration and anger, too. Such has been the way of the MidPoint Music Festival since its origins in 2002. But, in the end, MPMF’s 2010 edition proved to be the most successful yet, drawing thousands of music lovers to downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Newport over the course of three days.
You might recognize him next to a shot of Jack Daniels, a Newcastle and a few friends in any bar around Clifton Heights, but when not out with friends Rome Ntukogu is busy planning the Clifton Heights Music Festival (this Friday and Saturday) and keeping it focused on his passion: furthering unity in a community through music and art.
It's not been easy to see Tom Tom Club play live. The pioneering, avant-percussive Dance Rock band, formed in 1981 by Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz (her husband), has taken a back seat in recent years to family life. The group is doing just 10 dates on the East and West coasts this tour, including a headlining gig Saturday night at the MidPoint Music Festival.
Van Dyke Parks is not a household name. His recorded catalog, revered by a cultish number of fans, has sold sparsely yet his influence is inescapably broad. Parks' work as a producer/arranger and the amazing artists he's worked with over the past four decades has cemented his iconic status — perhaps most famously The Beach Boys. Parks is making a rare appearance as an artist at the MidPoint Music Festival, traveling with Clare and the Reasons, who serve as his opening act and backing band.
On his first two full-length releases and a handful of CD singles and live recordings, Dan Snaith had established himself as a rather well-informed and astute purveyor of Psychedelic Pop as he transformed it into his own unique brand of one-man-laptop bravado. But when it came time to begin work on new material to follow up 2008's 'Andorra,' the only certainty was that Snaith didn't want to re-create that same sound.