For Shiny and the Spoon, creating a whimsical, old-timey sound involves using subtlety and simplicity as a crafty tool. Tom Waits meets Ella Fitzgerald with a ukulele in the mix. Americana/Folk/Pop with a '20s spin. And this duo's clever style recently earned them a Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nomination in the New Artist of the Year category.
There is a hypnotic quality to Pete Fosco's guitar manipulations, an Ambient drone that suggests the casual intensity of Steve Reich or Brian Eno. His latest album, the about-to-drop 'In Electric Nights,' is a dreamy, Ambient vision of Funkadelic's 'Maggot Brain' and more typically "song based," featuring five shorter compositions, as opposed to the 30-minute opus and two shorter codas on his first record.
After recording a full-length album this summer with Grammy-winning producer Malcolm Burn (Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Iggy Pop), Ellery was inspired to punch out 'Down, Down, Down,' its 2009 holiday EP. The full-length will come out this spring. Justin Golden explains: "We're in that interesting place many artists now find themselves, deciding whether to release an album on our own or on a label — it's a lot to weigh."
Three years ago, it was a safe bet that The Minor Leagues would soon be dominating the Cincinnati Indie music scene. The band’s 2006 album, The Pestilence is Coming, and its entertaining live work had earned them two CEA nominations and they were already working on a follow-up release.
In some ways, The Who concert tragedy of Dec. 3, 1979 – in which 11 died and many were injured during a crush of fans trying to get into Riverfront Coliseum (now U.S. Bank Arena) for a "festival seating" show — seems like ancient history. But in other ways, it's just like yesterday. The 30th anniversary is Thursday.
Vocalist/guitarist Michael McIntire and I met a long time ago (double digits) in a faraway land (a Clifton street corner). There, he busted out Acoustic/Blues/Gypsy Jazz with his Tom Waits-ish, down and dirty voice. Collecting stories, he still plays Ludlow Avenue, and he's known for his welcoming presence and affectionate attitude toward his guitar.
They've been together for seven years and their musical bond seems unbreakable through life’s changes — marriage, sickness, a robbery. In October 2007, a thief broke into vocalist/guitarist Mark Houk's house and the band lost seven guitars and other equipment (still a sore subject). But that weekend, they scrounged up borrowed guitars and played a gig at Northside Tavern anyway.
The Happy Maladies drip with talent and training, all five have done time at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. And they all shack up together except guitarist/vocalist Ben Thomas, who lives down the street by his lonesome. Five cats roam the band house, and even the cats contribute on "Animal Welcome," one of 11 songs on the band's debut full-length album, 'Sun Shines the Little Children.'
Ron Esposito first heard recorded bowls in a massage therapist's office, then experienced them musically through German New Age artist Deuter. After acquiring both Tibetan brass and quartz crystal singing bowls and experimenting, Esposito hit the studio with colleague Deborah Ooten, keyboardist Billy Larkin and producer Ric Hordinski, recording last year's 'Lifting the Veil.' He's taken his explorations to a new level on his latest album, 'Open Heart.'
If you've never seen Chris Kittrell (aka "baby alpaca"), he's like this 7-foot-tall autoharp-wielding Ginsbergesque satyr who's on a personal mission to provide others with an auditory escape from the everyday as well as an outlet for creative collaboration and/or a skinny-dipping partner, all under the umbrella of his cuddly moniker.
Ronnie Vaughn kicks back in his coffeeshop chair, relaxing like he's beside a campfire, shooting the shit. He shoots, "When we started playing, we were against the cover thing. We'd play for hours, all original music, at places where they usually didn't have original music. Live is where we shine the most. We jam out a lot more, extending the songs."
The relatively newly formed The Guitars are no exception to the idea that Cincinnati's music scene is incestuous. Each member is currently involved in another project: Matt Ayers is in Brothers and Sisters, Mark Van Patten plays in the Mt. Pleasant String Band and Motorcycle Tapedeck (which includes The Guitars' Russell Morris) and Kane Kitchen is in a yet-to-be-named group with Dan Majesky from Black Charlemagne.
In the next month or so, The Long Gones will re-enter the studio and take the first step in a process to further their resurgence. But first they join The Customs (whose notorious hit "Long Gone" gave the band its name) and The Cynics for a record release party Friday to celebrate Get Hip Records' vinyl reissue of the band's anthological CD from Shake It Records (with two bonus cuts). What's next after that is known only to them.
Yusef Quotah draws bunnies and monsters, box-headed characters that obscure the the faces of he and his band partner Kevin Bayer in all photos, putting emphasis on the music rather than looks. Accidentally discovered, the bunny drawings have become signature band artwork, part of the package. Growing up in Saudi Arabia, in 2000 Quotah came to the University of Cincinnati to study design at DAAP. Currently, he focuses on animation ... and electronic music with Bayer.
Three is an important number for Knife the Symphony. The Post Hardcore band's three members assembled three years ago and are currently preparing to release their third album, the visceral yet nuanced 'Dead Tongues.' "The idea of marketing and making sure you look a certain way and reach a plateau of press has infiltrated the underground until bands like us are an anomaly," says drummer Jerry Dirr, also owner/operator of Phratry Records, home to KTS and a growing roster of like-minded bands.