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by mbreen 01.11.2010
Posted In: Music News, Local Music at 03:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Austin City Limits Gets Bastardized

Gas up the ol’ Tivo (that's how they run, right?) and set it for Jan. 23, when the Austin City Limits live music TV program (one of the best shows on television, especially for real music fans, and the longest-running one) airs its episode featuring Cincy-bred/Austin-based rockers The Heartless Bastards. Each hour-long show is split between two artists (unless ACL gets a big-wig like R.E.M. or Pearl Jam or, apparently, Them Crooked Vultures) — the Bastards' show will be shared with Neo Roots kings The Avett Brothers.

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by Mike Breen 11.30.2012
Posted In: Music Video, Music News, Local Music, Live Music at 01:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Watch: Those Guys' Explosive "You Ain't Know" Video

Cincinnati Hip Hop duo get rowdy, blow up a car in new Redman-approved music video

Those Guys have emerged as one of the more impressive up-and-comers in Cincinnati Hip Hop, both via their digital/CD releases (a handful of singles and a trio of excellent mixtapes) and their live show, which incorporates a three-piece live band. Those Guys features MC's J.Al and Jova, who met as high school freshmen and started the group upon graduation in 2008. Citing influences like Kanye, The Clipse and Kid Cudi, the duo issued Greater Than the Mixtape Volume 1 in 2009.

The most recent in their Greater Than the Mixtape series (Volume 3) was released late last year, kicking off with the monster track "You Ain't Know," which showcases the duo's telepathic back-and-forth, superb lyricism and a fat and funky musical approach.

The duo has been garnering extra attention with their just-released video (Those Guys' first) for "You Ain't Know," which was filmed in Monroe just prior to Halloween and features some spectacular scenes of the crew blowing up a car. Who says you need a big budget for action-movie-like special effects? (The group thanks the City of Monroe's parks, fire and police department as well as the Butler County Bomb Squad in the video description on YouTube, so the fiery shoot was on the up-and-up.)

The video has been creating major buzz on social media, even drawing praise from Hip Hop legend Redman, who tweeted "Dope ass video … thats wut Im talkn bout … sumtn different … hard shit."

Check the clip below, then visit the duo's Bandcamp site to download the latest mixtape and other Those Guys material for free. You can find more about Those Guys at their official site, Facebook page and on Twitter here.

by mbreen 01.19.2010
Posted In: Music News, Festivals at 05:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

MusicNOW Festival 2010 Announced

When it was announced that Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner would be one of the curators of the huge Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tenn., at the end of March, some wondered if his annual hometown avant/Indie/Chamber MusicNOW festival would happen in 2010, considering the similarities in programming and timing. So it was good news to hear that MusicNOW is on schedule for March 30-April 1 at Memorial Hall (next to Music Hall), just after Big Ears and featuring some of the same artists.

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by Mike Breen 06.16.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blue Wisp Big Band Lives On!

Despite losing their namesake venue, beloved local jazzers to continue every-Wednesday shows at Japp’s

Much has changed for the legendary Cincinnati live music venue the Blue Wisp Jazz Club over its 40-plus-year existence. Though it has consistently been the club for Jazz in Cincinnati over most of that period, the Blue Wisp has moved four different times over four decades. In its most recent locale at the corner of Race and Seventh streets downtown, the club owners also tried to attract more business by serving food and varying the types of music performed. But it wasn’t enough and the Blue Wisp has once again closed its doors (though various reports suggest it could find yet another new location in the future). 

One thing that hadn’t changed at the Blue Wisp, at least since it began in 1980, is the Blue Wisp Big Band. The group of all-star local musicians has maintained one of the longest residency in the region, performing its skilled take on vintage Big Band Jazz like clockwork every Wednesday. The band is a Cincinnati institution. 

When the Wisp shut down, the members of the Big Band were determined to not let their remarkable run end with a whimper. Instead, the Blue Wisp Big Band sought to continue its every-Wednesday residency at another venue. (In case you’re wondering, the group owns its moniker, so they can legally continue to use the “Blue Wisp” name.)

Veteran local Jazz pianist and Blue Wisp Big Band founding member Steve Schmidt says they’ve landed their new spot, Japp’s Annex on Main St. in Over-the-Rhine, and will pick up its Wednesday night shows beginning this week. Schmidt says the group will perform every Wednesday at Japp’s, at least through the end of July, when they’ll reassess the situation just to make sure it’s a good fit. The Big Band will again be playing two hour-long sets each Wednesday, the first starting at 8:30 p.m. The cover charge will be less than it was at the Wisp — just $5. (Parking is available in the lot on the corner of Main and Central Parkway, as well as in the garage behind the club on Sycamore.) 

“We are excited about trying out this (Over-the-Rhine) spot and happy that the ownership and staff at Japp's is excited, too,” Schmidt says. “We are all thinking of ways to make it better for the customer and the band as we go along. The band wanted to start quickly, not to be dormant for too long.”

Several of the principal members of the Blue Wisp Big Band did a walkthrough several days ago to get a feel for the new space and were happy with what they saw (and felt).

“I got a very good feeling about the room,” Schmidt says, “both in terms of space — spacious yet intimate — and acoustics. I think the other guys felt the same way. (Founding BWBB anchor/drummer) John Von Ohlen rightly pointed out that there is a lot of wood — the floors and the large bar. As John said, in the fullest and most complimentary sense of the word, ‘It's a joint!’ It's what he had in mind when he formed the band and put it in the original Blue Wisp in O'Bryonville. He said he wanted a world-class big band in a beer tavern.”

“In a word,” Schmidt adds, “(the new space) has soul.”

by Mike Breen 04.25.2012
Posted In: Music Video, Local Music, Live Music, Music News at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

'The Emery Sessions' Underway

Cool 'One Shot Music Video' project continues with Cincy duo Over the Rhine

We've written a bit in the past about the new film-meets-music "One Shot Music Video" series, beautifully shot, black-and-white short films of various local musical acts shot at the historic Emery Theatre (which is back in action as a functional venue this weekend). Shot by world renowned photographer Michael Wilson with audio help from the musical duo Pop Empire, the clips are filmed in one continuous take (thus the name).

The project has started to take shape and is on a roll now. Pop Empire's Cameron Cochran reports that the series is now named for the venue — "The Emery Sessions" — and will be comprised of footage from 10 artists, all shot at the theater. It's a great way to not only spotlight local music, but also show off the theater in a great light.

Wilson and Pop Empire have completed a couple of videos for Daniel Martin Moore for the first of the series. The second in the series is Over the Rhine (longtime compadres of Wilson's, who has shot OTR album covers and promo shots — including the one above — since the band's very beginning). OTR is familiar with the surroundings; the band played the "preview party" hosted by The Requiem Project which re-introduced the 100-year-old theater to locals late last year.

Here's a clip of Over the Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist performing "The Laugh of Recognition" from the twosome's latest album, The Long Surrender. (Click over to local blog Each Note Secure to check out another clip from the project.)

Cochran also runs the all-free, all-digital "record label" The Recording Label, which has issued stellar recordings by The Kickaways, Vacation, Sacred Spirits and Pop Empire. He says working on "The Emery Sessions" inspired him to give the label a more local-specific name. The Recording Label is now called Cincinnati Recording Service. Click here for the new site.

And here are a few words from Cochran on the Sessions and the label:

If we are consuming light then sound is accompanied by sight. Many musical performers understand this concept and will incorporate a visual component to their audio performance. The idea behind the "One Shot Music Video" is to approach music from the opposite direction. The audience approaches the music from a visual perspective first because whether they know it or not the first performance they see is the photographer's.  It is the photographer's eye that navigates them through the musical performance. The hidden live performance is the one done with the camera.

The Emery Theatre was the perfect place to begin our exploration of this relationship between listening and watching live musical performances. Each musician we have recorded and that we are going to record have a love for this amazing space and understands what the Emery Theatre means to our great city of Cincinnati. It is perhaps our own experiences working in this theatre and the pride that has developed for our hometown of Cincinnati that inspired us to change the name of The Recording Label to Cincinnati Recording Service. This name change is also a tip of the hat to another person who loved his city as well as the power that American music has to bring people together, Memphis' very own Sam Philips.
by Mike Breen 10.14.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

R.I.P. Larry Malott

Bassist for local Blues band Them Bones passes away following aneurysm

The local music scene lost one of its veteran players this past weekend. Larry Malott — also a veteran of the Vietnam War — suffered a brain aneurysm last Wednesday from which he never recovered.

A gifted bassist, Malott (who was 65) was the low-end anchor of hard-working, popular local Blues band Them Bones. Along with regular gigs with the group around town (and beyond — the band has toured in Europe and represented Cincinnati at
2010's International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., placing an impressive third overall), Malott and Them Bones were also the anchor of the long-running Sunday night Blues jams at Newport club, Mansion Hill Tavern, hosting the weekly event since 2001. Many local musicians gathered this past Sunday at the open jam to pay their respects to Malott. Judging by the outpouring of grief and appreciation on social media the past few days, Malott was not only a great bass player and dedicated Blues supporter, he was also something of a mentor to other local musicians and incredibly supportive of his fellow artists.

Visit Malott's Facebook page to leave a message for his family and for info on upcoming funeral services (a public tribute appears to also be in the works). His family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, supporters make a donation to their favorite charity and/or one of the following ones — Sophie's Angel Run,
Cincinnati Shriners Burns Hospital, Down Syndrome Association and/or Blues in the Schools.

by Mike Breen 03.11.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 08:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Killers Booked at Casino's "The Shoe"

Vegas chart-busters to play Horseshoe Casino's new outdoor pavilion in May

While the new Horseshoe Casino had a couple of concerts booked for its indoor "Pavilion" by the time the new "adult playground" opened last week (opera boyband Il Divo and comedian Joel McHale), today the casino announced its biggest music event yet. On May 16, chart-topping band The Killers will perform at the venue's "The Shoe," the first act (with more to be announced) to play the "outdoor event plaza." The band is a fitting booking for the new joint — as Las Vegas natives, the band members are all to familiar with the casino lifestyle.

The Killers are a big get — as an "outdoor shed" or large theater band, without The Shoe they'd probably be playing Riverbend or the Taft Theatre. It's another good sign that Cincinnati music fans can expect more tours to be routed through the area in the future.

Tickets for The Killers concert go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. here. The band will be supporting its latest album, Battle Born. Here's the video for Battle Born single, "Miss Atomic Bomb."

by mbreen 02.14.2011
Posted In: Music Commentary, Music News at 07:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Grammy Upsets Both Enthralling and Upsetting

Music lovers complaining about the out-of-touchness of the Grammy awards is like stand-up comedians complaining about airline food. Both are overdone and clichéd, but the frustration is a shared experience that people instantly identify with. With the Grammys, sometimes an unlikely win or loss is so infuriating and baffling, people can’t help but go ballistic. This year’s event was a rollercoaster that reflected both the Grammys’ perpetual practice of giving trophies to irrelevant and/or the “safest” artists and the program’s well-intentioned efforts of late to get with the times. I can’t remember ever describing a Grammys ceremony as “shocking,” but this year’s was full of surprises both pleasant and mind-numbingly inexplicable.

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by mbreen 09.14.2009
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 06:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Foxy Shazam Moves Up the Record Deal Ladder

There is a pretty good chance you haven’t seen the members of Cincinnati’s powder-keg Freak Punk Soul Pop maniacs Foxy Shazam around town lately. That’s because the piano-driven band appears to tour more than stay home these days, ever since the release of its cult-favorite classic, Introducing Foxy, on the indie label Ferret Records back in early 2008.

Things are going to get any easier for the band anytime soon — besides its massive upcoming tour with Swedish new wavers The Sounds (which will take them to every inch of the country for the next seven weeks straight, including a local stop at Covington's Madison Theater on Nov. 3), it was recently announced that the group’s next album will be its first for major label Sire Records

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by mbreen 09.25.2009
Posted In: Music News, MidPoint Music Festival at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

MPMF: MidPoint Band in Serious Van Accident

Some sad news on the MidPoint front. Chicago "Chamber Pop" band The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir were involved in a serious highway accident on the way to their MPMF show last night at the Contemporary Arts Center. The Seedy Seeds, playing to a packed room in the slot right before SYGC's, said a few words about the accident during their set (and played a little longer, to the disappointment of no one) and the news has hit the media in the Bloodshot recording artist's hometown.

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