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by Mike Breen 05.25.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Music News, Music Video at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

LISTEN: The National Records Song for 'Game of Thrones'

Cincinnati natives to be featured on second season sountrack album

The Cincinnati natives of hugely popular Brooklyn-based Indie Rock band The National have recorded a song for the upcoming soundtrack for the second season of HBO's critically-acclaimed series, Game of Thrones. The soundtrack is due June 19. The National is the only group featured; the rest of the soundtrack album is the instrumental score, written by Ramin Djawadi and recorded by the Czech Film Orchestra and Choir.

According to Spin, the band members took the words from Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin's 2000 novel, A Storm of Swords. Check it out below.

by mbreen 07.20.2011
Posted In: Music News at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Paul McCartney Wants Your Art!

Ever listened to Paul McCartney’s first two solo albums and thought, “Wow, these are so great, I want to reinterpret them artistically”? If that’s you (or if you’re just looking for a bit of self-promotion), you could win some cool prizes by entering your McCartney-inspired artwork into a unique contest judged by Sir Paul himself.

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by Mike Breen 02.11.2013

Ohio Against the World at The Grammys

Akron's Dan Auerbach cleans up at ceremony, including winning for an album featuring one of Cincy's best

Despite Frank Ocean's deft leg-syncing and Taylor Swift's torture-porn-disguised-as-wholesome-circus, Akron, Ohio's Dan Auerbach and The Black Keys were The Grammys' big story last night, winning five trophies, the most of any artist.

While the Keys won the Grammys for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance, Auerbach scored two solo Grammys for his production work, winning the trophy for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) and also winning one for producing Dr. John's Locked Down, the Blues Album winner.

While Grammys for album winners are usually given to the producers, engineers, mastering engineers and artists, hopefully Cincinnati's Brian Olive will also score one for his work on the LP. Auerbach — who has produced albums by both Olive and Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers — enlisted Olive (an original member of Cincinnati's Greenhornes) to work on the Dr. John album. Olive has songwriting credits on every track on Locked Down, and he's also credited with playing guitar, percussion and woodwinds, as well as providing background vocals. (Check out CityBeat's profile of Olive from 2011, about his Auerbach-produced Two of Everything album, here.)

Kudos to Mr. Olive! That's him — the handsome feller with big side-burns playing sax (and a little guitar) in this video for the album's "Revolution."

Check out all the winners from last night's Grammys here, and click here or here for some extra musings about the show.

by mbreen 03.30.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jake Speed's Big Folkin’ Opening Day Party

Tomorrow (Thursday) marks the first Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day in some time where fans actually have cause to be realistically optimistic about the team’s chances of going deep into the playoffs come the end of the season. If you’re planning on going all out for Opening Day, a good place to start your reveling is at Arnold’s, as local Folk faves Jake Speed and the Freddies once again host its baseball-themed variety show. The fun kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and you can be there in spirit if you can’t make it in person by listening to WNKU, which will simulcast the festivities live.

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by mbreen 04.16.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Music News at 08:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

MidPoint Indie Summer Concerts Announced

Free summertime Fountain Square shows feature national headliners and lots of local talent

The first good sign that consistent warmth is on its way is the announcement of the lineup for this year’s MidPoint Indie Summer series at downtown’s Fountain Square. The concerts are part of the Square’s free PNC Summer Music Series, which showcases different types of music (played mostly by local acts) five days a week. (The lineups for the every-Thursday Salsa on the Square shows have also been announced; visit myfountainsquare.com for details.)

The eclectic, free Indie Summer shows take place every Friday throughout the summer. This year’s lineup is perhaps the series’ strongest yet, with some higher profile national touring acts and the usual array of top-notch local talent. 

Here’s the full rundown of Indie Summer shows so far (a few slots are still to be announced): 

• May 30: WHY?Yip DeceiverBad BoxesDark Colour 

• June 6: WussyThe TigerliliesHoney & HoustonMason School of Rock

• June 13: Betty WhoVito EmmanuelCaptain KiddPluto Revolts

• June 20: Those DarlinsThe HarlequinsThose Crosstown RivalsThe Frankl Project 

• June 27: Moon TaxiPeridoniNeveleAcarya 

• July 4: Local HNew StrangeMad AnthonyOne Day Steady 

• July 11: Soledad BrothersElectric CitizenPop Goes the EvilGrotesque Brooms 

• July 18: Wesley Bright & the Hi-LitesDAAP GirlsMardou 

• July 25: Clap Your Hands Say YeahPublicDanny & His Fantasy

• August 1: The Spiders (tribute to David Bowie); Honeyspiders

• August 8: Man ManInjecting StrangersOhio KnifeSkeleton Hands

• August 15: The Nightbeast (a co-headliner will be announced in July)

• August 22: psychodotsLemon SkyTonefarmerHeavy Hinges 

• August 29: IslandsThe PassThe YugosJoey Cook & The Keepers of the Secret

The Indie Summer series is sponsored by the MidPoint Music Festival, CityBeat’s popular annual music extravaganza, which returns to the clubs and venues of Downtown and Over-the-Rhine Sept. 25-27. (Though all MPMF-worthy, the acts are booked through Fountain Square, not by MidPoint.) There will be a MidPoint booth on Fountain Square every Friday where music fans can find the latest MPMF info and purchase tickets to the three-day festival. 

A limited amount of discounted early-bird passes for this year’s MPMF are available now at mpmf.cincyticket.com. Nail down your three-day tickets (or VIP Experience tickets) before the prices increase. And be sure to stay tuned to mpmf.com and the fest's various social media accounts for the latest updates. 

by Mike Breen 08.29.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, Music News at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

WATCH: Skeleton Hands' "Oxygen" Music Video

Cincinnati Darkwave duo releases creeping new clip for latest single

In February of this year, Cincinnati area Electronic/Darkwave/Post Punk twosome Skeleton Hands released its stellar full-length album, Gone (read CityBeat's review here). One of the standouts on the LP is the track "Oxygen," which encapsulates everything compelling about the duo's sound — it's dark, danceable and moody, with synth atmospherics, creeping melodies and vocals, electro-bass wobble and shimmery guitar waterfalls. 

Those retro/modern/futuristic urban-gothic sonics are perfectly reflected in the brand new video clip for "Oxygen." The ominous video — written by Thomas Stemrich (Director) and Josh Chiara (Director of Photography) of local band Holy Beast — was shot over three days in Northside and Over-the-Rhine. 

The nutshell synopsis of the video:

"In New Berlin, in the basements of post-industrial mansions, lost youths pray to shrines for nothing and participate in rituals that don’t matter. But tonight, one of New Berlin’s daughters is through with the minutia, ready to dive beneath the insincerity of cult posturing, and finally awaken the beacon of change that swells beneath the city streets. Will this be another lost night in Neverland or will she finally meet the beast of her dreams?"

Stemrich and Chiara have made other music videos, including "Night Drive" for the local act Polar Sky (Polar Sky and Skeleton Hands both record for locally based Racecar Productions). Sharfe says "Night Drive," and now "Oxygen," are unofficially akin to part of a "series," with the Polar Sky clip setting the "New Berlin" tone initially, and the Skeleton Hands' video taking it further.

"In the New Berlin videos, we see Cincinnati through a dystopic lens," Sharfe says. "Prostitutes, cults, deities, people with holes in their torsos. Strange stuff."

Skeleton Hands are currently taking pre-orders for copies of Gone on vinyl. Click here to get in on the action. "Oxygen" will be available as a single this fall through Racecar. The single release will feature remixes, including ones by Kontravoid and the aforementioned Polar Sky.

The duo also returns to the MidPoint Music Festival this year, coming up towards the end of September in various venues around Over-the-Rhine and Downtown. Skeleton Hands is slated to perform at 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at MPMF venue Below Zero Lounge (on Walnut Street, next to Emery Theatre). Click here for MPMF tickets (or visit Fountain Square Friday night between 8-11 p.m., where you can buy tickets in person — one night only — for $10-$20 off).

by Mike Breen 12.17.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Music Tonight: Steve Schmidt Organ Trio Christmas Spectacular

Veteran ace Jazz pianist/organist Steve Schmidt returns to The Comet in Northside to launch his Christmas-themed two-night stand at the venue.

Schmidt's annual Christmas Jazz "Spectacular" has become a local holiday tradition. Schmidt whips out his organ (a Hammond B3; get your mind out of the gutter!) for the occasion and, as always, brings along some top-shelf special guests for the shows. Schmidt is joined by Brad Myers on guitar and Mark Wolfley on drums, plus two amazing singers — Eugene Goss (known for his work with Billy Larkin as Triage) and the great Mandy Gaines.

The Steve Schmidt Organ Trio Christmas Spectacular runs 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. tonight and tomorrow at The Comet. There is no cover charge.

by mbreen 02.11.2011

Area Music Fest Updates

Three of the finest music festivals in the region — spring’s Nelsonville Music Festival in northeastern Ohio, summer’s Forecastle Festival in Louisville and Cincy’s own MidPoint Music Festival, returning Sept. 22-24 — have made recent announcements concerning their 2011 events.

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by Mike Breen 09.14.2011
Posted In: Music News, Live Music at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

STP Gets Doctor’s Note; Black Star Too Busy

Two highly anticipated concerts this week have been canceled. Last night, I received an emailed press release from the promoters of the Stone Temple Pilots concert at Taft Theatre at 7:24 p.m. announcing the show had been called off due to singer Scott Weiland’s inability to perform (not for the reason you’re thinking — Weiland was suffering from “inflamed vocal chords”). The concert was scheduled to start last night at 7:30 p.m., so that was a close call (especially for fans already at the venue). Today, Live Nation announced that the rare performance by Black Star (featuring modern Hip Hop heroes Mos Def and Talib Kweli) at Bogart’s this Saturday had also been canceled.

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by Mike Breen 11.02.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Music News, Local Music at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Music Tonight: Ironfest III, Rumpke Mountain Boys and More

Ironfest, the multi-act concert event started by friends of late local music booster “Iron” Mike Davidson to benefit his daughter, is set for its third annual event tonight and Saturday at the new Southgate House Revival in Newport. Each night features a staggering amount of solid local bands from a variety of genres.

Tonight, catch Mad Anthony, State Song, Switchblade Syndicate, The Shanks, Goddamn Gravity, The New Void, Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues, Vito Emmanuel, Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s, Arlo McKinley and the Lonesome Sound, Chiva Knievel, Total Dudes, A Juliet Bender, Smoke Signals, Rising Shotgun, DC Project and Dead August.

Performing for Night 2 tomorrow are The Dopamines, Moonbow, Honeyspiders, Red Soul Rising, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Another Tragedy, The Tammy Whynots, 500 Miles to Memphis, The Sound Museum, SHIVS, Kelly Steward and the Restless Kind, The Mudpies, Martin Luther and the Kings, The Perfect Children, Buenos Crotches, Sticky Honey, The Andyman Hopkins Band and Queen City Radio, a very promising new group featuring Dan Mecher, former frontman for Turnbull ACs and Denial, former 500 Miles to Memphis bassist Jeff Snyder, longtime 500 Miles frontman Ryan Malott and Kevin Finkelmeier of Pete Dressman and the Soul Unified Nation and Denial fame.

Tickets are just $5 each night and music starts at 7 p.m. Click here and here for more info.

• One of Cincinnati’s most popular bands, Rumpke Mountain Boys, celebrate the release of their new album with a series of release parties in the region, kicking off tonight at Inner Circle (the former Annie’s location). Following the Cincinnati date, the Boys will perform for their growing fan bases in Lexington, Ky., Bloomington, Ind., Columbus, Ohio, and Cleveland, Ohio. The group’s new official full-length is titled Trashgrass, the name the members have given their eclectic, jammy, sometime trippy brand of Bluegrass. The band has all the markings of a standard Bluegrass troupe — mandolin, banjo, upright bass, acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies — but the members’ varied influences (they cite Grateful Dead, Ralph Stanley, Tom Waits and Jimmy Cliff among their key inspirations) make the end result its own organic, spontaneous beast. The seven-time Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners for Best Bluegrass act have performed at numerous festivals, shared the stage with artists like Ralph Stanley, Keller Williams, Yonder Mountain String Band and Del McCoury, and Vince Herman — a pioneer of the Rumpkes’ jammy take on Bluegrass with Leftover Salmon — called them “a party waiting to happen.”

Rumpke Mountain Boys perform tonight with the excellent local Reggae crew The Cliftones. The show starts at  9 p.m. and admission is $10 (or $12 for those ages 18-20). Visit rumpke.ning.com for more on the band.

The Rumpkes are probably one of the more documented bands in the area thanks to their allowance/encouragement of fans to record their live shows. Here's a video from this past March of the group performing the Folk/Jazz/Blues standard "Make Me A Pallet on Your Floor" at ekoostik hookah's springtime music fest in central Ohio.

• Strong local Rock/Pop act Majestic Man celebrates the release of its debut full-length, Manatee, this Friday at Mayday in Northside. Local bands The FrontRunners and Plastic Inevitables open the free show at 10 p.m. Manatee is loaded with melodic, well-written songs, but the varied groove the band manipulates throughout the album is just as distinct and magnetic. Be it the Jazz slink of “Someday,” the dubby sway of “Bodysnatcher” or the angled Funk of “Age of No Reason,” the music is rhythmically fascinating. The dazzling guitar playing and superb vocals add cohesion to Manatee, an album that shows Majestic Man to be one of the more gifted newer groups in the Cincinnati area. To preview and/or purchase Manatee, visit majesticman.bandcamp.com. Here's the new album track "Spanish":

• This past spring, prolific artist Jon Langford came to Cincinnati to open an exhibit of his visual artwork and perform a free concert with his group Skull Orchard at Over-the-Rhine club MOTR Pub. At the time, Langford spoke to CityBeat contributor Steve Rosen about his range of artistic endeavors.

“I have to do a lot of things,” he said. “I find it essential, honestly — spiritually and economically.” (Read the full interview with Langford here.)

Just prior to the springtime Cincy visit, Langford had come off a Midwest tour with perhaps his best known band outside of his first one — British Punk legends, The Mekons — Waco Brothers, the AltCountry outfit he records with for Bloodshot Records. Langford must’ve enjoyed his time in Cincinnati because tonight he's bringing the Wacos to MOTR Pub for a 10 p.m. show, one of only a trio of appearances currently scheduled for the group. The Brothers are bringing with them Paul Burch, the Nashville singer/songwriter with whom the band collaborated on this year’s Great Chicago Fire LP. The Chicago band Cannonball is also on the bill.

Here's a fan-shot video of Burch and the Wacos from earlier this year.

Click here for even more live music events in Greater Cincinnati tonight.