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by Mike Breen 06.14.2013

MidPoint Music Festival 2013 Playlist Update

The unofficially official Spotify playlist featuring the artists booked so far for Cincinnati's 2013 MidPoint Music Festival has been updated with all of the artists announced for this September's festival so far. Dig around and explore, find your favorite new artists (you may even find an artist or two not mentioned in the first two lineup announcements) and start planning for what is looking to be the best MidPoint Music Fest yet, Sept.. 26-28 in the venues of beautiful Over-the-Rhine and Downtown Cincinnati.

Click here to grab your MPMF.13 tickets now.

by Mike Breen 08.31.2012

Post-Fireworks Party Sunday at MOTR

Two stellar Ohio Indie bands perform free Labor Day eve show

If you still have the energy after ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the fireworks on the river Sunday night — or if you're avoiding them altogether because you hate crowds (I'll be live tweeting the TV broadcast of the fireworks for all you homebodies) — two great Ohio bands are performing for free at Over-the-Rhine club MOTR Pub immediately following the big booms.

The fireworks after-party kicks off with Columbus Indie Rock crew Indigo Wild, a crafty, eclectic band that has built a nice following in Cincy thanks to frequent performances in the area (band members live in both Cincinnati and Ohio's capital). Here's a fun music video for Indigo Wild's song "Rowboats," featured on the band's debut release, the If By Sea EP (which came out last year around this time; click here to listen or purchase).

Headlining the show are The Ridges, an Athens, Ohio-based Orchestral Indie Folk troupe that has also amassed a solid following in Cincinnati. The MidPoint Music Festival vets — who perform in different configurations, depending on which members are available (including string and horn players) — return to play MPMF.12 in a few weeks. The Ridges are currently prepping a full-length album (recorded here in Cincinnati), so fans may even get a few new songs at the MOTR show.

The group performed at this summer's MidPoint Indie Summer concert series on Fountain Square, where they did an interview with CityBeat's John Byrne for a cool video feature. Learn more about the band and hear a few snippets of music in the piece below. (You can view more videos from Byrne's Indie Summer video series here.)

by Mike Breen 07.17.2013

MidPoint Music Fest Meets Spotify (Playlist Update)

Third round of additions to this September's MPMF Spotify playlist now live

With last week's third round of announcements of artists confirmed for this September's MidPoint Music Festival, the official MPMF Spotify playlist has been updated. Check out newly-added tunes from just-announced artists Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Nicholas David, Snowmine, Vandaveer, Pure X, Young Empires, Helado Negr, Bear's Den, Gauntlet Hair and more below.

Stay tuned to MPMF's social media outlets and official website (and this here blog) for the latest fest news. Tickets are available now through CincyTicket.com here. MidPoint is also featured in Consequence of Sound's "Festival Outlook" here.

As has been the case with MPMF for the past few years, the closer we get to the fest, the more attention MPMF artists seem to get. This week, for example, the great music blog The Wild Honey Pie released its "Top 15 Albums of 2013 (So Far)" list, an entire THIRD of which consists of MidPoint 2013 performers (Kurt Vile, On an On, Foxygen, Daughter and Caveman). Smart peeps, those Wild Honey Pie folks!

by Mike Breen 09.17.2012

Daily MPMFer: F.Stokes, Culture Queer and More

Cincy's 11th annual MidPoint Music Festival starts in just 10 days

MPMF news and musings: Wanna be a volunteer for this year's MidPoint Music Festival? The great local volunteerism org Give Back Cincinnati is handling this year's vital MPMF helpers. Click here for details and perks.

And now, with the countdown down to just 10 days, here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks …

F.Stokes (New York City, NY)
Hip Hop

With a poetic/spoken word approach to his smart lyrics and a musical approach informed by his eclectic tastes (he draws influence from everyone from Patti Smith and Johnny Cash to Miles Davis and Kanye West), F.Stokes is far from your stereotypical Rap artist. Though modern and relevant, Stokes’ unique approach is a throwback to the Native Tongues movement in Hip Hop during the late ’80s/early ’90s, in that he seems to be forging a creative path by following his own eclectic muses and not by following the blueprint for whatever it is that makes a Hip Hop song a hit nowadays. His lyrics can be raw and real, but he never indulges in the stereotypical Rap crutches (glorifying bling, guns, etc.). Like Kanye West minus the ego and with less epic ambition, F.Stokes creates his own alternative universe for Hip Hop, one that praises creativity and innovation over all else. Stokes’ new EP, Love, Always, was recorded in various spots across Europe, where music fans have embraced his originality and soulful style.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Kanye at his most artistic, Blackalicious, The Pharcyde. (Mike Breen)

F.Stokes performs at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club on Friday, Sept. 28, at 12:15 a.m. Here's a clip for Stokes' tribute to small towns, "My Simple."

Ami Saraiya and the Outcome (Chicago, IL)
Indie Pop

Classically trained and wonderfully quirked, Ami Saraiya reprises her 2009 solo debut, Archeologist, with Soundproof Box, her first album offering equal billing to her backing band, the Outcome. Pinning down Saraiya’s sound is like describing Jackson Pollack’s work to an infant, but if you can conceptualize Zooey Deschenel fronting the Squirrel Nut Zippers as the carnival soundtrack to a Kate Bush PowerPoint presentation, you’d be in the weirdly appropriate ballpark.
Dig: A cabaret gypsy Jazz Pop revue in tribute to Edith Piaf featuring Regina Spektor on stage and Ani Di Franco in the orchestra pit. (Brian Baker)

Ami and Co. perform Friday, Sept. 28, at the "Biore Strip"/Know Theatre's second stage starting at 10 p.m. Here's the group's video for the track, "I'm Pregnant."

Culture Queer (Cincinnati, OH)
Indie Pop

Known for their quirky, eccentric, electronics-infused and endlessly catchy take on Indie Pop and engaging live shows that incorporate various video art backdrops (three of the members work in film), quartet Culture Queer has released some of the best albums of the past decade or so of Cincy music. This October, the band returns with Nightmare Band, a rich, kaleidoscopic stunner-of-an-album that’ll be backed by a national promo push that should do wonders for exposing one of Cincy’s best kept musical secrets to the rest of the universe.
Dig: The Rentals, Devo, Eels, Fruit Pop with all the flavors of the rainbow. (MB)

Culture Queer performs Friday, Sept. 28, at the Cincinnati Club at 8:15 p.m. Here's a fresh new video from the band's upcoming album, the title track "Nightmare Band." The album hits the streets (cyber and otherwise) on Oct. 16 with a release party around the same time (stay tuned).

Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.

by 09.20.2010

MidPoint Tickets Coming & Going

The 2010 MidPoint Music Festival is just three days away, so if you haven't firmed up your plans yet now's the time. And here's the big ticketing detail you need to be aware of: Three-day "all access" wristband sales end before the festival kicks off Thursday, replaced by one-day wristbands on sale each night at all venues.

Read More

by Mike Breen 05.10.2012

MidPoint 2012 Submissions Deadline Tomorrow

Bands/performers interested in showcasing — y'all better hurry!

If you are a musician who has an act they'd like to showcase at this year's MidPoint Music Festival and you haven't submitted for consideration, you better get on it. Tomorrow is the final day submissions will be accepted.

Click here for details on how to submit an EPK for consideration.

In related news, the MidPoint Indie Summer concert series (which has it's own Wikipedia page!) returns every Friday on Fountain Square starting June 1. Expect lineup announcements soon. A certain amazing local Power Pop/Rock band has "hinted" they will be a part of the series this year. But you didn't hear it from me.

MidPoint has also posted some fresh artwork that you are encouraged to use to create your own "posters, clothes, or otherwise interesting and useful things." Get your base materials here and check out the design below.

by Mike Breen 06.28.2013

Music Tonight: MidPoint Indie Summer

Great homegrown songwriting on display tonight for free on Fountain Square

Tonight's free MidPoint Indie Summer concert on Fountain Square has an element of contemporary local music heritage … and lots of ear-grabbing melody.

The show is being headlined by psychodots, one of the most popular (and locally influential) original bands to ever call Cincinnati home. Check the Pop/Rock trio's website here and a clip of the ’dots performing at Redsfest in 2006 below:

Cari Clara, the long-running project of Eric Diedrichs — who now lives in Lexington, Ky., but fronted Cincy Pop/Rock faves The Simpletons in the ’00s — plays the middle slot. Check out CityBeat's review of Cari Clara's most recent release, Midnight March, here and the album's "Battle Hymn" below.

The Ready Stance, featuring former members of wildly popular ’90s act Middlemarch (and former Ass Ponys bassist, Randy Cheek) opens the show at 8 p.m. Check out CityBeat's interview with the band from last spring here. And here is a sample from the group's debut album, Damndest:

For more info, go to myfountainsquare.com.
by Mike Breen 09.18.2012

Daily MPMFer: Walkmen, You, You're Awesome and More

Just nine days until the 11th annual MidPoint Music Festival

MPMF news and musings: ArtWorks/Springboard Cincinnati is once again handling one of the cooler aspects of the "MidPoint Midway" (the fairgrounds-like area connecting Main to Vine streets, with food vendors, a music stage, poster expo and lots more). Last year's MidPoint Music Festival saw the introduction of the "Box Truck Carnival," where numerous local artists and organizations turned nondescript moving trucks into their own little worlds (last year, there was a theater, a skate park and a Putt Putt course).

This year, Springboard is profiling the trucks on its website leading up to the big event next week. So far, they've introduced the Art for All People truck, "Art and Music Box," where you'll be able to add your own creative paint job, and the truck by OTRimprov, which will feature improv games and "on-the-spot workshops" for aspiring UCB comedians (or just the curious). Click here to check out these and other "fun in a box" experiments.

• The other big news of the day is that one of the bigger headlining acts, Sleigh Bells, has been forced to cancel its appearance at Washington Park during the festival. The band was slated to headline the park stage at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. The full lineup for Saturday is up in the air, but will be retooled with additional acts. Expect an announcement soon.

If Sleigh Bells was the only act you wanted to see at the festival and you'd like a refund, here's the official details: "Customers who have purchased the Washington Park Saturday Ticket may choose to either keep their tickets, or may receive a refund by contacting support@cincyticket.com by the end of the day Sept. 21st. If you elect the refund, only the cost of the ticket is refunded, not the shipping or service fees. No refunds will be issued for All Music Access Passes."

Sleigh Bells guitarist Derek Edward Miller tweeted that he fractured his arm while skateboarding in Florida recently, causing the cancellation of MPMF and a few other dates.

And now, with the countdown down to just 9 days (single digits!), here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks …

The Walkmen (New York, NY)
Indie Rock

A dozen years since members of Jonathan Fire*Eater and the Recoys coalsced into the formidable Walkmen? It hardly seems possible. But then, neither does the band's almost supernatural string of confusingly brilliant albums, all crafted by the same line-up that began at the dawn of the new millennium; the sparse, atmospheric jangle of Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, the intense and visceral Bows + Arrows (featuring their signature "The Rat"), the quiet beauty of A Hundred Miles Off, their weirdly wonderful cover of Harry Nilsson's Pussy Cats, the powerful You & Me, the fabulous Lisbon, and their latest, Heaven, widely acknowledged as their best album to date, a phenomenal accomplishment for a band in their 13th year. Long may they walk.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: The Strokes if they'd been guided by Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan if he'd been backed by The Strokes. (Brian Baker)

The Walkmen perform Saturday, Sept. 29, on the Grammer's/Dewey's Pizza Stage at 9:15 p.m. Here is the band's music video for "The Love You Love."

Holy Ghost Tent Revival (Greensboro, NC)
Folk Rock

When a band lists the Rolling Stones and Glenn Miller as primary influences, there’s a good chance their musical pegs don’t fit the standard genre holes. So it is with Holy Ghost Tent Revival, a North Carolina sextet that redefines eclectic, veering from Ragtime and Hot Jazz to an electric brand of Swing and the kind of funky, rootsy Country Rock that would have made Levon Helm grin and stomp. You don’t often see the Charleston breaking out in the middle of the mosh pit, but anything is possible at a Holy Ghost Tent Revival gig. Be prepared.
Dig: Squirrel Nut Zippers explore their secret love of the Band, Blood Sweat & Tears and Burt Bacharach. (BB)

Holy Ghost Tent Revival performs Saturday, Sept. 29, at Japp's at 11:30 p.m. Here's a preview of the band's just-released album Sweat Like the Old Days.

You, You're Awesome (Cincinnati, OH)

The duo You, You’re Awesome has been the Cincinnati Indie music scene’s go-to Dance music favorites for the past few years, blending live drums with quirky, playful soundscapes that call back to earlier electronic music pioneers. As EDM and other forms of Electronica have grown in popularity, a lot of artists seem to have a hard time figuring out how to distinguish themselves. But You, You’re Awesome doesn’t have that problem, emerging with a versatile sound that isn’t based on any one trend. The group released several EPs before last year’s debut full-length, but YYA is most fun to experience in a live setting. You can dance if you want to — everyone else will be.
Dig: Daft Punk reborn as Saturday morning cartoon characters. (Mike Breen)

You, You're Awesome are slated to play at 5 p.m. on the Washington Park stage on Friday, Sept. 28. Here's the track and visuals for YYA's "Yippee Ki Yay Mister Falcon." Click below for a playlist featuring numerous YYA clips.

Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.

by Mike Breen 09.14.2012

Daily MPMFer: Cloud Nothings, Shrub and More

MidPoint Music Festival news and recomendations as the countdown reaches 13 days

MPMF news and musings: Kick-ass longtime MPMF sponsor Dewey's Pizza is giving away a trio of special "Next Level Experience" passes for you and two of your closest friends (or, I suppose, you could give them to people you hate, though that would just be kinda weird).

If you win, you'll receive a three-day wristband and one night at the Dewey's Pizza/Grammer's stage in the best seat in the house (which appears to be a couch positioned very close to the stage). For more on Dewey's Next Level Experience contest, click here.

And now, with the countdown down to just 13 days, here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks, today featuring all Ohio artists …

Cloud Nothings (Cleveland, OH)
Punk Pop

From his parents’ basement, Dylan Baldi created and released several acclaimed lo-fi recordings as Cloud Nothings before his 2009 EP, Turning On, pinged the critics’ radar and scored positive reviews on all the right blogs. Almost immediately, Baldi had to assemble a band to play the gigs that were offered to him, resulting in lots of touring and his slightly shinier 2011 self-titled full-length. This year has seen the release of the even more expansive Attack on Memory and a string of upcoming opening dates for Silversun Pickups. Not a bad three years for a Hardcore obsessed kid from Cleveland.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: The idea of Tommy Keene and Kevin Seconds stirring up some Pop and some Punk for a Husker Du tribute. (Brian Baker)

Cloud Nothings perform at Midnight on Friday, Sept. 28, at the Cincinnati Club. Here's the official music video for Cloud Nothings' "No Future/No Past."

Cloud Nothings - "No Future / No Past" Official Video from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.

Shrub (Columbus, OH)
Reggae/Hip Hop/Rock

Reggae, Rock and Hip Hop have been brought together numerous times before and often there’s a weak link, with artists skimping on at least one of the three ingredients (or lacking the talent to infuse it properly). Six-piece Columbus band Shrub doesn’t have that problem — the Reggae jumps from the speaker courtesy of the air-tight groove, while the Rock comes from the band’s inherent power (and power chords). Meanwhile, the way the group (which has recorded with Ohio Hip Hop giant Blueprint) uses its Hip Hop skills may be most impressive, showcasing fantastic MC verses and a DJ who doesn’t just offer a few “wiki wikis” here and there, instead threading each track with clever samples and scratches.
Dig: Sublime, G. Love, Gym Class Heroes drop the Pop, smoke a blunt and indulge their Reggae/Hip Hop fantasies. (Mike Breen)

Shrub performs Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Here's a clip for Shrub's track "Supergirl."

Brian Olive (Cincinnati, OH)

After honing his skills as an original member of The Greenhornes, then later joining northern Ohio’s Soledad Brothers for a spell, Brian Olive struck out on his own to showcase his formidable songwriting skills and his ability to inhabit classic Rock and Soul styles without sounding throwback. After earning international attention for his 2009 debut album, Olive released Two of Everything in 2011, topping himself and distilling his seeming encyclopedic grasp on vintage R&B, Soul, Rock and Psych into a powerful sound brought to life with help from co-producer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. When not working on other projects (like the latest Dr. John album), Olive and his band of local musicians travel throughout the U.S. (and occasionally Europe) frequently in support of the release.
Dig: ’60s Pop, Garage Rock, Soul, R&B, Jazz and Blues. (MB)

Brian Olive and his band perform Friday, Sept. 28, at the Vitaminwater Room/Hanke Building at 10 p.m. Here's a very cool promo clip for MPMF.12 featuring Olive's great tune "Strange Attractor." The clip was made by Big Media Company and directed by David Morrison (who local music fans will remember as the former drummer for The Ass Ponys and Ruby Vileos).

MidPoint Music Festival 2012 from Big Media Company on Vimeo.

Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.

by Mike Breen 09.15.2012

Daily MPMFer: Grizzly Bear, Eclipse and More

The countdown to the 11th annual MidPoint Music Festival reaches 12 days

MPMF news and musings: The official MidPoint Music Festival guide (on the streets of Greater Cincinnati until Wednesday, then resurfacing when it's MPMF-time) included a few feature stories this year about some of the festival's bonus features and additions. Read Leyla Shokoohe's interview with MPMF main-man, CityBeat's own Dan McCabe, about the fest's dedication to Over-the-Rhine and new MPMF venues Washington Park and the Emery Theatre here.

And now, with the countdown down to just 12 days, here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks …

Grizzly Bear (Brooklyn, NY)
Indie Art Pop

When this year’s initial MPMF performers were announced, eclectic Brooklyn crew Grizzly Bear was by far the name that seemed to most excite fest-goers. The group’s eccentric mix of artsy arrangements, organic psychedelia and boundless experimentalism has been earning the fans an ever-increasing and loyal fanbase since their lysergic debut release in 2004. Though continually adventurous, the band’s sound has grown and matured with the size of its following — 2009’s Veckatimest debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s album chart and seemingly made every single music critic in the world’s “Top 10 Best” list that year. Expect an even bigger response from critics and fans when Grizzly Bear finally unleashes the much-anticipated new release, Shields, released just prior to the band’s MPMF stop. There’s a very good chance one of MPMF.12’s biggest acts will be sporting a Top 10 album by the time they get to Washington Park (an MPMF first).
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Brian Wilson at his “off-the-meds” creative peak, listening to an “AM Gold” Soft Rock compilation and a Kraut Rock comp after drinking gallons of psychedelic mushroom tea.

Grizzly Bear headlines the Washington Park stage on Friday, Sept. 28 at 8:30 p.m. The band performed the lead-off track from its new Shields album, "Sleeping Ute," on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night. Take a look/listen:

Rich Aucoin (Halifax, CAN)
Electro Pop

On his enthralling 2011 full-length, We’re All Dying to Live, Canadian musician Rich Aucoin decided he’d invite Canada to record with him. As a result, the album features over 500 musicians, whose teaming on Aucoin’s dynamic, funky and craftily constructed tracks makes Dying to Live sound like the Electro Disco party of the century. But it’s not just a mindless exercise in dancefloor stereotypes — there’s depth and nuance to Aucoin’s songwriting and layering that might not be noticeable initially. Unlike a lot of Dance acts, Aucoin’s music isn’t disposable fun — it’s essential and commands repeated listens.
Dig: ’80s Synth Pop, ’70s Disco, of Montreal, 4AD artists, Chic and Duran Duran in art school together.

Rich Aucoin performs at Below Zero Lounge on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 11 p.m. Here is the hour-long film created to sync up with We're All Dying to Live (plus, of course, the full album for a free preview listen).

Rich Aucoin - We're All Dying To Live :: Public Publication EP / Over The Top! LP from Sonic Entertainment Group on Vimeo.

Eclipse (Cincinnati, OH)
Hip Hop/Jazz/Funk/Fusion

What happens when a bunch of studied Jazz musicians get funky with a couple of top-notch Hip Hop MCs? Eclipse happens. The Cincinnati septet has one of the best live shows in town, turning unsuspecting crowds into a sweaty mass of humanity thanks to their persistent groove and old-school Hip Hop party-starting. The band’s Around the World album was at the top of CityBeat’s list of the best local albums of 2011. With peerless MCs Jibri and Daddie Rich laying down rich verses and gripping hooks, the band roams around in the tight arrangements, touching on classic Funk, modern Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock, Latin rhythms and Jazz like some sort of dance-friendly aural collage.
Dig: An epic Jurassic 5, The Roots, Miles Davis, James Brown and King Crimson mash-up.

Eclipse performs Friday, Sept. 28, at 11 p.m. at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Here's a great video featurette put together by Chuck Land and Landman Productions, with audio recorded by Alex Lusht of Mind Ignition.

Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.