Local music fans who like their Indie Pop noisy and creative need to check out Pop Empire, a new duo featuring Cameron Cochran (of The Sheds, Lions Rampant fame) and Henry Wilson. And, like Cochran's Sheds (which gave away all of its music free online), Pop Empire is recession-friendly. Head to popempire.com and download the band's debut EP, Rainy Child, for free.
• 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.
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.
Garage/Psych Pop trio Buffalo Killers will have its third long-player, titled 3, released on Aug. 2 through Alive Records (also home to Brian Olive’s recent sophomore solo album). The band is set to host release parties in Dayton (at Canal Street Tavern July 15) and Cincinnati (at MOTR Pub July 16), then head out west for the start of what will likely be an ongoing, extensive tour for 3. Check out the new album track “Circle Day” above.
Under Steve Kemple, music reference librarian in the Popular Library, downtown's Main Library has begun doing some fascinating free programming to highlight the depth of its music collection — and just music in general. It already has an Experimental Music at the Library series, featuring live events such as a band from Oakland (Horaflora) that plays grapefruit, electric toothbrushes and balloons. At 7 p.m. on March 20, Hadron Collider will pair psychedelic light projections with feedback and drone noises.
But coming up first, the spotlight is on another of Kemple's ongoing music programs at the Main Library — Listen to This! — for which an audience is invited to listen to and discuss albums from the Library's collection. Past sessions have been devoted to Iranian music and Marvin Gaye. Next Wednesday from 7-8:30 p.m., Listen to This! features the traditional music of North Korea. So far, Kemple has only found one relevant album in the collection — North Korean Folk Songs — but it's a good one. And the hunt is on for more.
No word if Dennis Rodman will attend with or without his new best friend, but you're sure to have a good time — and become well-versed on North Korean music — if you do. The program will be held in the first-floor Popular Music Lounge.
Kemple's creative programming was just written up in the Library Journal.
Go here for more information.
Indie/Psych Pop crew Elf Power will be screening Major Organ and the Adding Machine, an artsy, long-awaited film featuring numerous members of the influential Elephant 6 collective (a sort of less pretentious/glam version of Andy Warhol’s Factory, but with more of a music focus), before the band’s 12:30 a.m. performance on Sept. 25 at the Blue Wisp, part of the MidPoint Music Festival.
Entertainment Weekly's website recently debuted a bizarre music video for Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider's cover of "Mack the Knife." The clip features Eric Nally, singer for internationally renowned, Cincy born-and-bred hard rockers Foxy Shazam, as a nerded-up emcee introducing Snider before a less-than-enthused small crowd. The song is from Snider's album of covers, Dee Does Broadway, which includes Broadway cameos from Bebe Neuwirth and Patti LuPone. The video clip also includes a cameo by modern Prog Rock legend Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Translatlantic). "Mack the Knife" is rendered fairly straightforward by Dee … at first. (You just knew he wasn't going to take it anymore.)
Snider is a Foxy fan, apparently. On a morning show in L.A. recently, he shouted-out the band to viewers, calling them "Queen meets The Darkness … so brilliant!
It's not the first Rock veteran to take notice of Foxy's talent. Nally co-wrote songs with Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, Meat Loaf and others for Meat Loaf's 2010 album Hang Cool Teddy Bear. Here's "California Isn't Big Enough (Hey There Girl)," which Nally and Hawkins wrote together. (Foxy and the since-reunited Darkness have been touring together a bunch lately, a match made in flamboyant Rock & Roll heaven.)
There’s been a lot of new announcements from the MidPoint Music Festival in the past couple of days. Below is an update of the latest info. Wanna discuss further? Come on out to tonight’s MidPoint Indie Summer Series kick-off concert on Fountain Square. The free, all-ages show kicks off at 7 p.m. with Lydia Burrell, followed by Javelin and Cincy’s own You, You’re Awesome (which is using the occasion to celebrates its brand new full-length, Good Point, Whoever Said That).
This year, two big Rock albums that were among the best of their respective decades celebrate milestone anniversaries. On October 9, 2001, New York City band The Strokes helped define Indie Rock in the ’00s with their debut album, Is This It. About 10 years before that, on Sept. 24, 1991, Nirvana released its breakthrough album Nevermind, which reshaped the state of music at the time (and, some say, forever). Two music outlets have curated full-album cover versions of Is This It and Nevermind, featuring individual song contributions from a variety of contemporary artists. Both have also made the compilations available as a free download.
Last night, Jane Smith, singer for the Cincinnati area band Belle Histoire, appeared as a contestant on the NBC singing competition, The Voice. None of the judges "turned around" (the show's sign of approval, but, really, isn't it rude not to look at someone singing for you?), but Smith earned some fans with the appearance.
Lyndsey Parker, who covers the show for Yahoo's music blog, was one such fan, writing, "Whyyyyyyy didn't any of the judges spin for this awesome girl? Biggest Voice fail of this season so far, for real. Obviously the judges could not see how adorable Jane was, with her perfect Marlo Thomas hair-flip, sweet Keane-painting eyes, and Zooey 101 style…but surely they must have heard the potential in this Belle Histoire frontwoman's throaty performance of Florence + The Machine's 'You Got The Love.' I don't understand why no one turned, since they'd turned for less impressive singers this season. Of course, the four coaches who rejected Jane then spent 10 minutes annoyingly gushing about how great she was, which only made me wish there was such a thing as a Do-Over Round on The Voice. Le sigh. If only Cee Lo Green hadn't sat out Season 4. I have a feeling Cee Lo would have totally hit his button for Jane."
Click here to read more about Smith and her on-the-rise Indie Pop Rock band Belle Histoire, then check out the band's music video for "My Dear," from the group's debut album Dreamers, below. And click here to listen to the first single from Jane's solo project Decker, "Swing," which was released to iTunes today.
Though it feels like we're just getting over the glorious musical hangover caused by the 2010 edition of the MidPoint Music Festival, today marks the beginning of MPMF's 2011 cycle. Starting today, artists interested in performing at this year's MidPoint can begin submitting press kits.